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Wednesday, Aug 27th

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Attack at Afghan base kills US general, wounds 15

Camp QuarghaA U.S. Army major general was killed in an attack at an Afghan military base in Kabul on Tuesday, according to a defense official who asked not to be named.

If confirmed would be the highest ranking American officer to be killed in the war in Afghanistan.  A defense official confirmed the information on the condition he not be named since the family had not been fully notified yet.

Coalition headquarters in Kabul would confirm only that one coalition servicemen was killed in an attack. The coalition headquarters did not detail the circumstances of the attack.

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African leaders gather for US summit

African conferenceDelegates are gathering in Washington DC for the largest ever summit of African leaders in the US.

Nearly 50 heads of state are expected to attend the three-day event, which began on Monday.  US Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker has said about $900m (£535m) in business deals will be formally announced during the event.

But the presidents of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone have cancelled their plans to attend amid an Ebola outbreak.

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Cash, Weapons and Surveillance: the U.S. is a Key Party to Every Israeli Attack

US behind every attack in GazaThe U.S. government has long lavished overwhelming aid on Israel, providing cash, weapons and surveillance technology that play a crucial role in Israel’s attacks on its neighbors. But top secret documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden shed substantial new light on how the U.S. and its partners directly enable Israel’s military assaults – such as the one on Gaza.

Over the last decade, the NSA has significantly increased the surveillance assistance it provides to its Israeli counterpart, the Israeli SIGINT National Unit (ISNU; also known as Unit 8200), including data used to monitor and target Palestinians. In many cases, the NSA and ISNU work cooperatively with the British and Canadian spy agencies, the GCHQ and CSEC.

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Judge: 'Apparent' duty to release Guantánamo prisoners at Afghanistan War's end

GitmoA federal judge has passed up a Guantánamo detainee's demand for an order that he be released when the U.S. war in Afghanistan ends, but the jurist suggested that U.S. officials have an "apparent" legal duty to let such prisoners go when hostilities there conclude.

In a ruling issued Sunday, U.S. District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly turned aside Kuwaiti detainee Fawzi al-Odah's plea, calling it an "abstract disagreement" at this point since thousands of U.S. troops remain in Afghanistan. However, her language indicated she was amenable to arguments that the U.S. government's authority to hold detainees concludes when the fighting in Afghanistan is over, or at least the U.S. role in such fighting is over.

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Judge: Alabama abortion clinic law unconstitutional

Alabama abortion law overturnedA federal judge has blocked an Alabama law requiring abortion providers to obtain admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, making it the second such law to be ruled unconstitutional within a week.

U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson issued an order Monday that temporarily blocks enforcement of the Alabama statute, which he said would place an undue burden on women seeking an abortion by forcing the closure of three of the state’s five clinics. A federal appeals court issued a similar ruling last week on a Mississippi law, which would have shuttered that state’s only clinic.

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Chris Hedges: Why Israel Lies

Why israel LiesAll governments lie, as I.F. Stone pointed out, including Israel and Hamas. But Israel engages in the kinds of jaw-dropping lies that characterize despotic and totalitarian regimes. It does not deform the truth; it inverts it. It routinely paints a picture for the outside world that is diametrically opposed to reality.

And all of us reporters who have covered the occupied territories have run into Israel’s Alice-in-Wonderland narratives, which we dutifully insert into our stories—required under the rules of American journalism—although we know they are untrue.

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Deforestation, development may be driving Ebola outbreaks, experts say

deforestationAs the deadliest ever Ebola outbreak continues its spread in West Africa, scientific evidence suggests that human impact on the environment may have played a role in the latest epidemic.

Researchers say the logging, road construction and even global warming may have precipitated the crisis by bringing animals infected with the disease in closer contact with humans.

“Expansion of human impact can really trigger outbreaks,” said Jonathan Epstein, a veterinary epidemiologist at EcoHealth Alliance. “Deforestation, building roads, expanding farms into areas that used to be dense forest, all those things increase the opportunity for wild animals to get into contact with livestock and humans.”

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U.S. Inquiry Finds a ‘Culture of Violence’ Against Teenage Inmates at Rikers

Riker's island abuse of teensIn an extraordinary rebuke of the New York City Department of Correction, the federal government said on Monday the department had systematically violated the civil rights of male teenagers at Rikers Island by failing to protect them from the rampant use of unnecessary and excessive force by correction officers.

The office of Preet Bharara, the United States attorney in Manhattan, released its findings in a graphic 79-page report that described a “deep-seated culture of violence” against youthful inmates at Rikers, perpetrated by guards who operated with little fear of punishment.

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Anti-immigration convoy cancels Texas event over 'death threats'

Anti immigrant convoyA convoy of anti-immigration activists touring the border with Mexico to defend the US from “invasion” has cancelled an event in Texas because of alleged death threats.

The 30-vehicle convoy aborted a planned rally in El Paso on Sunday over safety concerns, said the convoy organiser, Eric Odom.

“We had to cancel that because of death threats against our crew and convoy,” he told the Guardian, speaking by phone from a New Mexico highway. “We’re not into that. We are a very peaceful convoy and we want to show that the border is very dangerous and open.”

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