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Monday, Dec 22nd

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Around The World, Gun Ownership And Firearms Deaths Go Together

gun deathsA study on guns, violence and mental health, long scheduled to be published this week, finds that gun ownership is a bigger factor than mental illness when it comes to firearms deaths. But the data suggest that both play roles.

Earlier research has found that places with high rates of gun ownership have more firearms deaths, but critics of those findings say that it could be that people living in dangerous places are apt to buy firearms to .

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Fisa court: no telecoms company has ever challenged phone records orders

FISA court unchallengedNo telecommunications company has ever challenged the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance court's orders for bulk phone records under the Patriot Act, the court revealed on Tuesday.

The secretive Fisa court's disclosure came inside a declassification of its legal reasoning justifying the National Security Agency's ongoing bulk collection of Americans' phone records.

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Diana Nyad completes epic 110-mile Cuba-to-Florida swim at age 64, without shark cage

Diana NtadEndurance swimmer Diana Nyad became the first person to swim the treacherous waters from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage on Monday, arriving in Key West two days after starting her 110-mile trek.

Nyad, 64, arrived at the beach just before 2 p.m. EDT, about 53 hours after she began her swim in Havana early Saturday. She had unsuccessfully tried to swim the Florida Strait four times, mostly recently in 2012.

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In foreign policy, the moral high ground is only an occasional destination

Chemical weapons in warThe United States helped protect the last Middle Eastern tyrant thought to use chemical weapons.

That dictator was Iraq’s Saddam Hussein. Because he was fighting Iran in the 1980s, the Reagan administration fed him secret intelligence. And because his country bought U.S. crops, farm-state politicians fought off sanctions.

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CIA admits role in 1953 Iranian coup

MosaddeqThe CIA has publicly admitted for the first time that it was behind the notorious 1953 coup against Iran's democratically elected prime minister Mohammad Mosaddeq, in documents that also show how the British government tried to block the release of information about its own involvement in his overthrow.

On the 60th anniversary of an event often invoked by Iranians as evidence of western meddling, the US national security archive at George Washington University published a series of declassified CIA documents.

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Pentagon unveils measures to combat sexual assaults in the military

Chuck HagelThe U.S. Defense Department on Thursday unveiled steps to combat sexual assaults in the armed forces by increasing protection for victims, beefing up oversight of investigations, and making responses to such crimes more consistent across the military.

"Sexual assault is a stain on the honor of our men and women who honorably serve our country, as well as a threat to the discipline and the cohesion of our force. It must be stamped out," Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said in a statement.

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NSA often broke privacy rules, audit shows

Army Gen. Keith AlexanderThe National Security Agency broke privacy rules protecting communications on U.S. soil 2,776 times in one year, The Washington Post reported Friday.

A May 2012 NSA audit, leaked to the newspaper by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden earlier this summer, cited 2,776 incidents in the previous 12 months of unauthorized gathering, storage, contact or sharing of legally protected communications, the newspaper said.

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