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Monday, Oct 20th

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The United States Is Number One ... but in What?

USA number oneAmerican politicians are fond of telling their audiences that the United States is the greatest country in the world. Is there any evidence for this claim?

Well, yes. When it comes to violence and preparations for violence, the United States is, indeed, No. 1. In 2013, according to a report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, the U.S. government accounted for 37 percent of world military expenditures, putting it far ahead of all other nations. (The two closest competitors, China and Russia, accounted for 11 percent and 5 percent respectively.)

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The Brain Cancer Rate for Girls in This Town Shot Up 550%—Is a Defense Contractor to Blame?

brain cancer in florida townA pixielike girl with big blue eyes and long brown hair, Hannah Samarripa began experiencing headaches and fatigue in the middle of eighth grade. By the time the spring dance rolled around, Hannah didn’t have the strength to paint her own toenails. Her mother, Becky Samarripa, did it for her, and then drove Hannah to school and waited outside, knowing she’d be able to put in only a brief appearance.

The teenager’s mysterious decline continued on to limping, vomiting, incontinence and—perhaps her most disturbing symptom—occasional fits of barking laughter that sounded so strange and demonic, her father wondered whether she was on drugs. Then, in the summer before ninth grade, while her family was visiting a Civil War memorial on the coast of Alabama, Hannah collapsed.

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5 Yr-Old Palestinian Girl Dies After Being Hit by Settler Driver

Palestinian girl diesA Palestinian girl died after being hit by a car driven by a Jewish West Bank settler who fled the scene.

Einas Khalil, 5, died hours after being struck near the central West Bank town of Sinjil, located northeast of Ramallah. Another 5-year-old Palestinian girl also was injured.

Residents of the Palestinian town accused the driver, 29, of the Yitzhar settlement, of deliberately hitting the girls, who were walking home from kindergarten.

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Spanish nurse tests negative for Ebola virus

Spanish nurse negative for ebolaThe Spanish nurse who became the first person to contract Ebola outside West Africa has now tested negative for the virus, the Spanish government says,

The result suggests Teresa Romero, 44, is no longer infected - although a second test is required before she can be declared free of Ebola.

Ms Romero contracted the virus when treating two infected patients in a Madrid hospital earlier this month.

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Suicide Bomber Kills 21 Outside Baghdad Mosque

Baghdad bomber kills 19A suicide bomber has detonated explosives at a Shia mosque in western Baghdad, killing at least 21people, security and medical officials said.

The blast in the Harthiyah area, which also wounded at least 30 people, is the latest in a string of bombings in the Iraqi capital that have killed dozens of people in recent days.

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Hong Kong protest clashes leave 20 injured

Hong Kong protestsDozens of Hong Kong police with shields and helmets pushed into a crowd of protesters gathered at barricades in the territory’s densely populated Mong Kok shopping district early on Sunday, striking them repeatedly with batons.

Twenty people were injured in the Mong Kok clashes, in what was a fourth night of heightened violence.

Tens of thousands of protesters have come out over the past three weeks to demand greater electoral freedoms from Beijing, and Hong Kong’s public has been split —some support their agenda while others oppose the disruption of business in the Asian finance hub.

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U.S. accused of misleading British minister over treatment of Shaker Aamer in Guantánamo Bay

Shaker AamerThe US government has been accused of misleading a British minister over the brutal treatment endured by the last British resident being held inside Guantánamo Bay.

Testimony from detainees has described increasingly violent “forcible cell extraction” (FCE) tactics, in which an inmate is forced out of his cell by armed guards, usually before being taken to the force-feeding chair.

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Paris bans smoking in park playgrounds

Paris smoking banSmoking has been banned in the children’s playgrounds of a Paris park for a trial period of a year, in an initiative likely to be extended to other outdoor public spaces.

The measure was introduced during the weekend as part of a government-sponsored campaign to reduce the high number of smoking-related deaths in France.

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ACLU faults police Taser policies in Iowa

Iowa taseringPolicies on Taser use by Iowa law enforcement agencies are inadequate and alarmingly varied, with only a handful of the state's 99 sheriff's departments specifically prohibiting using electric shocks on pregnant women, the elderly, children or people who are already restrained, the first statewide review of the weapons shows.

The state's lack of officer training requirements also jeopardizes public safety while potentially depriving citizens of their constitutional rights against excessive force and cruel or unusual punishment. The deficiencies expose police agencies to potentially serious and expensive liabilities, the study by the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa and the University of Iowa College of Law Clinic concludes.

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