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Death penalty in US: New Mexico defies nation's mood

Death penalty in USNew Mexico has taken a first step towards reinstating capital punishment in the US state, a move which, if successful, would defy a national trend that has seen support for capital punishment wane in recent years.

During a state budget battle in the early hours of Thursday morning, the House of Representatives on a 36-30 vote along party lines agreed to bring back the death penalty.

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Two police officers killed in Palm Springs, California shooting

Poloice officers killed in CATwo police officers were shot and killed on Saturday in the Southern California desert town of Palm Springs after they were called to an apparent domestic dispute and came under fire as they arrived on the scene, according to police and eyewitness accounts.

A third officer was wounded in the shooting around 1 p.m. local time, Palm Springs police said in online bulletins.

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Obama commutes sentences of 102 inmates

Obama commutes 102 sentencesPresident Obama on Thursday commuted the sentences of 102 inmates, the White House announced.

Obama has commuted the sentences of 744 individuals, more than the past 11 presidents combined, according to the White House. Thursday’s announcement brings the total number granted this year alone to 590, more than any single year in U.S. history.

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NY archdiocese offers compensation program for abuse victims

NY Diocese sets up payment for abuse victimsThe Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York announced a compensation program Thursday for victims of sex abuse by priests who are willing to forego lawsuits in exchange for an award to be determined by an independent mediator.

"One sin, one crime, one scandal has gravely wounded us in the church, the sexual abuse of young people by clergy," Cardinal Timothy Dolan said in unveiling the program.

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Four more states likely to legalize pot

Four states could legalize potVoters in four states appear likely to approve ballot measures that would legalize marijuana for recreational purposes, according to recent surveys, while voters are split on the question in a fifth state.

The polls, taken over the last few weeks, demonstrate a seismic shift in the politics of pot. Even a decade ago, voters rewarded politicians who promised to redouble the war on drugs. After November’s elections, nearly a quarter of Americans could live in states where marijuana consumption is legal.

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East Carolina University sells out its marching band under conservative pressure

East Carolina U buckles  to right wing pressureSomething truly courageous and wonderful happened this past weekend. Many members of the marching band of East Carolina University, including many white members, decided to take a knee to protest injustice in America during the “Star-Spangled Banner” before their most recent football game.

It was a silent, peaceful protest, but a particularly bold one considering ECU is located in the decidedly southern town of Greenville, North Carolina.

Hours later, Cecil Staton, the Chancellor of ECU, issued this extremely reasonable and supportive statement, backing the band, “While we acknowledge and understand the disappointment felt by many Pirate fans in response to the events at the beginning of today’s football game, we urge all Pirate students, supporters and participants to act with respect for each other’s views."

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NSA contractor charged with stealing U.S. secrets

NSA contrator charged with stealing secretsA 51-year-old government contractor with access to highly classified information was charged with stealing sensitive documents and other digital files.

Harold Thomas Martin III, 51, of Glen Burnie, Md., was formally charged with theft of government property and unauthorized removal and retention of classified materials, according to court documents unsealed Wednesday.

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