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Saturday, Oct 25th

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Detroit bankruptcy judge says he can't stop city from shutting off water for unpaid bills

Detroit water cuttoffA judge overseeing Detroit's bankruptcy refused Monday to stop the city from shutting off water if people can't pay their bill.

Judge Steven Rhodes said the water department probably hasn't done enough to help people with chronically low income, but noted there is no "enforceable right" to water.

Rhodes covered much ground as he read his opinion in court. He said Detroit's recent strategy to get people into two-year payment plans, starting with a 10 percent down payment, was "bold" and "commendable." Roughly 30,000 customers now are enrolled.

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Gov. Jerry Brown signs California gun restriction

California gun lawCalifornia will become the first state that allows family members to ask a judge to remove firearms from a relative who appears to pose a threat, under legislation Gov. Jerry Brown said Tuesday he had signed.

The bill was proposed by several Democrats and responds to a deadly rampage in May near the University of California, Santa Barbara.

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Report: Obama rode elevator with armed man

US Secret servicePresident Barack Obama rode an elevator this month with an armed security contractor who had three criminal convictions, a violation of Secret Service security protocols, according to published reports.

The latest embarrassment for the Secret Service comes after agency Director Julia Pierson on Tuesday took full responsibility for a Sept. 19 breach of security when a man carrying a knife got into the White House. The Washington Examiner and The Washington Post reported that the elevator incident took place during Obama's Sept. 16 visit to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

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NYC mayor signs order expanding living wage law

Di BlasioMayor Bill de Blasio signed an executive order on Tuesday that expanded New York City's living wage law, increasing the hourly rate to $13.13 from $11.90 for workers who do not receive benefits.

The significant expansion, which will cover thousands of previously exempt New Yorkers, fulfilled a campaign promise made by de Blasio, who became the city's first Democratic mayor in a generation when he took office in January. It strengthened a law that was approved by the City Council in 2012.

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Police Want to Get Rid of Their Pentagon-Issued Combat Gear. Here's Why They Can't.

police can't return weaponsAn officer with the Chelan County Sheriff's Department in central Washington is offering me a tank. Three of them, actually.

"We really want to get rid of these," Undersheriff John Wisemore says. "We've been trying to get the military to take them back since 2004."

The tanks came from a vast Defense Department grant program that has furnished American police arsenals, at no charge, with $4.3 billion worth of combat equipment leftover from two foreign wars. The tanks are amphibious, capable of firing 107-mm mortars—and not remotely useful to Wisemore's rural police department. But the county can't seem to unload them. Back in June,

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White House Fence Jumper Got Farther Than Previously Thought, Sources Say

jumper got deep into White HouseThe man who broke into the White House two weeks ago was able to make his way far into the property before being tackled in the East Room -- the room where President Obama and many other presidents have made some of their most important announcements, a law enforcement official confirmed today to ABC News.

The development calls into question the narrative originally released by the Secret Service, which had suggested that Omar Gonzalez, 42, of Texas, had been taken into custody near the front doors of the White House after jumping the fence and running more the 100 yards into the national landmark.

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'We are always cordial': Westboro Baptists and 'Equality House' forge bizarre neighbourhood truce

Equality HouseFew neighbourly disagreements are as peculiar, or as visible, as the dispute that rages at the end of Southwest Churchill Road, in an otherwise quiet part of Topeka, Kansas.

On one side of the street is the Westboro Baptist church, the insular and fiercely anti-gay group which has gained infamy for its its offensive protests and placard signs. There is an upside-down American flag in the churchyard and billboards informing passing cars that ‘God Hates Fags’, alongside CCTV cameras, threats to trespassers and a warning that homosexuals risk “the vengeance of eternal fire”.

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