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Venezuela Will Be The First Sovereign Oil Producer To See An "All-Out Collapse"

Venezuela’s anti-government protests are growing increasingly violent, with the death toll from clashes between protesters and government forces that began in May topping 100. Despite the country’s increasing political instability, and US President Donald Trump’s half-serious threats of an invasion, President Nicolas Maduro has decided to press ahead with his vote to create a rubberstamp constituent assembly that will allow him to amend the country’s constitution.

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Syria Summary - Consolidating The West - Marching East

There were no major changes in the situation in Syria since our last post. Several smaller steps have further consolidated the position of the government of Syria and its allies while the positions of its enemies continue to deteriorate.

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EU "Sounds Alarm" Over New US Sanctions On Russia; Germany Threatens Retaliation

Late on Friday, Congressional negotiators reached a deal to advance a bill that would punish Russia for its interference in the 2016 election and restrict the president’s power to remove sanctions on Moscow, according to the WSJ. The measure, if signed into law, will also give Congress veto powers to block any easing of Russian sanctions by the president. And while it remained unclear if President Donald Trump would sign the bill if it reaches his desk, which is now likely, the loudest complaint about the bill so far has emerged from the EU, which has once again urged US lawmakers to coordinate their anti-Russia actions with European partners.

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Yemeni Forces Strike Saudi Oil Refinery with Long-Range Ballistic Missile

In retaliation for the Saudi’s ongoing aggression against Yemen, Yemeni forces have targeted an Aramco Saudi oil refinery in Yanbu province with a long-range ballistic missile. The Saudi-led coalition tend to order anywhere from 20 to 70 airstrikes against various Yemeni provinces on any given day. Any province under control of Yemen’s Popular Forces is fair game. Hot spots currently include Taiz, Marib, the vital Hodeidah port town, and the densely populated capital city of Sana’a. So in retaliation, Yemeni forces have struck a Saudi oil refinery.

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Japan's Shifting Power Alliances

I’ve just wrapped up a long trip to Japan. And I’ve taken away one lesson from all of my conversations, speeches and research: The rise of nationalism in the U.S. will cause massive shifts in global trade alliances. One of the main beneficiaries will be Japan. Now, Japan might not be on your radar, day-to-day, but it’s about to play a very important role in the world of Donald Trump.

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Facial recognition surveillance is here — but privacy protections are not

In a little publicized section of Trump’s Immigration Executive Order, the president ordered Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to “expedite the completion and implementation of a biometric entry exit tracking system.” The purpose of the tracking system is to confirm who is entering and exiting the country to, for example, identify people who have overstayed their visas. Congress has already provided up to a billion dollars over the next ten years to implement the program.

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Assange: ‘CIA Not Only Armed Syria’s Insurgents–It Paid Their Salaries’

Wikileaks’ Julian Assange is continuing his attempt to “take down America any way he can” by accurately reporting the truth. Saturday on Twitter, Assange highlighted an article from Thursday where the Financial Times noted how many Syrian rebels are getting salaries from the CIA.

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Bolivia's President Declares 'Total Independence' from World Bank and IMF

Bolivia's President Evo Morales has been highlighting his government's independence from international money lending organizations and their detrimental impact the nation, the Telesur TV reported. "A day like today in 1944 ended Bretton Woods Economic Conference (USA), in which the IMF and WB were established," Morales tweeted. "These organizations dictated the economic fate of Bolivia and the world. Today we can say that we have total independence of them."

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Trump DOJ prepares to crackdown on Marijuana users and growers

The Trump administration is readying for a crackdown on marijuana users under Attorney General Jeff Sessions President Trump’s Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety, led by Sessions, is expected to release a report next week that criminal justice reform advocates fear will link marijuana to violent crime and recommend tougher sentences for those caught growing, selling and smoking the plant.

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NHS to ban homeopathy and herbal medicine, as 'misuse of resources'

“The public rightly expects that the NHS will use every pound wisely, and today we’re taking practical action to free up funding to better spend on modern drugs and treatments.” Health officials said the NHS is spending around £545m a year on treatments which are available over the counter, though they do not expect to recoup all the funding.

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Mexican Drug War: 2,234 murders in June, the country's deadliest month in at least 20 years

Drug war bloodshed in Mexico has spiked to record levels, with more homicides recorded in June than in any month in at least two decades. Prosecutors opened 2,234 homicide investigations last month, according to government statistics released Friday. That’s an increase of 40% over June of last year and 80% over June of 2014.

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Botched US Drone Strike Kills 15 Afghan Police

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CIA Chief Warns of WikiLeaks Plotting to “Take Down America Any Way They Can”

CIA Director Mike Pompeo remains inconsolably hostile toward whistleblower organization WikiLeaks, insisting they are a “non-state hostile intelligence service” and are plotting to “take down America any way they can and find any willing partner to achieve that end.”

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Wisconsin Company To Implant Microchips In Employees

"It's the next thing that's inevitably going to happen, and we want to be a part of it," Three Square Market Chief Executive Officer Todd Westby said. The company designs software for break room markets that are commonly found in office complexes.

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Moscow, Baghdad Sign Huge Arms Deal

It was reported on July 20 that Russia and Iraq have struck a deal on supplying a large batch of T-90 tanks. Vladimir Kozhin, the Russian president’s aide for military technical cooperation, confirmed the agreement but declined to provide details, saying only «the number of tanks is substantial». Russian military analyst Ruslan Pukhov told Russian newspaper Izvestia that the deal might cover deliveries of several hundred T-90 tanks, and that the contract may exceed $1 billion.

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Two Baltimore Detectives Plead Guilty to Armed Robberies and Fraud

Two former Baltimore police officers pleaded guilty Friday to federal racketeering charges, admitting that they committed armed robberies, made fraudulent overtime claims and filed false affidavits. Detectives Maurice Ward and Evodio Hendrix were among seven Baltimore officers indicted in March as part of an alleged conspiracy involving those and other crimes. The seven officers, members of Baltimore’s Gun Trace Task Force, were accused of stopping people — some of whom were not suspected of any crimes — seizing their money, and pocketing it.

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Japan Pictures Likely Show Melted Fukushima Fuel for First Time

New images show what is likely to be melted nuclear fuel hanging from inside one of Japan’s wrecked Fukushima reactors, a potential milestone in the cleanup of one of the worst atomic disasters in history.

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Innocent Man Sentenced to Prison for Standing on a Sidewalk, Informing People of Their Rights

A former pastor will serve time in jail for a conviction of “jury tampering,” after he was arrested and charged with a felony for handing out jury information pamphlets outside of a courthouse. Keith Wood is innocent. He was merely attempting to educate his neighbors about their rights on a jury, which should be protected free speech. However, courts are intent on using their power to hide the full scope of the jurors’ responsibility and they will apparently go to great lengths to do so — including throwing an entirely innocent man in prison.

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Man Behind Trump "Dossier" Refuses To Testify, Will Plead The Fifth, Fight Subpoena

For all the talk of obstruction and interference by the Trump camp, it's neither Donald Trump Jr. nor Paul Manafort who are challenging their scheduled testimony in the Senate next Wednesday, but rather the man who according to many started the whole "Trump Russia collusion" narrative, who is doing everything in his power to avoid testifying next week.

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Palestinians and Israelis Killed, Hundreds Wounded as Violence Engulfs West Bank

Three Palestinians were shot dead and four others wounded as thousands of Palestinian worshippers clashed with security forces on a “day of rage” over Israeli control of Islam’s third-holiest site. Israel’s army said a family of three Israeli settlers were stabbed to death and a fourth was wounded in the Israeli West Bank settlement of Neve Tsuf on Friday.

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