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Thursday, Sep 18th

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Islamic State Fighters Capture Syrian Air Base

IS takes over air baseIslamic State fighters captured a major military air base in northeastern Syria on Sunday, eliminating the last government-held outpost in a province dominated by the extremist group, activists and state media said.

The jihadis launched their long-anticipated offensive last week to seize the sprawling Tabqa air field, located some 45 kilometers (25 miles) from the extremists' stronghold in the city of Raqqa. The air base was one of the most significant government military facilities in the area, containing several warplane squadrons, helicopters, tanks, artillery and ammunition.

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6.4-magnitude earthquake shakes Chile

Chilean earthquake 6.4A 6.4-magnitude earthquake rattled the coast of Chile Saturday afternoon, cutting power supplies but causing no significant damage.

There were no injuries reported by the temblor, which was situated about 67 miles northwest of the capital of Santiago.

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More than 250 migrants may have died in shipwreck off Libya

immigrants drwon off Libyan coastMore than 250 migrants may have died when a boat sank a kilometer (half a mile) off the Libyan coast, a coastguard official said on Sunday.

"We believe there are still more than 250 bodies trapped underwater," coastguard official Mohammad Abdellatif told Reuters. "When we went underwater we discovered that the boat is a lot bigger than we thought."

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Iran says it downs Israeli drone near nuclear site

iran nuclear plantIran's elite Revolutionary Guards said Sunday its forces shot down an Israeli drone as it approached an Iranian nuclear site, without offering further details. Israeli officials could not be immediately reached for comment.

The statement comes as Iran negotiates with world powers over its nuclear program and hard-liners press moderate President Hassan Rouhani to demand more concessions before limiting its atomic capabilities. Israel has not ruled out taking military action against Iran's nuclear facilities if its capability to build an atomic weapon progresses.

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6.0 earthquake hits northern California

California earthquakeA large earthquake rolled through California's northern Bay Area early Sunday, damaging some buildings, knocking out power to thousands and sending residents running out of their homes in the darkness.

The extent of the damage wasn't immediately clear. Two major injuries have been reported, and hospitals have been very busy with moderate injuries, Napa Division Fire Chief John Callanan said.

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Bush and Obama Spurred Edward Snowden to Spill U.S. Secrets

Snowden spurred by Bush and ObamaBefore Edward Snowden joined Daniel Ellsberg and Chelsea Manning in the annals of American whistleblowers, he was a young man who witnessed the attacks of September 11, 2001, and enthusiastically volunteered to join the national-security state. Back then, he believed in the wisdom of the War in Iraq, saw the National Security Agency as a force for good, and hoped to serve within the system.

Since his first interview with Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras, we've known that he gradually lost faith in the federal government, believed it to be engaged in illegal, immoral acts, and decided to gather and leak some of its secrets.

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Veteran Space Shuttle Astronaut Steven Nagel Dies At 67

Steven NagelAstronaut Steven Nagel, who flew on four space shuttle missions in the 1980s and 90s, including two as mission commander, has died after a long battle with cancer, NASA confirms.

Nagel, an Air Force pilot who had logged many hours in fighter jets and as a test pilot, joined the NASA astronaut corps in 1978 in the first crop of trainees selected for the space shuttle program.

Although trained as a shuttle pilot, Nagel's first mission, aboard (Discovery) in June 1985, was as a mission specialist.

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Ozone-Depleting Compound Persists Despite Ban, NASA Research Shows

Ozone depleting chemicals persistNASA research shows Earth's atmosphere contains an unexpectedly large amount of an ozone-depleting compound from an unknown source decades after the compound was banned worldwide.

Carbon tetrachloride (CCl4), which was once used in applications such as dry cleaning and as a fire-extinguishing agent, was regulated in 1987 under the Montreal Protocol along with other chlorofluorocarbons that destroy ozone and contribute to the ozone hole over Antarctica. Parties to the Montreal Protocol reported zero new CCl4 emissions between 2007-2012.

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Israeli military retracts claim that fatal mortar bomb was fired from UN school

IDF retracts claimThe Israeli military has been forced to retract a statement claiming that the mortar shell that killed a four-year-old Israeli boy on Friday was fired from or near a United Nations school in Gaza.

After the death of Daniel Tragerman outside his home in a kibbutz near the Israel-Gaza border, a spokesman for the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) said the mortar was fired from or near a school run by UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, which was being used to shelter Palestinians who have fled their homes because of bombing and destruction.

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