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Bear necessities? Furry family at US mall

Bear necessities? Furry family at US mall | 24 Nov 2017 | Three bears have been filmed by a sheriff's deputy at a shopping mall in California. (Video)

Pentagon likely to announce US has 2,000 troops in Syria, not 500 - officials

Pentagon likely to announce US has 2,000 troops in Syria, not 500 - officials --Military set to acknowledge accounting system has underreported presence | 24 Nov 2017 | The Pentagon is likely to announce in the coming days that there are about 2,000 US troops in Syria, rather than the 500 the military has said are in the war-torn country. Two US officials detailed the new figure on Friday, as the military acknowledges that an accounting system has underreported the size of forces on the ground. The US military has publicly said it has about 500 troops in Syria, mostly supporting the Syrian Democratic Forces group of Kurdish and Arab militias fighting fomenting Islamic State in the north of the country.

'Significant climate anomalies' make October the fourth warmest on record as NOAA says we are headed for the planet's third warmest year

'Significant climate anomalies' make October the fourth warmest on record as NOAA says we are headed for the planet's third warmest year | 24 Nov 2017 | October 2017 tied with 2003 as the fourth hottest October on record, NOAA records have revealed. The globally averaged temperature over land and ocean surfaces, from NOAA records which date back 138 years to 1880, also revealed that (so far) 2017 has been the third warmest year on record. According to the NOAA, nine of the 10 warmest January-October global land and ocean temperatures occurred since 2005.

Madagascar plague death toll hits 195 as outbreak reaches 'crisis' point

Madagascar plague death toll hits 195 as outbreak reaches 'crisis' point | 23 Nov 2017 | The death toll from plague in Madagascar has risen to 195 as experts warn the outbreak of the disease has reached crisis point. A total of 2,267 people have now been infected by the illness since the outbreak began in August, according to the World Health Organisation - a jump of three per cent in recent days. The current spread of the disease is unusual in that most of those affected have had the pneumonic form of plague, which affects the lungs and can kill within 24 hours. It can be transmitted through the air via coughing and sneezing and so spreads easily.

No more 'fighting ISIS?' US to stay in Syria to prevent 'win' for Assad and Iran - report

No more 'fighting ISIS?' US to stay in Syria to prevent 'win' for Assad and Iran - report | 23 Nov 2017 | The US plans to keep its troops in Syria long after the defeat of ISIS -- the goal used to justify their illegal presence in the first place -- because the Syrian government and its ally Iran would "win" if they were withdrawn, the Washington Post reported. The Trump administration is "expanding its goals" in Syria to include a "potentially open-ended commitment" to support the Kurd-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the newspaper reported on Wednesday, citing several anonymous US officials. The change comes as the defeat of the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS [but still I-CIA-SIS]) terrorist group in Syria seems imminent.

Congressman on tape tells woman he would report her to Capitol Police because she could expose his secret sex life

Congressman on tape tells woman he would report her to Capitol Police because she could expose his secret sex life | 22 Nov 2017 | Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.), who apologized Wednesday for a lewd photo of him that circulated on the Internet, told a woman to whom he had sent sexually explicit photos, videos and messages that he would report her to the Capitol Police because she could expose his behavior, according to a recording reviewed by The Washington Post. The woman spoke to The Post after the lewd photo was published Tuesday by an anonymous Twitter account. She shared a secretly recorded phone conversation she had with Barton in 2015 in which he warned her against using the explicit materials "in a way that would negatively affect my career."

Madagascar plague death toll rises to 195 and cases have jumped nearly 3% in just three days

Madagascar plague death toll rises to 195 and cases have jumped nearly 3% in just three days as 'worst outbreak in 50 years' of the medieval disease hits 'crisis' point | 21 Nov 2017 | The Madagascar plague death toll has risen to 195 with a jump of almost 3 per cent jump in cases in just three days, official figures reveal. Some 2,267 people have been struck down by the 'medieval disease'; a rise of 64 casualties since the 2,203 cases reported last Friday, according to World Health Organization (WHO) statistics. Professor Allen Cheng, an infectious disease expert at Monash University, warned of the dangers of the plague and said this year's outbreak has been 'unusual' - because it is airborne.

Veteran presenter Charlie Rose sacked by CBS over 'intolerable behaviour'

Veteran presenter Charlie Rose sacked by CBS over 'intolerable behaviour' | 21 Nov 2017 | Veteran television presenter Charlie Rose has been fired by CBS following allegations of sexual harassment. The journalist and anchor had hosted his interview-based Charlie Rose show since 1991, winning a number of awards for his work and becoming one of the most recognisable interviewers on US television. In a statement sent to CBS News staff by network president David Rhodes, and seen by Sky News, the company said Rose's employment was terminated following the revelation "of extremely disturbing and intolerable behaviour said to have revolved around his PBS program."

Suspects detained in German Christmas market terror plot

Suspects detained in German Christmas market terror plot | 21 Nov 2017 | A possible terror plot on a Christmas market in Germany was uncovered Tuesday after six Syrian nationals were detained in raids by police, a German intelligence official told CNN. The men were detained following large-scale raids in four cities involving approximately 500 officers on Tuesday morning led by the Hessian State Criminal Police and the Attorney General of Frankfurt, a joint statement by the two agencies said. The men were targets of an investigation "into suspicion of membership in a terrorist organization and for preparation of terror attack," the statement said. According to police, the six Syrian nationals had applied for asylum and are suspected of being ISIS members.

German police detain suspected ISIS members in anti-terror raids

German police detain suspected ISIS members in anti-terror raids | 21 Nov 2017 | Six suspected ISIS members have been detained by German authorities in anti-terror raids across the country. Refugees reportedly tipped off investigators about the men, who are suspected of planning to carry out an attack. Police in four German states carried out early-morning anti-terror raids on Tuesday, detaining several suspected members of the militant "Islamic State" (IS) group. Six Syrian men aged between 20 and 28-years-old were taken into custody, prosecutors in Frankfurt said in a statement.

'Google's plan to isolate Russian media is an act of information warfare'

'Google's plan to isolate Russian media is an act of information warfare' | 21 Nov 2017 | Google’s announcement that it is working to reduce the presence of Russian media in its news feeds has been slammed by lawmakers and political commentators as an act of aggression which will have a global impact on the freedom of speech and thought. "This is an open form of information warfare waged right now -- a bombardment, a direct aggression" against the Russian news outlets, Andrey Svintsov, deputy chairman of the State Duma Committee for Information Policy, Information Technologies and Communications, told RT. The lawmaker explained that tweaking search results for the news category would cut off the global readership that remains interested in the Russian position on global events, calling it a "powerful blow" to the freedom of speech.

Trump renews call for border wall after patrol officer dies in Texas

Trump renews call for border wall after patrol officer dies in Texas | 19 Nov 2017 | President Trump on Sunday reiterated his calls to build a wall along the country's southern border after a U.S. Border Patrol agent died from injuries he sustained on patrol in Texas. "Border Patrol Officer killed at Southern Border, another badly hurt," Trump tweeted. "We will seek out and bring to justice those responsible. We will, and must, build the Wall!"

Turkeys that will be pardoned by Trump check in to Willard Hotel

Turkeys that will be pardoned by Trump check in to Willard Hotel --Americans will be able to vote on which of the Minnesota-bred birds will appear with President Trump at the turkey pardoning ceremony on Tuesday | 19 Nov 2017 | The nation's luckiest turkey - and its understudy - have arrived in Washington, D.C., to participate in President Trump's first Thanksgiving turkey pardoning, which will take place at the White House Tuesday. Following tradition, the birds (Bow and Tie) are being housed at the Willard Hotel in Washington, the Beaux-Arts beauty located just a block down Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House. On Sunday, the White House put out an Instagram story, showing the two birds standing on the two beds in their suite and then walking around the hotel room.

Madagascar plague death toll rises as bombshell report reveals extent of outbreak

Madagascar plague death toll rises as bombshell report reveals extent of outbreak | 19 Nov 2017 | The Black Death plague has ravaged Madagascar over the last few months - and the death toll has gone up once again. A World Health Organisation (WHO) report has revealed 174 people have now been confirmed dead from the medieval disease. It also said 82 doctors have been struck down from the plague - though luckily none have died...Doctors have issued warnings about a new strain [Fort Detrick?] of the airborne disease which "can kill in three hours".

Black Death-infected hospital patients escape: Plague now spreading out of control

Black Death-infected hospital patients escape: Plague now spreading out of control --There are rumours among the population the outbreak is a government plot. | 18 Nov 2017 | Patients infected with the Black Death plague ravaging Madagascar are escaping from hospital in a city of nearly nine million people, it has emerged. They risk infecting others as they flee back home – despite being riddled with the dangerous contagion. A doctor at a plague hospital in the Madagascan capital of Antananarivo revealed the horrifying development yesterday. This comes as fears grow that the outbreak could go global - leading to millions dying. The Central Anti-Plague Hospital Ambohimindra is one of six hospitals that treat plague in the city with a population of 8.6m.

3,810 U.S. areas with lead poisoning double Flint's, Reuters finds

3,810 U.S. areas with lead poisoning double Flint's, Reuters finds | 14 Nov 2017 | Since last year, Reuters has obtained neighborhood-level blood lead testing results for 34 states and the District of Columbia. In all, Reuters has identified 3,810 neighborhood areas with recently recorded childhood lead poisoning rates at least double those found across Flint, Michigan, during the peak of that city's water contamination crisis in 2014 and 2015. Some 1,300 of these hotspots had a rate of elevated blood tests at least four times higher than Flint's.

Top general says he would resist 'illegal' nuclear order from Trump

Top general says he would resist 'illegal' nuclear order from Trump | 18 Nov 2017 | The top U.S. nuclear commander said Saturday he would push back against President Trump if he ordered a nuclear launch the general believed to be "illegal," saying he would look to find another solution. Air Force Gen. John Hyten, commander of the U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM), told an audience at the Halifax International Security Forum in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Saturday that he has given a lot of thought to what he would say if a president ordered a strike he considered unlawful. Hyten was responding to a question about testimony by former STRATCOM commander retired Gen. Robert Kehler before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee earlier this week. Kehler said that nuclear operators would refuse to implement an unlawful order.

University of Pennsylvania to pay students to take gender-altering hormones

University of Pennsylvania to pay students to take gender-altering hormones | 17 Nov 2017 | The University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine is offering to pay its own students to take gender changing hormones. Those who qualify will "take part in a confidential and affirming research study on the cognitive and behavioral effects of hormone therapy." "We're seeking individuals anywhere on the female-to-male (FTM) spectrum," a poster advertising the study states, before mentioning that "participants will be compensated for their time." "Are you transmasculine or a trans man, and do NOT take hormones?" the poster's headline reads.

Secret US-backed deal allowed hundreds of ISIS fighters, with tonnes of weapons and ammunition, to escape Raqqa

Secret US-backed deal allowed hundreds of ISIS fighters, with tonnes of weapons and ammunition, to escape Raqqa | 13 Nov 2017 | The BBC has uncovered details of a secret deal that let hundreds of ISIS [I-CIA-SIS] fighters and their families escape from Raqqa, under the gaze of the US and British-led coalition and Kurdish-led forces who control the city. A convoy included some of ISIS's most notorious members and -- despite reassurances -- dozens of foreign fighters. Some of those have spread out across Syria, even making it as far as Turkey...When lorry driver Abu Fawzi and his fellow drivers assembled their convoy early on 12 October, they realised they had been lied to. Instead, it would take three days of hard driving, carrying a deadly cargo - hundreds of ISIS fighters, their families and tonnes of weapons and ammunition. The deal to let ISIS fighters escape from Raqqa had been arranged by local officials. It enabled many hundreds of ISIS fighters to escape from the city. At the time, neither the US and British-led coalition, nor the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which it backs, wanted to admit their part. Great pains were taken to hide it from the world.

Erdogan accuses US of financing ISIS, breaking promises in Syria

Erdogan accuses US of financing ISIS, breaking promises in Syria | 18 Nov 2017 | Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused Washington of betraying Ankara and providing "a lot of dollars" to the Islamic State terrorists. The allegation comes just days after the US acknowledged that it allowed hundreds of armed ISIS militants to escape the besieged Syrian city of Raqqa. "That's the headline. But what did you do? You paid a lot of dollars to [ISIS]," Erdogan said, as cited by AFP. Last December, the Turkish president caused quite a stir in the media, claiming that Turkey had "confirmed evidence, with pictures, photos and videos," of the US supporting Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS, ISIL [but still I-CIA-SIS]) and Kurdish militias, outlawed as terrorists in Turkey. Erdogan's comments come just days after the BBC revealed on Monday that the US-backed SDF allowed hundreds of ISIS militants to escape Raqqa with the silent approval of their coalition allies that preferred not to intervene.

Workers repair hydrogen leak at Cooper Nuclear power plant

Workers repair hydrogen leak at Cooper Nuclear power plant | 15 Nov 2017 | A coolant leak in one of Cooper nuclear power plant's turbines in southeast Nebraska has been repaired. Nebraska Public Power District spokesman Mark Becker said the hydrogen leak was repaired before 6 p.m. Tuesday. The leak was discovered earlier that day by maintenance workers. The plant near Brownville, Nebraska, continued operating after the leak was found Tuesday morning.

Special Counsel Mueller Issued Subpoena for Russia-Related Documents From Trump Campaign Officials

Special Counsel Mueller Issued Subpoena for Russia-Related Documents From Trump Campaign Officials | 16 Nov 2017 | Special counsel Robert Mueller's team in mid-October issued a subpoena to President Donald Trump's campaign requesting Russia-related documents from more than a dozen top officials, according to a person familiar with the matter. The subpoena, which requested documents and emails from the listed campaign officials that reference a set of Russia-related keywords [LOL!], marked Mr. Mueller's first official order for information from the campaign, according to the person. The subpoena didn't compel any officials to testify before Mr. Mueller's grand jury, the person said.

Two prominent Minnesota Democrats call on Al Franken to resign

Two prominent Minnesota Democrats call on Al Franken to resign | 16 Nov 2017 | Two prominent members of Minnesota's Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party are calling on Sen. Al Franken to resign his Senate seat following allegations of sexual misconduct. Although many other Democrats have called the former comedian's actions disturbing, state auditor Rebecca Otto and Megan Thomas, president of the party's official Feminist Caucus, say he should leave office.

House passes tax overhaul on party-line vote

House passes tax overhaul on party-line vote | 16 Nov 2017 | The House of Representatives passed its version of a tax overhaul Thursday, advancing a key Republican priority. The bill, called the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, would cut the corporate rate to 20%; set up four tax brackets; and switch the U.S. to a so-called territorial tax system. The Senate Finance Committee is working on a separate measure that differs in key respects, notably by repealing Obamacare's individual insurance mandate. The House bill passed 227 to 205.

Plague spreads to dozens of health workers amid fears Madagascar can't contain black death

Plague spreads to dozens of health workers amid fears Madagascar can't contain black death | 16 Nov 2017 | The plague outbreak in Madagascar has spread to health workers, with dozens struck down by the black death. A staggering 82 health workers have been struck down by the disease -- about around four per cent of the total number of cases -- according to latest figures from the World Health Organisation (WHO)...There are also fears the disease could develop a resistance to the antibiotics being used to treat victims, which would likely see the number of cases surge. At least 2,119 cases of the plague have been reported and the death toll is continuing to rise with the disease having now claimed 171 lives, according to latest WHO figures.

New 'Black Death' plague strain can kill in three hours as lethal disease goes 'airborne'

Fort Detrick bioweapon? New 'Black Death' plague strain can kill in three hours as lethal disease goes 'airborne' | 16 Nov 2017 | An outbreak of the "Black Death" -- also known as pneumonic plague -- has been described as the "worst in 50 years" as numbers of recorded cases soar. The disease has already killed more than 171 people in Madagascar alone, with thousands more confirmed cases across the east African country. A local news crew following one health worker in the stricken city heard doctors informing residents that the new strain of the disease "can kill in three hours". Earlier this week, infection and immunity expert Dr Matthew Avison told Daily Star Online that the "extremely rare" disease has been "resilient" to antibiotics. A spokesman for the World Health Organisation admitted there were fears that this strain of plague -- which is now believed to be airborne -- could cause a global outbreak of the disease.

ISIS Christmas threat to the Pope: Terror group threatens vehicle and gun attack on the Vatican

ISIS Christmas threat to the Pope: Terror group threatens vehicle and gun attack on the Vatican | 14 Nov 2017 | The terror group ISIS [I-CIA-SIS] has made a chilling threat against the Vatican just weeks before tens of thousands of faithful gather there to celebrate Christmas. A pro-ISIS propaganda channel made the threat in a poster depicting a car attack. The poster - reading "Christmas blood" - depicts a masked jihadi driving a BMW towards St Peter's Basilica, where Pope Francis holds mass. An assault rifle and a rucksack are visible on the seat next to the driver, who is using a sat nav and driving at high speed.

Corruption trial of U.S. Senator Menendez ends in mistrial

Corruption trial of U.S. Senator Menendez ends in mistrial | 16 Nov 2017 | The corruption trial of New Jersey's Democratic U.S. Senator Bob Menendez ended in a mistrial on Thursday, after the jury said it was hopelessly deadlocked on bribery, fraud and other charges. Menendez, 63, a longtime fixture in the state's political circles who first joined the Senate in 2006, was accused of accepting private flights, campaign contributions and other bribes from a wealthy patron, Florida ophthalmologist Salomon Melgen, in exchange for official favors. The hung jury was a victory for Menendez and a major setback for federal prosecutors in what was the Justice Department's first high-profile corruption trial since a U.S. Supreme Court decision last year limited its ability to bring such cases.

Al Franken Issues Apology After Accusation of Forcible Kissing and Groping

Al Franken Issues Apology After Accusation of Forcible Kissing and Groping | 16 Nov 2017 | A growing national outcry over sexual harassment reached the Senate on Thursday, when a radio newscaster accused Al Franken, Democrat of Minnesota, of kissing and groping her without consent during a 2006 U.S.O. tour of the Middle East before he took public office. Mr. Franken, who has been mentioned as a possible presidential candidate, almost immediately released an apology to the newscaster, Leeann Tweeden, who said that Mr. Franken forcibly kissed her during a rehearsal and groped her for a photo as she slept. After initially apologizing without fully acknowledging her all of her accusations, he then released another lengthier, more contrite statement that contested nothing.

Keystone pipeline spills 210,000 gallons of oil on eve of permitting decision for TransCanada

Keystone pipeline spills 210,000 gallons of oil on eve of permitting decision for TransCanada | 16 Nov 2017 | The Keystone pipeline running from Canada across the Great Plains leaked Thursday morning, spilling about 5,000 barrels of oil -- or 210,000 gallons -- southeast of a small town in northeast South Dakota. The spill comes on the eve of a crucial decision by the Public Service Commission in Nebraska over whether to grant a permit for a new, long-delayed sister pipeline called Keystone XL, which has been mired in controversy for several years. Both are owned by Calgary-based TransCanada. The spill on the first Keystone pipeline is the latest in a series of incidents that critics of the new pipeline say shows that TransCanada should not receive another permit.

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'We want either a hammer or a fire, to break the spell or dissolve the ice.' Artisan radical freethinker, George Jacob Holyoake, Reasoner V (1848): 2.

CLG's Michael Rectenwald, Ph.D. and Lori Price receive the Patrick Henry Think Tank's American Hero Award 02 Nov 2005 The Patrick Henry Democratic Club --A Think Tank working to give the government back to the people. "Give me liberty or give me death!"

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