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Chris Hedges: The Day That TV News Died

Phil DonahueI am not sure exactly when the death of television news took place. The descent was gradual—a slide into the tawdry, the trivial and the inane, into the charade on cable news channels such as Fox and MSNBC in which hosts hold up corporate political puppets to laud or ridicule, and treat celebrity foibles as legitimate news.

But if I had to pick a date when commercial television decided amassing corporate money and providing entertainment were its central mission, when it consciously chose to become a carnival act, it would probably be Feb. 25, 2003, when MSNBC took Phil Donahue off the air because of his opposition to the calls for war in Iraq.

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Marine who helped stage toppling of Saddam Hussein has doubts a decade later

Staged toppling of Saddam's statueThere was no doubt in the young Marine’s mind when he clambered to the top of the enormous statue of Saddam Hussein, tied a noose around its neck — and tore down the graven image.

Brooklyn-born Edward Chin continued to believe in the mission, even as the U.S. death toll mounted in Iraq, even as Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction turned out to be a mirage. Now, 10 years after Chin signaled to the world that Baghdad had fallen, he is not so certain.

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UK's BAE Systems wins $780m US military contract

BAE SystemsBAE Systems has been awarded a new contract from the US military worth up to $780m (£512m), in a rare spending boost from its largest single customer.

The US is BAE's biggest market but the defence contractor has warned it faced weak demand from across the Atlantic due to the scaling back of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as public spending cuts.

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Ex-Florida Marine fights cancer, government

Tom GervasiEx-Marine Tom Gervasi has spent the last 10 years fighting cancer and the U.S. government.

The 76-year-old Sarasota man has a rare form of breast cancer that he believes is due to contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, where he trained in the mid-1950s.

On Friday, Gervasi went into the hospital so doctors could snake a camera into his lungs to check for cancerous lesions. He's been coughing and short of breath in recent months, and can barely shuffle from his living room to his screened-in porch without leaning on his cane and stopping to catch his breath.

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Army member gets 5 years for $1m Afghan scam

 

Tonya LongAn Army staff sergeant was sentenced to five years in prison for stealing $1 million from the government in a scam while she was serving in Afghanistan.

Tonya Long, a 13-year Army veteran, pleaded guilty to stealing at least $1 million in cash payments meant for Afghan drivers of trucks delivering supplies to U.S. military bases in Afghanistan, the Los Angeles Times reported.

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Budget deadlock squeezes military members seeking education

Tuition cutsThe tuition assistance program, which provides up to $4,500 per year per student, is one victim of across-the-board cuts known as sequestration that are forcing government agencies to reduce spending. The $85 billion in cuts began on March 1 after a gridlocked U.S. Congress was unable to resolve fiscal fights and find a solution to replace the sequestration.

Comments left on military message boards and Facebook show a widespread disappointment with the sudden termination of the tuition assistance program, which is not a part of the military contract, like the G.I. Bill for veterans benefits, but is considered an incentive to enlist.

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Scientists confirm Marines’ poisonous Camp Lejeune water wells date back to mid-century

Camp lejeuneFederal health officials continue to uncover excessive levels of previous water contamination at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. A new study of the North Carolina base’s main water system that was released Friday demonstrates a rapidly increasing level of human carcinogens in the drinking water starting as early as 1948 and peaking in the mid-1980s.

“These are highest levels of drinking water contamination in this country that I’m aware of,” said Richard Clapp, an epidemiologist at the University of Massachusetts Lowell who’s studied the findings.

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