Elysha O’Brien calls herself a “Mexican white girl.” Not just because of her ethnically ambiguous appearance, she says, but also because she can’t speak Spanish. Fearing their children would experience discrimination if they spoke Spanish, her parents chose not to teach them their native tongue.

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Federal prisoners can request compassionate release if they are terminally ill, but a recent investigation found that many die while their requests drift through the system. Now, prison leaders say they will simplify the approval process and start tracking requests electronically.

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For the first time, the Justice Department admits that it targeted American-born al-Qaida leader Anwar al-Awlaki and that three other U.S. citizens have died in drone strikes.

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The Boy Scouts of America votes in Texas this week on whether to change its century old membership policy. The proposal is to open up the scouts to allow gay youth to join and continue to ban on adults who are gay. About 1,400 voting members will decide.

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Sens. Tom Coburn and James Inhofe have become the faces of pushback on federal emergency spending. Now the deadly and devastating tornado in their home state has put them in an awkward position.

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Officials think they’ve found all the survivors, and victims, of the massive tornado that devastated the community of Moore. The official death toll stands at 24. More than 230 people are said to have been injured.

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Ray Manzarek, whose keyboard was a trademark of The Doors sound, died at the age of 74 on Monday.

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Former IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman and outgoing acting Commissioner Steven Miller will be grilled. The IRS is under fire because some conservative groups’ applications for tax-exempt status were given extra scrutiny in recent years. An inspector general has called the actions “inappropriate.”

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As it roared through the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore, packing winds of up to 200 mph, the twister flattened buildings. Searchers continue to look for survivors and those who were killed.

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When several states passed laws banning same-sex marriages, researchers found that the mental health of gay residents seemed to suffer. Conversely, stress-related disorders dropped after the legalization of gay marriage in one state. Researchers say negative media portrayals and loss of safety were contributing factors.

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Bitcoin is a virtual currency that’s traded online. It’s been on a wild ride lately, soaring in value during the Cyprus banking crisis. And this week, the price plummeted after a Bitcoin trading exchange was hacked.

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In research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, scientists found brain scans can predict with startling accuracy the likelihood that criminals will run afoul of the law again. The results require serious legal and ethical debate before being introduced into the criminal justice system. David Greene talks to Kent Kiehl, a professor of psychology at the University of New Mexicow, and lead author of this mind research study.

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A new exhibit in Berlin’s Jewish Museum is intentionally provocative. The point, one curator says, is to “get people talking about how they perceive Jews, particularly in Germany today.” At the center of the controversy is a display in which a Jew sits inside a glass showcase and answers questions from visitors.

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The Brooklyn-based company is profiting where other media companies have failed. From magazines to the web to film, Vice’s CEO says, “We do it weirder, and we do it younger, and we do it in a different way and in a different voice.”

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Broadcast TV used to have bigger stars, bigger audiences and bigger budgets. Cable shows were edgier, with more sex and violence than the broadcasters dared show. In the last few seasons, though, cable ratings have improved and broadcast shows have taken more risks. What’s going on on TV?

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Ruben Aguilar, 85, was forcibly deported with his family from the U.S. to Mexico at six. While his parents were not American citizens, he was, and at 18, he was drafted by the U.S. Army. Aguilar is a man who “got hurt by his country, came back to this country and is going to die in his country.”

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The United States has pledged to remain committed to Afghanistan beyond the year 2014. That’s when the U.S. and its NATO allies are set to hand over the security mission to Afghan forces. But the U.S. has not yet said how many troops will remain in Afghanistan after 2014, and that is causing concern among Afghans.

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Rumors abound of a major shakeup in the works for U.S. food aid programs. The U.S. would give aid groups money to buy food wherever they could get it cheapest and quickest, rather than shipping abroad commodities bought in the U.S. Already, groups that profit from the current system are mounting a fight.

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Kinky Boots, the quirky independent British film, has been turned into a splashy Broadway musical with a score by pop icon Cyndi Lauper. Reporter Jeff Lunden takes look.

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A Princeton University alumna advised young women studying at her alma mater to find husbands now and not wait. Susan Patton’s letter set off a heated discussion, but she stands by her words.

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Robert Mueller has been the U.S. government’s indispensable man when it comes to national security. When his 10-year term as FBI director expired, the Obama administration asked Congress for an unprecedented two-year extension. But now, the clock is ticking on finding his successor.

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More than half of the nation’s pipelines were built before 1970. In fact, ExxonMobil’s Pegasus pipeline, which burst last Friday in Mayflower, Ark., is 65 years old. According to federal statistics, pipelines have on average 280 significant spills a year. Most aren’t big enough to make headlines.

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President Obama is expected to name Caroline Kennedy, daughter of former President John F. Kennedy, ambassador to Japan. The job has been critical to U.S. trade and business interests with the world’s third largest economy. But Kennedy has no prior experience in government or business.

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