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Saturday, Oct 25th

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Probe of silencers leads to web of Pentagon secrets

pentagonThe mysterious workings of a Pentagon office that oversees clandestine operations are unraveling in federal court, where a criminal investigation has exposed a secret weapons program entwined with allegations of a sweetheart contract, fake badges and trails of destroyed evidence.

Capping an investigation that began almost two years ago, separate trials are scheduled this month in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Va., for a civilian Navy intelligence official and a hot-rod auto mechanic from California who prosecutors allege conspired to manufacture an untraceable batch of automatic-rifle silencers.

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Airbase Falls to Islamic State as U.S. Warns of Baghdad Threat

Airbase falls to ISISIslamic State came closer to gaining full control of Iraq’s strategically key province of Anbar after it seized a military base to the west of Baghdad that had been one of the government’s few remaining outposts.

Militants took the base after heavy fighting with soldiers, according to Ahmed al-Dulaimi, a Sunni tribal leader. The capture of the facility, located near a major highway that stretches from the Iraqi capital to the border with Syria, increases the threat to another military base known as Ayn al-Asad. That installation controls the approach to Iraq’s second-largest dam and Ramadi, Anbar’s capital.

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Hong Kong pro-democracy activists reinforce barricades at protest site

Hong Kong protestsPro-democracy demonstrators in central Hong Kong have used cement to reinforce the barricades defending a protest site after being attacked by counter-protesters on Monday afternoon, raising the stakes in a student-led movement which has paralysed huge swaths of the city for the past 16 days.

Hours after police began removing barricades across the city on Monday morning, hundreds of men – some of them wearing surgical masks to hide their faces – stormed various protest sites, assaulting protesters and dragging away remaining barricades themselves. Some were armed with crowbars and cutting tools, according to media reports. “Open the roads,” they chanted. Police at one point formed a human barrier to keep the two sides apart.

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Turkey denies new deal reached to open airbases to US in fight against Isis

Turkey denies bases agreement with USTurkey has not reached a new agreement to let the US use its Incirlik airbase in the fight against Islamic State (Isis) militants, and talks are continuing on the subject, the Turkish prime minister’s office has said, in comments that run contrary to a statement made by US national security adviser Susan Rice on Sunday.

The prime minister’s office said an agreement had been reached to train moderate Syrian rebels on Turkish soil, but it was not yet clear “where [and] in what way” that would happen.

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Work on 'taming' firms wins Frenchman economics Nobel

Jean TiroleFrench economist Jean Tirole won the 2014 Nobel Prize for economics for work that has shed light on how governments can "tame" the big businesses that dominate once-public monopolies like railways, highways and telecommunications.

"This year's prize in economic sciences is about taming powerful firms," Staffan Normark, Permanent Secretary of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, told a news conference after awarding the 8 million Swedish crown ($1.1 million) prize.

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Snapchat videos and pictures stored on a third party website posted online

snapchatVideos and pictures of as many as 200,000 teenagers posted via the Snapchat service and stored on a third-party website have been put online, apparently by the same people who were behind the posting of nude celebrity photos in August.

The photos and videos were captured after some users of Snapchat – a mobile phone app which allows people to send photos to each other but which delete themselves within seconds of being viewed – were tempted into using a site called “Snapsaved.com”. That offered to let them use the service on a website on a desktop computer, rather than just on a mobile phone.

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Missouri protesters trained for 'Moral Monday'

Moral Monday in FergusonProtesters in Ferguson, Mo., and nearby St. Louis said they spent Sunday preparing for acts of civil disobedience dubbed "Moral Monday."

Protest leaders said they spent Sunday training demonstrators for acts of civil disobedience at unspecified locations in Ferguson and St. Louis to protest the fatal shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown by police officer Darren Wilson.

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Half of All Summers Will Soon Be Boiling Hot for Hundreds of Millions of People

Hotter summers comingLast year was an absolute scorcher in China. In the eastern part of the country, more than a half-billion people sweltered through 31 days with daily maximum temperatures of 95 degrees Fahrenheit or more, a historical record. The heat wave killed dozens of people.

Nightmare-inducing crowds swamped public pools and beaches. NASA reported that Shanghai broke its all-time temperature record three times in as many weeks. The blistering heat was accompanied by a drought that afflicted the country's food bowl, the Yangtze River basin, that cost China around $9.6 billion.

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Federal judge repeals Alaska’s ban on gay marriage

Alaska gay marriage ban overturnedA federal judge has struck down Alaska’s first-in-the-nation ban on gay marriages.  U.S. District Judge Timothy Burgess on Sunday said the ban violates the U.S. constitutional guarantee of due process and equal protection.

The state could appeal to the 9th Circuit Court, where chances of it winning were slim since the federal appeals court already has ruled against Idaho and Nevada, which made similar arguments.

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