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It's not all bad
April 11, 2013

Seven years ago, Evie Branan suffered a stroke that put her in a semi-coma. Then, in May 2011, she tumbled out of bed in her Michigan nursing home, hit her head, awoke, and spoke these nine magical words: "I want to go to a Bob Seger concert." Tonight, Branan gets her wish. A limo will pick the 79-year-old up and take her to the performance, which she'll enjoy from the front row. To top it off, she'll get to meet Seger and the band. "I'm going to hug him and give him and great big smooch," Branan told NPR. Lauren Hansen

Gay marriage
12:00 a.m. ET
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On Monday, the Supreme Court rejected without comment a Kentucky county clerk's request to be excused from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Kim Davis is the elected clerk of Rowan County and an Apostolic Christian opposed to same-sex marriage, The Washington Post reports. Davis said it would violate her religious convictions if she had to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, and has stopped providing licenses to both same-sex and straight couples. If she doesn't start issuing the licenses, she could be held in contempt, and will face daily fines and possibly jail time.

In early August, U.S. District Court Judge David L. Bunning also rejected the argument that her religious beliefs are being violated, saying Davis is "simply being asked to signify that couples meet the legal requirements to marry. Her religious convictions cannot excuse her from performing the duties that she took an oath to perform as Rowan County Clerk." Catherine Garcia

Climate change
August 31, 2015
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In a sobering speech on Monday, President Obama said no one is "moving fast enough" to combat climate change and soon we will "condemn our children to a world they will no longer have the capacity to repair."

Obama was in Anchorage for the Global Leadership in the Arctic: Cooperation, Innovation, Engagement, and Resilience (GLACIER) conference, and told his fellow world leaders if they don't act quickly the world can expect more drought, refugees, and conflict. "Any leader willing to take a gamble on a future like that, any leader who refuses to take this issue seriously or treats it like a joke, is not fit to lead," he added.

He said the United States "recognizes our role in creating this problem and embraces our role in solving it," and said those who say climate change isn't happening are "on their own shrinking island." Obama urged everyone at the conference to return to their countries ready to act. "It's not enough just to talk the talk," he said. "We've got to walk the walk." Catherine Garcia

This just in
August 31, 2015
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On Monday night, the State Department released more than 7,000 emails sent by Hillary Clinton from a private server during her time as secretary of state.

Out of those emails, 125 are now considered classified, all at the lowest classification, "Confidential," Politico reports. Earlier Monday, the State Department told reporters none were deemed classified when they were sent, Time reports. At the time, a State Department spokesman had estimated that 150 of the emails were now deemed classified. Clinton has continously said that she did not send any emails marked classified from the server. This is the third and largest release of Clinton's emails from her tenure as secretary of state, and the new batch of 7,121 emails puts the State Department back on track with the court-ordered release schedule. Catherine Garcia

yeezus in 2020
August 31, 2015
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After hearing Kanye West declare at Sunday's MTV Video Music Awards that he will run for president in 2020, Eugene Craig wasted no time setting up a PAC called Ready for Kanye.

Craig, a 24-year-old black Republican activist from Maryland, said the PAC is not a joke, and he'll be "gathering data, gathering info" on people willing to get West elected. "If Mr. West is to seek the presidency in 2020, and if there is no incumbent Republican president, I would absolutely encourage him to run," Craig told The Washington Post. "I think he will bring an interesting dialogue to our party, and he'll find a lot of people who want that dialogue. He's pointed out the crippling racial disparities in the law and the economy. He's talked about the pipeline of private prisons. He's a genuine entrepreneur. Oh, not to mention that his first big single was 'Jesus Walks.'"

Craig said he's not sure where West falls on the political spectrum, but he is a huge fan of the "musical genius" and would be willing to introduce him to the Republican Party if he's receptive. "He's been critical of President Bush; he's been critical of President Obama," Craig said. "You know, we'll find out when we reach him." Catherine Garcia

taliban
August 31, 2015

The Taliban said in a statement Monday that it suffered an "incorrigible loss" on April 23, 2013, when leader Mullah Mohammed Omar died.

The news of Omar's death leaked in July, but the date of his passing remained a mystery until Monday. In the statement, which was written in several languages and posted on the Taliban's website, the organization said his death was kept a secret in order to keep spirits and morale high at a time when foreign fighters were leaving Afghanistan. Only a few of the Taliban's higher ups knew about the "depressing news."

The communication also included information on Omar's successor, Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansoor. Many rank and file members of the Taliban are not supportive of Mansoor, The Guardian reports, and Omar's family is not backing him. The statement said Mansoor fought against the Soviets in Afghanistan in the 1980s and "particularly loves and has interest in marksmanship." Catherine Garcia

turkey
August 31, 2015

Two Vice News journalists were charged Monday in a Turkish court with "aiding a terrorist organization."

Correspondent Jake Hanrahan and cameraman Philip Pendlebury, both Brits, and their Turkish assistant were detained Thursday while in Diyarbakir, The Associated Press reports. Al Jazeera says the men have been accused of being members of the Islamic State. Diyarbakir is in an area that has seen an uptick in fighting between Kurdish rebels and security forces, and several people have been killed.

Vice calls the charges "baseless and alarmingly false" and an "attempt to intimidate and censor their coverage." It's not uncommon for journalists working in Turkey's mostly Kurdish regions to be taken into custody while reporting on situations, accused of having links to Kurdish rebels, AP reports. Catherine Garcia

Higher Ed
August 31, 2015
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President Obama is reportedly going back to college after he leaves the White House.

On Monday, Lee Bollinger, president of Obama's alma mater Columbia University, announced during an event on campus that the school is looking forward to hosting Obama in 2017, the Columbia Spectator reports. Bollinger didn't say what role the president will have, but before becoming commander in chief, Obama was a professor at the University of Chicago Law School.

Update 10:07 p.m. EDT: In a statement to Reuters, the White House said: "The President has long talked about his respect for Columbia University and his desire to continue working with them. However, at this point no decisions have been finalized about his post-Presidency plans." Catherine Garcia

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