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Edward Brooke, 1st African-American ever elected to Senate (a Republican, in 1966), dies of natural causes at 95 in his FL home.Nebraska: possibly Ebola-exposed US health worker, currently symptomless, to be monitored over the coming three weeks.Obamacare - some doctors no longer taking Medicaid (gov-funded for poor) patients; since 2015 reimbursements have dropped by 46%, money lost for each visit. Some states are able/willing to pay the difference. RI doctors top the list with a 67% drop.4 main factors contribute to dropping crime rates across the US: long prison sentences, improved policing in communities, heroin costs at historic low, and an aging population, less likely to commit crimes. Mexican army presence helps near south border.Federal increase in gas taxes considered to replace current legislation (expires in May); federal gas tax currently at 18.4 cents/gallon, and at 24.4 cents/gallon for diesel fuel.One of first to be tried under Wisconsin's "revenge porn" law, man faces charges for having posted online nude pics of his ex.Gas prices now up in 5 states with new gas taxes: Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Florida.At officer Wenjian Liu wake, executed with his colleague by Mike Brown protester, NYPD doesn't turn back on mayor de Blasio.Back from 2-week vacation in Hawaii, Obama to begin multistate trip next week to promote his new economic initiatives.4.9 magnitude earthquake shakes parts of Idaho Saturday evening; no injuries or major damage reported anywhere in the state.Quick news briefs:
Investigation into oil leak in Lake Michigan from southwestern Michigan nuclear plant.
Harlem: 23-day-old boy found unconscious, bleeding from forehead wound, died.
Midwest and eastern US brace for Arctic blast, as far south as Louisiana.
NYC: Rikers Island inmate hangs himself, not placed on suicide watch despite clear signs.

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Fun real estate agents' stories: when home sellers take with them the essentials - from light fixture or tree, to the kitchen sink.Energizing Detroit's home market (40k vacant homes), by repurposing shipping containers to lure millennials back into town.Dish Network to pay $2 million fines to settle complaints for misleading customers about fixed-for-two-years pricing.US Manufacturing in December grew at its slowest pace in six months, due partly to weak international markets & strong dollar.Boston Fed Reserve Bank president: US economic progress relatively modest, and despite new stress tests, wholesale funding represents looming risk (temporarily using money besides deposits to finance various operations and investments).Clear Channel UK boss: digital advertising in bus stops to supplant traditional billboards; they are interactive, and can interface with consumers' mobile devices; company already the largest in that market with over 150 digital screens around London.German government increasingly confident that Eurozone would cope fine if Greece exited it; concerns brought up as Greek election will likely increase the anti-EU, radical left's grip on power.Low-level employees, easily struggling to find work, are increasingly hired under multi-year, non-compete contracts (workers can't work for a competitor), which have ended up in court as unfair and/or unrealistic.Former UK bank exec regrets the free-checking-account move, which has several (overall) bad consequences: it drives smaller banks out of business, limits liquidity for the remainder, and replacement income from high fees (overdraft, etc.) are permanently under scrutiny from regulators for being hard to understand -or expect - for consumers.Candy and sweets makers increasingly going after the luxury end of the market, targeting adults instead of / in addition to kids; as a result, the industry has grown ~10% over the past four years. Concerns over youth obesity and diminishing household sizes made this switch a near-necessity.

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Science & Tech News Tech News

Netflix to roll out tool preventing "geo dodging" (circumventing country's restricted selection), following Hulu last April.Windows 10 upgrade will be seamless (no clean install needed) for Windows 7/8/8.1 users, and likely free for Windows 8/8.1.Sioux Falls, SD: privacy concerns aside (no personally identifiable info shared unless system hacked), cell phones pinging towers help city map traffic patterns, which can be used for road planning and maintenance.NASA developing inflatable heat shields to land astronauts on Mars: parachutes can't carry the size of spacecrafts needed for Mars missions, and rockets can't be used to land like they can on the atmosphereless moon.Scientists still puzzled by hundreds of birds' deaths (Cassin's auklets) along the Pacific coastline, from British Columbia to southern California; current climate, not cold enough, doesn't explain massive die-off; toxin ruled out, birds seem to have starved to death.Archaeologists discover 25th dynasty tomb complex (760-656) at Thebes' West Bank, including Osiris carving and wall paintings - a small version of Osireion tomb, built under pharaoh Seti I's reign in Abydos, Luxor.Actionable insight: in an experiment, people with stage fright told to get excited ended up performing better than participants told to calm down, or not given any instructions.Mapping the bowhead whale's genome could help increase humans' lifespan: it's the longest living mammal (200 years), which rarely gets cancer or heart disease.By digging through Belize's Great Blue Hole for rocks and sediments, archaeologists get possible clues about the Mayan civilization's decline; small quantity of titanium for the equivalent of 200 years indicates long droughts and few cyclones (corroborating 2012 findings from stalagmites). Dirty water, dried crops, fight for resources, and migrations to more clement pastures all fit that civilization's pattern of fracture into surviving rival groups.

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World News Summary World News

Tunisia: in one of the Arab world's most secular countries, suspected Islamists murder an off-duty police officer near El Fahes, southwest of Tunis; 9 arrested. Authorities increasingly concerned about spillover from Libya, also a remote border region easily used as base for jihadis, along with mountainous region near Algerian border.Iran: to improve economy, president Hassan Rouhani to curb state involvement in business, and end country's isolation.Somalia: car bomb detonates in Mogadishu, followed by shooting targeting officials.Nigeria: Boko Haram Islamists take over military base near Baga, near Chad border.New Zealand: search called off for missing Mount Cook climbers, 1 Australian and 2 Germans, by now presumed dead.India: student finds green way to build low-cost housing - don't burn rice husks and straw, use it as building material.Brazil: inside look at a lawless favela on the outskirts of Rio, left alone by police as too dangerous - unlike others, earmarked for "pacification" ahead of 2016 olympics.China: TV drama pulled off the air; returns to screen, but without actress cleavage; part of a wider, increasing, censorship crackdown.Italian police estimate that smugglers made about $3 million from the illegal immigrants left on the latest "ghost cargo ship".France: activists outraged that Roma (gipsy) infant is denied burial. Mayor explains: the small town's running out of burial ground.Germany: mainstream parties worried about growing anti-Islamization sentiment and protests (latest, Monday, of ~20k).France: 7 injured during clashes between ~200 illegal Afghan and Eritrean immigrants trying to get to UK from port city Calais.Turkey: Musa Kart, author of critical political cartoons, taken to court on charges of insulting president (then PM) Erdogan.Hampshire, UK: 8 feared dead as Cypriot-registered, cement-ferrying cargo ship capsizes off the Scottish coast.

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