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Wednesday, Nov 26th

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Obama signs secret order expanding U.S. role in Afghanistan

Obamam extends war in AfghanistanPresident Obama quietly signed a classified executive order authorizing a more expansive role for U.S. troops in Afghanistan in 2015, ensuring American troops will be fighting in the country for at least one more year, The New York Times reported.

The order allows American troops to take a direct role in missions against militant groups that include the Taliban.

It's a broader mission than the president described in a May announcement, when he said the U.S. military would have no combat role in Afghanistan next year and the remaining 9,800 troops would be focusing on training Afghan forces and handling al-Qaida threats.

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Al-Shabab claims Kenya bus passenger killings

Kenya killingsAl-Shabab fighters from Somalia hijacked a bus in Kenya's north and killed 28 non-Muslims on board after they had been singled out from the rest of the passengers, police officials said.

Two police officers said that the bus travelling to the capital Nairobi with 60 passengers was hijacked 50km from the town of Mandera near Kenya's border with Somalia.

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Gambling nuke commander linked to fake poker chips

Admiral linked to fake poker chipsThe admiral fired last year as No. 2 commander of U.S. nuclear forces may have made his own counterfeit $500 poker chips with paint and stickers to feed a gambling habit that eventually saw him banned from an entire network of casinos, according to a criminal investigative report obtained by The Associated Press.

Although Rear Adm. Timothy M. Giardina's removal as deputy head of U.S. Strategic Command was announced earlier this year, evidence of his possible role in manufacturing the counterfeit chips has not previously been revealed. Investigators said they found his DNA on the underside of an adhesive sticker used to alter genuine $1 poker chips to make them look like $500 chips.

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A Neo-Confederate in Nevada's Capitol

Ira HansenMy hometown alt-weekly, the Reno News & Review, published an in-depth report this week on Nevada Assembly Speaker-designate Ira Hansen and the political columns he wrote for the local Sparks Tribune newspaper for many years starting in 1994.

After the GOP swept the statewide offices and seized both chambers of the state legislature in this midterms, state legislators elected the staunchly conservative Hansen to the speakership. With such an extensive written record, the News & Review noted, "No Nevada official has ever given the public a more detailed blueprint to his thinking than Hansen."

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US prisoner in solitary for 42 years has conviction quashed

US solitary confinement prisoner freesThe 1974 murder conviction of America’s longest serving prisoner in solitary confinement has been overturned.

But Albert Woodfox, will remain in jail until the state of Louisiana decides whether to contest the ruling.  He could remain incarcerated in a prison cell the size of a parking space for months, if not years, if Louisiana continues to prolong the legal process as it has over the past two decades.

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Republican-led report debunks Benghazi theories and accusations

Benghazi reportAn investigative report prepared by the House Intelligence Committee finds little to support questions raised about CIA actions on the ground in Benghazi, Libya, the night of a deadly 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound.

The report, from Chairman Mike Rogers, R-Michigan, and ranking member Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Maryland, concludes there was no intelligence failure prior to the attack, no stand-down order to CIA operatives trying to go assist at the besieged consular building, and found conflicting intelligence in the wake of the attack about the motive and cause, which were reflected in early public comments by the administration.

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Israeli Police Ransack Homes of 40 Palestinians During al-Shaludi Home Demolition

israleis ransack Palestinian homesIsraeli police ransacked seven apartments and urinated inside one while demolishing the Silwan apartment of Abdel Rahman al-Shaludi, 21, the Palestinian motorist from East Jerusalem who killed a three-month old Israeli-American Chaya Zissel and one Ecuadoran tourist in a light rail attack in Jerusalem on October 22, 2014.

“They urinated on the mattresses in my brother’s apartment,” says Enas al-Shaludi, 43, the mother of the deceased driver. “You can see the urine on the mattresses.” In addition to the demolition, which the family expected after receiving a demolition order last Friday, all of the other apartments in the four-story residential building were raided. The residents were evacuated overnight to a flimsy plastic tarp tent across the street.

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Fossil hunters unearth galloping, dinosaur-eating crocodiles in Sahara

Fossil crocFossil hunters have uncovered the remains of primitive crocodiles that "galloped" on land and patrolled the broad rivers that coursed through north Africa one hundred million years ago.

The skeletons of five creatures that walked with dinosaurs – and ate them – were unearthed in remote and rocky regions of what are now Morocco and Niger during a series of expeditions in the Sahara desert.

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House Republicans Sue Obama Administration Over Health Law

John BoehnerHouse Republicans filed a long-threatened lawsuit Friday against the Obama administration over unilateral actions on the health care law that they say are abuses of the president's executive authority.

The lawsuit — filed against the secretaries of the Health and Human Services and Treasury Departments — focuses on two crucial aspects of the way the administration has put the Affordable Care Act into effect.

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