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EU Bans Investment, Imposes New Trade and Services Sanctions on Crimea

The European Union has imposed new sanctions against Crimea, that will ban investors and tour operation services beginning on December 20, according to the Council of the European Union's official communique released Thursday. "From 20 December, investment in Crimea or Sevastopol is outlawed. Europeans and EU-based companies may no more buy real estate or entities in Crimea, finance Crimean companies or supply related services," the statement said.
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Leaked Internal CIA Document Admits US Drone Program “Counterproductive” … Obama Did It ANYWAY

Previously-leaked documents showed that the CIA warned Obama that funding rebels doesn’t work … but Obama decided to fund the Syrian rebels anyway for cynical political gain. Top CIA officers say that drone strikes increase terrorism (and see this). Indeed, virtually all aspects of the American “war on terror” strategy creates more terrorists and weakens our national security. And see this.
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Prediction: In 5 Years, Smart Fridges Will Outnumber Fitness Trackers

Having to worry about the North Koreans and Chinese, not to mention US state and federal agencies hacking my refrigerator, is just not something I am really ready to deal with. Most of the wearables and other smart appliances on the market today, keep and could possibly share too much personal information about bad habits that the insurance company would love to use against me during the next open enrollment period.
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What Is the Gold-Oil Ratio Telling Us?

Based on historical gold-oil ratios, oil appears extraordinarily cheap right now. One way to establish if a commodity or asset is relatively expensive or inexpensive is to price it in something other than a fiat currency--for example, gold. Gold goes up and down in value relative to other commodities and fiat currencies, so it is itself a volatile yardstick. Nonetheless, it provides a useful measure of the relative value of gold and whatever is being measured in gold--in this case, oil.
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Federalized Police and a Police Czar?

“We need federal intervention without delay,” declared the “Reverend” Al Sharpton, in his December 8 column for the online Huffington Post. Capitalizing on the deaths of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and other black men to centralize police powers, Sharpton announced that his National Action Network had organized a series of demonstrations, to culminate in a national march on the U.S. Congress in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, December 13.
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The Dissident Dad – Explaining Money to Your Children

Money is a very important part of all our lives. The understanding of money, how it works, and how we treat it can dramatically improve or diminish our quality of life. Based on my writings and videos on YouTube, you might think my definition of money is gold and silver, but it’s not. Money is simply a medium of exchange. It can be represented by everything from gold to horse manure. Okay, maybe not horse manure, but it’s not a far stretch with the most popular form of money today being central bank notes loaned out into existence.
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Russia Has Begun Selling Its Gold, According To SocGen

Of course, it should be noted that SocGen and its “sources” have a conflict: in an indirect way, none other than SocGen is suddenly very interested in Russia stabilizing its economy because as we wrote before, “Russia Contagion Spreads To European Banks : French SocGen, Austrian Raiffeisen Plummet” which also sent SocGen’s default risk higher in recent days. So if all it will take to stabilize the RUB sell off, reduce fears of Russian contagion, and halt the selloff of SocGen stocks is a “source” reporting what may or may not be the case, so be it.
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Paramount is now canceling screenings of Team America: World Police

Just a day after Sony decided to cancel the debut of the embattled comedy The Interview, Paramount Pictures is now pulling the comedy Team America: World Police from release. The Alamo Drafthouse, which had scheduled Team America as a fill-in for the Seth Rogen comedy after yesterday’s development, confirmed that it’s December 27th screening had been canceled, as did Cleveland Cinemas, which had booked the film for a 2015 midnight screening way back in October.
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Leaked Emails: Obama Exerted Influence over “The Interview”

Antiwar.com’s Dan Sanchez has just reported on leaked emails that reveal that the Obama regime exerted influence over the movie The Interview “to encourage assassination and regime change in North Korea”. Regarding the threats of bombings of theaters if the film was shown, Obama has been personally encouraging people to “go the movies” anyway, while hardliners like Mitt Romney have specifically encouraged people to go see The Interview.
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Assange: US prosecuting Barrett Brown for quoting assassination threats against me

The charges against journalist and activist Barrett Brown, accused of threatening an FBI agent, are partially based on his quoting another person’s threat to assassinate the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange said. Brown, 33, whose sentencing was delayed until January on Tuesday, faced federal charges including computer-related crimes, obstruction of justice and publicly threatening an FBI agent performing his duty. He’s now looking at up to eight years in prison for aiding hackers in breaching corporate computers, after pleading guilty in April to being an accessory.
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Bosses put Italy's corruption at 300b euro

Italy would be 300 billion euros ($A449.98 billion) better off if it had acted decisively against corruption at the time of a major scandal two decades ago, according to an eye-opening new report from the country's business bosses.
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North Korea Almost Certainly Did Not Hack Sony

The New York Times reported this evening that North Korea is “centrally involved” in the hack, citing unnamed U.S. intelligence officials. It’s unclear from the Times report what “centrally involved” means and whether the intelligence officials are saying the hackers were state-sponsored or actually agents of the state. The Times also notes that “It is not clear how the United States came to its determination that the North Korean regime played a central role in the Sony attacks.” The public evidence pointing at the Hermit Kingdom is flimsy.
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Tennessee Town Passes Policy Banning Negative Comments About The Town's Government

The commissioners of a small Tennessee town have just voted to ban negative comments about it from social media. This stupid move was prompted by "criticism and lies" being posted online, which supposedly "hampered" the town's government from performing its duties. South Pittsburg City is a town of 3,000. This fact will limit the damage done by its city commissioners' new policy (which passed with 4-1 vote), but only because the town itself is tiny.The ban, however, is super-broad. (via Ben Swann and BRACE YOURSELF for always-awesome AUTOPLAY)
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THE LATEST TWIST IN THE BIZARRE PROSECUTION OF BARRETT BROWN

Barrett Brown entered the federal courtroom shackled, with a slight swagger in his step and squinting into the light. He took his seat next to his defense team and quietly set about flipping through a stack of loose-leaf papers and then began writing. When asked by the judge if he knew why he was in court that day, Tuesday, Brown – who has spent two years in federal custody – leaned into the microphone and with a warbly Texas accent, said clearly and plainly, “I am to be sentenced today.” And then he returned to his papers.
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