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Tuesday, Sep 30th

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Missouri execution contested over drug secrecy and racism claims

Missouri executionLawyers and civil rights advocates are scrambling to stop the execution a black death row inmate in Missouri who was sentenced to death by an all-white jury for his role in a double murder.

Barring last-minute intervention from Missouri governor Jay Nixon or the courts, Earl Ringo, 40, will be injected with a massive dose of lethal drugs at one minute past midnight local time on Wednesday morning. The pending execution has kicked up a storm of controversy, both over the secrecy that the state has imposed over its lethal injection procedures and the racial overtones in the case.

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Professor fired for Israel criticism urges University of Illinois to reinstate him

professor SalaitaSteven Salaita, a university professor whose appointment at the University of Illinois was withdrawn last month after he was critical of Israel on Twitter, spoke publicly for the first time on Tuesday, saying he should be reinstated on the grounds of academic freedom.

“I am a passionate advocate for equality, a fair and open-minded instructor, and highly collegial. No legitimate evidence exists for any claims or insinuations to the contrary, which have severely damaged any reputation and my prospects for future employment,” he said.

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Justice Department Memo Provides the CIA's Legal Justification to Kill a US Citizen

drone"This white paper sets forth the legal basis upon which the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) could use lethal force in Yemen against a United States citizen who senior officials reasonably determined was a senior leader of al-Qaida or an associated force of al-Qaida."

So begins a 22-page, heavily redacted, previously top-secret document titled "Legality of a Lethal Operation by the Central Intelligence Agency Against a US Citizen," which provides the first detailed look at the legal rationale behind lethal operations conducted by the agency. The white paper [pdf below] was turned over to VICE News in response to a long-running Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Justice Department.

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TMZ: NFL Didn't Ask for Ray Rice Video

Ray Rice video not asked forThe NFL NEVER contacted the casino to request video of Ray Rice brutalizing his fiancee ... TMZ Sports has learned. Commissioner Rodger Goodell made his disciplinary decision in the dark, which raises the question ... Is that the way he wanted it?

Sources connected with the Revel Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City tell TMZ Sports ... NO ONE from the NFL ever asked for the video inside the elevator ... video that was compelling enough to get Rice instantly fired.  

Sources who worked at the casino at the time of the incident tell us ... if the NFL had asked for the video, they would have gladly complied. Former employees have told us someone with an affiliation to the NFL saw the video, but we are now certain that someone was not from Goodell's office or the core NFL executives.

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Ultra Orthodox' Rabbi Accused of Sexual Abuse

accused rabbiAn ultra-Orthodox elementary school principal has been accused of sexual abuse, but accusations of physical abuse go back much further.

In an ultra-Orthodox enclave of upstate New York, a former student has accused a principal of sex acts. But amid the allegations of sexual abuse, allegations of physical abuse have also begun to resurface. Rabbi Gavriel Bodenheimer, the principal of Bais Mikroh, a Yeshiva in Monsey for grades K-8, was arraigned on Aug. 12 and charged with three counts of criminal sexual acts and one count of sex abuse. Bodenheimer, who is 71 and a father of 14 and grandfather of 100, faces a maximum sentence of 25 years.

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Hikers evacuated as Yosemite wildfire explodes in size

yosemite wildfireA wildfire that had been smoldering for weeks in Yosemite National Park exploded during the weekend, forcing the park to evacuate hikers by helicopter.

The Meadow fire had grown to about 2,600 acres by Monday morning. The fire, started by lightning in August, had been confined to about 20 acres until wind Sunday spread sparks to areas of dry brush.

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ACLU wants inmates to know their voting rights

ACLUThe American Civil Liberties Union is urging sheriff's offices and supervisors of elections in all 67 Florida counties to ensure people in jail who are eligible to vote are aware of their voting rights.

People with past felony convictions who haven't had their voting and civil rights restored by the state aren't allowed to vote. But those awaiting trial or serving time for a misdemeanor can request absentee ballots, including for local judges.

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