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Saturday, Feb 28th

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Judge rules for NSA in warrantless search case

NSAA U.S. judge on Tuesday ruled in favor of the National Security Agency in a lawsuit challenging the interception of Internet communications without a warrant, according to a court filing.

U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White in Oakland, California wrote the plaintiffs failed to establish legal standing to pursue a claim that the government violated the Fourth Amendment.

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Islamic State hostage Kayla Mueller confirmed dead

US hostage deadThe family of Kayla Mueller, an American hostage of the Islamic State, has received confirmation that she is dead.

Mueller, 26, was captured in August 2013 while working as a humanitarian aide in Aleppo, Syria. The Islamic State demanded a $7 million ransom with a deadline of Aug. 13, 2014, but what happened to Mueller after the deadline is unknown.

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Did Bill O’Reilly Cover Up a War Crime in El Salvador?

Bill O'reilly in el salvadorBefore Bill O’Reilly was, well, Bill O’Reilly, he worked for a time as a foreign correspondent for CBS Nightly News, anchored by Dan Rather. O’Reilly talks about that period of his career in two of his books, and in both mentions that in early 1982 he reported from northeastern El Salvador, just after the infamous El Mozote Massacre. “When the CBS News bureau chief asked for volunteers to check out an alleged massacre in the dangerous Morazán Territory, a mountainous region bordering Nicaragua, I willingly went.”

El Mozote is a small, hard-to-reach hamlet. The massacre took place on December 11, 1981, carried out by US-trained Atlacatl Battalion, which was not just trained but created by the United States as a rapid response unit to fight El Salvador’s fast-spreading FMLN insurgency. The killing was savage beyond belief: between 733 and 900 villagers were slaughtered, decapitated, impaled and burned alive.

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20,000 foreign fighters flock to Syria, Iraq to join IS

20,000 join ISISForeign fighters are streaming into Syria and Iraq in unprecedented numbers to join the Islamic State or other extremist groups, including at least 3,400 from Western nations among 20,000 from around the world, U.S. intelligence officials say in an updated estimate of a top terrorism concern.

Intelligence agencies now believe that as many as 150 Americans have tried and some have succeeded in reaching in the Syrian war zone, officials told the House Homeland Security Committee in testimony prepared for delivery on Wednesday. Some of those Americans were arrested en route, some died in the area and a small number are still fighting with extremists.

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NYPD officer indicted by grand jury for Akai Gurley shooting

NYPD officer indictedA rookie New York City police officer was indicted by a grand jury on Tuesday for the shooting of an unarmed black man, according to a lawyer representing the dead man's family and multiple news sources.

Officer Peter Liang will appear in court Wednesday over the November shooting death of 28-year-old Akai Gurley, according to Scott Rynecki, an attorney representing Gurley's family.

Peter Liang, the officer, was patrolling with his partner in a Brooklyn housing project on the night of Nov. 20 when his gun discharged a single bullet, killing Akai Gurley, 28, who was in the stairwell a flight below with his girlfriend.

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Obama to send his new war powers request to Capitol Hill

US CapitolThe White House was ready to share with lawmakers Tuesday its plan to seek authority for the use of military force against the Islamic State group, setting up the first war vote in Congress in 13 years.

Presidential counsel Neil Eggleston was set to address the Senate Democrats' luncheon, the day before President Barack Obama is expected to formally unveil his proposed authorization, a Democratic official revealed.

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Judicial defiance in Alabama: Same-sex marriages begin, but most counties refuse

Judiciald defiance in AlabamaOn the day that same-sex unions became legal in Alabama, local officials in dozens of counties on Monday defied a federal judge’s decision and refused to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, casting the state into judicial chaos.

Gay couples were able to get licenses in about a dozen places, including Birmingham, Huntsville and a few other counties where probate judges complied with the judge’s decision. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled early Monday that it would deny Alabama’s request to put the marriages on hold.

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Alex Baer: Stealing: All Hail, the Self-Righteous Profit Center

thievesThere are a lot of things one might say about the times in which we live. Here are a few terms which come to mind right this second: Creative. Untraditional. Pioneering. Voracious. Larcenous. Insatiable. Limitless.

Put it this way: If our times were a go-kart, we'd slap 40 kinds of governors on the thing, pull off the wheels, drain off all its life-giving fluids, wrap it in bales of jet-fuel-soaked hay, and bring in the healing fire of flame-throwers. We'd even lob in a few Molotov-cocktail-cases of thermite-and-white-phosphorous grenades for good measure.

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Leaked files implicate over 6,000 Israelis in massive bank scandal

Israelis in HSBC scandalBanking giant HSBC faced damaging claims Monday that its Swiss division helped wealthy customers dodge millions of dollars in taxes after a “SwissLeaks” cache of secret files emerged online. Among their clients are over 6,200 Israelis, with holdings totaling some $10 billion.

The documents published over the weekend claim the bank helped clients in more than 200 countries evade taxes on accounts containing $119 billion.

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