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via Facebook/Houston International Festival
via Facebook/Houston International Festival
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Houston Leads Nation in Settling Refugees

Lost in Houston's famous urban sprawl, its insane traffic and stifling heat, is the fact that more refugees come to Houston than any other city in the United States.  We're talking about people who have fled their home countries for one reason or another, and have been accepted by our State Department as refugees.

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via Flickr/billjacobus1
via Flickr/billjacobus1
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USA Leads World in Reducing Carbon Dioxide Emissions

It's true.  The United States is constantly vilified for being a major source of greenhouse gas emissions, for stone-walling international climate treaties like the Kyoto Protocol, and of being the source of most of the skepticism over climate change.  All three charges are true in varying degrees.

Even so, care to guess which country has had the greatest reductions in carbon dioxide emissions since 2006, a year after the controversial Kyoto Protocol went into effect?

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via GlobalSecurity.org
via GlobalSecurity.org
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Wider Panama Canal Means More Texas Truck Traffic

Texas business and political leaders are sending out a serious "heads up" to cities and towns on the major highways that go to and from the Gulf Coast, and, for once, it has nothing to do with hurricanes.

They say the massive expansion of the Panama Canal that's now underway is going to double the canal's ship traffic when it's completed in 2014.  Why is this of any concern in Texas?

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via Flickr/ShaunW (shandys_preston)
via Flickr/ShaunW (shandys_preston)
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Indian State Declares Open Season on Poachers

A state in western India is so disgusted with tiger poachers that it has declared open season on them.  The government of the state of Maharashtra is allowing state forest guards to shoot illegal hunters on sight -- in an effort to put a stop to the rampant killing of protected wildlife, especially the dwindling population of tigers.

To make this legal, this government simply declared that killing or injuring suspected poachers is not a crime anymore.

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ABC
ABC
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North Korea Fails in Attempt to Launch Long-Range Missile

North Korea found itself front and center in the international community when it launched a long-range missile Friday morning, local time.

Despite the country’s reported efforts, officials in the US claim the launch failed because the rocket broke before leaving the Earth’s atmosphere.

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YouTube
YouTube
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Canada Has Eliminated the Penny

Even stacked together in a jar, all those pennies you have are fairly worthless. However, they may soon become collectors’ items.

Canada, our neighbor to the North, has just eliminated the penny in their latest federal budget, following the example of nations like Australia and New Zealand. The Canadian national mint will stop producing the one-cent coin over the next six months, and businesses have been asked to return pennies to be melted down.

We thought it was a joke too, but apparently the Great White North is serious:

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via flickr/net_efekt
via flickr/net_efekt
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New Theory: CO2 Makes You Fat

Don't laugh. This is serious stuff.  Researchers in Denmark have announced a theory that may not only explain why people all over the world are getting fatter and fatter, but it could also serve as a warning of serious consequences for life on Earth if pollution caused by CO2 emissions isn't reduced.

The theory states that CO2 -- carbon dioxide -- contributes to making us fat.  Oh please.

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via flickr/lorenkerns
via flickr/lorenkerns
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Brit Schools Ban Kids Having Best Friends

It's true.  Some schools in Great Britain have adopted rules against children having a "best friend."   The school officials say the goal is to keep children from getting upset if and when their best friend fails or drops out of school.

Pupils are instead taught and encouraged to play in large groups.

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