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Monday, Apr 21st

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UN science report: Warming worsens security woes

warming globeIn an authoritative report due out Monday a United Nations climate panel for the first time is connecting hotter global temperatures to hotter global tempers. Top scientists are saying that climate change will complicate and worsen existing global security problems, such as civil wars, strife between nations and refugees.

They're not saying it will cause violence, but will be an added factor making things even more dangerous. Fights over resources, like water and energy, hunger and extreme weather will all go into the mix to destabilize the world a bit more, says the report by the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The summary of the report is being finalized this weekend by the panel in Yokohama.

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Report: NSA kept tabs on 122 world leaders

NSA kept tabs on 122 world leadersIntelligence gathering by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) included the creation of a special databank which targeted 122 world leaders, according to new leaks reported on Saturday by German newspaper Der Spiegel and The Intercept, part of the tranche of documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden last year.

The undated document includes the name of Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel, whom the NSA targeted in more than 300 separate reports.

Other leaders listed in the databank include the leaders of Peru, Somalia, Syria, Guatemala, Colombia and Belarus.

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With friends in government, Motorola beats a path to telecom supremacy

Motorola contracts...in 2005, amid a federal push to avoid another communications nightmare like the one blamed for the Sept. 11, 2001, deaths of 125 New York firefighters at the collapsed World Trade Center, Rupf and Plummer joined forces. They set their sights on a new digital two-way radio system so that all of their first responders could talk to each other.

There was, however, a catch.

A notice circulated by Alameda County to gauge vendors’ interest in the project said that the first $5.7 million phase must include a master controller made by Motorola Inc., and the equipment must connect with the county’s aged, proprietary Motorola SmartNet II system.

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Alex Baer: Welcome to These Out-Rage-Us Times

hissy fitWe've become a nation of fleeting snits and hissy fits.

We nurse along so many hurt feelings that we all get emergency Red Cross parcels, plus the thanks from a grateful nation, for our extensive enmity-nursing skills.  Our spending on pets last year was $61 billion -- and that's not even counting what we're willing to pay to keep our pet peeves alive.  We have so many kinds of hairy grudges, it's surprising none of them ever showed up in Dr. Suess books, all raspberry and lime.

But, none of these petty issues includes the stuff that really ignites us in some way, really toasts our scalps, like we've just grabbed hold of some stripped-bare 220 cables long enough to have Tilt or Free Game show up on our foreheads, or to start spitting little lightning bolts, in a sudden show of Looney Tunes solidarity.

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After Christians Distribute Bibles at Elementary Schools, Atheists Ask Permission to do the Same… and Get It

bibleLast fall, the ACLU of Kentucky sent letters to superintendents in the state warning them about how Gideons International, the Bibles-in-your-hotel-room people, were often given access to public elementary school children, “solely for the purpose of actively distributing copies of New Testament Bibles directly to students.”

It didn’t stop Casey County School District Superintendent Marion Sowders from allowing the Gideons into the district’s three elementary schools earlier this year.

If you were a non-Christian group, how would you respond?

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Taxpayers fund creationism in the classroom

CreationismTaxpayers in 14 states will bankroll nearly $1 billion this year in tuition for private schools, including hundreds of religious schools that teach Earth is less than 10,000 years old, Adam and Eve strolled the garden with dinosaurs, and much of modern biology, geology and cosmology is a web of lies.

Now a major push to expand these voucher programs is under way from Alaska to New York, a development that seems certain to sharply increase the investment.

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Pa. court loosens limits on anti-fracking activist's movements

Vera ScrogginsA Pennsylvania judge on Friday loosened a court injunction restricting the movements of Vera Scroggins, who was banned from setting foot on property owned by or leased to Cabot Oil & Gas Co. in Susquehanna County — and therefore unable to shop at her favorite grocery store, go to the nearby hospital, or visit some of her friends.

Scroggins has been lauded by environmentalists — and has become notorious among oil and gas operators — after years of giving fellow activists, local residents and even celebrities tours of local hydraulic fracturing operations.

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GCHQ and NSA Targeted Private German Companies

MerkelDocuments show that Britain's GCHQ intelligence service infiltrated German Internet firms and America's NSA obtained a court order to spy on Germany and collected information about the chancellor in a special database. Is it time for the country to open a formal espionage investigation?

The headquarters of Stellar, a company based in the town of Hürth near Cologne, are visible from a distance. Seventy-five white antennas dominate the landscape. The biggest are 16 meters (52 feet) tall and kept in place by steel anchors. It is an impressive sight and serves as a popular backdrop for scenes in TV shows, including the German action series "Cobra 11."

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Dzhokhar Tsarnaev: Lawyers say older brother was asked to be FBI informant

Boston marathon suspectLawyers for suspected Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on Friday said his older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev was the mastermind behind the incident that killed three people, and he was asked to be an informant for the FBI.

The lawyers said Tamerlan Tsarnaev had been encouraged by the FBI to observe and report on the Chechen and Muslim community and asked for the release of documents proving their assertion.

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