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Senior State Dept. official accused of soliciting sex from minor

Daniel Rosen- A senior State Department official in charge of counterterrorism programs was arrested after allegedly soliciting sex from a minor.

Daniel A. Rosen, who is the State Department's director of counterterrorism programs and policy, was arrested on a charge of using a communications device to solicit a juvenile, the Fairfax County police said.

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15 hurt after natural gas explosion levels NJ home

Natural gas leak explosion in NJFifteen people were injured Tuesday morning when a suspected gas leak sparked an explosion at a New Jersey home, police said.

The house — located at 59 Oak Ave. in Stafford Township, about 55 miles east of Philadelphia — was evacuated before the blast, officials said.

Utility crews arrived at the scene shortly before 9 a.m. to work on an issue at the home after neighbors reported a strong gas smell, Stafford Township police Capt. Tom Dellane said. At about 10:30 a.m., the home burst into flames.

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Bratton Blames Police for 'Many of the Worst Parts of Black History'

BrattonPolice Commissioner Bill Bratton said Tuesday that "the unequal nature of the relationship" between African Americans and police "must not be denied," and that "many of the worst parts of Black history would have been impossible without police," including slavery.

Bratton, who addressed the predominantly African-American crowd during a Black History Month event held at The Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral of New York, said that while police have played crucial role in maintaining civil rights and freedom of speech, "many of the worst parts of Black history would have been impossible without police, too."

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The disappeared: Chicago police detain Americans at abuse-laden 'black site'

Chicago 'black site'The Chicago police department operates an off-the-books interrogation compound, rendering Americans unable to be found by family or attorneys while locked inside what lawyers say is the domestic equivalent of a CIA black site.

The facility, a nondescript warehouse on Chicago’s west side known as Homan Square, has long been the scene of secretive work by special police units. Interviews with local attorneys and one protester who spent the better part of a day shackled in Homan Square describe operations that deny access to basic constitutional rights.

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The Government Loan Program With a 116 Percent Default Rate

GAOWhat caught my eye was the default rate for an Agriculture Department program called Broadband Treasury Rate Loans: 116.37 percent.

A default rate above 100%? Was that a typo?  It was not a typo.

So what was it? The average default rate for bank loans is about 3 percent. The troubled student loan program has lifetime default rates around 25 percent. How on earth could a credit program, even a risky one, get to 116 percent? Were the recipients defaulting en masse, then stealing an extra 16 percent from the Treasury?

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Marijuana Is Now Legal In Alaska, The 3rd US State To OK Pot

Pot legal in AlaskaAlaska's voter initiative making marijuana legal takes effect Tuesday, placing Alaska alongside Colorado and Washington as the three U.S. states where recreational marijuana is legal. The new law means people over age 21 can consume small amounts of pot — if they can find it. It's still illegal to sell marijuana.

"You can still give people marijuana, but you can't buy it — or even barter for it," Alaska Public Media's Alexandra Gutierrez reports. "So, it's a pretty legally awkward spot. That probably won't stop people from acquiring it, though."

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Rent walkouts point to strains in U.S. farm economy

farmer rent walkoutsAcross the U.S. Midwest, the plunge in grain prices to near four-year lows is pitting landowners determined to sustain rental incomes against farmer tenants worried about making rent payments because their revenues are squeezed.

Some grain farmers already see the burden as too big. They are taking an extreme step, one not widely seen since the 1980s: breaching lease contracts, reducing how much land they will sow this spring and risking years-long legal battles with landlords.

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