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Monday, Jun 29th

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Putin’s Plot to Get Texas to Secede

Texasa Nationalist MovementNathan Smith, who styles himself the “foreign minister” for the Texas Nationalist Movement, appeared last Spring at a far-right confab in St. Petersburg, Russia. Despite roaming around in his cowboy hat, Smith managed to keep a low-key presence at the conference, which was dominated by fascists and neo-Nazis railing against Western decadence.

But at least one Russian newspaper, Vzglyad, caught up with the American, noted that TNM is “hardly a marginal group,”and quoted Smith liberally on the excellent prospects for a partial breakup of the United States. Smith declared that the Texas National Movement has 250,000 supporters—including all the Texans currently serving in the U.S. Army—and they all “identify themselves first and foremost as Texans” but are being forced to remain Americans. The United States, he added, “is not a democracy, but a dictatorship.” The Kremlin’s famed troll farms took the interview and ran with it, with dozens of bots instantly tweeting about a “Free Texas.”

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Pakistan heatwave: Emergency measures as toll nears 700

Pakistan heat wavePakistan's PM Nawaz Sharif has called for emergency measures as the death toll from a heatwave in southern Sindh province reached nearly 700.

The army is now being deployed to help set up heat stroke centres, with temperatures reaching 45C (113F).

Officials have been criticised for not doing enough to tackle the crisis.

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U.S. to put military equipment in several European countries

Ash CarterThe U.S. will spread about 250 tanks, armored vehicles and other military equipment across six former Soviet bloc nations to help reassure NATO allies facing threats from Russia and terrorist groups, Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced Tuesday.

Carter’s announcement, made as he stood with defense chiefs from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, comes a day after he announced that the U.S. would have other weapons, aircraft and forces, including commandos, ready as needed for NATO’s new rapid reaction force, to help Europe defend against potential Russian aggression from the east and the Islamic State and other violent extremists from the south.

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Former ambassador's bizarre attack on Obama lays bare strains in US-Israeli ties

OrenIt’s a peculiar feature of American relations with Israel that more than a few senior diplomats posted from Jerusalem to Washington were once US citizens.

The present Israeli ambassador, Ron Dermer, was born in Miami Beach and carried an American passport until he renounced it in 2005 in order to serve as the Jewish state’s economic envoy in DC.

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EU ministers launch navy operation against migrant traffickers

EU luanches migrant trafficking operationThe European Union began a naval operation Monday to try to stop human traffickers from bringing migrants across the Mediterranean to Europe in unseaworthy boats, a lucrative and sometimes deadly practice.

More than 100,000 migrants have entered Europe so far this year, with some 2,000 dead or missing during the perilous quest to reach the continent. Dozens of boats set off from lawless Libya each week, with most heading for Italy and Greece.

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Israel announces 'collective guilt' measures for Palestinians after stabbing

Collective guilt for stabbingIsraeli leaders ordered several punitive measures against Palestinians on Sunday night, and threatened further possible action, after a Border Policeman was critically wounded in a Jerusalem stabbing attack earlier in the day.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon instructed security officials to revoke Israeli work permits from residents of the assailant’s home town, the West Bank village of Sa’ir, near Hebron.

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Palestinian political crisis deepens with collapse of unity government

Palestinian unity collapsesPalestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas’ decision this week to dissolve the Fatah-Hamas consensus government is not the first crisis to hit the PA in its two decades of existence. Given what is at stake, however, it could very well be the most consequential change in the PA government in many years.

Abbas on Wednesday justified his decision on the grounds that the government, which was in place for barely a year, could not operate in Gaza, where Hamas is in control.

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