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Sunday, Aug 02nd

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How the U.S. is training China’s military – while inching toward conflict

US training Chinese militaryDespite tensions between the United States and China over the South China Sea, the two nations’ militaries train together at a very high level. Current “mil-mil” engagements are robust, with China participating in the world’s largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC 2014, which is hosted biannually by the U.S. Pacific Command. The drills allowed China to learn a great deal about U.S. tactics, techniques and procedures (in military shorthand, “TTPs”).

But even as the United States provided China with its highest-level access to military drills, the U.S. military leadership consistently ratcheted up the level of confrontation in the South China Sea. Most recently, a top U.S. Navy admiral participated in a surveillance flight in the region. The United States is at once inching closer to armed confrontation, while at the same time training Chinese forces in the American way of war.

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FDA reviews nutrition label change to highlight added sugar

added sugarThe Food and Drug Administration is reviewing a controversial change to nutrition labels to add amounts of added sugar and recommended consumption levels, a move opposed by many food and beverage companies.

The proposed change to the Nutrition Facts label would set the recommended intake of added sugar for packaged food and drinks at no more than 10 percent of a 2,000-calorie a day, or 200 calories a day. That's equivalent to about 13 teaspoons of added sugar. A 12-ounce can of Coca-Cola has nearly 10 teaspoons.

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In Kenya, Obama blends blunt messages with warm reflections

Obama in KenyaPresident Barack Obama mixed blunt messages to Kenya's leaders on gay rights, corruption and counterterrorism Saturday with warm reflections on his family ties to a nation that considers him a local son.

He foreshadowed a focus on Kenya in his post-White House life, saying, "I'll be back."

Obama's comments during a news conference with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta reflected the unusual nature of his long-awaited visit to this East African nation. His official agenda has been sprinkled with opportunities to reconnect with his late father's sprawling Kenyan family, including some meeting the American president for the first time.

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US preparing to release convicted Israeli spy Pollard

PollardThe Obama administration is preparing to release Jonathan Pollard, a U.S. Navy intelligence officer convicted of spying for Israel, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, citing U.S. officials.

The release would end a decades-long fight between Israel and the United States over Pollard, 60, who was convicted of spying for Israel and sentenced in 1987 to life in prison with a minimum of 30 years, a period that ends this November.

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Turkey launches airstrikes against Kurds in Iraq, ISIL in Syria

Turkish air strikesTurkish jets struck camps belonging to Kurdish fighters in northern Iraq, authorities said Saturday, the first strikes since a peace deal was announced in 2013, and again bombed ISIL positions in Syria.

The strikes in Iraq targeted the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, whose affiliates have been effective in battling the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant. The strikes further complicate the U.S.-led war against the armed group, which has relied on Kurdish ground forces making gains in Iraq and Syria.

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More Than 100 Doctors Tell Big Pharma To Stop Making Cancer Drugs So Expensive

Cancer profits by Big PharmaThe pressure is mounting on pharmaceutical companies to lower their prices for lifesaving drugs, as a group of more than 100 prominent oncologists is calling for grassroots solutions to the skyrocketing cost of cancer treatment.

In an editorial published on Thursday in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 118 doctors from top hospitals around the country argue that up to 20 percent of cancer patients don’t follow their recommended treatment regimen because they’re being priced out of the drugs they need. The oncologists say this financial burden puts sick Americans in an untenable situation as they’re fighting for their lives.

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Bob Alexander: Pinched Nerve

Bob AlexanderMy life-long quest to find the Unified Field Theory of Home-Grown Fascism seems at times tantalizingly close, but at others farther away than Alpha Centauri. I'm sure I could wrestle the beast to the ground, snap its neck, and call it a done deal if I laid out my arguments in the form of a book. But a couple of hundred pages makes an unwieldy club. Some Right-Wing half-wit gasbag like George Will or David Brooks could seize upon one sentence of mine … spin it around to mean something I never intended in a million years … and proudly proclaim the entire book debunked. No … I don't want to write a book, pamphlet, or paragraph. I want the same thing Einstein wanted -- to be able to spell out The Theory of Everything in an equation one inch long. No need for a 50-caliber machine gun when a derringer will do.

Just one sentence. That'll do the trick. Printed on a 3×5 card. It could be slipped into the steaming pile of manure Limbaugh reads from everyday on the air. He's on auto-pilot most of the time, doesn't really read the daily talking points in front of him before he starts his argle-bargle-yammering, so he won't even notice what he's read until it's already out of his mouth and into the ears of his listeners. What happens after that is anybody's guess. My favorite scenario is Limbaugh realizes what he's said and instantly his body loses cohesion; 300 pounds of body fat slops to the floor of his studio in an oily avalanche, a wire shorts out, and Rush Limbaugh flames out of existence leaving behind a greasy residue that resists even multiple applications of Mr. Clean.

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Israel Security Establishment Breaks With Bibi on Iran Deal

NetanyahuThere’s a deep crack emerging in the veneer of wall-to-wall support offered by Israel’s political leadership to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in his war against the Iran nuclear agreement.

The crack has a name you might recognize: the Israeli security establishment. You know — the folks whose job it is to identify and address threats to Israel’s safety. A small but growing group of high-power ex-commanders has been speaking out in media interviews and op-ed essays in the past few days, saying that Netanyahu has got the Iran issue wrong.

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Aircraft 'bomb bag' limits on board explosion impact

Aircraft bomb bagA new system to resist terrorist bombs smuggled onto aircraft has been tested in dramatic experiments.

A device called FlyBag is designed to absorb the shockwaves and shrapnel caused by explosions.

If security fails and a bomb reaches the luggage hold, the idea is that the blast would be safely contained.  The trials - using old jets at Cotswolds Airport in Gloucestershire - showed that explosions on board caused no damage.

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