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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Fracking Bill Struck Down

Despite the support of Pennsylvania’s governor and the State Department of Environmental Protection, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court struck down key provisions of the Marcellus Shale drilling law, which allowed gas and oil companies to frack anywhere in the state, regardless of local zoning. They also struck down a provision which prevented doctors from telling patients about health impacts related to shale gas exploitation.

Governor Tom Corbett expressed his disappointment with today’s ruling, saying, “I will continue to work with members of the House and Senate to ensure that Pennsylvania’s thriving energy industry grows.” The Marcellus Shale drilling law was passed despite some resistance from local communities and state Democrats. State Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa was buoyed by today’s ruling, saying “We left too much control in the hands of gas drilling companies and the governor was too lenient in dealing with energy companies at the expense of Pennsylvania’s citizens and our communities.”

Arrests in Addis Ababa Football Bombing

Ethiopian police have arrested five more people as part of their investigation into a botched bombing of Ethiopia’s World Cup qualifying match against Nigeria this past October. The plan failed when two prospective suicide bombers detonated their devices early, miles from Addis Ababa Stadium. Ethiopia’s National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) and Federal Police issued a joint statement today blaming Somalia’s al-Shabaab for the attempted attack. Authorities also broadcast a confession from one suspect; “The plan was to hurl bombs at crowds gathered around the stadium and two malls, then enter the stadium and carry out a suicide attack.”

Kenyatta Case Floundering

According to a statement released by Special Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, the crimes against humanities case against Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has fallen apart. The testimony of at least two key witnesses has been compromised, and Bensouda believes, “Having carefully considered my evidence and the impact of the two withdrawals, I have come to the conclusion that currently the case against Mr. Kenyatta does not satisfy the high evidentiary standards required at trial.” To that end, the prosecution team has requested additional time, but defense teams for Kenyatta and his one-time political opponent, Deputy President William Ruto, have vehemently objected, demanding instead that the trial be adjourned.

Kenyatta and Ruto are accused of orchestrating violence in Kenya after the 2007 elections, which left more than 1,100 people dead. The International Crimes Court has been deluged with problems in bringing those responsible to trial, with allegations of imperialism and witness tampering permeating the entire affair.

Seventeen States Now Recognize Freedom to Marry

Today New Mexico joined 16 other states in the U.S. in legalizing same-sex marriage, following a unanimous ruling by the state’s top court. Justice Edward Chavez wrote for the court, “Denying same-gender couples the right to marry and thus depriving them and their families of the rights, protections, and responsibilities of civil marriage violates the equality demanded by the Equal Protection Clause of the New Mexico Constitution.” The court also ordered county clerks to amend applications for marriage licenses to use gender-neutral language.

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