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Germany asks top U.S. intelligence official to leave over spy scandal

US embassy in GermanyGermany asked the top U.S. intelligence official at the Berlin embassy on Thursday to leave the country, a highly unusual step reflecting the deep anger within Angela Merkel's government at the discovery of two suspected U.S. spies within a week.

The scandal has plunged ties between Germany and one of its closest allies to a new low following last year's revelations from former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden about widespread surveillance of Germans, including Merkel.

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Bloody Gaza Onslaught Built on Foundation of Politics and Lies

Gaza bombingIn the flood of angry words that poured out of Israel and Gaza during a week of spiraling violence, few statements were more blunt, or more telling, than this throwaway line by the chief spokesman of the Israeli military, Brigadier General Moti Almoz, speaking July 8 on Army Radio’s morning show: “We have been instructed by the political echelon to hit Hamas hard.”

That’s unusual language for a military mouthpiece. Typically they spout lines like “We will take all necessary actions” or “The state of Israel will defend its citizens.” You don’t expect to hear: “This is the politicians’ idea. They’re making us do it.”

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Stigmatized nuclear workers quit Japan utility

Fukushima workersStigma, pay cuts, and risk of radiation exposure are among the reasons why 3,000 employees have left the utility at the center of Japan's 2011 nuclear disaster. Now there's an additional factor: better paying jobs in the feel good solar energy industry.

Engineers and other employees at TEPCO, or Tokyo Electric Power Co., were once typical of Japan's corporate culture that is famous for prizing loyalty to a single company and lifetime employment with it. But the March 2011 tsunami that swamped the coastal Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, sending three reactors into meltdown, changed that.

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Snowden Asks Russia to Extend Asylum

SnowdenFormer NSA contractor Edward Snowden has formally asked Russia to extend his asylum there, according to Russian media, as he faces charges in the United States for leaking details of mass government surveillance.

The Russian news service RT quoted a Snowden lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, in reporting that Snowden had requested another year of asylum, a move he had been expected to make. “We have submitted documents to prolong his stay in Russia,” Kucherena said Wednesday.

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Death toll mounts in Gaza as Israel bombards Palestinian enclave

Gaza bombedIsraeli air strikes shook Gaza every few minutes on Wednesday, and militants kept up rocket fire at Israel's heartland in intensifying warfare that Palestinian officials said has killed at least 38 people in the Hamas-dominated enclave.

Missiles from the Iron Dome defense system shot into the sky to intercept rockets launched, for the second straight day, at Tel Aviv, the country's commercial capital.

With cries of 'Allahu akbar' (God is great), Palestinians in Gaza cheered as rockets streaked overhead toward Israel, in attacks that could provide a popularity boost for Islamist Hamas, whose rift with neighboring Egypt's military-backed government has deepened economic hardship.

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Chinese President Says Conflict With U.S. Would Be Disaster

Xi China's President Xi Jinping called for greater military communication with the U.S., saying as he opened high-level talks between the two countries that any conflict would be a global disaster.

China needs a stable environment “more than ever,” and it’s inevitable that the two sides will have some disputes, Xi said at the Diaoyutai guest house before the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue in Beijing.

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Germany investigating second U.S. spy suspect: security sources

Germany investigates second US spyGermany is investigating a suspected U.S. spy in its military, a security source said, days after the arrest of a member of its foreign intelligence agency as a double agent tested U.S. relations already strained by espionage.

The Federal Prosecutor's office said in a statement that authorities had begun conducting searches in Berlin on Wednesday morning in connection with a suspected spy, who had not been arrested. It gave no further details.

"The suspect is from the military," a security source told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

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