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Wednesday, Nov 26th

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US to defend solitary confinement use before UN

solitary confinementOn Nov. 12 and 13, the practice of holding incarcerated people in prolonged isolation will come under international scrutiny when the U.S. government goes before the United Nations Committee Against Torture in Geneva, part of a periodic review to assess the country’s compliance with the Convention Against Torture and the first U.S. review under Barack Obama’s administration.

This year the 10-person U.N. committee has repeated its concerns about imposing prolonged isolation on prisoners. In a list of issues to be addressed with the U.S. — including the use of secret detention facilities, Guantánamo Bay and the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” — the committee has asked the government to “describe steps taken to improve the extremely harsh regime imposed on detainees in ‘Supermax security prisons,’ in particular the practice of prolonged isolation.”

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Anadarko's $5.15 billion cleanup deal approved by U.S. court

anadarko Anadarko Petroleum Corp's agreement to pay $5.15 billion to clean up nuclear fuel and other pollution received approval from a federal judge on Monday, the final hurdle for the settlement touted by the U.S. Department of Justice as the largest-ever environmental cleanup recovery.

The agreement, reached in April, resolved a lawsuit against Anadarko and its Kerr-McGee unit from creditors of Tronox Inc, the paint materials maker that was once a unit of Kerr-McGee.

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Navy Plans Electromagnetic War Games Over National Park and Forest in Washington State

olympic peninsula war gamesOlympic National Park and Olympic National Forest in Washington State are two of the most beautiful wilderness areas in the United States. Majestic glacier-clad peaks rise above temperate rainforest-covered hills. Gorgeous rivers tumble down from the heights and the areas are home to several types of plants and animal species that exist nowhere else on earth.

These protected national commons are also the areas in and near where the US Navy aims to conduct its Northwest Electromagnetic Radiation Warfare training program, wherein it will fly 36 of its EA-18G "Growler" supersonic jet warplanes down to 1,200 feet above the ground in some areas in order to conduct war games with 14 mobile towers. Enough electromagnetic radiation will be emitted so as to be capable of melting human eye tissue, and causing breast cancer, childhood leukemia and damage to human fetuses, let alone impacting wildlife in the area.

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Israel reportedly set to take 3,000 acres of Palestinian village land near Jerusalem

Israel takin 3,000 acres in E jerusalemIDF soldiers gave out orders Saturday informing Palestinians of Israel’s plans to confiscate 3,176 acres (12,852 dunams) around the West Bank village of Beit Iksa for military purposes, Palestinian media reported.

Beit Iksa residents said to Ma’an news agency that soldiers at a checkpoint distributed the orders, signed by head of the IDF Central Command Gen. Nitzan Alon.

The orders gave the residents until the end of 2017 to leave the land in question. They also said that soldiers informed the Beit Iksa residents that an IDF liaison would come on Monday to explain which parcels of land would be confiscated.

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Uganda planning new anti-gay law despite opposition

Uganda gay lawsUganda plans to introduce a new anti-gay law that will withstand any legal challenge, a government minister has told the BBC.

It will not explicitly refer to homosexuality, but will rely on the penal code which prescribes a life sentence for "unnatural acts", he said.  Activists say the plan is more draconian than anti-gay legislation annulled by the courts in August.

The US and other donors cut funding to Uganda in protest against the law.

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Texas Oil Regulator Says It Will Not Honor Town’s Vote To Ban Fracking

Denton fracking ban ignoredRailroad Commission Chairwoman Christi Craddick came out strongly against a fracking ban passed this week in North Texas, pledging to continue giving permits to companies that seek to drill in Denton.

Craddick discussed the state’s oil and gas boom, the agency’s needs and pitfalls, and her political future at a Thursday event sponsored by the Texas Tribune. The Railroad Commission is the state agency that regulates oil and gas.

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Democrats create an ALEC-killer

nick rathodChastened by the conservative movement’s startling success at using national money to dominate state legislatures, liberal activists this week will ask top donors to support a plan to reverse the precipitous Democratic decline in state governments, where the party was trounced yet again on Tuesday.

President Barack Obama’s former liaison to the states will launch a major new state-focused organization called the State Innovation Exchange — or SiX for short — before donors on Friday at the annual winter meeting of the Democracy Alliance liberal funding club.

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Anti-Keystone groups aren't giving up

Anti keystone groupsThe environmentalists who spent years fighting the Keystone XL pipeline to a standstill are back in a familiar position: against the ropes, Washington abuzz with speculation about their imminent defeat.

They don’t mind it. A new congressional clash over the oil pipeline stands to motivate greens’ base after a dismal midterm election that left them with an $85 million bill and several longtime allies out of office.

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Here's how gov’t workers undermining cybersecurity

cybersecurityA $10 billion-a-year effort to protect sensitive government data, from military secrets to Social Security numbers, is struggling to keep pace with an increasing number of cyberattacks and unwittingly is being undermined by federal employees and contractors.

Workers scattered across more than a dozen agencies, from the Defense and Education departments to the National Weather Service, are responsible for at least half of the federal cyberincidents reported each year since 2010, according to an Associated Press analysis of records.

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