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Thursday, Aug 28th

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Military hardware for college cops

college cops get military supplies

Florida International University campus police have military-grade rifles. Ohio State has a Mine Resistant Ambush Protection vehicle. And Florida State has a brand new Army Humvee. These Pentagon hand-me-downs are just a few examples of the militarization of local police that has extended to college campuses — raising fresh questions about exactly why police departments would need such defense-grade hardware.

The Defense Department has been redistributing surplus military equipment to local law enforcement agencies since the early ’90s. But the recent unrest in Ferguson, Missouri — intensified by local cops’ use of tanks and gas masks and their participation in the federal program — prompted President Barack Obama on Saturday to order a review of its appropriateness.

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The NRA Pissed Off the Wrong Nerd Genius

Bill Gates fights the NRASomewhere in a large glass tower in Northern Virginia, there’s a guy who runs guns with a French name having a bad day. With good reason.

It was reported Monday that Bill Gates, Microsoft co-founder and incredibly wealthy guy, and with his wife, Melinda, have given $1 million to Initiative 594 in Washington state. The ballot initiative, if passed by voters on November 4 (and it currently enjoys overwhelming support), will require universal background checks for all firearm purchases in the state.

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Burger King, Tim Hortons merge into whopper-sized firm

Burger King mergerThe U.S.-based restaurant chain made it official Tuesday announcing that it agreed to merge with the Canada-based Tim Hortons restaurant chain. The deal, worth about $11 billion, will create the world's third largest quick service restaurant company with about $23 billion in sales and more than 18,000 restaurants in 100 countries.

The new global company will be headquartered in Canada, but each brand will be managed independently, with Burger King retaining its U.S. offices in Miami, the two companies said in a joint statement.

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Fraud at the CDC uncovered, 340% increased risk of autism hidden from public

CDC cover up: vaccinesA top researcher at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) played a key role in helping uncover data manipulation by the CDC. This fraud obscured a higher incidence of autism in African-American boys.

The whistleblower, Dr. William Thompson, came forward after a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for original data on an autism study was filed and these highly sensitive documents were received with the assistance of U.S. Representative Darrell Issa, Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. The CDC documents and discussions with the whistleblower reveal widespread manipulation of scientific data and top-down pressure on CDC scientists to suppress a causal link between the MMR vaccine and later autism diagnosis, particularly in a subset of African-American males who received their immunization “on-time” in accordance with the recommended CDC schedule.

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Ukraine captures Russian soldiers ahead of peace talks

Ukraine captures Russian troopsUkraine released a video of captured Russian soldiers on Tuesday, sharply escalating a dispute over Moscow's alleged backing for separatist rebels in the east of the former Soviet republic.

The footage was released only hours before the two countries' presidents were due to meet for the first time since June to discuss the conflict, which has killed more than 2,000 people and provoked Western sanctions against Russia.

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Israel, Palestinians reach Gaza ceasefire deal: Hamas spokesman

Israel, palestine reach Gaza truceIsrael and the Palestinians have reached a Gaza ceasefire deal and an official announcement will be made in Egypt, where the agreement was mediated, a Gaza-based Hamas spokesman said on Tuesday.

"An agreement has been reached between the two sides and we are awaiting the announcement from Cairo to determine the zero hour for implementation," said the spokesman, Sami Abu Zuhri.

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The end of AIPAC?

AIPAC influenceFor decades, AIPAC has thrived on bipartisanship, exerting its influence on congressional Democrats and Republicans alike. But Israel’s government, now dominated by a coalition of right-wing parties led by Likud, has made compromise far less likely than it was a generation ago.

Prime Minister Netanyahu, the leader of Likud and an unabashed partisan of the Republican view of the world, took office at about the same time as President Obama, and the two have clashed frequently over the expansion of Israeli settlements and the contours of a potential peace agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

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Germany to arm Kurds against Islamic State in test of stronger global role

Germany to ar KurdsGerman Chancellor Angela Merkel faces a backlash at home as Germany flexes a more muscular foreign policy, most recently with a controversial decision to arm Kurdish forces in Iraq.

The decision to bolster Kurds fighting the self-declared Islamic State (IS) is opposed by nearly two-thirds of Germans. And while Ms. Merkel has been a master at tapping the public mood, even when that has meant U-turns on issues from energy to the minimum wage, she is now pushing Germany to be more assertive, both because of its growing world clout and because international crises have erupted so close to home.

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VA says no proof delays in care at Phoenix facility caused vets to die

VA deaths not caused by delaysThe Department of Veterans Affairs says investigators have found no proof that delays in care caused any deaths at a VA hospital in Phoenix, deflating an explosive allegation that helped expose a troubled health care system in which veterans waited months for appointments while employees falsified records to cover up the delays.

Revelations that as many as 40 veterans died while awaiting care at the Phoenix VA hospital rocked the agency last spring, bringing to light scheduling problems and allegations of misconduct at other hospitals as well. The scandal led to the resignation of former VA Secretary Eric Shinseki. In July, Congress approved spending an additional $16 billion to help shore up the system.

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