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Tuesday, May 03rd

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Pentagon slams Benghazi panel for wasting money with exhaustive probe

DOD slams Benghazi panelThe U.S. Department of Defense this week sent a letter to the House panel still investigating the 2012 attack in Benghazi and expressed frustration with the committee's prolonged probe and exhaustive requests, which have persisted for nearly two years.

The letter was sent to Benghazi panel chair Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., from Stephen Hedger, the assistant secretary of Defense. It is dated April 28.

"I write in response to the Select Committee on Benghazi's recent crescendo of requests of the Department of Defense," Hedger wrote to start the letter, before identifying hundreds of pages of documents, several classified briefings and other cooperation given by the Pentagon over the past year to the Benghazi investigators.

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Kenya burns huge pile of ivory tusks to protest poaching

Kenya burns tusks

Kenya's president Saturday set fire to 105 tons of elephant ivory and more than 1 ton of rhino horn, believed to be the largest stockpile ever destroyed, in a dramatic statement against the trade in ivory and products from endangered species.

Uhuru Kenyatta put a flame to the biggest of 11 pyres of ivory tusks and one of rhino horn in a chilly afternoon. Overnight torrential rains that stopped midday had threatened to ruin the event and created a mudfield in the ground around the piles inside the Nairobi National Park.

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Sadr supporters storm Baghdad's Green Zone

Iraqis storm Baghdad partliamentThousands of angry protesters have broken into Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone and stormed the parliament building after politicians again failed to approve new ministers.

It is the climax of weeks of political turmoil in Iraq that has seen MPs hold a sit-in, brawl in the parliament chamber and seek to sack the speaker, stalling Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's efforts to replace party-affiliated ministers with technocrats.

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Fox News Pundit Pleads Guilty To Faking CIA Ties

Wayne Simmons pleads guilty to fraudA Fox News guest terrorism analyst pleaded guilty on Friday to U.S. charges that he fraudulently claimed to have been a CIA agent for decades, federal prosecutors said.

Wayne Simmons, 62, of Annapolis, Maryland, entered the plea in U.S. district court in Alexandria, Virginia, a Washington suburb, the U.S. Attorney's Office said in a statement.

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Norway oil-rig helicopter crashes on island, killing all 13 aboard

Norway helicopter crash kills 13A helicopter carrying Statoil workers from an offshore rig in the North Sea crashed Friday on an island off western Norway, killing all 13 people on board, rescuers said.

The Airbus EC-225 helicopter shattered into pieces as it slammed just after noon into the rocky shoreline of Turoey, a tiny island outside Bergen, Norway’s second-largest city.

“We do not believe anyone can be found alive,” said Boerge Galta of the Joint Rescue Coordination Center. The rescue operation was called off Friday at 5 p.m. after 11 bodies were found on land but divers were still looking for the other two bodies.

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Egyptian cleric defends CIA agent convicted over his rendition

Sabrina De SousaThe radical Egyptian cleric who was kidnapped in Milan by the CIA in 2003 has come to the defence of a former CIA officer convicted for her alleged role in his extraordinary rendition.

Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, who is known as Abu Omar, told the Guardian in a telephone interview that he believed Sabrina De Sousa, who faces imminent extradition to Italy, was a scapegoat and ought to be pardoned by Italy’s head of state, Sergio Mattarella. De Sousa, a 60-year-old dual American and Portuguese citizen, faces a four-year prison sentence and is due to be extradited from Portugal on 4 May.

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Supreme Court won't block Texas photo ID law — yet

Voter ID law in Texas upheldThe Supreme Court refused Friday to block Texas' photo ID law, the strictest in the nation, from remaining in effect for now, but it left open the possibility of doing so this summer if a lower court challenge remains unresolved.

Civil rights groups who say the law discriminates against black and Hispanic voters had argued that it should be blocked because it was struck down by a federal court in 2014 and a three-judge appeals court panel last year. The full U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit will hear the case next month.

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N. Korea Jails Another U.S. Citizen for spying

Kim Dong Chul jailed in N. KoreaNorth Korea has sentenced a US man to 10 years of hard labour for spying.  Kim Dong-chul, a 62-year-old naturalised US citizen born in South Korea, was arrested last October.

Kim had made an apparent confession in Pyongyang last month in front of reporters, saying he was paid by South Korean intelligence officers.

The US has previously accused North Korea of using its citizens as pawns in a diplomatic game. Pyongyang denies the accusations.

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Belgium Issues Iodine Pills to All Citizens in Nuclear Emergency Plan

Belgians to get anti radiation pillsBelgium is to issue iodine tablets to its entire population as part of a revised nuclear emergency plan, a measure unveiled just months after it emerged that ISIS-linked bombers spied on a top scientist and hoped to build a "dirty bomb."

A dose of iodine, which helps to limit the effects of radiation on the body, will be made available to all 11 million people in the small country, Health Minister Maggie De Block told reporters Thursday.

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