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Wednesday, May 06th

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Eyeing Arab ties, Israel to observe nuclear pact meeting

NetanyahuIsrael will take part as an observer in a major nuclear non-proliferation conference that opens at the United Nations on Monday, ending a 20-year absence in hope of fostering dialogue with Arab states, a senior Israeli official said.

Assumed to have the Middle East's sole nuclear arsenal, and having never joined the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Israel has stayed away from gatherings of NPT signatories since 1995 in protest at resolutions it regarded as biased against it.

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How the Trans Pacific Partnership Signals the Death of the Republic

US SenateOn April 22, 2015, the Senate Finance Committee approved a bill to fast-track the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a massive trade agreement that would override our republican form of government and hand judicial and legislative authority to a foreign three-person panel of corporate lawyers.

The secretive TPP is an agreement with Mexico, Canada, Japan, Singapore and seven other countries that affects 40% of global markets. Fast-track authority could now go to the full Senate for a vote as early as next week. Fast-track means Congress will be prohibited from amending the trade deal, which will be put to a simple up or down majority vote.

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The CIA’s black marks on humanity

CIA tortureOne recent afternoon in Arlington, Virginia, I found myself doing pushups alongside a host of military and civilian attorneys, paralegals and other employees of the Office of the Chief Defense Counsel. It is part of the Defense Department’s Office of Military Commissions, which oversees war court proceedings for detainees at Guantánamo Bay, and I was visiting at 1 p.m. — designated pushup time.

That wasn’t my original plan: I’d been scheduled to attend April pretrial hearings in Guantánamo for five high-value detainees (HVDs) accused of involvement in 9/11, but when the hearings were canceled by the case’s military judge, Arlington seemed to be the next best destination.

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Israeli military indicts 3 soldiers for looting in Gaza war

Gaza invasionThe Israeli military announced Sunday it indicted three soldiers for allegedly taking money from a building in Gaza during last year's war against Hamas militants.

The military said that two soldiers were indicted on suspicion they took the equivalent of $605 and another is accused of helping them.

A military police investigation was opened after the soldiers' commander reported them, it said. The military said it repeatedly tried to find the owner of the building but attempts were unsuccessful.

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The oil and gas boom has devastated ecosystems across the US

oil and gas destroy ecosystemsDrilling for oil and gas has caused long-lasting damage to ecosystems across Canada and the US, according to a study published today. The findings lend new weight to longstanding concerns over the resurgence in domestic fossil fuel production, as well as the complex land use regulations that make environmental monitoring more challenging.

The paper, published in the journal Science, examines the impact of oil and gas production on terrestrial plant growth, using a metric called net primary production (NPP). NPP can be used to gauge the health of the ecosystem.

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Is the White House press corps becoming obsolete?

WH press corpsOver the last six years, a confluence of forces have eroded the foundation of the relationship between the White House and the reporters who cover it most regularly.

Financial pressures have reduced the number of news organizations committed to daily coverage of the White House and to participating in its cycle of pools, briefings and trips on Air Force One. And technologies including Twitter, YouTube and livestreaming of events mean the White House can communicate directly with the public without going through the traditional media that still dominates the Brady Briefing Room.

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New York police shoot unarmed man dead during East Village arrest attempt

NY police shoot unarmed manA man was shot and killed by New York police officers on Saturday, during an attempted arrest in the East Village neighbourhood of Manhattan.

An NYPD spokeswoman confirmed to the Guardian that the man was fatally shot earlier on Saturday afternoon, at around 1.45pm, but did not identify him, saying that the name had yet to be released to the press, pending notification of family.

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Wisconsin police billboard features officer who shot two people in 10 days

wisconsin police posterAmidst national tension over perceived police brutality, Kenosha, Wisconsin, a city of roughly 100,000 on the shores of Lake Michigan, just north of Chicago, has come into focus.

The Kenosha Professional Police Association (KPPA) posted a billboard thanking the community for its support. Some residents question the message behind the ad. It features Pablo Torres, a young officer who shot two people within a 10-day period in March. In the second shooting, Torres killed 26-year-old Aaron Siler.

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Supreme Court Seems To Be On The Verge Of Ruling In Favor Of Marriage Equality

SCOTUS ready approve gay marriageThe U.S. Supreme Court's arguments on Tuesday over same-sex marriage will cap more than two decades of litigation and a transformation in public attitudes.

Based on the court's actions during the past two years, a sense of inevitability is in the air: That a majority is on the verge of declaring gay marriage legal nationwide.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, the court's pivotal member on gay rights, has been marching in this direction with opinions dating to 1996. In his most recent gay rights decision for the court in 2013, rejecting a legal definition of marriage limited to a man and woman for purposes of federal benefits, Kennedy deplored that U.S. law for making gay marriages "unequal."

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