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Tuesday, Jul 07th

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Eyeing Arab ties, Israel to observe nuclear pact meeting

NetanyahuIsrael will take part as an observer in a major nuclear non-proliferation conference that opens at the United Nations on Monday, ending a 20-year absence in hope of fostering dialogue with Arab states, a senior Israeli official said.

Assumed to have the Middle East's sole nuclear arsenal, and having never joined the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Israel has stayed away from gatherings of NPT signatories since 1995 in protest at resolutions it regarded as biased against it.

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Avalanche Kills 10 on Mount Everest

avalanche Mt. EverestAn avalanche triggered by a massive earthquake in Nepal swept across Mount Everest on Saturday, killing at least 10 climbers and guides, slamming into a section of the mountaineering base camp, and leaving an unknown number of people injured and missing, officials said.

The avalanche struck between the Khumbu Icefall, a notoriously treacherous area of collapsed ice and snow, and the base camp where most climbing expeditions prepare to make their summit attempts, said Ang Tshering of the Nepal Mountaineering Association.

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780,000 chemical weapons being destroyed in Colorado

Chemical weaponsWorkers have begun destroying a massive stockpile of American chemical weapons stored at a former Army munitions depot near Colorado's ninth-largest city, blasting the artillery rounds open with explosives and neutralizing them with solvents.

Workers perform their slow, painstaking task under heavy security and strict safety precautions, which include constant monitoring for leaks, armed guards on random patrols and video monitoring by independent observers.

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Judge approves potential $1bn, 65-year deal in NFL concussions lawsuit

760M for NFL vetsA federal judge has approved a plan to resolve thousands of NFL concussion lawsuits that could cost the league $1bn over 65 years.

The NFL expects 6,000 of nearly 20,000 retired players to suffer from Alzheimer’s disease or moderate dementia someday. The settlement approved Wednesday by a federal judge in Philadelphia would pay them about $190,000 on average.

The awards could reach $1m to $5m for those diagnosed in their 30s and 40s with Parkinson’s disease or Lou Gehrig’s disease, or for deaths involving chronic brain trauma.

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Chimpanzees granted 'legal persons' status to defend their rights in court

Chimps granted legal person hoodFor the first time in US history, a judge has granted two chimpanzees a petition – through human attorneys – to defend their rights against unlawful imprisonment, arguably bestowing the status of “legal persons” on the primates.

On Monday, Manhattan supreme court justice Barbara Jaffe granted a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of two non-human plaintiffs, Hercules and Leo – chimpanzees used for medical experiments at Stony Brook University on Long Island.

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US Bishop Finn, symbol of church's failure on sexual abuse, resigns

Bishop Finn resignsU.S. Bishop Robert Finn, the Catholic prelate in the U.S. heartland who became a symbol internationally of the church's failures in addressing the sexual abuse crisis, has resigned. He was the first bishop criminally convicted of mishandling an abusive priest yet remained in office for another two and a half years.

The Vatican announced Finn's resignation as head of the diocese of St. Joseph-Kansas City, Mo., in a note in its daily news bulletin Tuesday.

While the note did not provide any reason for the move, it is rare for bishops in the Catholic church to resign without cause before they reach the traditional retirement age of 75.

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Millions Spent Lobbying By Private Prison Corporations To Keep A Quota Of Arrested Immigrants

privatee prisonsPrivate prison corporations spent $11 million over six years to lobby Congress to keep immigrants in detention centers, a new report released Wednesday found. The Grassroots Leadership report, Payoff: How Congress Ensures Private Prison Profit with an Immigrant Detention Quota, found that lobbying efforts of the two largest private prison corporations have made them the main beneficiaries of aggressive immigration detention policies.

For-profit family detention centers have come under scrutiny in recent times as migrant women renewed a hunger strike this week in Texas, demanding that they be released on bond with their children.

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