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Islamic State destroys 5th-century Syrian monastery

Isis destroys ancient monastaryIslamic State has demolished an ancient monastery in central Syria, according to a priest and activists.

The extremist group posted photos on social media showing bulldozers destroying the Saint Eliane monastery near the town of Qaryatain, which Isis captured this month.

A Christian clergyman, who spoke on Friday on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals, said Isis militants also wrecked a an Assyrian Catholic church inside the monastery that dates to the first Christian centuries.


Federal workers with sensitive jobs used Ashley Madison cheating site

Ashley MadisonU.S. government employees with sensitive jobs in national security or law enforcement were among hundreds of federal workers found to be using government networks to access and pay membership fees to the cheating website Ashley Madison, The Associated Press has learned.

The list includes at least two assistant U.S. attorneys, an information technology administrator in the White House’s support staff, a Justice Department investigator, a division chief, and a government hacker and counterterrorism employee at the Homeland Security Department. Others visited from networks operated by the Pentagon.


Northwest wildfires rage unchecked

northwest firesU.S. crews battling wildfires raging unchecked across the Pacific Northwest contended with high winds late into Thursday, a day after three firefighters were killed and four others were injured in Washington state.

Authorities late Thursday ordered the immediate evacuation of the small community of Tonasket, nestled along the bank of the Okanogan River in north-central Washington, impacting about 1,000 people.


The Game-Changing Iran Report That Bibi Fears

The Game-Changing Iran Report That Wasn’tIsrael’s military intelligence corps has given Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a surprising report assessing the opportunities and threats that the Iran nuclear deal poses for Israel.

What’s startling about the report is not its substance, which is mostly a predictable mix of standard arguments presented for and against the deal: No nukes for 10 years, which gives Israel time to develop new countermeasures, but then a quick path to a nuke after a decade; an accelerated regional arms race, plus new legitimacy for pariah Iran, but also (surprisingly) a reduced likelihood of Iran attacking Israel. The upsides aren’t perfect. The downsides aren’t unmanageable.


Pentagon: Services must justify excluding women from combat by Oct. 1

women in combatDefense Secretary Ash Carter is giving the chiefs of the military services until Oct. 1 to tell him which combat posts should remain closed to female service-members and is requiring them to provide documentation to justify the exclusion.

Carter said Thursday that the historic achievement of two women, 1st Lt. Shaye Haver and Capt. Kristen Griest, to earn Army Ranger tabs indicates that female fighters are able and willing to take on greater roles in the nation’s all-volunteer armed forces.


Jimmy Carter announces cancer has spread to his brain

Jimmy Carterimmy Carter’s melanoma, a form of skin cancer, has been discovered in four places on his brain and is likely to “show up other places in my body”, the former US president said on Thursday.

Carter told a news conference he would be undergoing radiation treatments and injections to fight the cancer, which was discovered after he underwent surgery to remove a growth on his liver, where melanoma also had been discovered, he said.

Carter, 91, first announced the cancer diagnosis last week.


Nashville hotel cancels rooms for white supremacist event

White SupremecistsThe Nashville hotel where white supremacists planned to host an annual event this weekend has canceled reservations for the event, according to Guesthouse Inn director of sales Michelle Jameson.

Jameson said the hotel on Music Valley Drive decided three days ago to cancel reservations for a Council of Conservative Citizens event. She said the hotel decided to cancel reservations after "it was brought to our attention to what this group might possibly be."


Noam Chomsky: Why America Is the Gravest Threat to World Peace

Noam ChomsklyThroughout the world there is great relief and optimism about the nuclear deal reached in Vienna between Iran and the P5+1 nations, the five veto-holding members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany.

Most of the world apparently shares the assessment of the U.S. Arms Control Association that “the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action establishes a strong and effective formula for blocking all of the pathways by which Iran could acquire material for nuclear weapons for more than a generation and a verification system to promptly detect and deter possible efforts by Iran to covertly pursue nuclear weapons that will last indefinitely.”


IAEA says report Iran to inspect own military site is 'misrepresentation'

IAEAThe U.N. nuclear watchdog chief on Thursday rejected as "a misrepresentation" suggestions Iran would inspect its own Parchin military site on the agency's behalf, an issue that could help make or break Tehran's nuclear deal with big powers.

Without International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmation that Iran is keeping promises enshrined in the landmark July 14 nuclear accord, Tehran will not be granted much-needed relief from international economic sanctions.


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