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Storms kill 17 in Texas, Oklahoma; Houston flooded

An American flag, a remnant of Memorial Day holiday waves despite being caught in a tree in San Marcos, TexasBy Kristen Hays and Amanda Orr HOUSTON (Reuters) - Torrential rains have killed at least 17 people in Texas and Oklahoma, including four in Houston where floods turned streets into rivers and led to about 1,000 calls for help in the fourth-most populous U.S. city, officials said on Tuesday. The death toll is set to rise with numerous people still missing in Texas after the storms slammed the states during the Memorial Day weekend, causing record floods that destroyed hundreds of homes, swept away bridges, and even unearthed a coffin from a Houston cemetery. "A lot of folks drove their car into high water and had to abandon those vehicles," Houston Mayor Annise Parker said at a news conference.


US returns 25 looted artifacts to Italy: Vases, frescoes

A third century B.C. terracotta head, left, and a second century Roman bronze figure representing Mars, are shown during a press conference in Rome, Tuesday, May 26, 2015. The United States has returned 25 artifacts that were looted from Italy, including Etruscan vases, 1st century frescoes and precious books that had made their way into top-notch U.S. museum, university and private collections. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)ROME (AP) — The United States on Tuesday officially returned 25 artifacts looted over the decades from Italy, including Etruscan vases, 1st-century frescoes and precious books that ended up in U.S. museums, universities and private collections.


California scientists test Ecstasy as anxiety-reducer for gravely ill
By Emmett Berg SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - California scientists are testing whether the illegal psychoactive drug commonly known as Ecstasy could help alleviate anxiety for terminally ill patients, the trial's principal funder said on Tuesday. At least a dozen subjects with life-threatening diseases like cancer, and who are expected to live at least 9 months, will participate in the double-blind trial over the next year in Santa Cruz, said Brad Burge, spokesman for the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, in Santa Cruz. Each subject will be randomly given either a full dose - 125 milligrams of MDMA, or an "active placebo" dose of 30 milligrams, Burge said.
Data thieves gain access to 100,000 U.S. taxpayers' information: IRS

United States Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen appears before a hearing in Washington(Reuters) - Tax return information for about 100,000 U.S. taxpayers was illegally accessed by cyber criminals over the past four months, U.S. IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said on Tuesday, the latest in a series of data thefts that have alarmed American consumers. From February to May, attackers sought to gain access to personal tax information 200,000 times through the agency's "Get Transcript" online application, which calls up information from previous returns, he told a news conference. The breach did not affect any IRS data outside the "Get Transcript" application, and the agency said it would strengthen its security measures.


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