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TEXAS: Polygamist fires his lawyers

Prosecutor Eric Nichols told jurors Thursday in San Angelo he would present an audio recording of Warren Jeffs raping a 12-year-old girl and DNA evidence showing he also impregnated a 15-year-old, providing the first hint of the state's case against the polygamist sect leader. Opening statements came shortly after Jeffs, 55, fired his defense team District Judge Barbara Walther agreed he could be allowed to represent himself.

WASHINGTON: EPA eyes curbs on 'fracking'

Faced with a natural gas drilling boom that has sullied the air in some parts of the country, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed Thursday for the first time to control air pollution at oil and gas wells, particularly those drilled using a method called hydraulic fracturing. The proposal, issued to meet a court deadline, addresses air pollution problems reported in places such as Wyoming, Texas, Pennsylvania and Colorado, where new drilling techniques have led to a rush to obtain natural gas that was once considered inaccessible. More than 25,000 wells are being drilled each year by "fracking," a process by which sand, water and chemicals are injected underground to fracture rock so gas can come out. The proposed regulations are designed to eliminate most releases of smog- and soot-forming pollutants from those wells. The rules, according to the EPA, actually would save energy companies about $30 million a year because the companies could sell the gas they are forced to collect.

CALIFORNIA: Circumcision vote denied

Superior Court Judge Loretta Giorgi struck a measure Thursday from San Francisco's November ballot that called for a ban on most circumcisions of male children, saying the proposed law violates the U.S. Constitution's guarantee of religious freedom and a California law that makes regulating medical procedures a function of the state, not cities. The question would have made San Francisco the first U.S. city to hold a public vote on whether to outlaw the circumcision of minors.

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