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Trump says he will meet Putin to discuss 'arms race that is getting out of control'

Trump says he will meet Putin to discuss 'arms race that is getting out of control' | 20 March 2018 | US President Donald Trump said he will meet his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in the not too distant future to discuss an arms race that Trump called "out of control." He also congratulated Putin on his election victory. Trump answered a question about Putin as he was holding a meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the White House. "We will be meeting in the not too distant future to discuss the arms race which is getting out of control," Trump said, expanding on the content of the phone call with Putin on Tuesday.

Israel officially admits striking Syrian nuclear reactor in 2007

Israel officially admits striking Syrian nuclear reactor in 2007 | 21 March 2018 | Israel's Defense Forces have shared details of an airstrike that destroyed a nuclear reactor under construction in Syria's Deir ez-Zor back in 2007, for the first time officially acknowledging carrying out the secret operation. "For two years, officials in the Military Intelligence Directorate had been monitoring the Syrian nuclear project. Their intelligence suggested that the facility would become active toward the end of 2007, which prompted the IDF to initiate an attack on the facility," the IDF's website related on Wednesday, claiming also that the secret (until now) operation "eliminated a nuclear threat not only to Israel, but to the entire region."

Package bound for Austin detonates at FedEx facility, second explosive package intercepted, police say

Package bound for Austin detonates at FedEx facility, second explosive package intercepted, police say | 20 March 2018 | The latest in a wave of bombings rattling Central Texas brought a widening investigation to this city outside San Antonio on Tuesday, after an explosion at a FedEx facility signaled that whoever was responsible for the attacks had offered police potentially critical new clues while again shifting tactics. The blast early Tuesday -- the fifth since March 2 -- came as investigators have struggled to explain the bombing campaign that began with a series of packages placed at people's doorsteps in eastern Austin, escalated to a tripwire-enabled device left along a residential street and, on Tuesday, shifted to an explosive device shipped through a delivery company. The same person who shipped that explosive also sent another package that was intercepted before delivery and was turned over to the FBI, according to FedEx. Federal officials confirmed that package also contained an explosive device.

Police: South Austin explosion was 'incendiary device,' not related to previous explosions

Police: South Austin explosion was 'incendiary device,' not related to previous explosions | 20 March 2018 | Update 10:00 p.m. (CDT) Police say the package explosion at a South Austin Goodwill was not a bomb, rather it was an incendiary device. Investigators say two small "artillery simulators" were found in a Goodwill donation box. They were described as, "old, military type ordinances that initiated in [Goodwill employee's] hand and caused injury." Police say they have no reason to believe tonight's incident was a copycat of the other package explosions over the past two weeks that have killed two people and injured four others. They are investigating who delivered the items to Goodwill and if they intended to injure someone or were just unaware of what the device was.

Uber suspends self-driving operations after vehicle hits, kills pedestrian in Arizona

Uber suspends self-driving operations after vehicle hits, kills pedestrian in Arizona | 19 March 2018 | A self-driving Uber SUV struck and killed a pedestrian in suburban Phoenix in the first death involving a fully autonomous test vehicle - an accident that could have far-reaching consequences for the new technology. The crash Sunday night in Tempe was the event many in the auto and technology industries were dreading but knew was inevitable. Uber immediately suspended all road-testing of such autos in the Phoenix area, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Toronto.

Austin blast set off by trip wire shows 'higher level of skill' from serial bomber, police say

Austin blast set off by trip wire shows 'higher level of skill' from serial bomber, police say | 19 March 2018 | Two people were wounded in an explosion Sunday night in Austin that showed similarities to other recent blasts but also "a higher level of skill." The victims -- two white men ages 23 and 22 -- were wounded about 8:30 p.m. as they walked along the 4800 block of Dawn Song Drive, southwest of downtown Austin. Their injuries were not life-threatening, authorities said. Interim police Chief Brian Manley said authorities believe the pair were walking on either the sidewalk or the median when the device was triggered by a trip wire.

'We want constructive dialogue': Putin to reduce defence spending in fourth term

'We want constructive dialogue': Putin to reduce defence spending in fourth term | 19 March 2018 | Vladimir Putin has called for political unity as he starts his fourth term as president of Russia. After winning a landslide of 77% of the vote, Mr Putin called for his opponents to come together to focus on domestic issues and pledged to reduce the amount of money spent on the military. Mr Putin said Russia has spent enough over the last few years on new weapons to avoid excessive pressure on the economy in the future and so he could now reduce defence spending. Setting out his stall ahead of his fourth term in charge, he vowed not to engage in an arms race, saying: "There is no intention to speed up some kind of arms race, and just the opposite, we will develop constructive relations with all the countries of the world..."

Fourth Nor'easter this month is headed for the North East on the first day of Spring bringing up to 11 inches of snow in NYC and New Jersey...and it won't be the last

FOURTH Nor'easter this month is headed for the North East on the first day of Spring bringing up to 11 INCHES of snow in NYC and New Jersey...and it WON'T be the last | 19 March 2018 | The first day of Spring is set to bring the fourth Nor'easter in the North East this month with up to 11 inches of snow predicted between Tuesday and Wednesday. Earlier on Monday just three inches was predicted for the area but as the day progressed the National Weather Service anticipated that the snowfall would be heavier than first thought. Heavy wet snow of between five and 11 inches is predicted for North Jersey, New York City and lower Hudson Valley. Eight to 10 inches are expected in Bergen, Passaic, Essex and Morris counties.

Two men seriously injured in single Southwest Austin explosion

Two men seriously injured in single Southwest Austin explosion | 18 March 2018 | Two men in their 20s have been hospitalized with serious injuries following an explosion in the 4800 block of Dawn Song Drive in Southwest Austin. Officials said their injuries did not appear to be life-threatening. Officials said there was only one explosion. An earlier report said there also had been a blast on Eagle Feather Drive. Residents in the immediate area of Dawn Song Drive are being asked so stay in their homes and to follow instructions given by police.

Paul vows to filibuster Pompeo, Haspel

Paul vows to filibuster Pompeo, Haspel --Sen. Paul slams Trump's 'dangerous' nominees | 18 March 2018 | Republican Sen. Rand Paul said on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday that he would take all necessary steps to oppose President Donald Trump's nominees for secretary of state and CIA director. "I'll do whatever it takes, and that includes filibuster," Paul said. Paul, who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, previously indicated he would oppose Trump's decision to move CIA Director Mike Pompeo to the State Department and CIA Deputy Director Gina Haspel to the top post at the agency. The Kentucky senator said Sunday his opposition came from Pompeo's support for regime change abroad and Haspel's history with CIA torture.

Vladimir Putin decisively re-elected as Russian president - preliminary results

Vladimir Putin decisively re-elected as Russian president after 99% of votes counted | 19 March 2018 | Incumbent Russian leader Vladimir Putin has secured a landslide victory in the presidential election with over 99% of the ballots counted. Vladimir Putin is now leading with 76,6 percent of the vote, Ella Pamfilova, head of the Russian Central Election Commission. Pamfilova announced the preliminary results during a news conference on Monday morning.

CDC contradicts previous police reports, says missing Ebola and Zika virus expert had recently received promotion

CDC contradicts previous police reports, says missing Ebola and Zika virus expert had recently received promotion | 14 March 2018 | An Atlanta-area Centers for Disease Control and Prevention employee who disappeared over a month ago did receive a promotion, the agency said, seemingly contradicting previous reports from police. In a statement Monday, the CDC said Timothy Cunningham, who hasn't been seen since Feb. 12, had been promoted last July..."In fact, he received an early promotion/exceptional proficiency promotion to Commander effective July 1, 2017, in recognition of his exemplary performance in the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS)," the statement continues. Atlanta police previously said Cunningham, 35, a commander in the Public Health Service who has been sent to respond to public health emergencies including the Ebola virus and the Zika virus, was told on Feb. 5 that he didn't get a promotion he was up for. A police spokesman told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Monday that they stand by their previous statements.

Three Children in Pakistan Die After Getting Measles Vaccine

Three Children in Pakistan Die After Getting Measles Vaccine | 16 March 2018 | Three children in Pakistan became critically ill and died a day after they were vaccinated with the measles vaccine in the city of Nawabshah. One the children died at home and the other two children died at the People's University Medical Hospital (PUMH) in Nawabshah. At least seven other Pakistani children who received the same vaccinations were reported to be in critical condition...The parents of the three dead children have reportedly said that a female health worker visited their homes in the Saeedabad area of Nawabshah on March 3 and administered the measles vaccines against their will.

Judge enters not guilty plea for alleged Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz

Judge enters not guilty plea for alleged Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz |14 March 2018 | A judge entered a plea of not guilty on Nikolas Cruz's behalf as the teen was arraigned Wednesday in last month's massacre at a South Florida high school -- on the same day students across the country walked out of class to demand stricter gun laws because of the killings. A Broward County grand jury last week indicted the [alleged] 19-year-old gunman on 17 counts of premeditated murder in the first degree and 17 counts of attempted murder in the first degree. Wednesday's plea in a Fort Lauderdale court came after Cruz's defense attorney told the judge that the teen was standing mute to the charges -- meaning he was declining to enter a plea.

US training Syria militants for false flag chemical attack as basis for airstrikes - Russian MoD

US training Syria militants for false flag chemical attack as basis for airstrikes - Russian MoD | 17 March 2018 | Russia's Defense Ministry says "US instructors" are training militants to stage false flag chemical attacks in south Syria. The incidents are said to be a pretext for airstrikes on Syrian government troops and infrastructure. "We have reliable information at our disposal that US instructors have trained a number of militant groups in the vicinity of the town of At-Tanf, to stage provocations involving chemical warfare agents in southern Syria," Russian General Staff spokesman General Sergey Rudskoy said at a news briefing on Saturday.

China to bar people with bad 'social credit' from planes, trains

China to bar people with bad 'social credit' from planes, trains | 16 March 2018 | China said it will begin applying its so-called social credit system to flights and trains and stop people who have committed misdeeds from taking such transport for up to a year. People who would be put on the restricted lists included those found to have committed acts like spreading false information about terrorism and causing trouble on flights, as well as those who used expired tickets or smoked on trains, according to two statements issued on the National Development and Reform Commission's website on Friday.

MPs retweet claim that Porton Down scientists can't identify nerve agent as Russian

MPs retweet claim that Porton Down scientists can't identify nerve agent as Russian | 17 March 2018 | Several MPs have retweeted claims that scientists at the British lab investigating the poisoning of ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter are actually struggling to identify the source of the nerve agent used. Craig Murray, the former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan turned blogger, wrote on his website that scientists at Porton Down, the center responsible for identifying the nerve agent allegedly used in the attack against the Skripals, have failed to find evidence of Russian "culpability." He said a "well-placed" source in the Foreign Office told him. Murray added scientists had been "resentful" over the pressure put on them to prove the military-grade nerve agent is of Russian manufacture.

Porton Down laboratory to get 48m pound boost after Skripal attack

Porton Down laboratory to get 48m pound boost after Skripal attack --Defence science and technology institution was at centre of 'investigation' and clean-up | 14 March 2018 | UK defence secretary Gavin Williamson will on Thursday pledge an additional 48m pounds for Britain's defence science and technology laboratory at Porton Down, in the wake of the poisoning of a former Russian [and MI6] spy with a weapons grade nerve agent. The laboratory was instrumental in identifying Russia [Really? See: MPs retweet claim that Porton Down scientists can't identify nerve agent as Russian] as the source of the nerve agent used to target Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia 10 days ago in Salisbury. The pair remain in a critical condition in hospital. Scientists from Porton Down have also been at the centre of the clean-up operation in Salisbury following the attack, which has prompted one of the biggest crises in UK-Russian relations since the end of the cold war.

Framing Putin - Saga of the Spy and the Nerve Agent

Framing Putin - Saga of the Spy and the Nerve Agent | 15 March 2018 | ...Who's Got CW? Russia got rid of all its chemical weapons under the supervision of OPCW. On the other hand, the US hasn't destroyed all its chemical weapons yet and there are still two CW sites in the US! The US government claims it will destroy them within the next five years. Ha ha...Samples Everywhere: The fact is that many labs around the world have samples of that deadly agent. It so happens that there is a UK military chemical lab in Porton Down, just a few miles from where the alleged incident took place. Each lab has a signature attached to it. If the UK wanted to be credible, it would release the samples to third parties -- Russia and OPCW -- so they can analyze it and see where it came from. But the UK refuses to do so. Guess Who Lives in the US? The "father" of Novichok defected to the US a long time ago and lives in the US now. He brags about it openly on his Facebook page. His name is Vil Mirzayanov.

Third court rules Tepco, government liable over Fukushima disaster - media

Third court rules Tepco, government liable over Fukushima disaster - media | 15 March 2018 | Kyoto district court on Thursday ruled that Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) and the Japanese government were liable for damages arising from the Fukushima nuclear disaster of 2011, the Asahi newspaper said. The ruling is the third court decision assigning liability to both Tepco and the government for the disaster that led to the evacuation of around 160,000 people.

Russian Embassy in US Slams State Department Over Meddling in Domestic Election

Russian Embassy in US Slams State Department Over Meddling in Domestic Election | 17 March 2018 | The Russian Embassy in Washington accused the US State Department of interfering in Russian home affairs over claims that the upcoming presidential voting would not be transparent. "[State Dept] is showing another example of interference in our internal affairs. Now with fake news. Bad attempt to damage Russian democracy. Will not work. Full transparency of Presidential elections guaranteed," the Embassy tweeted in response.

Officials say engineer reported cracks in Florida bridge before collapse

Officials say engineer reported cracks in Florida bridge before collapse | 16 March 2018 | Florida's Department of Transportation says an engineer left a voicemail two days before a catastrophic bridge failure to say some cracking had been found at one of the concrete spans. However, the agency says the voicemail left on a landline wasn't heard by a state DOT employee until Friday because the employee was out of the office on an assignment.

Andrew McCabe's Response to Being Fired Two Days Before His Retirement

Andrew McCabe's Response to Being Fired Two Days Before His Retirement | 16 March 2018 | Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced on Friday evening that he had fired former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, two days before McCabe's retirement. Sessions said he made the decision after the Department of Justice's Office of the Inspector General and the FBI's Office of Professional Responsibility reviewed McCabe's conduct during the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton. McCabe responded in a lengthy statement, decrying his firing as an attempt "to taint the FBI, law enforcement, and intelligence professionals more generally." Read his full statement here.

Former FBI deputy director fired just days before retirement to kick in

Former FBI deputy director fired just days before retirement to kick in | 16 March 2018 | Former FBI deputy director Andy McCabe was fired Friday from the federal government, just two days before he was set to retire, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced in a statement late Friday night. Nearly 24 hours earlier, McCabe was inside the Justice Department making the case to keep his job until Sunday when he officially qualifies for retirement benefits. His firing means his full pension -- built after nearly 22 years in government -- is in jeopardy. In his statement Sessions said: "After an extensive and fair investigation and according to Department of Justice procedure, the Department's Office of the Inspector General (OIG) provided its report on allegations of misconduct by Andrew McCabe to the FBI's Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR)."

New Text Msgs Reveal FBI Agent Was Friends With Judge in Flynn Case

New Text Msgs Reveal FBI Agent Was Friends With Judge in Flynn Case --Congressional members say DOJ stonewalling information on FBI texts | 16 March 2018 | Newly redacted text messages discovered by congressional investigators reveal that an embattled FBI agent at the center of the Russia investigation controversy was close friends with a District of Columbia judge who recused himself from the criminal case over former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, congressional members said, and text documents show. The never-before-seen text messages, which were a part of the texts given to Congress by the Department of Justice, show that FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok and his paramour FBI attorney Lisa Page discussed Strzok's relationship with U.S. District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras, who presided over a Dec. 1, 2017, hearing where former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. Strzok was removed from Robert Mueller's Special Counsel's Office last year after anti-Trump text messages between him and his FBI agent lover were discovered by the DOJ's Inspector General Michael Horowitz. But on Dec. 7, without warning, Judge Rudolph Contreras was removed as the presiding judge on Flynn's case.

Miami bridge collapse death toll rises; homicide detectives, FBI scour scene

Miami bridge collapse death toll rises; homicide detectives, FBI scour scene | 16 March 2018 | Homicide detectives and the FBI were working Friday morning alongside engineers at the scene of the Miami bridge collapse seeking clues about what went wrong, while beginning the grueling task of freeing bodies from inside crushed cars. At least six people were killed when the 950-ton pedestrian bridge near Florida International University's campus came down at around 1:30 p.m. ET on Thursday. One of the dead was identified only as a student at FIU, and officials warned that the death toll could rise. "We exhausted all our search and rescue capabilities," Miami-Dade County Fire Chief Dave Downey said at a 10 a.m. ET news conference Friday.

7 US service members killed in Iraq helicopter crash

7 US service members killed in Iraq helicopter crash | 16 March 2018 | Seven US service members were killed Thursday in a helicopter crash in western Iraq, the US military said. Army Brig. Gen. Jonathan P. Braga, the director of operations for the combined task force leading the 'fight against ISIS' in the region, said all personnel aboard the HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter were killed. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Friday that two members of the New York Fire Department were among those killed in the crash.

FBI's Andrew McCabe is fired a little more than 24 hours before he could retire

Breaking: FBI's Andrew McCabe is fired a little more than 24 hours before he could retire | 16 March 2018 | Attorney General Jeff Sessions late Friday night fired former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, a little more than 24 hours before McCabe was set to retire. Sessions announced the decision in a statement just before 10 p.m., noting that both the Justice Department Inspector General and the FBI office that handles discipline had found "that Mr. McCabe had made an unauthorized disclosure to the news media and lacked candor -- including under oath -- on multiple occasions." He said based on those findings and the recommendation of the department’s senior career official, "I have terminated the employment of Andrew McCabe effective immediately." McCabe has been fighting vigorously to keep his job, and on Thursday, he spent nearly four hours inside the Justice Department pleading his case.

FDNY members among dead in military helicopter crash in Iraq

FDNY members among dead in military helicopter crash in Iraq | 16 March 2018 | Two FDNY members were among the seven soldiers killed in a military helicopter crash in Iraq -- including a father of two who was on his last tour of duty, heartbroken family and friends said Friday. Rire Marshal Christopher “Tripp” Zanetis and Lt. Christopher Raguso died Thursday when their Pave Hawk chopper struck a power line and went down along the Syrian border, authorities said...There are currently 62 members of the department on military duty around the globe.

Hacker Adrian Lamo who turned WikiLeaks' source Chelsea Manning in to the FBI dead at 37

Hacker Adrian Lamo who turned WikiLeaks' source Chelsea Manning in to the FBI dead at 37 | 16 March 2018 | Adrian Lamo, the prolific hacker who turned Chelsea Manning in to the FBI, has died, according to a Facebook post by a family member. In the post, Mr Lamo's father Mario wrote: "With great sadness and a broken heart I have to let know all of Adrian's friends and acquaintances that he is dead. A bright mind and compassionate soul is gone, he was my beloved son." The coroner for Sedgwick County, where Lamo lived, confirmed his death, but provided no further details, according to a report by ZDNet.

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'We want either a hammer or a fire, to break the spell or dissolve the ice.' Artisan radical freethinker, George Jacob Holyoake, Reasoner V (1848): 2.

CLG's Michael Rectenwald, Ph.D. and Lori Price receive the Patrick Henry Think Tank's American Hero Award 02 Nov 2005 The Patrick Henry Democratic Club --A Think Tank working to give the government back to the people. "Give me liberty or give me death!"

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