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Monday, Mar 30th

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ACLU files new lawsuit over Obama administration drone 'kill list'

ACLU files drone list lawsuit against ObamaAs the US debates expanding its campaign against the Islamic State beyond Iraq and Syria, the leading US civil liberties group is intensifying its efforts to force transparency about lethal US counterterrorism strikes and authorities.

On Monday, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) will file a disclosure lawsuit for secret Obama administration documents specifying, among other things, the criteria for placement on the so-called “kill list” for drone strikes and other deadly force.

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China becomes the world's third largest arms exporter

China weapons dealerChina has become the world's third largest exporter of arms after the US and Russia, according to a new report.

China overtook Germany, France and the UK in exporting weapons between 2010 and 2014, said the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

China now accounts for about 5% of the world's exports of arms.

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VA watchdog's investigation contradicted

VA investigation challengedThe Department of Veterans Affairs' inspector general may have wrongly claimed in a report last year that one of the top procurement officials at the VA steered contracts worth millions of dollars to friends, according to the inspector general at the Treasury Department.

Eric Thorson, the Treasury inspector general, also implied in a letter Thursday to Rep. Jeff Miller, a Florida Republican who chairs the House Veterans' Affairs Committee, that the claims in the report issued by the office of acting VA Inspector General Richard Griffin were influenced by a dispute between a VA employee and the procurement executive, who now works at Treasury.

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The Sickening Child Porn Crisis Infecting U.S. Government Agencies

Daniel Rosen arrestedDaniel Rosen, a senior State Department official arrested last month for soliciting sex online with a minor, was reportedly arrested again Sunday night in Washington, D.C., and charged with an earlier crime of voyeurism after police searched his cellphone.

And he is only the latest in a long string of government employees to have been accused of crimes against children.

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Venezuelan parliament OKs decree powers for president

Venezuelan presidentThe Venezuelan parliament on Sunday approved a law giving President Nicolas Maduro the power to legislate by decree for nine months in the face of what he described as threats by the U.S. government.

The so-called "anti-imperialist" law will be in effect from the time it is published in Venezuela's Official Gazette until Dec. 31.

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Syria conflict: US wants to 're-ignite' peace talks, says Kerry

US will deal with AssadUS Secretary of State John Kerry says he wants to "re-ignite" negotiations with President Bashar al-Assad to end the conflict in Syria.

Speaking as the war enters its fifth year, Mr Kerry said it was "one of the worst tragedies any of us have seen"  He said the international community was upping pressure on Syria's regime to hold new peace talks, saying "we have to negotiate in the end" with Mr Assad.

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US Reform Jewish rabbis install 1st openly lesbian leader

Rabbi Denise EgerAs a rabbinic student in 1980s New York, Denise Eger lived away from other seminarians. She quietly started a group for fellow gay and lesbian students, but held the meetings in another borough. By the time of her ordination, she wasn't formally out, but her sexuality was known, and no one would hire her. Later, she took the only job offered, with a synagogue formed expressly as a religious refuge for gays.

Since then, the Reform Jewish movement — Eger's spiritual home since childhood — has traveled a long road toward recognizing and embracing same-sex relationships. That journey has led this week to Philadelphia, where Eger will be installed Monday as the first openly gay president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the rabbinical arm of Reform Judaism.

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Report: Netanyahu tried to prevent Mossad briefing for US Senators on Iran

NetanyahuIsraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tried to cancel a January briefing for U.S. Senators by his nation’s intelligence service that warned Congress could damage talks aimed at constraining Iran’s nuclear program, according to sources familiar with the events.

Tennessee Republican Bob Corker, the head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, had requested the Jan. 19 briefing for six of his colleagues traveling to Israel so that the intelligence agency, Mossad, could warn them that a Senate proposal might inadvertently collapse the talks. After Netanyahu’s office stripped the meeting from the trip schedule, Corker threatened to cut his own Israel trip short in protest.

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McConnell will delay Lynch unless Dems cooperate on anti-abortion language in trafficking bill

Loretta LynchSenate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Sunday said Loretta Lynch, President Obama's nominee to succeed Eric Holder as attorney general, will not move until Democrats cooperate on a human trafficking bill.

Democrats have threatened to veto the bipartisan trafficking measure because Republicans included a provision that would prohibit restitution funds from paying for abortions.

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