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Egyptian pro-democracy blogger Bassem Sabry dead at 31

egyptian journalistEgyptian pro-democracy blogger Bassem Sabry died Tuesday at the age of 31, reportedly from a fall off a balcony in Cairo.

Sabry's articles about Egyptian politics were published widely by Al-Monitor, Foreign Policy, The Atlantic, Hurriyet Daily News, Al-Masry Al-Youm, Al-Shorouk, and Al-Tahrir.

"His columns on Egypt were must-reads," said Al-Monitor Editor in Chief Andrew Parasiliti. "We will miss his brilliant analysis, his good humor, and most of all, his friendship."

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NYT Retracts Russian-Photo Scoop

NY Times retracts photo storyTwo days after the New York Times led its editions with a one-sided article about photos supposedly proving that Russian special forces were behind the popular uprisings in eastern Ukraine, the Times published what you might call a modified, limited retraction.

Buried deep inside the Wednesday editions (page 9 in my paper), the article by Michael R. Gordon and Andrew E. Kramer – two of the three authors from the earlier story – has this curious beginning: “A collection of photographs that Ukraine says shows the presence of Russian forces in the eastern part of the country, and which the United States cited as evidence of Russian involvement, has come under scrutiny.”

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The New York Times agrees to be gagged by Israel

NYT gag orders on IsraelMargaret Sullivan, The New York Times’ public editor, has written a thoughtful and important piece criticizing the way the newspaper complied with an Israeli-imposed gag order on the case of Majd Kayyal.

But it leaves some important questions unanswered about the Times’ apparent eagerness to let Israeli censors set its news agenda.

But it leaves some important questions unanswered about the Times’ apparent eagerness to let Israeli censors set its news agenda.

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U.S. intelligence chief bars unauthorized contacts with reporters on all intel-related matters

James ClapperEmployees of U.S. intelligence agencies have been barred from discussing without authorization any intelligence-related matter - even if it isn’t classified - with journalists, under a new directive issued by Director of National Security James Clapper.

Intelligence agency employees who violate the policy could suffer career-ending losses of their security clearances or out-right termination, and those who disclose classified information could face criminal prosecution, according to the directive signed by Clapper on March 20.

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Guardian and Washington Post win Pulitzer prize for NSA revelations

Guardian and WP share PulitzerThe Guardian and the Washington Post have been awarded the highest accolade in US journalism, winning the Pulitzer prize for public service for their groundbreaking articles on the National Security Agency’s surveillance activities based on the leaks of Edward Snowden.

The award, announced in New York on Monday, comes 10 months after the Guardian published the first report based on the leaks from Snowden, revealing the agency’s bulk collection of US citizens’ phone records.

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White House news group honors black reporter it once barred

Harry McAlpinHarry S. McAlpin made history in February 1944 when he became the first black reporter to cover a presidential news conference at the White House.

Time magazine and The New York Times noted the milestone. And Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who’d opened the White House doors after entreaties from African-American publishers, greeted the reporter as he made his way over to the president’s desk, telling him, “Glad to see you, McAlpin.”

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Fox News 28 percent accurate on climate change

FOX NewsTwenty-eight percent of Fox News's reporting on climate change in 2013 was accurate, a major improvement from the 7-percent accuracy rating it achieved the previous year, according to a new report from the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Fox News covered climate science 50 times in 2013, per the report. 36 of those reports included misleading information about climate science. More than half of the misleading coverage (53%) came from one program: The Five.

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