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Sunday, Jul 05th

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Revealed: the role of the west in the runup to Srebrenica’s fall

Role of west revealed i Bosnia warThe fall of Srebrenica in Bosnia 20 years ago, prompting the worst massacre in Europe since the Third Reich, was a key element of the strategy pursued by the three key western powers –Britain, the US and France – and was not a shocking and unheralded event, as has long been maintained.

Eight thousand Bosnian Muslim men and boys were killed over four days in July 1995 by Bosnian Serb death squads after they took the besieged town, which had been designated a “safe area” under the protection of UN troops. The act has been declared a genocide by the war crimes tribunal in The Hague, and the Bosnian Serb leaders Radovan Karadžic and General Ratko Mladic await verdicts in trials for directing genocide.

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The Americans are coming! Some in a Texas county fear an Obama-led U.S. military invasion.

The Americnas are ComingThe office of the Bastrop County Republican Party is in an old lumber mill on Main Street, with peeling brown paint and a sign out front that captures the party’s feelings about the Obama administration: “WISE UP AMERICA!”

Inside, county Chairman Albert Ellison pulled out a yellow legal pad on which he had handwritten page after page of reasons why many Texans distrust President Obama, including the fact that, “in the minds of some, he was raised by communists and mentored by terrorists.”

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JetBlue first major airline to offer direct New York to Cuba flights

JetBlue offers direct NY to Cuba flightNon-tourism travel to Cuba from the U.S. has been allowed since President Obama eased travel restrictions earlier this year, but until recently, only a handful of indirect flights were available from Florida and New York.

JetBlue announced this week it has begun offering direct charter flights from New York City to Cuba -- the first major American airline to do so.

The maiden voyage took off on Friday from New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and touched down a few hours later on the runways of Havana's Jose Marti International Airport (HAV). The travelers were mostly Cuban-Americans returning to visit relatives.

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Fewer people consider themselves 'extremely proud' to be American than decade ago

Americans not proudFewer people consider in themselves to be "extremely proud" to be an American compared to a decade ago, a new Gallup poll indicates.

The survey found that while most people -- 54 percent -- consider themselves "extremely proud" to be American, that number is down from a peak of 70 percent in 2003. The surge in patriotism occurred two years after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

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Progressive rebels in the American south fight a flag – and the Klansman next door

KKKOn a clay hill south of town, County Road 258 splits between two houses, right and left. I went to the right, recently, when a young black woman stepped outside. She wore a T-shirt that read “Ole Miss”.

She smiled. She didn’t realize she stood on the front line of a cultural war, where new arguments over an old flag are only the latest skirmish.

“I’m looking for Daniel Orr,” I said. “A Ku Klux Klan guy.”

She laughed. “Danny lives right there,” she said, pointing to the other house. “But no, Danny’s not in the Klan.”

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Alex Baer: Action, Reaction, and a Humpee's Holiday Hunch

Dog chasing manHere is a scattered smattering of overheated thoughts for this hot. heat-waved, and patriotically-roasted, spit-skewered expanse of a weekend:

Why is it that the modern world must -- absolutely MUST -- trump nature, and whomp-stomp peace and quiet? Well, for that matter, and more to the point, why is there human activity at all?

This one beats hell out of me, and I've been asking that question since I was 3-and-a-half, on a tricycle, pedalling furiously, trying to out-distance a rapidly-gaining Boston terrier named Tag -- a neighbor's dog who was permanently locked in the demented, mindless throes of human-leg-lust, and would launch at any chance for satisfaction, not matter what you'd done or not done.

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Tentative agreement on Iran sanctions relief

javad ZarifWorld powers and Iran have reached tentative agreement on sanctions relief for the Islamic Republic, among the most contentious issues in a long-term nuclear agreement that negotiators hope to clinch over the next several days, diplomats told The Associated Press on Saturday.

The annex hammered out by experts, one of five meant to accompany the agreement, outlines which U.S. and international sanctions will be lifted and how quickly. Diplomats said senior officials of the seven-nation talks, which include U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, still had to sign off on the package.

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Obama Plans Broader Use of Clemency to Free Nonviolent Drug Offenders

Obama and clemency for drug usersSometime in the next few weeks, aides expect President Obama to issue orders freeing dozens of federal prisoners locked up on nonviolent drug offenses. With the stroke of his pen, he will probably commute more sentences at one time than any president has in nearly half a century.

The expansive use of his clemency power is part of a broader effort by Mr. Obama to correct what he sees as the excesses of the past, when politicians eager to be tough on crime threw away the key even for minor criminals. With many Republicans and Democrats now agreeing that the nation went too far, Mr. Obama holds the power to unlock that prison door, especially for young African-American and Hispanic men disproportionately affected.

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AFL-CIO leader tries to quell pro-Sanders revolt

RICHARD tRUMKARichard Trumka has a message for state and local AFL-CIO leaders tempted to endorse Bernie Sanders: Don’t.

In a memo this week to state, central and area divisions of the labor federation, and obtained by POLITICO, the AFL-CIO chief reminded the groups that its bylaws don’t permit them to “endorse a presidential candidate” or “introduce, consider, debate, or pass resolutions or statements that indicate a preference for one candidate over another.” Even “‘personal’ statements” of candidate preference are verboten, Trumka said.

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