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Dylan Scott

Dylan Scott is a reporter for Talking Points Memo. He previously reported for Governing magazine in Washington, D.C., and the Las Vegas Sun. His work has been recognized with a 2013 American Society of Business Publication Editors award for Best Feature Series and a 2010 Associated Press Society of Ohio award for Best Investigative Reporting. He can be reached at dylan@talkingpointsmemo.com.

Articles by Dylan

President Barack Obama plans to sign on Monday a long-awaited executive order prohibiting discrimination against LGBT people by federal contractors, and it will not include the broad religious exemption sought by religious leaders.

The Huffington Post reported on Friday that Obama's order will add sexual orientation and gender identity to an existing non-discrimination order that covers race, sex and religion. A White House official confirmed the report to TPM. It will not include any general religious exemption for religious employers.

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U.S. officials believe that the weapon used to shoot down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was what is known in Russian as a "Buk" missile, according to the New York Times. They also reportedly believe that pro-Russian rebels are responsible for firing the missile that crashed the plane and killed its 298 passengers.

So the next question then is whether the rebels obtained and operated the missile system with any assistance from the Russian government.

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Igor Strelkov, the pro-Russian rebel leader who reportedly may have taken credit on social media for shooting down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, is a mysterious figure who casts a frightening shadow as he plays a central role in the ongoing crisis in eastern Ukraine.

The New York Times described Strelkov as a "shadowy rebel" who wields an "iron fist" in its July 10 report about the rebel leader. He had reportedly ordered the execution of a 30-year-old man for stealing a pair of pants and two shirts from an empty house in a rebel-controlled town. In the execution order, according to the Times, Streklov wrote that crimes “committed in the zone of military activity will continue to be punished ruthlessly."

In press reports, which are limited, Strelkov has been described as a devout Russian nationalist with a "messianic" personality. He was born Igor Girkin in 1970 and was raised in Moscow, the Austrailan Broadcasting Company reported.

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A top Ukrainian government official cited on Friday the purported social media post of a pro-Russian rebel leader as evidence that the rebels were responsible for shooting down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 on Thursday.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pablo Klimkin told CNN that the government had intercepted phone calls between rebels, which have since been released to the press, in which they appear to be discussing the downed plane. But he also said that the rebels had posted about the incident on social media.

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In a Thursday interview with PBS News's Charlie Rose, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that if Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down, it was likely by pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine using equipment that came from Russia.

“The questions I’d be asking is who could have shot it down, who had the equipment -- it’s obviously an anti-aircraft missile. Who had the expertise to do that?” Clinton said. "There does seem to be growing awareness that it probably had to be Russian insurgents."

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The leader of the pro-Russia rebel group that controls the area where Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 crashed on Thursday reportedly posted a warning on social media just as news about the commercial jet was breaking.

"We did warn you — do not fly in our sky," it reportedly said.

According to Mashable, Igor Gorkin, also known as Igor Strelkov, said that "a plane has just been downed" on VK.com, Russia's Facebook-like social network, around the same time that Flight 17 went missing.

Strelkov "deleted the post when he found out it was actually a commercial jetliner carrying 295 innocent people — not a military aircraft," Mashable reported.

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Homicides increase under the "castle doctrine" or Stand Your Ground laws, according to two studies published since 2012, while the laws do not appear to deter crime in any significant way.

Researchers at Georgia State and Texas A&M universities used different methodologies and data sources to reach their conclusions, but they ended up in the same place: More people are killed after these laws are passed.

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If not for this India-born Democratic district attorney, working for the largely Republican and Mormon Salt Lake County, the case that local press are calling Utah's "biggest-ever political-corruption scandal" might never have fully come to light.

Sim Gill, the county's DA, was the force behind the investigation that led to two former Utah attorneys general, Mark Shurtleff (R) and John Swallow (R), being arrested Tuesday and charged with two dozen felony counts, including bribery and obstruction of justice. He pressed on with the probe after federal prosecutors dropped it last year.

"We have filed what we think are appropriate and minimal charges," Gill said while announcing the charges, per the Salt Like Tribune. "We could have filed more, but we chose at this time to just file what we did."

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In public statements following their Tuesday arrests, former Utah attorneys general John Swallow and Mark Shurtleff's lawyer remained confident that they would be found innocent on the various bribery and obstruction of justice charges they were hit with.

The Salt Lake Tribune described it as "the most sweeping political scandal in Utah history." Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) called it "a black eye for our state." But though they now face a litany of allegations of criminal activity, including the acceptance of gifts and wielding the power of their office to aid associates, the two men asserted their innocence.

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