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Friday, Jan 30th

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U.S. charges four with stealing $100 million in software, data

Army X-Box data hackedFour members of an alleged international computer hacking ring were charged with stealing more than $100 million worth of software and data - some of it used to train military pilots and some related to Microsoft Corp's (MSFT.O) Xbox gaming console - the U.S. Justice Department said Tuesday.

Two of the four - a 28-year-old New Jersey man and a 22-year-old Canadian man - pleaded guilty to charges contained in an indictment unsealed earlier in the day, the agency said.

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U.S. Army preparing to deploy division headquarters to Iraq

US deploys division headquarters to IraqFor the first time since the U.S. withdrew from Iraq in 2011 the U.S. Army is preparing to deploy a division headquarters to Iraq.

The move comes as the U.S. is expanding the war against the Islamic State -- also known as ISIS or ISIL.  An official announcement is expected in the next few days.

Army Chief of Staff Ray Odierno has said the Army "will send another division headquarters to Iraq to control what we're doing there, a small headquarters."

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US air force sergeant barred from re-enlisting unless he swears to God

Air Force oathThe US air force has told an atheist airman he must swear his re-enlistment oath to God or he will not be allowed to reenlist, according to the American Humanist.

The airman, who is stationed at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada, has not been identified. The service said he has until November to swear the oath required of all servicemembers, which concludes with the phrase “so help me God.”

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U.S. Air Force: Swear to God—or Get Out

Air Force AcademyIn a new, unexplained shift, the Air Force is compelling its troops to use the phrase ‘so help me God’ in their oaths or be discharged.

For years, allegations of religious intolerance have swirled around the U.S. Air Force, with officers accused both of pushing evangelical Christianity on the troops—and of hampering Christians’ practice.

Now, a new case threatens to reignite the firestorm. The Air Force has allegedly refused to allow a service member to reenlist, because he refused to use the phrase “so help me God” in his oath, the American Humanist Association asserts.

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Half of returning vets battle chronic pain, many risk pill addiction

Vets with chronic painChronic pain tortures nearly half of returning U.S. veterans, a new study suggests, and a large number of them — as many as 15 percent — are using narcotic painkillers to manage it.

Research shows that soldiers are four times as likely to use prescription narcotics compared to the wider civilian population. Such drugs carry the risk of lifelong addiction, fatal overdose and have been linked to the nation’s epidemic levels of heroin use.

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Pentagon Preparing for Mass Civil Unrest

PentagonA US Department of Defense (DoD) research programme is funding universities to model the dynamics, risks and tipping points for large-scale civil unrest across the world, under the supervision of various US military agencies. The multi-million dollar programme is designed to develop immediate and long-term "warfighter-relevant insights" for senior officials and decision makers in "the defense policy community," and to inform policy implemented by "combatant commands."

Launched in 2008 – the year of the global banking crisis – the DoD 'Minerva Research Initiative' partners with universities "to improve DoD's basic understanding of the social, cultural, behavioral, and political forces that shape regions of the world of strategic importance to the US."

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After Lull, U.S. Drone Strikes Kill 13 in Pakistan

Drone strikesMissiles from U.S. drones slammed into militant hideouts overnight in northwestern Pakistan, killing 13 suspected insurgents and marking the resumption of the CIA-led program after a nearly six-month break, officials said Thursday.

The strikes came just days after a five-hour siege of Pakistan’s busiest airport ended with 36 people, including ten militants, killed. The audacious attack raised concerns about whether Pakistan was capable of dealing with the Pakistani Taliban, which said it carried out the assault along with an Uzbek militant group.

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