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Friday, Aug 29th

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Germany drops attempt to ban Scientology

Germany is dropping its pursuit of a ban on Scientology after finding insufficient evidence of illegal activity, security officials said Friday. Domestic intelligence services will continue to monitor the group, officials said. The German branch of the Los Angeles-based Church of Scientology has been under observation by domestic intelligence services for more than a decade.

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Debate Flares Over Israel’s Access to American Secrets

Investigative writer James Bamford contends in his new book, “The Shadow Factory, the Ultra-Secret NSA from 9/11 to the Eavesdropping on America,” that at least two high-tech companies with alleged ties to Israeli intelligence mined American communications data on a mass scale. The companies were hired to help major American telecommunications firms that were cooperating with the National Security Agency on its controversial eavesdropping program.

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Blackwater gunboats will protect ships

The American security company Blackwater is planning to cash in on the rising threat of piracy on the high seas by launching a flotilla of gunboats for hire by the shipping companies.

The firm, which gained international notoriety when its staff killed civilians in Iraq, has already equipped one vessel, called The McArthur, which will carry up to 40 armed guards and have a landing pad for an attack helicopter.

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Obama could change dynamics in the Arab world

To many in the Middle East, he is that rare thing: a minority who, with breathtaking speed and without a military coup, has risen to political prominence. This strikes deeply in a part of the world where repression carries a twofold meaning: Western power and military dominance, and Arab regimes that silence dissent.

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Obama vows to go ahead with missile shield: Polish president

"Barack Obama has underlined the importance of the strategic partnership between Poland and the United States, he expressed his hope of continuing the political and military cooperation between our two countries.

"He also said the anti-missile shield project would go ahead," said a statement issued by Kaczynski after the two men spoke by telephone.

Warsaw and Washington signed a deal on August 14 to base part of a US missile shield in Poland, amid Moscow's vehement opposition and mounting East-West tensions over Georgia.

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DEA complicit in drug trade, says Morales

Bolivian leader Evo Morales on Thursday accused the US government of encouraging drug-trafficking as he explained his decision to banish the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

Morales, a staunch opponent of the Washington government, said the staff from the US agency had three months to prepare to leave the country, because "the DEA did not respect the police, or even the (Bolivian) armed forces."

"The worst thing is, it did not fight drug trafficking; It encouraged it," the Bolivian leader said, adding that he had "quite a bit of evidence" backing up his charges.

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The World Sees Obama's Victory As a New Beginning for America

"This is an important victory for all of us. Mostly, of course for America, but also for everyone else in the world who's tired of a U.S. in the likeness of George Bush," says a gleeful 25-year-old named Clémence, returning to her Parisian apartment after a night watching the results with friends. "Tell your readers France says 'Thank you, America, for giving the world Barack Obama!'"

That sentiment is reverberating around the world, but there are dissenters. A majority of Israelis would have felt more comfortable with a Republican President. Bush gave Israel generous military aid, supported the government during the controversial 2006 Lebanon war, and didn't press too hard for the closure of illegal Jewish settlements inside the Palestinian territories.

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