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Tuesday, Oct 21st

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Military eases hairstyle restrictions accused of being racially biased

military hair dosUnited States military branches announced they have loosened grooming requirements that sparked controversy for allegedly targeting the natural hairstyles of African-American soldiers.

The U.S. Army on March 31 banned hairstyles including twists, dreadlocks, some types of braids, and Afros that were previously authorized. Following outcry from black members of the U.S. armed forces, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel in April ordered the secretaries of all military branches to review their policies on grooming.

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Obama Authorizes Targeted Airstrikes, Humanitarian Aid In Iraq

ObamaPresident Barack Obama announced Thursday night he had authorized the Pentagon to launch targeted airstrikes if needed to protect Americans from Islamic militants in northern Iraq and help Iraqi security forces protect civilians under siege, threatening to revive U.S. military involvement in the country's long sectarian war.

In a televised late-night statement from the White House, Obama also said American military forces had already carried out airdrops of humanitarian aid to tens of thousands of Iraqi religious minorities desperately in need of food and water.

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Broken Code: Air Force Academy superintendent calls for investigation

AFAU.S. Air Force Academy cadet athletes flouted the sacred honor code by committing sexual assaults, taking drugs, cheating and engaging in other misconduct at wild parties while the service academy focused on winning bowl games and attracting money from alumni and private sources in recent years, a Gazette investigation has found.
The findings are egregious enough that academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson told The Gazette that she has called for an Inspector General's investigation of the athletic department.
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Half of returning vets battle chronic pain, many risk pill addiction

Vets with chronic painChronic pain tortures nearly half of returning U.S. veterans, a new study suggests, and a large number of them — as many as 15 percent — are using narcotic painkillers to manage it.

Research shows that soldiers are four times as likely to use prescription narcotics compared to the wider civilian population. Such drugs carry the risk of lifelong addiction, fatal overdose and have been linked to the nation’s epidemic levels of heroin use.

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Prosecutor: five traded Taliban could not be successfully prosecuted

BergdahlThe chief prosecutor in the military commission said Sunday that he had concluded that the five Taliban members released for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl could not have been successfully prosecuted.

Brig. Gen. Mark Martins said he concurred with a study conducted a few years ago that found prosecutors were unlikely to win convictions against about 200 detainees, including the five traded for Bergdahl. Republicans such as Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., have derided the swap, saying it will put U.S. troops at risk.

"I concluded there was not a successful prosecution to be made," Martins said.

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Pentagon Preparing for Mass Civil Unrest

PentagonA US Department of Defense (DoD) research programme is funding universities to model the dynamics, risks and tipping points for large-scale civil unrest across the world, under the supervision of various US military agencies. The multi-million dollar programme is designed to develop immediate and long-term "warfighter-relevant insights" for senior officials and decision makers in "the defense policy community," and to inform policy implemented by "combatant commands."

Launched in 2008 – the year of the global banking crisis – the DoD 'Minerva Research Initiative' partners with universities "to improve DoD's basic understanding of the social, cultural, behavioral, and political forces that shape regions of the world of strategic importance to the US."

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After Lull, U.S. Drone Strikes Kill 13 in Pakistan

Drone strikesMissiles from U.S. drones slammed into militant hideouts overnight in northwestern Pakistan, killing 13 suspected insurgents and marking the resumption of the CIA-led program after a nearly six-month break, officials said Thursday.

The strikes came just days after a five-hour siege of Pakistan’s busiest airport ended with 36 people, including ten militants, killed. The audacious attack raised concerns about whether Pakistan was capable of dealing with the Pakistani Taliban, which said it carried out the assault along with an Uzbek militant group.

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