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Boy Scouts lift blanket ban on gay adult leaders, employees

Boy Scouts stand on stage with a U.S. flag during the Pledge of Allegiance to begin the inaugural Freedom Summit meeting for conservative speakers in ManchesterBy Marice Richter DALLAS (Reuters) - The Boy Scouts of America lifted its outright ban on openly gay adult leaders and employees on Monday, rolling back a policy that has deeply divided the membership of the 105-year-old Texas-based organization. The new policy, which takes effect immediately, comes three years after the organization removed its prohibition on gay youth, but local Boy Scout units chartered by religious organizations will still be permitted to exclude gay adults from volunteering as den leaders, scoutmasters or camp counselors. The latest move was widely seen as being aimed at quelling a backlash against the Boy Scouts amid declining membership and the threat of litigation, while addressing concerns of religious institutions that account for about 70 percent of the 100,000-plus Boy Scout units nationwide.


Celebrity birthdays for the week of Aug. 2-8
Aug. 2: Keyboardist Garth Hudson of The Band is 78. Director Wes Craven is 76. Singer Kathy Lennon of The Lennon Sisters is 72. Actor Max Wright ("Alf," ''Norm") is 72. Actress Joanna Cassidy is 70. Actress Kathryn Harrold is 65. Actor Butch Patrick ("The Munsters") is 62. Actress Victoria Jackson is 56. Actress Apollonia is 56. Actress Cynthia Stevenson ("Men in Trees," ''Hope and Gloria") is 53. Actress Mary-Louise Parker is 51. Director-actor Kevin Smith is 45. Actor Sam Worthington ("Terminator Salvation") is 39. Actor Edward Furlong is 38. Singer Charli XCX is 23. Actress Hallie Eisenberg is 23.
South Korea declares country effectively out of MERS danger

Women wearing masks to prevent contracting Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) walk at Myeongdong shopping district in central SeoulSouth Korea declared on Tuesday it is effectively out of danger from Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), more than two months after the first case was reported and began spreading in hospital settings to kill 36 people. It was traced to a man who returned from a business trip to the Middle East in May. "It is the assessment of the government and the medical community that the public can rest easy," Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn told a government meeting on public health. Twelve people remain hospitalized in South Korea and under treatment for MERS although only one is still testing positive for the MERS virus, the Health Ministry said, adding that no new cases have been reported since July 4.


Colorado movie gunman's sister sobs, says she still loves him

James Holmes sits in court for an advisement hearing at the Arapahoe County Justice Center in CentennialBy Keith Coffman DENVER (Reuters) - The younger sister of Colorado movie massacre gunman James Holmes testified at his trial for the first time on Monday, telling jurors who will decide his fate that the murders were completely out of character, and she still loves him. Chris Holmes, 22, was called by the defense during the punishment phase of the trial.


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