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4 western Iraqi towns fall to advancing ISIS militants

4 western Iraqi towns fall to advancing ISIS militants 22 Jun 2014 A strategic border crossing and three other towns in western Iraq fell Saturday to the control of ISIS militants, a senior Iraqi security official said. In addition to their offensives in northern Iraq, the militants have strengthened their hand in the western province of Anbar, the country's largest geographically, and were controlling Al-Qaim, Rawa, Ana and Husaybah, said the senior official, who's based in Anbar.

US anthrax scare: 86 people possibly exposed to deadly bacteria

US anthrax scare: 86 people possibly exposed to deadly bacteria --CDC: 86 people potentially exposed in US blunder --Live pathogen accidentally sent to low-security labs 20 Jun 2014 On 13 June, scientists at the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) realised they had sent live anthrax to researchers at lower-security labs rather than harmless samples of the pathogen. Anthrax is deadly in most forms and can affect both humans and animals. The spores are highly contagious and are considered a major biological warfare risk. Interviews, CCTV and key card data has been used to to identify anyone who might have been inside one of the two labs.

Putin orders surprise drills to check combat readiness of central Russia forces

Putin orders surprise drills to check combat readiness of central Russia forces 21 Jun 2014 All Russian forces in Siberia, the Urals and beyond have been put on combat-ready alert, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said after President Putin ordered surprise drills. Over 65,000 of Russia's troops in the Central Military District have been put on alert to verify troops' combat-readiness during massive war games of all branches of the armed forces. "In accordance with president's order, today starting from 11:00 Moscow time [07:00 GMT] all troops of the Central Military District have been placed in a state of full combat readiness," Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said at staff meeting.

Pentagon crashed more than 400 military drones

Pentagon crashed more than 400 military drones [Too bad they all didn't crash.] 20 Jun 2014 While unmanned drones have become a popular weapon of choice during the United States' wars in on Iraq and Afghanistan, a new report reveals that hundreds of them have been involved in major accidents around the world. Following an investigation into more than 50,000 pages of federal and military records, the Washington Post found that more than 400 large American drones have crashed since 2001, with almost half of the accidents each causing millions of dollars in damages.

May 2014 hottest on record globally

May 2014 hottest on record globally --March and April also warmest on record - Japan analysis 20 Jun 2014 Preliminary data released separately by NASA and the Japanese Meteorological Agency suggest May 2014 was the warmest May on record. NASA data (which is still to incorporate data from China) indicates that May 2014 had an average global temperature 1.38 degrees Fahrenheit above the long term average.

Bridgegate indictment of Christie cronies 'near-certain,' says published report

Bridgegate indictment of Christie cronies 'near-certain,' says published report 19 Jun 2014 The Bridgegate-related indictment of political allies of Gov. Chris Christie on federal corruption charges is a near certainty, with prosecutors launching a second grand jury intent on pressing defendants to testify against the governor, according to a published report quoting unnamed sources. An article posted by Esquire today quotes two anonymous sources it says are familiar with an ongoing investigation by the U.S. Attorney's office in Newark into the September George Washington Bridge lane closures. A broadening criminal investigation stemming from the closures is being led by Christie's successor as U.S. Attorney for New Jersey, Paul Fishman.

Antiwar Protesters Gather Outside Downtown LA Veterans' Hospital

Antiwar Protesters Gather Outside Downtown LA Veterans' Hospital 20 Jun 2014 A group of antiwar protesters Thursday gathered outside a veterans' hospital in downtown Los Angeles just as President Obama announced he's sending 300 military advisers to Iraq. The press conference was held at 10 a.m. at the VA Los Angeles Ambulatory Care Center, 351 W Temple St.

Secret Trade in Services Agreement (TISA)

Secret Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) 19 Jun 2014 Today, WikiLeaks released the secret draft text for the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) Financial Services Annex, which covers 50 countries and 68.2% of world trade in services. The US and the EU are the main proponents of the agreement, and the authors of most joint changes, which also covers cross-border data flow. In a significant anti-transparency manoeuvre by the parties, the draft has been classified to keep it secret not just during the negotiations but for five years after the TISA enters into force.

House approves effort to limit NSA searches of U.S. data

House approves effort to limit NSA searches of U.S. data 20 Jun 2014 The U.S. House of Representatives has voted to limit the National Security Agency's ability to search U.S. records, after a similar provision was stripped out of a bill intended to rein in the agency. The House, by a 293-123 vote late Thursday, approved a bipartisan proposal to limit the NSA's surveillance programs by requiring the agency to get a court-ordered warrant to search U.S records in its possession. The proposal, offered as an amendment to a Department of Defense funding bill, would close the so-called "backdoor search" loophole in the FISA Amendments Act, a law allowing NSA surveillance of overseas communications.

Russian checkpoint on Ukraine border comes under fire

Russian checkpoint on Ukraine border comes under fire 20 Jun 2014 Moscow demands explanation from Kiev authorities after a Russian checkpoint on the border between two counties came under shelling on Friday, Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement. On Friday, the Russian checkpoint of Novoshakhtinsk in Rostov region was shelled by mortars, the Russia's Border Service said. The rounds came from the Ukrainian side. A Russian customs service employee was seriously injured in the fire.

Pipe leak found at Wylfa nuclear power station

Pipe leak found at Wylfa nuclear power station --In another incident during the outage, the plant failed to protect workers who could have been exposed to radiation but were not provided with a dosimeter. 19 Jun 2014 (Anglesey, UK) Wylfa nuclear power station has been shut down for five-and-a-half months, the Daily Post can reveal. Faults with apparatus followed by a leak in a pipe mean two attempts to restart the Anglesey plant since a shutdown in January have been abandoned. The power station has generated no power since January 6, when the power station was shut down for planned maintenance work.

State Police commander, who served as lead Sandy Hook investigator, dies after brief illness

State Police commander, who served as lead Sandy Hook investigator, dies after brief illness --Podgorski worked as commander of state crime lab and in Division of Homeland Security 17 Jun 2014 (CT) State police Maj. William Podgorski has died after suffering from a brief illness. Trooper Kelly Grant said Podgorski, 49, the Western District commander, died Monday after surgery. The illness was not disclosed. Podgorski led the Western District, which includes Troop A in Southbury, Troop B in Canaan, Troop G in Bridgeport and Troop L in Bantam. [See also: Release of Sandy Hook School Shooting Report Likely Delayed 29 May 2013. State police said Wednesday that the final investigative report on the Dec. 14 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown may not be released until the end of September... State Police commanders discussed the new timetable at a meeting in the Litchfield barracks earlier this week. At that meeting, sources said, Maj. William Podgorski said part of the delay is redacting FBI reports to conform to state Freedom of Information laws. Podgorski oversees the Western District Crime Squad, the unit involved in the investigation.]

Ebola outbreak in W.Africa 'totally out of control' - MSF

Ebola outbreak in W.Africa 'totally out of control' - MSF 20 Jun 2014 West Africa is going through the second wave of Ebola outbreak and the deadly virus is now "totally out of control," a senior official at Médecins Sans Frontières said. More than 330 people have died in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia since the Ebola disease sprang up in Africa at the beginning of this year, according to the latest figures released by the World Health Organization (WHO). "The reality is clear that the epidemic is now in its second wave. And for me, it is totally out of control," Janssens concluded.

CDC says 84 lab workers possibly exposed to live anthrax - official

CDC says 84 lab workers possibly exposed to live anthrax - official --Number of potential exposures rises from 75 20 Jun 2014 The U.S. government said on Friday that 84 scientists and staff were possibly exposed to live anthrax bacteria after researchers failed to follow safety procedures. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announcement on Thursday that at least 75 people had been affected prompted an investigation by federal authorities. CDC spokesman Benjamin Haynes said in an email on Friday that the number has increased to 84 potential exposures.

White House plans more immigrant detention centers; DHS silent if to be built on military bases

White House plans more immigrant detention centers; DHS silent if to be built on military bases 20 Jun 2014 Obama administration officials announced new measures Friday to detain and process an influx of families streaming over the southern U.S. border in recent months, primarily from Central America. "We are surging our resources to increase our capacity to detain," said Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas. He would not say whether the new detention facilities would be on military bases, where officials have opened other shelters for immigrant youths in recent weeks.

Australian troops sent to Iraq to 'help secure embassy'

Australian troops sent to Iraq to 'help secure embassy' --Australian defence minister would not give troop numbers 19 Jun 2014 Australian troops have been sent to Iraq to secure the Australian embassy. A spokesman for the defence minister, David Johnston, said a "small Australian Defence Force liaison element" had been deployed to the embassy in Baghdad as the security situation deteriorated. The troops are already in the capital but the spokesman would not say when they left Australia. He also would not confirm reports in the Australian Financial Review that the number of troops was about 30.

Russia's Armed Forces ready for any scenario in Ukraine - defense minister

Russia's Armed Forces ready for any scenario in Ukraine - defense minister 18 Jun 2014 Russia's Armed Forces are prepared for any scenario in Ukraine, Russian lawmaker Vadim Solovyov told ITAR-TASS, citing Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. Shoigu was speaking at the State Duma at the Government Hour debates held behind closed doors on Wednesday. "The minister said that we were ready for any development of the situation in Ukraine but first of all everything depends on the stance of our Western partners," said Solovyov, who is a member of the Communist Party faction. Solovyov said that Shoigu confirmed "the army is set to fulfil any task of the commander-in-chief," that is, of the Russian President.

75 Scientists Possibly Exposed to Anthrax - CDC

75 Scientists Possibly Exposed to Anthrax - CDC 19 Jun 2014 As many as 75 scientists working in government laboratories may have been exposed to live anthrax bacteria, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Thursday. The scientists are being offered treatment to prevent infection. The potential exposure occurred after researchers working in a high-level biosecurity laboratory at the agency's Atlanta campus failed to follow proper procedures to inactivate the bacteria.

VFP UK Visit Swedish Embassy Over Grave Concerns For Assange

VFP UK Visit Swedish Embassy Over Grave Concerns for Assange 19 Jun 2014 A delegation from Veterans For Peace UK are visiting the Swedish embassy today to voice grave concerns arising from the ongoing situation of Wikileaks Editor Mr Julian Assange. Veterans For Peace UK recognise Wikileaks as an organisation that reveals to the public the true nature of war. We want to know why it is that the relevant Swedish authority refuses to guarantee not to extradite Mr Assange to the the United States of America where he would face political persecution and human rights violations. We think it is unacceptable that the British public are picking up the bill to surround the Ecuadorian Embassy with police officers in order to facilitate the Swedish extradition request.

U.S. officials said to be pushing for the removal of Iraq's leader

U.S. officials said to be pushing for the removal of Iraq's leader [Time for a new lackey to protect the oil pipelines!] 19 Jun 2014 U.S. officials are actively pushing for the removal of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki [the current US-installed lackey] and have held meetings with senior politicians who are angling to replace the embattled leader, according to Iraqi officials and a report published Thursday. The U.S. ambassador to Baghdad, Robert S. Beecroft, and a senior State Department official, Brett McGurk, met this week with former Iraqi exile leader CIAciopath Ahmad Chalabi and parliament speaker Osama Nujaifi, as well as other possible candidates to replace Maliki. The Shiite Muslim prime minister has seen large chunks of Iraq seized in recent days by Sunni militants fighting under the banner of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, an Al Qaeda [al-CIAduh] splinter group.

Documents: Hundreds of pages in Wisconsin John Doe probe released

John Doe prosecutors allege Scott Walker at center of extensive 'criminal scheme'

John Doe prosecutors allege Scott Walker at center of extensive 'criminal scheme' 19 Jun 2014 Prosecutors allege Gov. Scott Walker was at the center of an effort to illegally coordinate fundraising among conservative groups to help his campaign and those of Republican state senators fend off recall elections during 2011 and '12, according to documents unsealed Thursday. In the documents, prosecutors lay out what they call an extensive "criminal scheme" to bypass state election laws by Walker, his campaign and two top Republican political operatives - R.J. Johnson and Deborah Jordahl. The governor and his close confidants helped raise money and control spending through 12 conservative groups during the recall elections, according to the prosecutors' filings.

House GOP Picks Kevin McCarthy, Steve Scalise for Top Leadership Posts

House GOP Picks Kevin McCarthy, Steve Scalise for Top Leadership Posts 19 Jun 2014 The GOP's establishment and conservative [one and the same, *duh*] wings each notched a victory Thursday as House Republicans elected two top leaders in a contest that highlighted strains within the party. Members promoted Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California – who had been the third in command to House Speaker John Boehner – to the powerful post of House Majority Leader previously held by Virginia's Eric Cantor. Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise, the head of the conservative Republican Study Committee, won the election to replace McCarthy as the Majority Whip position.

Obama: US Will Send up to 300 Military Advisers to Iraq, Set up Joint Operation Centers

Obama: US Will Send up to 300 Military Advisers to Iraq, Set up Joint Operation Centers --Green Berets, Army Rangers, Navy SEALs may go to Iraq 19 Jun 2014 President Barack Obama said Thursday he was sending up to 300 military advisers to Iraq, but added that America was not returning to a combat role in the country. Up to 100 U.S. special forces -- probably Green Berets, Army Rangers and Navy SEALs -- would go to Iraq to advise its military and collect intelligence under a Pentagon plan offered to President Barack Obama, according to several U.S. officials. (Wires)

150 Australians fighting in Syria, Iraq - official

150 Australians fighting in Syria, Iraq - official 18 Jun 2014 Around 150 Australians have fought with radical militants in Syria and Iraq, raising government fears of a terrorist threat to Australia if the fighters return home, the foreign minister said on Thursday. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said she had cancelled a number of passports on the advice of security agencies in a bid to reduce the security threat to Australia. She did not say whether the passports were canceled to prevent Australians leaving or returning. "Our best estimate is that there about 150 Australians...who have been or are still fighting with opposition [terrorist] groups in Syria and beyond," Bishop told Australian Broadcasting Corp.

Taliban hits NATO fuel trucks in Afghanistan East

Taliban hits NATO fuel trucks in Afghanistan East --37 NATO trucks destroyed in explosions 19 Jun 2014 Taliban militants have targeted NATO fuel trucks in Afghanistan's eastern Nangarhar Province near the border with Pakistan, officials say. Idris Momand, a spokesperson for the local border police, said the bombing attacks near the Torkham border crossing took place at 4:30 am local time on Thursday. Ahmad Zia Abdulzai, the spokesman for the provincial governor, said 37 NATO trucks were destroyed in explosions set off during the ensuing gunbattle between militants and police guards in the troubled eastern province.

Afghan Taliban destroy NATO fuel trucks

Afghan Taliban destroy NATO fuel trucks 19 Jun 2014 Taliban suicide bombers struck NATO fuel trucks at a key border crossing between Afghanistan and Pakistan Thursday, setting off explosions that destroyed dozens of trucks and triggering a gunbattle with police guards that left all three attackers dead, officials said.

Central Stockholm cordoned off after man with 'explosives' enters building

Central Stockholm cordoned off after man with 'explosives' enters building 19 Jun 2014 Two central areas in the Swedish capital are in lockdown after a man walked into an office building in Gamla Stan claiming he has a bomb strapped to his body. The man walked into the building offices of human rights group and the ruling Moderate Party at 2.20pm (12.20 GMT) local time claiming to have an explosive device strapped to his body, the police said. "The man has expressed his dissatisfaction with parties in the parliament," the city police wrote in a statement as cited by local media.

Panel questions Social Security field office closings

Panel questions Social Security field office closings 19 Jun 2014 The Social Security Administration has cut thousands of field workers and reduced hours and services at hundreds of satellite offices over the past four years at a time when baby boomers are starting to hit retirement age, a new Senate report concludes. Most troubling, the agency hasn't fully analyzed the impact of such reductions or followed its own protocol in many cases, according to the Senate Special Committee on Aging, which issued the study and held a hearing on it Wednesday. "I think it's a legitimate question: Is this a death by a thousand cuts?" said Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Orlando, who chairs the panel. "An agency known for its great service could be undercutting its mission. Most of this has been done with very little consultation of the Congress...and most of this has been done without consultation with the impacted communities."

Obama to Send Green Berets to Iraq

Breaking: Obama to Send Green Berets to Iraq --President to lay out panel of options --Claims Iraq action will be 'limited' in scope 19 Jun 2014 President Obama is expected to announce the deployment of Gree Berets to Iraq at 12:30PM ET. (Wires)

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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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