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Wednesday, Oct 22nd

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World wildlife populations halved in 40 years - report

wild life species cut in halfThe global loss of species is even worse than previously thought, the London Zoological Society (ZSL) says in its new Living Planet Index.

The report suggests populations have halved in 40 years, as new methodology gives more alarming results than in a report two years ago.

The report says populations of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish have declined by an average of 52%.

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Glenn Greenwald: Media Way Overhyped Khorasan Group Threat

Glenn GreenwaldWhen the United States suddenly announced last week that it had attacked a militant group called Khorasan, many observers wondered where, exactly, these people had come from.

"Extraordinary - military strikes against a group no WH official had ever publicly mentioned by name," ABC's Jon Karl noted.

That didn't stop the headlines about the group's fearsome powers from piling up everywhere—along with lots of "explainer" posts so that people could actually know what was being discussed.

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U.S. may keep secret prisoners in custody after Afghan war exit

secret prisoner in AfghanistanThe fate of a group of prisoners held in near-total secrecy by U.S. forces at a prison in Afghanistan is hanging in limbo, the facility's commander said, as Washington gropes for options after its legal right to hold them there expires in December.

The inmates - all foreign nationals captured on battlefields around the world - could be transferred to the U.S. court system or, as a last resort, to the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba, Brigadier General Patrick J. Reinert told Reuters.

The quandary over what to do with the detainees held in a prison near Bagram airfield, north of Kabul, has rekindled the outrage over the U.S. policy of rendition in the early phases of the Afghan war.

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Hillary and the far right; admits role in Honduran coup

Hillary ClintonIn a recent op-ed in the Washington Post, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton used a review of Henry Kissinger’s latest book, “World Order,” to lay out her vision for “sustaining America’s leadership in the world.”

In the midst of numerous global crises, Clinton called for return to a foreign policy with purpose, strategy and pragmatism. She also highlighted some of these policy choices in her memoir, “Hard Choices,” and how they contributed to the challenges that the Obama administration now faces.

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Hong Kong pro-democracy protests expand in defiance of government

Hong Kong protestsAs Hong Kong opened for business Monday, pro-democracy protesters wearing masks and wielding umbrellas to protect against pepper spray and tear gas erected barricades to block security forces and expanded their reach amid chaotic scenes unfolding in one of the world's major financial centers.

Riot police withdrew from the extraordinary scene of clashes that erupted the evening before, and the government asked the student-led protesters to disperse peacefully.

But the protesters — whose use of umbrellas, plastic wrap and other improvised defenses against tear gas has led some to dub their movement the Umbrella Revolution — remained camped on a normally busy highway near Hong Kong government headquarters.

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Ashraf Ghani sworn in as Afghanistan's new president

Ashraf GhaniAfter an exhausting and contentious election process, Ashraf Ghani, a US-educated anthropologist turned reformist politician, has finally been sworn in as president of Afghanistan in the first peaceful transfer of power since the fall of the Taliban in 2001.

“I am no better than you,” Ghani told an audience of 1,400 guests, including approximately 200 foreign dignitaries at the Arg, the presidential palace. “If I do something the proper way, support me. If I do something wrong, guide me,” he continued, quoting Abu Bakr, Sunni Islam’s first caliph.

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Trial of 46 alleged jihadists begins in Belgium

Jhadist trial in BelgiumThe Antwerp, Belgium, trial of 46 alleged jihadists who traveled to Syria to fight for the Islamic State begins Monday.

The trial is an indication of the number of people from European countries joining Islamist militant organizations in Syria and Iraq, as well as an exposure of Belgium as a recruiting hub.

The trial of eight arrested in Belgium and 38 still believed to be in Syria is an example of Europe's clampdown strategy, with increased prosecutions and tougher legislation against involvement in uprising such as that of the IS, which is attempting to create a self-described caliphate in the Middle East.

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Turmeric may ward off dementia, heal the brain

TurmericA new study by scientists in Germany has found a that a main ingredient in curry powder, the spice turmeric, can help the brain regenerate neurons and repair itself.

When researchers coated neural stem cells, isolate in petri dishes, in a chemical extracted from turmeric, the cells grew more prolifically into neurons than did control cells untouched by any foreign substances. The same turmeric-derived chemical compound had similar effects when injected into the brains of live rats.

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Elizabeth Warren is calling for an investigation of the Federal Reserve

Elizabeth Warren"This American Life" did a program on Friday on the information obtained by Carmen Segarra from her time as a New York Fed bank examiner in 2012, where she investigated Goldman Sachs and began to notice the Federal Reserve Bank of New York was unwilling to support her allegation that the bank was missing policies regarding conflicts of interest.

Now, Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts is calling for a congressional hearing to discuss corruption in the Federal Reserve Bank. She has already received support from Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio."These allegations deserve a full and thorough investigation, and American taxpayers deserve regulators who will fight each day on their behalf," Brown said in a statement.

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