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Sunday, Jul 05th

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Supreme Court strikes down 'vague' part of career criminal law

supreme courtThe Supreme Court on Friday struck down part of a federal law that is intended to keep people convicted of repeated violent crimes in prison longer.

The court sided with defendant Samuel James Johnson, who pleaded guilty to federal weapons charges in 2012. Johnson was sentenced to 15 years in prison — five more years than he otherwise would have gotten — because of his prior convictions. According to federal authorities, Johnson is a white supremacist who formed the Aryan Liberation Movement. He was arrested in 2012 for taking part in a plan to attack the government, minorities and others, the government said.

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A Confederate on every corner

A Confedeerate on every cornerOn the edge of campus at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill stands a statue of a young man. Facing north, he leans slightly forward, grasping a musket. Known by students as “Silent Sam,” he depicts a Confederate soldier, one of dozens of UNC students who signed up to fight for the South during the Civil War. Julian Carr, one such student turned veteran, spoke at the monument’s dedication ceremony in 1913.

“The present generation, I am persuaded, scarcely takes note of what the Confederate soldier meant to the welfare of the Anglo Saxon race during the four years immediately succeeding the war,” he said, “when the facts are, that their courage and steadfastness saved the very life of the Anglo Saxon race in the South.”

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Battle over grassland electrical lines looms in Nebraska

Nebraska electric linesDevyn Ballagh never planned to do anything else but keep on ranching.

“When you own something, you take pride in it,” the 29-year-old Ballagh said. “Just knowing that you’re a fifth-generation rancher, and knowing you’re the fifth generation in your family to take care of this land, you feel a lot of responsibility for it.”

To be a Ballagh in the Nebraska Sandhills is to be tied to the land. Devyn’s family has lived and worked on the same property for 130 years, and they have no plans to leave anytime soon. But the land itself could change if one of Nebraska’s electric companies has its way — and that doesn’t sit well with the Ballaghs.

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Official: Escaped murderer Richard Matt fatally shot

Richard MattOne of two convicted killers who staged a brazen escape from an upstate maximum-security prison and had been hunted for three weeks was shot and killed Friday, but the other is still on the run.

An official with knowledge of the manhunt said Richard Matt was killed and David Sweat is still on the run. The official wasn’t authorized to talk about the development publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity.

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Obama's Charleston eulogy: 'Amazing Grace'

Obama eulogyPresident Obama delivered a touching eulogy, a rousing political speech and a thoughtful meditation on race in America when he traveled to Charleston South Carolina to speak at the funeral of Rev. Clementa Pinckney, who was gunned down last week by a racist terrorist during bible study.

But the President's speech will be remembered for a moment at the end when the he launched into a solo of "Amazing Grace," that at first stunned the mourners and then brought them to their feet as they joined him in song.

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Gay Marriage Legalized Nationwide by U.S. Supreme Court

gay marriage legalizedSame-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry nationwide, the U.S. Supreme Court said in a historic ruling that caps the biggest civil rights transformation in a half century.

Voting 5-4, the justices said states lack any legitimate reason to deprive gay couples of the freedom to marry. Justice Anthony Kennedy joined the court’s four Democratic appointees in the majority, bringing gay weddings to the 14 states where they were still banned.

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Apple removes games featuring confederate flags from App Store

Apple AppApple Inc (AAPL.O) has removed several civil war games featuring Confederate flags from its App Store, some game developers said.

The flags and other symbols of the Confederacy have been at the center of debate since a 21-year-old gunman, accused of killing nine black worshippers in last week's South Carolina church shooting, posed with the flag in photos posted online.

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