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Germany starts sending weapons to Kurds again

The German army (Bundeswehr) has delivered a huge shipment of weapons to Kurdish Peshmerga fighters in Iraq after Germany broke off supplies earlier in the year. Around 70 tonnes of German weaponry - including 1,500 G36 assault rifles - arrived on Tuesday in Erbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq, the Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) reports on information from the Ministry of Defence.

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Report: Contractors outnumber U.S. troops in Afghanistan 3-to-1

Defense Department contractors in Afghanistan still outnumber U.S. troops by a 3-to-1 margin according to new research released this week, raising questions again about the role those workers play in the ongoing wars overseas and the oversight they receive. The data, compiled by the Congressional Research Service and first reported by Politico, shows contractor numbers in both Iraq and Afghanistan dating back to fiscal 2007. Combined, the Defense Department spent more than $220 billion on contractors in both war zones for a variety of services and support.

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Think Tank Argues That Giving Up Privacy Is Good For The Poor

With ISPs like AT&T now charging broadband customers a steep premium just to protect their own privacy, the FCC has begun looking at some relatively basic new privacy protections for broadband. This has, as you might expect, resulted in a notable bump in histrionics from the industry. Comcast, for example, quickly tried to inform the FCC that charging users a surcharge for privacy was ok because it would somehow magically lower broadband prices, and banning them from this kind of behavior would do a tremendous disservice to the internet at large.

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Zika infection may affect adult brain cells

Concerns over the Zika virus have focused on pregnant women due to mounting evidence that it causes brain abnormalities in developing fetuses.

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Did The NSA Continue To Stay Silent On Zero-Day Vulnerabilities Even After Discovering It Had Been Hacked?

The NSA's exploit stash is allegedly for sale. As mentioned earlier this week, an individual or a group calling themselves Shadow Brokers claims to be auctioning off parts of the NSA's Tailored Access Operations (TAO) toolkit, containing several zero days -- including one in Cisco's (a favorite NSA TAO target) Adaptive Security Appliance which allows for remote code execution.

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Hillary Clinton Said Colin Powell Urged Her To Use A Private Email, FBI Notes Reveal

For years, president Obama's recurring excuse for the poor performance of the US economy was that it was "Bush's fault." It appears that Hillary Clinton took a page out of the playbook when, pressed by the FBI, she told federal investigators that former Secretary of State Colin Powell suggested she use a personal email account, according to a New York Times report.

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The NSA Built a Secret, Warrantless, Shadow ‘Social Network’ and You’re Already On It

For roughly the last decade and a half, the NSA has been caught in lie after unscrupulous lie. Every time they are caught spying on Americans, the secret agency first denies it — then justifies it. The NSA has now been caught again. And, again, they denied it and are now justifying it.

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White House Official Cozied Up to Google Before Antitrust Lawsuit Was Shelved

When the Federal Trade Commission neared a momentous decision on whether to charge Google with violating antitrust laws in January 2013, the White House was watching closely. New emails uncovered by the Campaign for Accountability, a public interest watchdog organization, show that a White House advisor met with top Google lobbyist Johanna Shelton and top Google antitrust counsel Matthew Bye twice in the weeks before the FTC announcement. And hours prior to the final decision – in which FTC commissioners took the unusual step of overriding their staff’s recommendation to sue, and voted to settle the case instead – the White House official even sought Google’s talking points in the matter.

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Justice Dept Announces it Will End Use of For-Profit Prisons — Prison Stocks Plummet

In a stunning turn of events, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Thursday it will no longer use private prisons to incarcerate federal prisoners, deeming the notorious for-profit facilities both less safe and less effective in providing correctional services than those operated by the government. “They simply do not provide the same level of correctional services, programs, and resources; they do not save substantially on costs; and as noted in a recent report by the Department’s Office of Inspector General, they do not maintain the same level of safety and security,” Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates explained in today’s announcement.

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US Has Nearly 30,000 Defense Contractors in Afghanistan

While the Obama Administration has presented its (already-stalled) drawdown in Afghanistan as “ending” the war and bringing the number of US forces down in the country to very small levels, they rarely discuss the substantial number of American defense contractors still in the country. While the US officially has just 9,000 troops in Afghanistan, they also have some 29,000 contractors stationed around the country. Two-thirds of the contractors are said to be foreign nationals, with the Pentagon saying they are mostly involved in logistics and maintenance for the ongoing war.

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Turkey Releases 38,000 Prisoners to Make Room for Coup Accused

Turkey will grant early release to 38,000 prisoners who committed crimes before 1 July, the government said on Wednesday, amid reports of prison overcrowding after the failed coup. Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said in a series of messages on Twitter that the move was “not an amnesty” and the convicts were not being pardoned but released on parole. All 38,000 will be released on Wednesday afternoon, according to reports in Turkey.

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Judge deals blow to FBI, DOJ secrecy over terror task force operations

Can the FBI keep secret the number of chairs it has in its Boston office? How about the number of investigations its local Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) conducted in the year 2014, or how many parking spaces it reserves for its agents? No. Despite the Bureau’s attempts to hide this information from the public, a federal judge today ruled that records about the Boston FBI’s budget, staffing, and investigations are not exempt from public disclosure. The ruling also pushes back against the federal government’s assertion that an agency doesn’t have to perform a search for records simply because it thinks another agency has similar documents, upholding a centrally important facet of FOIA law: if an agency possesses a record, that record is subject to public disclosure—no matter who produced it, and no matter which other government agencies might also have it.

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It’s Time to Abolish the DEA and America’s “War on Drugs” Gulag

It’s difficult to pick the most destructive of America’s many senseless, futile and tragically needless wars, but the “War on Drugs” is near the top of the list.Prohibition of mind-altering substances has not just failed–it has failed spectacularly, and generated extremely destructive and counterproductive consequences. What was the result of the Prohibition of alcohol in the 1920s? Prohibition instantly criminalized 40+% of the adult populace and created hugely profitable criminal organizations. What was the result of the “War on Drugs”? This modern-day Prohibition instantly criminalized large swaths of the adult populace and created hugely profitable criminal organizations.

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Venezuela Confiscates Guns As Murder Rates Soar

Just to prove the US isn't the only place where governments seek to cure symptoms rather than diseases for political benefit, Venezuela's Interior Minister, Nestor Reverol, launched a campaign in Caracas to "disarm" citizens in an effort to curb rampant violence. Venezuela has the world's second highest murder rate which Reverol attributes, at least in part, to heavily armed gangs roaming the streets with guns that they apparently acquire from "corrupt" police officers. To address the violent crime issue, Venezueala has decided to chop up over 2,000 shotguns and pistols and laser tag ammunition as apparently the majority of ammunition used for violent crime in the country is manufactured by the state and "sold by corrupt police" as well. We're noticing a trend here.

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As Turkey "Considers Military Cooperation" With Russia, US Said To Move Nukes Out Of Turkey

Over the past month, ever since the "failed" Turkish coup, there has been a dramatic, and surprising, deterioration in the of Turkey with various European states, most notably Austria and Germany, as well as with the US, and NATO in general. This was confirmed once again earlier today when Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu lashed out at NATO, in aninterview with Russian Sputnik, saying the alliance is not fully cooperating with Ankara. More importantly, he hinted that Turkey would consider military cooperation with Russia.

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US Corporate Debt Has Doubled To $6 Trillion Since The Crisis: This Is Who Bought It

Yesterday, in the FOMC notes, the Federal Reserve made a stark admission: “several expressed concern that an extended period of low interest rates risked intensifying incentives for investors to reach for yield and could lead to the misallocation of capital and mispricing of risk, with possible adverse consequences for financial stability.” To this, Bank of America chief credit strategist Hans Mikkelsen had an amusing retort:

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Assad bombs US-backed Kurds in Syria

In another alleged first for Syria’s war, Assad jets bombed YPG facilities in northeastern Syria, Kurdish news and Reuters report this morning from an attack that so far has reportedly killed one civilian and injured two-dozen others. “The bombardment came after clashes broke out in the city on Tuesday between the Syrian Kurdish Security forces (Asayish) and the militias affiliated with the Syrian government,” Kurdistan24 News reports.

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Dr. Drew Pinsky On Hillary Clinton’s Medical Situation: “Gravely Concerned”

The original link for this audio is on KABC 16 August 2016. The title is Dr. Drew Speaks Out on Hillary’s Health. However, that page is now displaying, “Whoops! Page Not Found”

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First Long-term Study Confirms World’s Most Popular Pesticide is Wiping Bees Off the Planet

The rise of industrial agriculture — led by companies like Monsanto that push monoculture, chemical-based farming and patented life forms — has brought a flood of pesticides that wreak havoc on natural ecosystems.

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