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California OKs offer of voluntary water cuts by farmers trying to avoid deeper drought losses

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California regulators have accepted a historic offer by farmers to make a 25 per cent voluntary water cut to avoid deeper mandatory losses during the drought.

Officials with the state Water Resources Control Board made the announcement on Friday involving farmers in the delta of the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers who hold some of California’s strongest water rights. READ

Former Secretary of State Clinton was sent now-classified Benghazi info on private server

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton received information on her private email server about the deadly attack on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi that was classified Friday at the FBI’s request. READ

Extremists from Islamic State hunt down Syrian troops, Assad loyalists after seizing town

Islamic State group militants hunted down Syrian government troops and loyalists in the newly captured town of Palmyra, shooting or beheading them in public as a warning, and imposing their strict interpretation of Islam, activists said Friday. READ

Ukraine’s parliament tears up military co-operation agreement with Russia

Ukraine’s parliament on Thursday voted to suspend military co-operation with Russia in a long-anticipated move signalling a further break in relations between the once-close partners. READ

After seizing Palmyra, Islamic State extremists overrun ancient site

Islamic State militants overran the famed archaeological site at Palmyra early on Thursday, just hours after seizing the central Syrian town, activists and officials said, raising concerns the extremists might destroy some of the priceless ruins as they have done in neighbouring Iraq. READ

Premier to Ireland: Vote for gay marriage to ’obliterate’ social barriers, irrational fears

Prime Minister Enda Kenny is urging Ireland’s voters to support the legalization of gay marriage in a referendum that pits the power of the Catholic Church against his secular-minded government. READ

Crews start cleaning up California coastline after broken pipe spills oil into sea

Cleanup crews fanned out Wednesday along a stretch of scenic California coastline stained by thousands of gallons of crude oil that spilled from a broken pipe and flowed into the Pacific Ocean. READ

U.S. releases more than 100 seized bin Laden papers

During his years in hiding, Osama bin Laden urged followers to concentrate on attacking Americans and wrote bittersweet letters to one of his wives and his children, according to documents released Wednesday by U.S. intelligence officials. READ

U.S. House to consider repeal of meat labelling law

A U.S. House of Representatives committee is moving swiftly to get rid of labels on packages of meat that say where the animals were born, raised and slaughtered. READ

Group of banks fined over $5 billion, will plead guilty to rigging global currency markets

Four global banks agreed Wednesday to pay more than $5 billion in penalties and plead guilty to rigging the world’s currency market, the first time in more than two decades that major players in the financial industry have admitted to criminal wrongdoing on such a scale. READ

RCMP arrest 10 youths suspected of wanting to join jihadists overseas

Ten young people suspected of wanting to join jihadist groups overseas were arrested last weekend at Montreal’s Trudeau International Airport, the RCMP said late Tuesday. READ

Police: Florida burglar breaks into house, falls asleep on couch

Police in Sarasota, Florida, have arrested a man they say broke into a home, then fell asleep on the couch. READ

Judge says marathon bomber’s formal sentencing hearing will be scheduled some time in June

Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will be formally sentenced to death next month after at least 20 victims describe the impact the terror attack had on their lives. READ

Texas authorities warned in memo of escalating violence between rival Texas motorcycle gangs

A meeting of motorcycle clubs ended in a deadly shootout after two rival gangs faced off at a Waco restaurant, an explosion of what Texas authorities had warned earlier in the month was growing animosity between the groups. READ

The Republican reversal on the Iraq war, 12 years later: OK, it was a mistake

It’s perhaps fitting that a member of the Bush family has achieved in a few days something that seemed unattainable for years: getting Republicans to declare that the 2003 invasion of Iraq was, after all, a big mistake. READ

Burundi’s president thanks security forces for crushing coup

President Pierre Nkurunziza thanked his security forces Friday for crushing a military coup that tried to topple him, and he urged an immediate halt to the protests that have erupted in Burundi in recent weeks since he decided to seek a third term. READ

1,000 migrants land in SE Asia after near-starvation at sea

LANGSA, Indonesia — More than 1,000 people fleeing persecution in Myanmar and poverty in Bangladesh came ashore Friday around Southeast Asia, describing murder, extortion and near-starvation after surviving a harrowing journey at sea. READ

Jury orders death for Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

A jury sentenced Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to death Friday for the Boston Marathon bombing, sweeping aside pleas that he was just a “kid” who fell under the influence of his fanatical older brother. READ

Nepal’s prime minister: 'We were not prepared’ for 2nd strong quake

Nepal has been overwhelmed by its second powerful earthquake in less than three weeks, its prime minister said Thursday as he visited this normally placid foothills town, now filling up with frightened villagers desperate for government help. READ

Death toll in Amtrak wreck climbs to 8

The death toll from the Amtrak wreck rose to eight with the discovery of another body in a mangled railcar Thursday, while a lawyer for the train’s engineer said his client has no recollection of the crash and wasn’t on his cellphone or using drugs or alcohol. READ

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