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Jes Burns reporting.
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Election results in Iraq are official – the nation's Supreme Court ratified the outcome today, declaring Iraqiya the victor. The alliance – led by former Prime Minsiter Iyad Allawi keeps a two seat lead over Nouri al-Maliki's Shia bloc. But none of the four political groups that won the most seats took enough to form a government on their own. So coalition building remains to be done. Iraq's President now has fifteen days to call the first session of Parliament.
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The US House and in the Senate Armed Forces Committee both took up the repeal of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy today.
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A court in Peru has granted parole to Lori Berenson, the US woman convicted and jailed 15 years ago on charges of aiding a leftist revolutionary group in the country. An anonymous military tribunal sentenced the New York native when she was 25 years old. Her family maintained she was a political prisoner. Under the terms of her release – expected very soon – she will not be allowed to leave Peru until the completion of her original sentence in 2015. Berenson now has a 1-year-old son.
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Violence escalated today in Jamaica – at least 30 people are dead. Thousands of troops are raiding an impoverished West Kingston neighborhood where alleged drug kingpin Christopher Coke is thought to be hiding from extradition to the US. But Coke is a benefactor to many area residents – and they have set up barricades and taken up arms to protect him. A state of emergency has been in place since Friday -- soldiers are conducting house-to-house searches – nearby schools and businesses are closed – hospitals are only taking emergency cases – and the government is seeking donations of blood. Coke is deeply entrenched both in the community and in the national political scene, with ties to the Jamaica’s ruling political party.
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The US Supreme Court today agreed to consider the civil rights of death row inmates with respect to DNA testing of evidence. In a case that may have broad implications around the country, the Court will consider the possibility that federal civil rights law may allow Henry Skinner to gain access to DNA testing of evidence that was not done during his trial – but that may well exonerate him of the 1993 Texas murder of his girlfriend and her two children.
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Federal Mine Safety officials testified before a Senate Committee today that they need more resources to ensure another accident such as the one at Upper Big Branch Mine doesn’t occur again. Massey Energy and federal regulators are under fire after an explosion at the West Virginia mine killed 29 miners.