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Thursday, Aug 28th

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Toxic Algae Bloom Heading Towards Florida

toxic algaie bloomA toxic algae bloom 1.5 times the size of Rhode Island is heading towards the Florida coast. The algae emits odorless chemicals, which can be harmful to humans and fatal to marine life.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission have already received thousands of reports of dead marine life.

Ocean currents are predicted to keep the bloom from reaching the shore over the next couple of days.

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Egypt's Rabaa deaths 'crime against humanity

Rabaa deathsA new report has alleged that the Egyptian security forces' killings of at least 1,000 protesters at the Rabaa al-Adawiya Square sit-in last year in Cairo "most likely amount to crimes against humanity".

The 195-page Human Rights Watch (HRW) report released on Tuesday found that Egyptian security forces "gunned down hundreds of unarmed protesters" when they moved in to disperse the sit-in on August 14.

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Philip Morris prepared to sue UK over plain cigarette packaging

Philip Morris sues UKPhilip Morris International, the world's largest tobacco company, is prepared to sue the British government should it implement a law requiring plain packaging of cigarettes, a document seen by Reuters on Tuesday showed.

The UK government has conducted a consultation with its Department of Health on potential legislation which would force cigarette makers to sell their products in plain packages with graphic health warnings and no branding.

The maker of Marlboro cigarettes "is prepared to protect its rights in the courts and to seek fair compensation for the value of its property," the company has told the UK government in response to its consultation.

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DEA improperly paid $854,460 for passenger lists

DEA paid for passenger listsThe Drug Enforcement Administration paid an Amtrak secretary $854,460 over nearly 20 years to obtain confidential information about train passengers, which the DEA could have lawfully obtained for free through a law enforcement network, The Associated Press has learned.

The employee was not publicly identified except as a "secretary to a train and engine crew" in a report on the incident by Amtrak's inspector general. The secretary was allowed to retire, rather than face administrative discipline, after the discovery that the employee had effectively been acting as an informant who "regularly" sold private passenger information since 1995 without Amtrak's approval, according to a one-paragraph summary of the matter.

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Naomi Wolf: " ... God did not 'give' Israel to the Jews/Israelites. ... "

God did not give Israel to the Jewish peopleOkay, so I was challenged below: "Read the Bible! God gave the land of Israel to the Jewish people." So....I may get crucified for this but I have started to say it -- most recently (terrified, trembling) to warm welcome in a synagogue in LA: Actually if you read Genesis Exodus and Deuteronomy in Hebrew -- as I do -- you see that God did not "give" Israel to the Jews/Israelites.

We as Jews are raised with the creed that "God gave us the land of Israel" in Genesis -- and that ethnically 'we are the chosen people." But actually -- and I could not believe my eyes when I saw this, I checked my reading with major scholars and they confirmed it -- actually God's "covenant" in Genesis, Exodus and Deuteronomy with the Jewish people is NOT ABOUT AN ETHNICITY AND NOT ABOUT A CONTRACT. IT IS ABOUT A WAY OF BEHAVING.

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Robin Williams Found Dead in Possible Suicide

Robin WilliamsVeteran film and television comedic actor Robin Williams was found dead on Monday. He was 63.

The cause of death is believed to be suicide via asphyxiation, according to the coroner’s office in Tiburon, Calif. He was found in his home.

According to his publicist, who confirmed the news, the actor had been battling depression of late and recently entered 12-step rehab stint for drug abuse.

His wife Susan Schneider said in a statement, “I am utterly heartbroken. On behalf of Robin’s family, we are asking for privacy during our time of profound grief. As he is remembered, it is our hope the focus will not be on Robin’s death, but on the countless moments of joy and laughter he gave to millions.”

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Obama's Pentagon Covered Up War Crimes in Afghanistan, Says Amnesty International

US covered up war crimes in AfghanistanThe human-rights group reports the U.S. military systematically ignored evidence of torture and unlawful killings in Afghanistan as recently as last year.

The U.S. military has systematically covered up or disregarded “abundant and compelling evidence” of war crimes, torture, and unlawful killings in Afghanistan as recently as last year, according to a report by Amnesty International published today in Kabul.

The human rights organization alleges that the U.S. military has routinely failed to properly investigate reports of criminal behavior and, in some instances, tampered with evidence to conceal wrongdoing. On the rare occasions when servicemen are held to account, the report found that the compromised military justice system seldom secured justice for the victims of enforced disappearances, killings, and abuse that included torture.

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All About Oil: Why Americ is Dropping Bombs to Defend Erbil

Erbil oilErbil has an ancient history, but, in political-economic terms, the city is best understood these days as a Kurdish sort of Deadwood, as depicted in David Milch’s HBO series about a gold-rush town whose antihero, Al Swearengen, conjures up a local government to create a veneer of legitimacy for statehood, all to advance his rackets.

Erbil is an oil-rush town where the local powers that be similarly manipulate their ambiguous sovereignty for financial gain—their own, and that of any pioneer wild and wily enough to invest money without having it stolen.

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Before the fear of war, fear of fracking in Ukraine

Fear of fracking in UkraineLocals seemed to have consensus on who’s at war: the U.S. and Russia over control of Ukraine, they all agreed. But even now, three months past the day the first shell fell on Slovyansk, they still had trouble comprehending why their green, sleepy hometown still was trapped in this conflict.

Residents of the bombed building remembered how in April, local and Russian-assigned rebel commanders chose to set up the capital for their forces in this town.

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