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On Fallon show, per WH pool report, Obama said of Mitt Romney, “I’ve met him, but we’re not friends. His wife is lovely.”

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On Fallon show, per WH pool report, Obama said of Mitt Romney, “I’ve met him, but we’re not friends. His wife is lovely.” 6 minutes ago via MarketMeSuite

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Rocker Ted Nugent pleads guilty to Alaska bear-hunting violation - @ap

Rocker and gun rights advocate Ted Nugent pleaded guilty Tuesday to transporting a black bear he illegally killed in Alaska.

With his plea, Nugent followed through with a signed agreement he made with federal prosecutors earlier this month.

A judge approved the deal at a U.S. District Court hearing in the Southeast Alaska town of Ketchikan. Nugent and his attorney participated by telephone.

Asked by Magistrate Judge Michael Thompson if the agreement was clear, Nugent responded: “It is with me, your honor.”

The guitarist and singer, who also is an avid hunter, later apologized for his actions and said he would “never knowingly break any game laws.”

According to the document, Nugent illegally shot and killed the bear in May 2009 on Sukkwan Island after wounding another bear in a bow hunt. The bow incident counted toward a state seasonal limit of one bear.

The musician’s lawyer, Wayne Anthony Ross, also has said Nugent didn’t know he was breaking the law.

The plea agreement says Nugent knowingly possessed and transported the bear in misdemeanor violation of the Lacey Act.

According to the agreement, the hunt was filmed for Nugent’s Outdoor Channel television show, “Spirit of the Wild.”

The document says Nugent agreed to pay a $10,000 fine and serve two years of probation, including a special condition that he not hunt or fish in Alaska or on U.S. Forest Service properties for a year.

Nugent also must create a public service announcement that will be broadcast on his show every second week for a year, the document states.

In addition, he agreed to pay the state $600 for the bear that was taken illegally, according to the document.

Nugent briefly drew the attention of the Secret Service last week after he rallied support for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and said of the Obama administration: “We need to ride into that battlefield and chop their heads off in November.”

His comments were made during a National Rifle Association meeting in St. Louis.

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Venezuelan govt. broadcasts video of President Chavez playing bocce in Cuba - @reuters

CARACAS (Reuters) - The Venezuelan government on Tuesday broadcast a video of President Hugo Chavez playing the European bowling game of bocce in Cuba in a new effort to quash rumors that he was dying of cancer while out of the country.

The video showed a jovial and chirpy Chavez strolling in a garden and playing the bowling game with his brother and two ministers on Monday in Havana where he is having radiation treatment for an undisclosed cancer.

"We are continuing the treatment, facing the difficulties, governing and taking political decisions … for the benefit of the Venezuelan people," Chavez said in the 13-minute video.

His unusually long silence since leaving for Cuba on April 14 stirred speculation about his health and raised doubts about his political future as he seeks re-election in an October 7 vote.

The rumors forced Chavez to call state television on Monday to tell Venezuelans he was all right and still able to govern the South American oil producing nation.

During his nine-day silence he had only shown signs of life in brief messages on Twitter that led his opponents to criticize him for running the country remotely by tweets.

Chavez, wearing a track suit, appeared in the video with his brother Adan, Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro and Science Minister Jorge Arreaza, who is Chavez’s son-in-law, his daughter Maria Gabriela and a grandson.

Chavez said he was working on a new labor law that is expected to cut the work week and extend labor benefits. He said on Monday that he would return to Caracas on Thursday to sign the labor legislation, which is due to go into effect on May 1.

"I have great faith in what we are doing to fight this illness that ambushed me last year. I have faith in Christ," Chavez said, kissing a crucifix.

He vowed to recover from his bout with cancer so that he can continue advancing Venezuela’s socialist “revolution.”

Chavez’s opponents have criticized him for keeping the country in the dark about the extent of his illness, raising suspicions that his cancer may have spread from an initial baseball-sized tumor that was removed from his pelvis.

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The 57-year-old leader remains very popular among poorer Venezuelans who have benefited from his social programs, which redistribute some of the country’s vast oil wealth.

Recent opinion polls have given Chavez a comfortable double-digit lead over opposition candidate Henrique Capriles six months before the election, and his trips to Cuba for treatment appear not to have changed that.

"We will continue consolidating that advantage," Chavez said from Havana.

(Reporting by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Jackie Frank)

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2012. Check for restrictions at: http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp

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Obama: Secret Service agents linked to prostitution scandal are ‘knuckleheads;’ says 99.9% do a great job - @reuters

Obama: Secret Service agents linked to prostitution scandal are ‘knuckleheads;’ says 99.9% do a great job - @reuters - breakingnews.com

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Ex-PA House Democratic leader DeWeese is sentenced to 2-1/2 to 5 years in prison in corruption case - @ap

Ex-PA House Democratic leader DeWeese is sentenced to 2-1/2 to 5 years in prison in corruption case - @ap - breakingnews.com

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Giant Virginia House Modeled On Versailles Upsets Rich Neighbors

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WASHINGTON — Let them eat popcorn.

Marie Antoinette would be proud: The Northern Virginia palace modeled on Versailles will have a movie theater — with concession space.

The Washington Post reports on a 25,424-square-foot mansion, called “Le Chateau de Lumiere,” being built in the Hidden Springs section of the extremely wealthy Virginia locality of Great Falls.

Neighbors don’t like the flashy looks of Le Chateau, which the Post says will likely cost between $15 million and $20 million to build:

Some neighbors see an eyesore that is not in keeping with the Hidden Springs’s traditionally Washington aesthetic, elegant but understated. They also object to the owners knocking down acres of trees to build a home in a neighborhood that was specifically created to be a wooded retreat from go-go Washington.

"It’s going to put a spotlight on the neighborhood," Thomas J. Burns, a Hidden Springs resident, said of the chateau. "I’m disappointed someone would disturb the natural beauty of Great Falls by building such a showy home here."

Though the house’s square footage is impressive, for all the sturm and drang the Post's description of the house itself makes it sound luxurious, but not opulent enough to fester a revolution:

Plans show the home will have five bedrooms, three two-car garages, an elevator, and a pool and a pool house. The entrance foyer will feature two sweeping staircases leading to a gallery running the length of the home.

The basement alone will have a wine cellar, an exercise room, a billiard room, a theater with a concession space, a spa, a sauna, a card room, a recreation room, a gallery, a kitchen and a large guest bedroom. On the third floor, the master bedroom suite will take up an entire wing and consist of a study, sitting room, gallery and four other rooms.

"It’s not really one of the hugest houses on the East Coast," said Mike Malfi of The Building Group Inc., the company designing and building the palace, told The Huffington Post. "Of course it is a big house, but it isn’t one of the biggest houses." (The chateau is not even half the size of "The East Coast Playboy Mansion,” for example.)

Yet it’s big enough that a suit has been filed against the The Building Group and the family building the palace, the Yis. Craig Dubow, who collected a $32 million severance package when he resigned as CEO of Gannett Co. last fall, and his wife, Denise, are described by the Post as living in an relatively modest 6,000-some square foot house “adjacent to the planned chateau.”

Mafi told The Huffington Post he believes the neighbors’ biggest concern is that trees are being cut down to make way for the palace, but that concern should be mollified once he puts in “a lot of trees.” A more intractable problem: Mafi said he also thinks that the neighbors are worried their property taxes will go up once the palace is complete.

In any case, Mafi’s not worried about the lawsuit. “We’re going to go ahead” with the construction, he said. “I’m sure our attorney will work something out.”

That attorney might be busy. Mafi said he is also responsible for a 16,000 square foot house being built across the street from the chateau. “They’ve raised complaints about that one, too,” he said.

One Post commenter’s take on the story:

Summary of story: (semi-) old money doesn’t like the nouveau riche. Cry me a gaudily decorated rive droite.

Another drew a more historical conclusion:

Adding a guillotine would be a nice touch.

Are you looking for a gigantic house in Great Falls? Here are some options for you:

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Newt Gingrich Daughter, Jackie, Says Father’s Campaign Will ‘Reassess’ After Delaware Primary

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Newt Gingrich Campaign Delaware

By MITCH WEISS, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Newt Gingrich’s daughter said Tuesday that the former House speaker will “reassess” his campaign after the vote in Delaware, potentially setting the stage for his exit from the Republican presidential race.

Jackie Gingrich Cushman said her father’s campaign is slimmer but still winning over voters who aren’t yet sold on likely GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who was expected to win contests Tuesday in Delaware and four other states.

Gingrich has hung his comeback hopes on a strong showing in Delaware and has spent considerable time there in recent weeks. He has not won a presidential primary since finishing first in his home state of Georgia on March 6.

Gingrich’s daughter said the campaign would re-evaluate its standing after Tuesday’s vote.

"He talked about waiting for results and looking to see what happens and then potentially reassess," she told MSNBC on Tuesday about her father, who has been under pressure for some time to drop out of the race.

She hinted, as Gingrich has in recent days, that the race is fluid and that a dramatic shift could come at any time.

"You never know what’s going to happen tomorrow," she said.

Despite trailing Romney in convention delegates and fundraising, Gingrich has vowed to campaign until the party’s late-summer convention in Florida. He has more than $4.3 million in debt.

Gingrich was keeping a pair of scheduled appearances Tuesday in North Carolina, including his first election night party since February.

Campaigning in the Wilmington area of Delaware on Monday, Gingrich said winning the state would put him in good position to continue his campaign. But if Romney were to win big in Delaware, “I think you would have to stop and take a deep breath,” Gingrich said.

For his part, Romney planned an election night speech in New Hampshire, the site of his first victory on the path to the nomination. Aides said his remarks would focus on the general election campaign against President Barack Obama.

Gingrich cautioned Romney against appearing cocky.

"Gov. Romney is clearly the front-runner. That doesn’t mean he’s inevitable," Gingrich said Monday.

Romney has won 698 of the 1,144 delegates needed to become the nominee, according to a tally by The Associated Press. Gingrich has 137 delegates.

____

Associated Press writer Philip Elliott in Washington and Randall Chase in Dover, Del., contributed to this report.

Related on HuffPost:

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Kyle Knight: Nepal’s Third Gender and the Recognition of Gender Identity

On Dec. 27, 2007, the Supreme Court of Nepal issued a decision that has been called “arguably the single most comprehensive judgment affirming protections for gender identity anywhere in the world.” The decision in Pant v. Nepal was overwhelmingly in favor of the petitioners, a group of local lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) rights NGOs led by Sunil Babu Pant, president of the Blue Diamond Society, a sexual health and human rights organization founded in 2001. In addition to mandating that the government scrap all laws that discriminated based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity and establish a committee to study same-sex marriage policy, the court took the unique approach of establishing a third-gender category.

In legal terms, the third gender in Nepal — denoted on official documents as “other” — is an identity-based category for people who do not identify as either male or female. This may include people who present or perform as a gender that is different from the one that was assigned to them at birth. It can also include people who do not feel that the male or female gender roles dictated by their culture match their true social, sexual, or gender identity.

There are other countries that have instituted third-gender categories, but none nearly as comprehensive as Nepal. In 2005 India’s third-gender citizens were allowed to register for passports as “eunuchs,” denoted by an “E.” In 2009 an “E” designation was added to voter registration documents. Shortly after Nepal announced that it would include a third-gender category on its census, India followed suit. In 2011 the Unique Identification Authority of India, administering a new government citizen ID number system, allowed “transgender” as a third-gender option.

Australia and New Zealand both have “X” as an option, in addition to “M” and “F,” on passport applications. Bangladesh allows citizens to register to vote as “eunuchs.” The Supreme Court of Pakistan also ordered the government to issue third-gender ID cards, but three years later not a single one has been issued. Without a comprehensive model to follow, Nepal’s LGBTI activists have worked tirelessly with the government bureaucracy to implement the category.

In the broadest implementation of the category yet, the 2011 Nepal census was the world’s first to allow people to register as a gender other than male or female. Enumeration was fraught with difficulties; the release of preliminary data with no mention of a third gender may mean that those who identified as such will be left out of meaningful data sets altogether.

Part of the 2007 decision in Pant ordered the government to issue citizenship ID cards that allowed “third-gender” or “other” to be listed. Since then, only two citizens, through relentless personal advocacy, have successfully received documents that reflect their true gender identity. Without access to these properly gendered documents, citizens cannot open bank accounts or inherit property, among other rights. Individuals have faced harassment after officials noticed discrepancies between gender appearance and official documents.

Several international law arguments can support Nepali activists in their fight for legal recognition. Official recognition of one’s gender identity is required to guarantee the right to recognition as a person before the law. Recognition as a person before the law is both a right in itself, guaranteed in numerous human rights instruments, and a critical means for the exercise of other rights. More generally, recognition as a person is essential to reflect the dignity and worth of every person and reaffirm our common humanity, as reaffirmed by the Yogyakarta Principles.

Reading the right to recognition as a person together with other rights strengthens the conclusion that states must give official recognition to one’s self-defined gender identity.

The state’s refusal to record a person’s self-identified gender identity on official documents touches, or very nearly touches, the core of one’s sense of self. Such an intrusion on the core self arguably violates the right to privacy. It also treats differently those whose gender identity does not necessarily correspond with the sex they were assigned at birth, and it does so without a reasonable basis, in violation of the right to freedom from discrimination.

Several cases from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) essentially apply this analysis. For instance, the ECHR found that Germany had failed to respect “the applicant’s freedom to define herself as a female person, one of the most basic essentials of self-determination.”

The refusal of states to reflect chosen gender identity on documents may also violate the right to freedom of opinion and expression. The Yogyakarta Principles call on states to take all necessary measures “to ensure the full enjoyment of the right to express identity or personhood, including through speech, deportment, dress, bodily characteristics, choice of name or any other means.” The jurisprudential notes to the Yogyakarta Principles suggest that the drafters had in mind violence prompted by, and state criminalization of, particular choices of dress. But the designation of gender is an expression of identity or personhood of the same order as a choice of name. A state’s refusal to accept a person’s self-identified gender identity for identification documents effectively compels that person to express another identity.

Forcing individuals to identify publicly as a gender other than the one with which they want to identify may also violate freedom of conscience. The innate nature of gender identity makes it more akin to a matter of conscience than one of opinion or expression.

As with religion and belief, the right to freedom of thought and conscience is absolute; it cannot be limited in any way. However, outward manifestations of religion or belief can be restricted if the limitations are “prescribed by law and are necessary to protect public safety, order, health or morals, or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others.” For that reason, the distinction between holding and manifesting a thought, matter of conscience, religion, or belief is important.

A requirement to indicate on identity documents a gender different from one’s actual gender identity is arguably a form of coercion to hold or express a particular thought, matter of conscience, or belief. But even if such a requirement is read as controlling only the manifestation of thought, conscience, or belief, the requirement would not appear to pass the test of necessity.

The fact that international standards permit travel on passports that do not indicate sex casts considerable doubt on any public safety or public order justification; similarly, there are no compelling public health or moral interests in forcing people to bear documents listing a gender that does not correspond to their gender identity.

In addition, official acknowledgement of a third-gender status may serve as a check on official and private acts of harassment and violence. The Committee Against Torture has noted that “actual or perceived non-conformity with socially determined gender roles” increases the risk that an individual will be subjected to harassment and violence. Reports of violence at the hands of police in Nepal and elsewhere in the world against those who do not conform to such gender roles bear out the committee’s observation.

Finally, official acknowledgement has positive implications for other human rights. Although the lack of accepted identity documents should not preclude the enjoyment of other rights, the reality is that identification is often required to attend school, hold a job, open a bank account, receive medical care, vote, and conduct many other aspects of daily life. The lack of legal recognition can therefore lead to infringements on the rights to an education, to work, to an adequate standard of living, to the highest attainable standard of health, and to political participation, among other rights. It can increase the risk of exploitation and can impede the right to freedom of association.

Implementing a third-gender category is not the only way to legally recognize and protect gender identity. However, Nepali activists’ experience advocating for and implementing the category demonstrate it to be a meaningful, rights-based recognition and protection measure.

This article was originally published on the Jurist website.

This piece was co-authored with, Michael Bochenek, Director of Law & Policy at the International Secretariat of Amnesty International. This article reflects the views of the authors and not necessarily those of Amnesty International.

Follow Kyle Knight on Twitter: www.twitter.com/knightktm

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Fire Starter Network (LIVE BLOG)

Creative Geniuses tend to hang out with other Creative Geniuses and here at Healthy Living, our online community is a place to hang out and exchange our experiences. We’ll be cheering one another on, offering daily support and making this month an imaginative adventure to navigate together.

Each day, we’ll share your Facebook and blog comments in response to Danielle LaPorte’s “30 Days To Fire Up Your Creative Genius” challege (Missed it? You can still catch up HERE) through colorful word clouds that we hope serve as soul-firing inspiration.

If you haven’t, subscribe for the 30-Day challenge newsletter NOW. And don’t forget to share your answers with us here and on Twitter!

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Nathen Taylor Dead: Former Army Sergeant Shot Outside Brother’s Home (VIDEO)

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A Lancaster, Calif. family is in mourning over the loss of Nathen Taylor, a former Army sergeant who survived three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, only to be shot to death in his hometown.

Taylor, 30, was shot Saturday while sitting in a car outside his brother’s home. He was still alive when his brother, Patrick Taylor, and family friend, Jack Garcia, called for an ambulance. Patrick claimed that the ambulance took 30 minutes to arrive, reports CBS2/KCAL9, and Garcia decried emergency services for taking such a long time to arrive.

Garcia told CBS2/KCAL9, “If I’d have known — his car was still running — I would have moved him over and drove him to the hospital myself. That’s what I should have done. But I had faith in the system, and I don’t anymore.”

WATCH CBS2/KCAL9’s report from the scene of the crime:

On Monday, Taylor’s family members and friends were gathered near a makeshift memorial at the scene of his death.

Sister Kinnzie Taylor, still in shock, told NBC LA that the circumstances of his death were unbelievable. “To serve three different tours overseas in a war zone, and to come home and be killed in your — not just your neighborhood, but a neighborhood we grew up in…”

Nathen Taylor left behind a 7-year-old daughter and a fiancee.

WATCH NBC LA’s video report from Nathen Taylor’s makeshift memorial:

View more videos at: http://nbclosangeles.com.

The shooter — and cause of the shooting — remain unknown.

Anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500. To give anonymous tips, call “Crime Stoppers” at (800) 222-TIPS (8477), or text the letters TIPLA plus your tip to CRIMES (274637), or by using the website lacrimestoppers.org.

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Case of mad cow disease confirmed in California, USDA says; meat from animal did not enter food chain - Bloomberg News’ @JHughesNews

Case of mad cow disease confirmed in California, USDA says; meat from animal did not enter food chain - Bloomberg News’ @JHughesNews - breakingnews.com

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Newt Gingrich’s daughter says father will ‘reassess’ his presidential campaign after tonight’s vote in Delaware - @AP

Gingrich daughter: Campaign to ‘reassess’ standing

By MITCH WEISS, Associated Press – 28 minutes ago 

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Newt Gingrich’s daughter said Tuesday that the former House speaker will “reassess” his campaign after the vote in Delaware, potentially setting the stage for his exit from the Republican presidential race.

Jackie Gingrich Cushman said her father’s campaign is slimmer but still winning over voters who aren’t yet sold on likely GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who was expected to win contests Tuesday in Delaware and four other states.

Gingrich has hung his comeback hopes on a strong showing in Delaware and has spent considerable time there in recent weeks. He has not won a presidential primary since finishing first in his home state of Georgia on March 6.

Gingrich’s daughter said the campaign would re-evaluate its standing after Tuesday’s vote.

"He talked about waiting for results and looking to see what happens and then potentially reassess," she told MSNBC on Tuesday about her father, who has been under pressure for some time to drop out of the race.

She hinted, as Gingrich has in recent days, that the race is fluid and that a dramatic shift could come at any time.

"You never know what’s going to happen tomorrow," she said.

Despite trailing Romney in convention delegates and fundraising, Gingrich has vowed to campaign until the party’s late-summer convention in Florida. He has more than $4.3 million in debt.

Gingrich was keeping a pair of scheduled appearances Tuesday in North Carolina, including his first election night party since February.

Campaigning in the Wilmington area of Delaware on Monday, Gingrich said winning the state would put him in good position to continue his campaign. But if Romney were to win big in Delaware, “I think you would have to stop and take a deep breath,” Gingrich said.

For his part, Romney planned an election night speech in New Hampshire, the site of his first victory on the path to the nomination. Aides said his remarks would focus on the general election campaign against President Barack Obama.

Gingrich cautioned Romney against appearing cocky.

"Gov. Romney is clearly the front-runner. That doesn’t mean he’s inevitable," Gingrich said Monday.

Romney has won 698 of the 1,144 delegates needed to become the nominee, according to a tally by The Associated Press. Gingrich has 137 delegates.

Associated Press writer Philip Elliott in Washington and Randall Chase in Dover, Del., contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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More: UK culture secretary says he is ‘confident’ public will see he handled BSkyB bid process ‘with scrupulous fairness’ - @SkyNewsBreak

More: UK culture secretary says he is ‘confident’ public will see he handled BSkyB bid process ‘with scrupulous fairness’ - @SkyNewsBreak - breakingnews.com

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US ordered to release assessments on how much damage WikiLeaks secret files publication caused - @telegraphnews

David Coombes, Pfc. Manning’s civilian defence lawyer, said prosecutors must prove that the leaks actually “caused harm” if they are to convict his client. While the government assessments remain classified, Mr Coombes cited media reports from last year where anonymous US authorities privately admitted that the WikiLeaks revelations had caused only “pockets” of short-term damage.

The reports directly contradicted the Obama administration’s official position that the leaks had caused “substantial” damage and endangered the lives of American informants around the world.

In a densely legalistic hearing at the sprawling Fort Meade military complex in Maryland, Pfc. Manning’s lawyers also demanded that government release video footage reportedly showing the soldier stripped naked and interrogated by Army authorities.

Following his arrest in Iraq in May 2010, Pfc. Manning spent eight months in solitary confinement at a military prison in Quantico, Virginia. Part of his defence strategy is to argue that this period represented “unlawful pretrial confinement” and his lawyers said the alleged incident from January 2011 supported their case.

Prosecutors insisted that there was no footage of the interrogation to hand over.

Mr Coombes is also trying to force the government to turn over documents from a grand jury convened in Virginia, reportedly to explore ways to prosecute Mr Assange under American espionage laws.

Pfc Manning, who wore a formal dress uniform during the hearing, dismissed two of the military lawyers assigned to his defence but offered no explanation why.

Major Matthew Kemkes and Captain Paul Bouchard had appeared at his side at a number of earlier hearings but the soldier told the judge that he wished to replace them Captain Joshua Toomes, another military attorney. Colonel Lind is expected to rule on Wednesday [WED] on a defence motion to have all 22 charges against Pfc. Manning dismissed on the grounds that the government had failed to hand over relevant evidence to the case.

The defendant has not yet entered a plea to the charges.

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#BREAKING: An estimated 400 people are protesting outside a Wells Fargo shareholders meeting in San Francisco. http://t.co/ghikL2Zl

Twitter / abc7newsBayArea: #BREAKING: An estimated 40 …

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: An estimated 400 people are protesting outside a Wells Fargo shareholders meeting in San Francisco. 35 minutes ago via Yfrog

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