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NY Corrections hired Rikers officers with gang ties, psychological issues – report

A report into the recruiting and hiring practices of the New York Correction Department found that more than one-third of the people hired had problems – criminal histories, mental issues – that should have disqualified them from the job.
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Justice Department posts job ad for federal monitor of Newark police

The U.S. Justice Department is looking for applicants to serve as a federal monitor of the Newark Police Department, officials announced today. The Justice Department has posted an advertisement seeking applicants from individuals or organizations interested in the job, the department said in statement.
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How trade deals like NAFTA neuter governments: Walkom

The 41-page analysis, written by veteran trade critic Scott Sinclair and released Wednesday by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, looks at how the so-called investor-state dispute settlement mechanism within NAFTA has been used over the past 22 years. This dispute mechanism allows foreign companies to bypass the judicial systems of the NAFTA signatories and directly challenge, before a binding panel, any laws and regulations they think might hurt their businesses.
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Weimar Union: Berlin in constant fear ECB will be lender of last resort

The European Central Bank faces another moment of truth as its governors debate whether to buy up the sovereign bonds of euro zone countries to avert a deflationary spiral. At issue still is the attitude of the German faction in the bank, which is resolutely opposed to such moves. But what explains this stance? The stock response is that German hypersensitivity over the use of central bank printing presses can be traced right back to the country’s painful encounter with hyperinflation in the 1920s, when the Weimar Republic printed more and more banknotes to finance expenditure.
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Venezuela's 'protest city' on edge as economic crisis worsens

Masked youths are once again blocking streets and burning tires in the Venezuelan city of San Cristobal, the epicenter of last year's massive anti-government protests. The groups are small and the unrest contained, but dissent is rising in this volatile Andean city, a barometer of frustration with nationwide shortages that are putting pressure on the socialist government of Nicolas Maduro.
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There Is No Inflation (Unless You Eat Food, Use Water, Live In A House, Get Sick, Go To School, Or Do Taxes)

Government data reports are so funny. The blaring headlines today tells us that prices dropped in December. We are all saving billions from the drop in oil and gas. Hallelujah!!! The corporate MSM never digs into the numbers to get the real truth. These reports and their distribution to the sheep are designed to keep you sedated and calm. Facts are not necessary. How this data pertains to your everyday life is not important to the .1% who control the flow of information.
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Cops Turn on Awful Union Chief in Brawl at Union Meeting in Queens

Earlier I noted the new Quinnipiac Poll that showed that while New Yorkers give solid approval numbers to the NYPD, they roundly oppose the campaign of public back-turning and the police refusal to enforce all but the most serious laws in the weeks since the execution style killing of two NYPD patrolmen. What also emerged in the poll is public anger that Patrick Lynch, President of the Police Benevolent Association has managed to make the public face of an asshole into the public face of the NYPD.
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D.C. Influencers Spend More on Advertising and PR Than Lobbying

Forget lobbying. When Washington, D.C.’s biggest trade associations want to wield influence, they often put far more of their money into advertising and public relations, according to a new Center for Public Integrity investigation.
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ICC to probe 'Israeli war crimes' in Palestine

The International Criminal Court has launched an inquiry into possible war crimes in the Palestinian territories, opening a path to possible charges against Israelis or Palestinians.
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Europe’s ‘Minority Report’ Raids on Future Terrorists

In one case, in the small Belgian town of Verviers near the German border, two alleged jihadis were shot dead and one was wounded in a Thursday night firefight. A spokesperson for the Belgian prosecutor’s office, Eric van der Sypt, said Friday that the Verviers suspects were believed to be on the verge of launching an attack. Four Kalashnikov automatic rifles were found in their possession along with bomb-making materials. Tellingly, they also had police uniforms. Phone taps of conversations among the suspects reportedly indicated the assault was only hours away.
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How CIA Got NYT to Kill Iran-Nuke Story

When reporter James Risen called CIA to ask about a covert scheme to slip flawed nuclear blueprints to Iran, the Bush administration brought out some big guns to get the New York Times to rein in Risen, showing how cozy those relationships can be, writes Norman Solomon.
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body of top AIG exec who disappeared from his Marriott Hotel room is discovered in nearby desert

The body of a missing AIG executive, last seen at a Californian hotel on Thursday, was discovered in the nearby desert. Omar Arce Meza, 33, from Los Angeles, was last seen at around 11pm at the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort in Palm Desert. The cause of death is still unknown.
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North Miami Police Used Mug Shots of African-Americans Men for Target Practice

Police in North Miami have been using mug shots of African-Americans for target practice, as the sister of one of the men pictured found to her horror when she was at the range. Valerie Deant, a sergeant in Florida’s National Guard, went to the Medley Police Firearms Training Center for her annual weapons certification when she noticed a familiar face on one of the targets riddled with bullets: her brother, Woody. Woody Deant served four years in prison last decade for taking part in a fatal drag race, but has since has gotten his life together. He was 18 when the booking photo was taken 15 years ago.
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Mass Die-Offs of Birds and Fish on the Rise

Environmental changes and human activities have caused a growing number of mass die-offs for many species. A new scientific study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences says large-scale deaths of fish, birds and invertebrates increased over a 72-year period from 1940 to 2012. Researchers came to this conclusion after reviewing the records of 727 “mass mortality events.”
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Tear gas, sound bombs: Clashes in Sao Paulo as 1,000s protest bus fare hike

Police used tear gas and sound bombs to disperse thousands of people protesting against hikes in bus fare price in Brazil’s biggest city, Sao Paulo. The protesters gathered for a rally after the authorities increased bus fares from 3 reals ($1.14) to 3.50 reals ($1.34). Carrying banners reading, "No to fare hikes” the demonstrators called for fares to be lowered or eliminated altogether. They also demanded free student fares. According to organizers, the rally attracted about 20,000 people, while police put the numbers at 3,000. At least 1,000 officers were policing the demonstration.
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DEA admits to collecting phone records of Americans

Yet another federal agency of the United States government maintained a database of phone records pertaining to Americans who were not necessarily suspected of any wrongdoing, the Justice Department has admitted. In addition to the database of telephony metadata maintained by the US National Security Agency (NSA) and revealed to the world through classified documents via former government contractor Edward Snowden, a Justice Department official acknowledged in a court filing this week that the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) operated a similar system for roughly a decade.
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Muscular Swiss franc creates financial havoc in Poland and Hungary

The fallout from the decision taken by the Swiss National Bank to remove the cap on its currency is a dream for some and a nightmare for others. In Geneva queues formed outside foreign-exchange offices as those with Swiss francs hastily changed them into euros while the going was good.
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Is Egypt on the Verge of Another Uprising?

Four years after the revolution he helped lead, Basem Kamel has noticeably scaled back his ambitions. The regime he and his friends thought they overthrew after storming Tahrir Square has returned. In the face of relentless pressure and violence from the authorities, most of the revolutionary movements have been sidelined or snuffed out.
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​‘Radiation hardened’ PlayStation chip guides probe to Pluto

The chip is the MIPS R3000 CPU; it was used in the original Sony PlayStation, which ran games from the Final Fantasy and Metal Gear Solid franchises. It is being used to control thrusters, guidance, and other systems in order to help direct the probe to Pluto. This particular chip is “radiation hardened,” Escapist magazine reported. While the PlayStation uses a 33 MHz R3051 CPU, the New Horizons spacecraft uses a 12 MHz Mongoose-V CPU.
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Bowing to Monsanto, USDA Approves New GMO Soy and Cotton Crops

‘This continues the disturbing trend of more herbicide-tolerant crop approvals taking place under President Obama’s watch.’ — Wenonah Hauter, Food & Water Watch
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