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Saturday, Jul 26th

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AIPAC Is the Only Explanation for America's Morally Bankrupt Israel Policy

AIPACThe official name for Israel's latest assault on Gaza is "Operation Protective Edge." A better name would be "Operation Déjà Vu." As it has on several prior occasions, Israel is using weapons provided by U.S. taxpayers to bombard the captive and impoverished Palestinians in Gaza, where the death toll now exceeds 500.

As usual, the U.S. government is siding with Israel, even though most American leaders understand Israel instigated the latest round of violence, is not acting with restraint, and that its actions make Washington look callous and hypocritical in the eyes of most of the world.

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Nationwide fruit recall issued over bacteria fears

national fruit recallWawona Packing Co. – a major supplier to Trader Joe’s, Walmart and other nationwide retailers – is recalling Sweet 2 Eat brand peaches, plums, nectarines and pluots because of potential listeria contamination, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said.

Listeria monocytogenes can lead to serious and even fatal infections, especially in young children, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems. Infections can be particularly harmful for pregnant women.

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US-backed militia runs amok in Afghanistan

Afghans run amokBefore dawn on June 1, a group of U.S. special forces and Afghan army commandos arrived by helicopter to the east of Alizai, a farming hamlet in Andar district in Taliban-controlled territory in central Afghanistan. They moved from house to house, arresting any fighting-age men they found, while the local Taliban fighters, who had been sleeping in a mosque at the other end of the village, fled without a fight.

By sunrise, the soldiers had gathered more than 100 men in the yard of a house belonging to a local man named Hajji Badruddin. As is typical in rural Afghanistan, the house had two large adjoining courtyards fenced in by high mud walls. The villagers were kept in one yard, while in the next yard the Americans and Afghan commandos had set up their four-wheeled ATVs, other vehicles and equipment.

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TransAsia Airways crashes in Taiwan, at least 40 dead

TransAsia crash in TaiwanAt least 47 people were feared dead after a TransAsia Airways plane crashed Wednesday while trying to make an emergency landing in stormy weather in the Penghu Islands off the coast of Taiwan.

Taiwan had been suffering strong winds and torrential rains Wednesday from Typhoon Matmo.

Taiwan's Transport Minister Yeh Kuang-shih was quoted by the government's Central News Agency as saying another 11 people were injured after the ATR-72 aircraft crashed outside the airport in Xixi village while attempting a second landing.

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Ukraine says pro-Russia rebels shoot down two fighter jets

Ukraine jets shot downPro-Russian rebels shot down two Ukrainian fighter jets on Wednesday, not far from where a Malaysian airliner was brought down last week in eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 passengers on board.

A spokesman for Ukraine's military operations said the planes were downed near Savur Mogila, a burial mound in the Shaktersky region where a memorial marks ambushes by the Soviet army on occupying Nazis during World War Two.

He said he did not have any information about the pilots.

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Fire at fracking fluid storage site in North Dakota sparks concerns

Fracking fluid fire ND-North Dakota's Health Department said it's surveying air quality near the site of a fire at an industrial park in Williston, the heart of the state's oil patch.

Chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing caught fire at an industrial warehouse in Williston. Officials said they're going to let the fire burn out on its own because pouring water on the blaze would create a secondary problem for nearby waterways.

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Scientist: "We Are Living in the Steroid Era of the Climate System"

Climate changeJune 2014 has become the second consecutive record-setting month for heat, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Monday. The averge global temperature last month was 61.2°F (16.2°C), which is 0.2°F than 2010, the previously hottest June, and 1.3° degrees higher than the 20th century average. It is the 352nd hotter than average month in a row.

Derek Arndt, NOAA's climate monitoring chief, said unusually hot oceans — especially the Pacific and Indian oceans — were the driving force behind June's heat.

"We are living in the steroid era of the climate system," Arndt said.

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Obama signs bill to overhaul job training programs

Job training bill overhaulFederal job training programs will see their biggest overhaul in 16 years after President Obama put his signature Tuesday on a law intended to streamline a tangled web of programs.

It's the first major rewrite of federal job training programs since Congress passed the Workforce Development Act in 1998 — when Netscape was the Web browser of choice, résumés were on paper and largely sent in the mail and newspaper want ads were the primary way of learning of job openings.

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US to conduct major study into female genital mutilation

FGM study The Obama administration is to carry out a major study into female genital mutilation, in an effort to establish how many women are living with the consequences of FGM in the United States and how many girls are at risk.

The previous study was carried out in 199 , and new research is a central demand of a Guardian-backed campaign, led by Jaha Dukureh, which aims to put an end to the practice. Experts say that FGM, which involves the removal of a girl's outer sexual organs and is often carried out without anaesthetic, often takes place during the summer holidays when American girls are taken out of the country for the purpose. A prevalence study is seen by campaigners as a vital first step in tackling FGM in the US.

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