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Tuesday, Jul 07th

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Obama to Drop Cuba From List of State Sponsors of Terrorism

Obama takes Cuba off terror listPresident Barack Obama notified Congress that he intends to remove Cuba from a list of state sponsors of terrorism, less than a week after meeting with Cuban President Raul Castro in Panama.

The move is the most significant act by the administration since Obama began restoring diplomatic relations with Cuba in December after more than a half century of estrangement. Cuba was put on the terrorism list in 1982.

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Our Coming Theocratic Hell: The Right’s “Religious Freedom” Push Is Just the Beginning

politics and religionBy now, it’s clear that Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act was crafted to empower piously bigoted entrepreneurs and companies desirous of freelancing with their own “Jim Crow for gays” restrictions, and to let them cite as legal justification for doing so their precious religious sensibilities.

The RFRA, said the original text, sought to give judicial succor to those who found that their “exercise of religion . . . has been substantially burdened,” or was just “likely to be substantially burdened” by performing services for people their faith’s sacred credos enjoin them to abhor (gays, in this case). The ensuing uproar in the media and business circles compelled Indiana’s state Senate to amend the legislation to prevent its deployment against the LBGT community, but state Democrats are still calling for its repeal.

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Marco Rubio Tells Donors He's Running For President

Marco RubioSen. Marco Rubio on Monday took on Hillary Rodham Clinton in his first words as a presidential candidate, telling top donors he is running for the Republican nomination because the 2016 race for the White House should be about the future, not the past.

The first-term Republican from Florida, 43, also told his most generous backers that he feels "uniquely qualified" to pitch his Republican Party as one that will defend the American Dream.

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Deal or not, many U.S. states will keep sanctions grip on Iran

States to continues sanctionsAs the United States and Iran come closer to a historic nuclear deal, many U.S. states are likely to stick with their own sanctions on Iran that could complicate any warming of relations between the long-time foes.

In a little known aspect of Iran's international isolation, around two dozen states have enacted measures punishing companies operating in certain sectors of its economy, directing public pension funds with billions of dollars in assets to divest from the firms and sometimes barring them from public contracts.

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Hillary Clinton officially announces bid for the presidency

Hillary launchesWith much anticipation but little drama, Hillary Clinton officially announced Sunday she is running for president, a launch that will begin with a message on social media and continue over the next week with campaign visits to Iowa and New Hampshire.

The announcement marks an end to the first, awkward phase of Clinton’s roll-out — a non-campaign that has frustrated Democrats who were anxious for her to turn the ignition switch on a campaign that the party is deeply invested in.

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The First Woman to Run for US President: Victoria Woodhull

Victoria WoodhullFew know, though, the name of the woman who put the first crack in that highest, hardest glass ceiling. That honor belongs to a beautiful, colorful and convention-defying woman named Victoria Woodhull, who ran for the office in 1872, 136 years before Clinton made her first run in 2008.

Woodhull, who died nearly twenty years before Clinton was even born, hazarded a path on which no woman before her had ever dared to tread. Even more amazing is that she did it almost 50 years before the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920 gave women the right to vote. On Election Day, November 5, 1872, Victoria Woodhull couldn’t even vote for herself.

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Rand Paul walks out on live interview in third testy media exchange this week

Rand PaulRepublican senator Rand Paul walked out of a live interview with the Guardian on Friday, in the third testy exchange he has had with a journalist since launching his campaign for president three days ago.

Paul, who said during his campaign launch on Tuesday he would like to see “any law that disproportionately incarcerates people of color is repealed”, responded awkwardly when asked which specific piece of legislation he would repeal.

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