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71 killed in Moscow region passenger plane crash - what we know so far

71 killed in Moscow region passenger plane crash - what we know so far | 11 Feb 2018 | Saratov Airlines' Antonov An-148 jet carrying 65 passengers and six crew crashed after take-off outside Moscow. As salvage efforts are underway at the crash site, we sum up everything we know so far about the deadly accident. Domodedovo air traffic control lost contact with Saratov Airlines flight 703, bound for Orsk, several minutes after take off, an official from Russia's Air Transport Agency (Rosaviatsiya) told local media. He said communication with the crew was cut and the plane vanished from radar screens...The crash might have been caused by weather conditions, human error or technical failure, according to TASS, citing an emergency source. However, the source said there were no extreme weather conditions in the Moscow region at the time.

US to send thousands of extra Marines to East Asia to counter China - report

US to send thousands of extra Marines to East Asia to counter China - report | 10 Feb 2018 | The Pentagon reportedly plans a "major muscle movement" from the Middle East to East China, with thousands of extra Marines to be deployed. The goal is to "persuade Pacific nations to stand with the US" and not China. According to a Wall Street Journal report, the US plans to boost its military presence in the East Pacific with rotating deployment of Marine Expeditionary Units, or MEUs. An MEU is a group of about 2,200 Marines who operate from amphibious assault ships and have their own aircraft, tanks, heavy weapons, and other resources. A typical deployment lasts for seven months and may involve missions on the shore like patrols or military-to-military training.

High school pulls musical after outcry over casting white student

High school pulls musical after outcry over casting white student | 07 Feb 2017 | An upstate New York high school has pulled its upcoming musical production of "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" after students protested the casting of a white classmate for the lead role of Esmeralda. Ithaca High School faced backlash by some students who banded together in protest following the exit of another member of the spring play due to the casting of Esmeralda - a fictional character that portrays a 15th century Romani gypsy in Victor Hugo's 1831 novel...Another demand read: "STOP ignoring and denying that you have created a white centered program run by white adults for the benefit of white children."

Trump signs bill to end 2nd government shutdown in weeks

Trump signs bill to end 2nd government shutdown in weeks --Stopgap budget measure boosts spending, sets up new fiscal showdown by March 23 --It was the second shutdown this year | 09 Feb 2018 | The U.S. Congress ended a brief government shutdown on Friday by reaching a wide-ranging deal that is expected to push annual budget deficits to around $1 trillion. The bill passed by a wide margin in the Senate and survived a rebellion of 67 conservative Republicans in the House of Representatives thanks to the support of some Democrats. President Donald Trump signed the measure into law on Friday morning, ending a government shutdown that began just after midnight, when Congress was still debating the budget deal.

Israeli F-16 fighter jet shot down amid Syrian anti-air fire, pilots safe - IDF

Israeli F-16 fighter jet shot down amid Syrian anti-air fire, pilots safe - IDF | 10 Feb 2018 | An Israeli F-16 fighter jet crashed in the country's north after Syria responded with anti-aircraft fire to an Israeli operation targeting Iranian control systems in Syria. "One F16 crashed in Israel, pilots safe," IDF spokesman Jonathan Conricus said on Twitter. The incident took place after the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) intercepted an Iranian UAV, which crossed from the territory of Syria into Israel. In response, the Israeli military attacked Iranian positions in Syria. The operation triggered anti-aircraft fire by Syrian forces.

Sen. Tim Kaine demands release of secret Trump war powers memo

Sen. Tim Kaine demands release of secret Trump war powers memo | 09 Feb 2018 | Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., is demanding the release of a secret memo outlining President Donald Trump's interpretation of his legal authority to wage war. Kaine, a member of the Armed Services and the Foreign Relations committees, sent a letter Thursday night to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson seeking a seven-page memo the administration has kept under wraps for months. Kaine has been leading the charge for Trump to outline his legal rationale for a U.S. bombing campaign in Syria last April in response to President Bashar al-Assad's [or, the White Helmets' or other terrorist agency's] chemical attacks on civilians.

Second White House official departs amid abuse allegations, which he denies

Second White House official departs amid abuse allegations, which he denies | 09 Feb 2018 | A White House speechwriter resigned Friday after his former wife claimed that he was violent and emotionally abusive during their turbulent 2½ -year marriage -- allegations that he vehemently denied, saying she was the one who victimized him. The abrupt departure of David Sorensen, a speechwriter who worked under senior policy adviser Stephen Miller, came as The Washington Post was reporting on a story about abuse claims by his ex-wife, Jessica Corbett. Corbett told The Post that she described his behavior to the FBI last fall as the bureau was conducting a background check of Sorensen.

Justice Department's No. 3 official to resign

Justice Department's No. 3 official to resign | 09 Feb 2018 | Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand is stepping down from her post as the Justice Department faces intense criticism from President Trump. The New York Times first reported Friday that Brand is resigning after nine months on the job. She is expected to take a job as general counsel in the private sector. As the No. 3 official at the Justice Department, Brand would be next in line to oversee special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into [alleged] Russian meddling in the 2016 election, which Trump has blasted as a "witch hunt."

White House seeks revisions to Democrats' FISA rebuttal memo, halting release

White House seeks revisions to Democrats' FISA rebuttal memo, halting release | 09 Feb 2018 | The White House on Friday told Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee to redraft their rebuttal to a controversial GOP memo alleging government surveillance abuse during the 2016 campaign, saying sensitive details need to be stripped out before the document can be made public. The message was sent to the committee on Friday in a letter from White House Counsel Don McGahn. "Although the president is inclined to declassify the February 5th Memorandum, because the Memorandum contains numerous properly classified and especially sensitive passages, he is unable to do so at this time," McGahn wrote.

Deep State NSA Spies Gave $100,000 to Russian Agent for Fabricated Compromising Material on Trump

New York Times dumps bombshell 7:30 p.m. on a Friday night: Deep State NSA Spies Gave $100,000 to Russian Agent for Fabricated Compromising Material on Trump --$100K was first installment of $1M payout --U.S. intelligence officials said they cut off the deal because they were fearful of political fallout in Washington if they were seen to be buying [with U.S. tax dollars] scurrilous information on the president. --The N.S.A. even used its official Twitter account nearly a dozen times to send coded messages to the Russian. | 09 Feb 2018 | After months of secret negotiations, a shadowy Russian bilked American spies out of $100,000 last year, promising to deliver compromising material on President Trump. The deal would also include stolen National Security Agency cyberweapons, according to American and European intelligence officials. The cash, delivered in a suitcase to a Berlin hotel room in September, was intended as the first installment of a $1 million payout, according to American officials, the Russian and communications reviewed by The New York Times. The Russian claimed the information would link the president and his associates to Russia. But instead of providing the hacking tools, the Russian produced unverified and possibly fabricated information involving Mr. Trump and others, including bank records, emails and purported Russian intelligence data.

Tepco, operator of Fukushima nuclear plant, to pay an extra $10m in damages

Tepco, operator of Fukushima nuclear plant, to pay an extra $10m in damages | 08 Feb 2018 | A Tokyo court has ordered the operator of the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant to pay $10m in fresh damages to residents who fled their homes after the disaster, the plaintiffs' attorney said on Thursday. Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) was instructed to pay a total of 1.1bn yen to 318 former residents of the Odaka district in Fukushima, about 20km from the plant. The sum is a 10th of what the plaintiffs had demanded, citing the financial hardship and psychological impact they suffered after the March 2011 nuclear disaster in Fukushima.

Former Obama official confirms Steele dossier was given to State Department

Former Obama official confirms Steele dossier was given to State Department | 09 Feb 2018 | An official at former President Obama's State Department has confirmed a claim made by Republicans that former British spy Christopher Steele and allies of Hillary Clinton gave him intelligence reports claiming that President Trump was compromised by the Russians. In an op-ed for the Washington Post titled "Devin Nunes is investigating me: Here's the Truth," former U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Jonathan Winer says Steele and Clinton confidant Sidney Blumenthal approached him with separate dossiers claiming malfeasance between President Trump and Russia. Winer's op-ed confirms the chain of events Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) detailed in a criminal referral for Steele, in which he asks the Justice Department to investigate the former intelligence agent for allegedly lying to the FBI about his contacts with the media.

Senate sends budget deal to the House after standoff

Senate sends budget deal to the House after standoff | 09 Feb 2018 | The U.S. Senate early Friday approved the bipartisan budget deal, sending the plan to the House in the next few hours for approval. The plan was approved easily after a 71 to 28 vote. A last-minute maneuver by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., delayed consideration of a bipartisan budget package to keep the government open past midnight. The result is at least a temporary shutdown.

US government officially shuts down as Congress fails to pass spending bill in time

US government officially shuts down as Congress fails to pass spending bill in time | 09 Feb 2018 | U.S. government funding lapsed Friday as Congress's efforts to pass a spending bill fizzled out in the Senate for the second time in less than a month. Despite bipartisan support for a massive budget agreement, Congress failed to approve a funding plan before the midnight Thursday deadline. In this case, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., blocked repeated moves to vote on the measure over concerns about massive spending increases contained in the budget deal. Paul called the spending reckless and pushed for a vote on an amendment to reinstate budget caps, which Senate leadership did not allow.

Dartmouth student accused of 'violence' for op-ed on diversity

Dartmouth student accused of 'violence' for op-ed on diversity --Ryan Spector alleged that the Trips Directorate selected 15 women and 4 men because of its "extreme application of a diversity policy," earning him condemnations from more than 30 campus organizations. --The statements mocked Spector for his "white male tears," calling his op-ed an "attack" that "invisibilizes" those with "marginalized identities" and "perpetuates the culture of toxic, male, white supremacy." | 08 Feb 2018 | A Dartmouth College student's op-ed alleging gender bias on a trip-planning committee has resulted in an outpouring of criticism from liberal classmates. Within a day of its posting, the opinion piece titled "You're Not Tripping" in The Dartmouth had ignited a campus-wide uproar. In this op-ed, Ryan Spector '19 detailed his disappointment with 2018 First-Year Trips directorate selection process...After being rejected from the directorate himself, Spector accused the directors in charge of the selection process of having an "obsession with diversity" that "verges on the inane," in light of its extremely female-heavy composition.

US Army Holding Drills With Ground Robots That Shoot

US Army Holding Drills With Ground Robots That Shoot | 08 Feb 2018 | In a historic first, the Army conducted a live fire exercise with a remote-controlled ground combat vehicle armed with a .50-caliber machine gun. It plans to conduct more exercises with more heavily armed ground robots within the next couple of years. The demonstration was part of the annual Northern Strike exercise, which took place last July and August at Michigan's Camp Grayling. Primarily geared toward reserve units, this year's event debuted an unmanned, heavily armed M113 armored personnel carrier. The driver and the weapons operator followed behind in a slightly larger M577 command post vehicle.

US veteran hails courage of fallen Russian pilot, offers to help family

US veteran hails courage of fallen Russian pilot, offers to help family | 08 Feb 2018 | The death of Russian Air Force pilot Major Roman Filipov has touched the heart of one US military veteran, who contacted RT in a bid to help the family of the fallen serviceman. Major Filipov died after his plane was shot down by militants in Syria’s Idlib province on February 3. After ejecting from the aircraft, he engaged the enemy before detonating a grenade as terrorists closed in on his position. "I read Major Filipov's story with great interest and sorrow," former US Enlisted Air Crew member Steve Sola wrote in an email to RT. "I'm sure the Russian Air Force will take care of his widow and child, but can a little more be done?" Sola offered to contribute to any fund set up to support the bereaved family and, in an interview with RT, was keen to express his admiration for the pilot's bravery.

White House tells agencies to prepare for possible shutdown

White House tells agencies to prepare for possible shutdown | 08 Feb 2018 | The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is telling agencies to prepare for a lapse in federal funding ahead of a possible government shutdown as Congress attempts to pass a two-year budget deal. "The Office of Management and Budget is currently preparing for a lapse in appropriations," an agency official said Thursday night, according to Reuters. The House and Senate were set to vote Thursday on a two-year budget deal before midnight to avoid another government shutdown, but Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) put forward a last-minute roadblock, delaying a Senate vote on the funding bill.

Dow plunges more than 1,000 points, enters a correction

Dow plunges more than 1,000 points, enters a correction --The stock market has plunged into a correction, defined as a 10% drop from its most recent high. | 08 Feb 2018 | The stock market is officially in a correction, defined as a 10% decline from its most recent high. Here's the scoreboard of the three major indexes on Thursday:

Dow: 23,860.46, -1,032.89, (-4.15%)
S&P 500: 2,581.08, -100.58, (-3.75%)
Nasdaq: 6,777.16, -274.82, (-3.90%)

Stocks rallied on Wednesday, with the Dow closing up 567 points, or 2.3%.

Green Beret death prompts probe of SEAL Team 6, unit that 'took out Osama bin Laden'

Green Beret death prompts probe of SEAL Team 6, unit that 'took out Osama bin Laden' | 08 Feb 2018 | The death of Army Staff Sergeant Logan Melgar, allegedly at the hands of his colleagues, prompted a deep probe of SEAL Team 6, the special unit that [allegedly] killed Osama bin Laden. Melgar was killed in Bamako, Mali, where he was part of an anti-terrorism team. SEAL Team 6, the famed special fighting force that was responsible for taking out Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden on the Pakistan-Afghan border in May 2011, has become the subject of a comprehensive military audit and investigation, sources told the Intercept. The probe was initiated following a criminal investigation of SEAL Team 6 members Anthony DeDolph and Adam Matthews, prime suspects in the murder of Melgar, 34, who was staff sergeant of the 3rd Special Forces Group and shared embassy housing with the two SEALcommandos. [See: News of Bin Laden's Death and Funeral - December 2001.]

Las Vegas shooting investigation records to be released by police, judge orders

Las Vegas shooting investigation records to be released by police, judge orders | 07 Feb 2018 | Nevada police were told by a judge Wednesday that they must release a slew of records pertaining to the investigation into the deadly mass shooting carried out by Las Vegas gunman Stephen Paddock on Oct. 1, 2017. Included in the records are 911 calls and body camera video. But the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department was told to redact any information that could potentially identify individuals including names, Social Security numbers and portions of video that someone could be recognized in. The order was placed by Judge Richard Scotti of the Nevada state court after media outlets filed information inquiries with the department following the incident.

New Strzok-Page texts call into question Obama's 2016 statement on FBI probes

New Strzok-Page texts call into question Obama's 2016 statement on FBI probes | 07 Feb 2018 | Newly released text messages between FBI lovers Peter Strzok and Lisa Page saying Barack Obama wanted to "know everything" the FBI was "doing" could raise questions about the former president's 2016 statement that he was not involved in discussing pending probes. The texts were part of a batch released by Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., along with majority staff from the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Strzok and Page, who worked for a short period of time on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team, have been in the spotlight ever since a slew of anti-Trump messages between them surfaced last year. In the new text message chain from Sept. 2, 2016, Page mentioned Obama in the context of a briefing for then-FBI director James Comey.

"Checkout my 9:30 mtg on the 7th," Strzok texted Page.

"I can tell you why you're having that meeting. It’s not what you think," Page responded.

"TPs [talking points] for D [Comey]?" Strzok asked.

"Yes, bc potus wants to know everything we are doing," Page said.

US-led coalition conducts 'defensive' airstrikes against Syrian forces

US-led coalition conducts 'defensive' airstrikes against Syrian forces | 07 Feb 2018 | The US-led coalition has carried out several "defensive" airstrikes on Syrian forces in retaliation for what they called an "unprovoked" attack on the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and foreign military "advisers." "In defense of Coalition and partner forces, the Coalition conducted strikes against attacking forces to repel the act of aggression against partners engaged in the Global Coalition's defeat-Daesh (Islamic State, IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL [but still I-CIA-SIS]) mission," the Central Command said in a press release. Wednesday's incident is the latest of its kind involving the US-supported rebels terrorists and Syrian government forces.

Healthy gym fanatic set to lose all his fingers and toes after catching the FLU after getting the FLU VACCINE and being told he was in 'top shape' at his physical days earlier

Healthy gym fanatic set to lose all his fingers and toes after catching the FLU after getting the FLU VACCINE and being told he was in 'top shape' at his physical days earlier --Joei Smith, 33, got the flu shot in December and passed his physical days later --But that week he started to feel dizzy and weak at work; he went to urgent care --At hospital he was diagnosed with flu, sepsis, pneumonia and kidney failure | 07 Feb 2018 | A man is set to lose his fingers and toes today after a month-long battle with the flu. Joei Smith, 33, was told he had just 24 hours to live when he arrived at the ER in Dallas, Texas, on December 29. Smith, a self-confessed 'gym head', had got the flu vaccine early in the season, and was in top shape during his annual physical in mid-December. But a week later, he started feeling dizzy at work, and that slowly turned into weakness.

US eyes partitioning of Syria, gave up on promise that fighting ISIS 'only goal' - Lavrov

US eyes partitioning of Syria, gave up on promise that fighting ISIS 'only goal' - Lavrov | 07 Feb 2018 | The US appears to be aiming at dividing Syria, as US troops still linger in the country even after its promise to end the mission after [allegedly] driving out Islamic State fighters, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said. "It's very likely that the Americans have taken a course of dividing the country. They just gave up their assurances, given to us, that the only goal of their presence in Syria - without an invitation of the legitimate government - was to defeat Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS [but still I-CIA-SIS]) and the terrorists," Lavrov said. Regarding pledges to keep a limited military contingent in the war-town state, Lavrov says the US is not being open about their true objectives.

Grassley Memo Bombshell: Clinton Ally Fed Dirt to Trump Dossier Author Steele

Grassley Memo Bombshell: Clinton Ally Fed Dirt to Trump Dossier Author Steele | 05 Feb 2018 | A heavily redacted document released by the Senate Judiciary Committee Monday reveals that the former British spy who wrote the "dirty dossier" wrote an additional anti-Trump memo based on information collected by a Clinton ally. This revelation and others are in the unclassified version of the January 4, 2018, criminal referral memorandum written by Republican Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), which targets dossier author Christopher Steele. The unclassified version states that someone associated with the Clintons joined forces with the Obama administration to dig up dirt on then-candidate Trump. Grassley, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said in a speech on the Senate floor on January 24 that he and Senator Graham had identified conflicting statements made by Steele, and that the discrepancies were "significant." According to the senators, the evidence suggests that either "Steele lied to the FBI about his contacts with the media (a violation of 18 USC 1001) -- or the FBI misrepresented Steele's statements."

Julian Assange arrest warrant still stands, court rules

Julian Assange arrest warrant still stands, court rules | 06 Feb 2018 | A UK warrant to arrest Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is still valid, a court has ruled. The warrant was issued in 2012 after Mr Assange failed to answer bail over sex assault claims in Sweden, now dropped. Lawyers for Mr Assange, who has been living in London's Ecuador embassy since then, argued the warrant had therefore "lost its purpose". His lawyers went on to argue against it on other grounds and the court will rule on 13 February. At Westminster Magistrates' Court, senior district judge and chief magistrate Emma Arbuthnot said, having considered the arguments, she was "not persuaded that the warrant should be withdrawn".

Philippines: DOJ won't stop Public Attorney's Office autopsy of children who got vaccine

Philippines: DOJ won't stop Public Attorney's Office autopsy of children who got vaccine | 05 Feb 2018 | Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said he will not stop the Public Attorney's Office (PAO) from conducting autopsies of children who are suspected to have died as a result for receiving shots of the anti[sic]-dengue vaccine Dengvaxia. The Secretary reacted to the calls of Doctors for Public Welfare (DPW) which included former Department of Health (DOH) chief Esperanza Cabral who urged Aguirre to order a stop to the autopsies being conducted by the PAO. Aguirre has issued Department Order (DO) No. 792 dated December 12, 2017 which directed the PAO "to extend free legal assistance in civil, criminal and administrative cases to all possible victims of Dengvaxia [vaccine] related injuries, illnesses and deaths."

Dow closes 567 points higher after crazy swings

Dow closes 567 points higher after crazy swings | 06 Feb 2018 | After two huge sell-offs in a row, U.S. stocks were all over the map on Tuesday...The Dow Jones industrial average opened with a big whoosh lower, then rallied all the way back. The Dow closed 567.02 points higher at 24,912.77 and rose as much as 600.48 points. At its session low it was down by 567.01 points. It traded in a range of 1,167.49 points.

'White powdery substance' delivered to Assange at Ecuadorian embassy

'White powdery substance' delivered to Assange at Ecuadorian embassy | 06 Feb 2018 | WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange was delivered a suspicious package at London's Ecuadorian embassy that contained a 'white powdery substance,' police confirmed on Tuesday night. Assange, who has been holed up in the embassy for the past five-and-a-half years, fearing he will be extradited to the United States to face trial for WikiLeaks' publication of classified US military and diplomatic documents in 2010, confirmed via Twitter he had received a suspicious package. Kensington and Chelsea police also confirmed that Assange had received a package and that they are investigating the incident.

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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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