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Saturday, Oct 25th

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Court grants Obama plea to re-hear health case

ObamacareThe federal appeals court in Washington threw out a ruling Thursday that called into question the subsidies that help millions of low- and middle-income people afford their premiums under the president's health care law.

The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia granted an Obama administration request to have its full complement of judges re-hear a challenge to regulations that allow health insurance tax credits under the Affordable Care Act for consumers in all 50 states.

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Labor Day stems from deadly labor strike, but few Americans know the history

Pullman strikeMonday is the day to celebrate the American worker and his sacrifices and economic and social achievements.  You do know that, right?

If you don’t, you’re not alone.  Few recall the bloodstained origins of this holiday as we fire up the grill, throw on the burgers and dogs and turn on the U.S. Open tennis or maybe the Yanks, Mets or another ballgame.

And, in a sign of the times, the Sunday morning network news shows didn’t even offer their usual, token pre-Labor Day weekend spot for the head of the nation’s labor movement.

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Utah fracking fine highlights wastewater pond threat

fracking in utahWhen fracking causes controversy, it’s often because of wells — either the ones used to inject chemicals and water into the ground to break up gas-rich shale rock or the ones used to dispose of all the waste and water left over from the injection process.

Often overlooked is a another way to dispose of that waste: massive surface ponds in which fracking water is stored until it can be recycled or buried or is left to slowly evaporate. Those ponds, which can grow to several acres in size, dot the landscapes of virtually every state that produces natural gas.

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Guantanamo Decays as Closing Delayed

gitmoOne sweltering afternoon last month, a Boeing C-17 military transport plane arrived at the American naval base here. It had come to take six low-level detainees to new lives in Uruguay after 12 years of imprisonment.

Days before, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. had called Uruguay’s president, José Mujica, pressing him to resettle the men. The foreign leader had offered to accept the detainees last January, but by the time the United States was ready for the transfer this summer, Mr. Mujica was worried that it would be politically risky to follow through because of coming elections in his country, according to Obama administration officials.

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Burger King, Tim Hortons merge into whopper-sized firm

Burger King mergerThe U.S.-based restaurant chain made it official Tuesday announcing that it agreed to merge with the Canada-based Tim Hortons restaurant chain. The deal, worth about $11 billion, will create the world's third largest quick service restaurant company with about $23 billion in sales and more than 18,000 restaurants in 100 countries.

The new global company will be headquartered in Canada, but each brand will be managed independently, with Burger King retaining its U.S. offices in Miami, the two companies said in a joint statement.

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Defense rests in Blackwater trial

blackwaterFour Blackwater security guards have rested their defense in the shootings that killed or wounded over 30 Iraqis seven years ago in Baghdad.

Closing arguments will be later this week in the prosecution of the four guards. Three are charged with voluntary manslaughter and attempted manslaughter — Paul Slough, Dustin Heard and Evan Liberty. A fourth, Nicholas Slatten, is charged with first-degree murder.

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Actor and director Richard Attenborough dies aged 90

Richard AttenboroughOscar-winning British film director Richard Attenborough has died at the age of 90, his son has said.  Lord Attenborough was one of Britain's leading actors, before becoming a highly successful director.

In a career that spanned six decades, he appeared in films including Brighton Rock, World War Two prisoner of war thriller The Great Escape and later in dinosaur blockbuster Jurassic Park.

As a director he was perhaps best known for Gandhi, which won him two Oscars.

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