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On US Visit, Spanish to Prevail in Pope’s Speeches

VOA News When Pope Francis visits the United States next week on a three-city tour, he will deliver only four of his 18 planned speeches in English. The native of Argentina is most comfortable speaking in Spanish, a spokesman for the Vatican told The Associated Press, although the pontiff also speaks German and Italian fluently. The pope's remarks at the White House and Congress —  the first ever by a pope — will be among those made in English. The 78-year-old Francis faces a packed schedule on his first trip to the , arriving on September 22 for two days in…
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Death Penalty to Be Sought in Charleston Shootings, Court Papers Show

VOA News South Carolina will seek the death penalty against the white man charged in the June killings of nine black people at a Charleston church, court documents showed Thursday. Dylann Roof, 21, faces multiple charges including nine counts of murder, three counts of attempted murder and a weapons charge for the June 17 shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. Ninth Judicial Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson scheduled a news conference Thursday regarding the case against Roof.  In the court filings, she wrote that "Dylann Storm Roof by his act of murder knowingly created a great risk of death to…
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Abortion Providers Ask Supreme Court to Review Texas Rules

DALLAS—Texas abortion providers asked the Supreme Court on Thursday to hear their challenge to the state's restrictions on abortions that they contend are aimed more at shutting clinics than protecting women's appeals court in June upheld the main provisions of the Texas abortion law including one requiring clinics to have certain hospital-grade facilities even for abortions that are induced by medication. The Supreme Court's next term begins in October. "We're hopeful that the Supreme Court will take a stand, hear our case, and remind lawmakers that women's health is not a game," said Amy Hagstrom Miller, founder of abortion provider…
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Kentucky Clerk Back in Court Over Gay Marriage Controversy

VOA News Hundreds of protesters gathered outside a federal courthouse in Kentucky where a local county clerk faces charges for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis defied last month's court order to resume issuing marriage licenses to all eligible couples, straight or gay, a practice she stopped after the Supreme Court's historic ruling in June that legalized same-sex marriages across the nation. Davis says issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples would violate her religious beliefs. The judge issued the order after four couples — two same-sex couples and two opposite-sex couples — filed…
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Report: Murder Rates Sharply Rising Across US

VOA News Official figures from across the United States reveal a startling increase in the number of murders in several major cities this year -- and officials are at a loss to pinpoint the exact reasons why. The New York Times says more than 30 cities across the nation have reported a sharp increase in homicides so far this year, compared to the same time period in 2014. The death toll in the nation's capital, Washington, , stands at 105 people, compared with 73 people a year ago.  In nearby Baltimore, Maryland, a staggering 215 people have killed so far in…
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US Agents Arrest Dozens in Multistate Steroid Raids

VOA News drug agents have arrested more than 90 people and seized 16 underground labs in a 20-state operation targeting illegal steroids. The Drug Enforcement Administration's Operation Cyber Juice involved more than 30 investigations and netted 636 kilos of steroid powder, 8,200 liters of raw steroid injectable liquid, and more than $2 million in currency and other assets, the Justice Department announced Tuesday. In the Western state of Arizona alone, the agents seized four labs and nearly 150,000 dosage units of the finished product. Underground labs often are found to have finished steroid product, raw steroid powder, oils needed for…
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Kentucky Official Denies Same-Sex Marriage License Despite Ruling

VOA News A local court clerk in the central state of Kentucky continues to deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples, despite a recent ruling by the Supreme Court ordering her to do so. Local media reports that the office of Kim Davis, the elected court clerk in Kentucky's Rowan County, refused licenses to two same-sex couples Tuesday. Davis told the couples that her office would not be issuing licenses today. When asked by one couple under whose authority the decision was made, she replied "under God's authority." In a statement Tuesday, Davis said issuing marriage licenses to gay couples would…
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US News

Obama to Address American Jewish Groups on Iran Deal

VOA News President Barack Obama is set to participate in a live webcast Friday to address concerns from the American Jewish community about the nuclear agreement with Iran. Obama will deliver remarks about the disputed deal signed by the United States, Iran and five world powers and take questions from participants. The webcast is being organized by two major Jewish organizations that have held similar events with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. Obama's sanctions chief, a top Treasury Department official who helped negotiate the accord, is scheduled to arrive for a three-day visit in Israel…
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US News

US Teen Jailed for 11 Years for Supporting IS

VOA News A teenager in the state of Virginia has been sentenced to 11 years in prison for conspiring to provide material support and resources to the Islamic State group. A Justice Department statement Friday described 17-year-old Ali Shukri Amin as  "a young American who used social media to provide material support" to IS and said his prison sentence will be followed by a "lifetime of supervised release and monitoring of his Internet activities." “Today’s sentencing demonstrates that those who use social media as a tool to provide support and resources to ISIL will be identified and prosecuted with no…
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US News

Bush Returns to New Orleans for 10th Anniversary of Katrina

VOA News  Former president George W. Bush returned Friday to New Orleans - the scene of one of his presidency's larger challenges - to tout the region's recovery from the costliest natural disaster in history on the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Bush visited Warren Easton Charter High School, the same school he visited on the first anniversary of the catastrophic storm. He was accompanied by his wife, Laura, whose library foundation helped rebuild what is the oldest public school in New Orleans. The two met with students at the school's gymnasium, where he was also greeted by New Orleans…
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