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Church and State
August 7, 2014
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China has a growing number of Christians, and that's causing increasing tensions with the officially atheistic ruling Chinese Communist Party. China's solution is if you can't beat 'em, co-opt them.

"Over the past decades, the Protestant churches in China have developed very quickly with the implementation of the country's religious policy," says Wang Zuoan, director of the State Administration for Religious Affairs, according to the state-run China Daily newspaper. "The construction of Chinese Christian theology should adapt to China's national condition and integrate with Chinese culture," including its path of socialism.

Christians in China have to worship in state-approved and supervised churches, and official estimates number the country's Protestant population at 23 million to 40 million, with 500,000 more baptized each year. Wang was speaking at an event in Shanghai to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the National Committee of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement of the Protestant Churches in China. He didn't address the estimated 12 million Catholics in China, about half of whom illegally follow the lead of the Roman Catholic Church while the other half worship in the officially sanctioned, Vatican-rejecting Catholic church.

Wang didn't elaborate on this new "Chinese Christian theology," but the Three-Self Patriotic Movement's Gu Mengfei explained that the year-old Chinese push to promote correct Christian theology encourages pastors and laypeople alike to extract moral teachings in line with Biblical times and with other religious faiths. "This will encourage more believers to make contributions to the country's harmonious social progress, cultural prosperity, and economic development," Gu added. Peter Weber

Immigration
9:23 a.m. ET
Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

About 250 children at a Texas detention center were administered adult dosages of the hepatitis A vaccine, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said. No averse side effects have been reported, but the children are being monitored by healthcare professionals at the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, the Los Angeles Times reports.

"Parents at the facility were advised and counseled by medical professional about potential side effects, with services made available in multiple languages," ICE said in a statement. Hepatitis A is a serious liver disease that spreads to people who aren't vaccinated. 

Activists and Democratic politicians have called on Homeland Security to close detention centers, which they say are not safe for children. Julie Kliegman

space!
8:02 a.m. ET

A Russian cargo ship successfully docked at the International Space Station on Sunday, bring supplies to the U.S.-Russian team, The Associated Press reports. The delivery comes after two failed resupply missions — one by Russia in April and one by the U.S. in June, when a SpaceX rocket exploded just minutes after liftoff.

The Progress M-28M ship, which took off Friday from Kazakhstan, carried 2.5 metric tons of fuel, oxygen, water, food, and other supplies. Julie Kliegman

presidential powers
7:37 a.m. ET
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In the next few weeks, President Barack Obama is expected to free dozens of federal prisoners with nonviolent drug charges, aides told The New York Times. Many politicians on both sides of the aisle have criticized tough sentences for minor criminals, which disproportionately affect young Latino and black men.

"It's a time when conservatives and liberals and libertarians and lots of different people on the political spectrum" have "come together in order to focus attention on excessive sentences, the costs and the like, and the need to correct some of those excesses," White House counsel Neil Eggleston, who recommends clemency petitions to Obama, told NYT. "So I think the president sees the commutations as a piece of that entire process."

More than 30,000 prisoners have applied for clemency. Since December, Obama has freed 30 drug offenders. Officials estimate he may free more than 40 in the next batch of commutations. Julie Kliegman

terrorism
July 4, 2015
Fethi Belaid/Getty Images

Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi declared a state of emergency in Tunisia on Saturday, the state news agency reports. In June, a gunman killed 38 foreigners and injured 39 others in a beachside terrorist attack. Security officers killed the gunman after the attack had stopped.

It's the second terrorist attack Tunisia has seen in three months, The New York Times reports. The state of emergency allows Essebsi to authorize military operations in Tunisia's own cities. Julie Kliegman

hot diggity dog
July 4, 2015
Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images

Eight-time defending champion Joey Chestnut met his match Saturday in Matt "Megatoad" Stonie, who won Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest on Coney Island. Stonie downed 62 dogs and buns in 10 minutes, two ahead of Chestnut.

"I trained hard for this, and I came prepared," Stonie said.

Chestnut still has claim to the contest record, though, since he polished off 69 dogs in 2013 — good news for those of you who worried the man famous for binge-eating fast food might've lost his dignity with his defeat. Julie Kliegman

Pot economics
July 4, 2015
Oliver Berg/Getty Images

The legal pot market began in Washington on July 8, 2014, and just one year later, it's making bank. The state's 160 stores earn $1.4 million per day. Between state and local governments, pot sales have rolled in about $70 million in taxes, The Associated Press reports.

Business might be good, but all those taxes — on top of federal ones — hurt growers.

"I'm basically doing this for free," James Lathrop, who owns Seattle's first legal shop, told AP. "Nobody's gone out of business, but I'm not driving a new truck either."

So next time you're in Washington, maybe you should think about kicking back with some weed — you know, just for the sake of supporting small business. Julie Kliegman

tied to the whippin' post
July 4, 2015
Nicholas Kamm/Getty Images

Donald Trump took to Fox & Friends to defend the comments on Mexican immigrants that landed him in hot water this week with companies like NBC, Macy's, and most recently NASCAR.

"The crime is raging and it's violent. And if you talk about it, it’s racist," he said, referring to accusations against his presidential campaign kickoff that many Mexican immigrants are rapists and drug users.

Trump admitted he didn't realize the backlash would be quite so severe, calling himself a "whipping post." Watch the full interview here. Julie Kliegman

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