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Report: Chinese regime adds armaments on disputed islands

December 15, 2016
posted by

USA Today USA Today    

"China's military has installed anti-aircraft guns and other weapons on man-made islands in the South China Sea, according to a U.S. think tank's analysis of satellite imagery published late Wednesday. The Center for Strategic and International Studies' report said China has built 'significant point-defense capabilities' on all seven of its outposts in the Spratly Islands archipelago, a key trade channel where Taiwan, Vietnam, the Philippines and others claim territory. The claim comes as President-elect Donald Trump has accused Beijing of constructing a 'massive military complex' in the South China Sea, made aggressive comments about China's trade policy and questioned U.S. protocol and policy over China's rival Taiwan." (12/15/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2016/12/15/china-weapons-south-china-sea/95461078/  

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Judge orders Trump to sit for seven hour deposition in early January

December 15, 2016
posted by

CNN CNN    

"Before President-elect Donald Trump heads to the White House on January 20, he will find himself back in the witness chair for questioning in his ongoing contractual dispute with celebrity chef, Jose Andres. DC Superior Court Judge Jennifer A. Di Toro ruled Wednesday that Trump must sit for a deposition in New York City the first week of January, and it may last up to seven hours. Trump sued Andres for breach of contract after Andres backed out of a plan for a restaurant in Trump's new luxury hotel in Washington. Andres claimed he canceled plans for the project after Trump made disparaging remarks about Mexicans during the presidential campaign." (12/14/16)

http://www.cnn.com/2016/12/14/politics/donald-trump-deposition-washington-hotel/index.html  

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Yahoo discloses new data breach affecting one billion accounts

December 15, 2016
posted by

Reuters    

"Yahoo Inc said on Wednesday that it has identified a new breach that occurred in August 2013 and involved data associated with more than one billion user accounts, double the number affected in a different breach disclosed in September. Yahoo said it believed the latest incident was likely distinct from the breach disclosed in September, when it said information associated with at least 500 million user accounts was stolen in 2014. The 2014 breach was believed to be the world's biggest known cyber breach by far. The company, which is being acquired by Verizon Communication Inc for $4.83 billion, said an unauthorized third party had stolen the data in the latest breach and that it was working closely with law enforcement. The company said it has not been able to identify the intrusion associated with the theft." (12/14/16)

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-yahoo-cyber-idUSKBN1432WZ  

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Federal Reserve raises interest rates for second time in a decade

December 15, 2016
posted by

The Washington Post Washington Post    

"The Federal Reserve raised interest rates on Wednesday afternoon for the first time in a year, and it signaled that rates could continue to rise next year more quickly than officials had expected. The increase was unanimous and modest, raising the Fed's key interest rate by a quarter point, from a range of 0.25 to 0.5 percent to a range of 0.5 to 0.75 percent. It reflects Fed officials' confidence in the strengthening of the U.S. economy and what officials see as budding signs of higher inflation." (12/14/16)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/12/14/federal-reserve-expected-to-announce-higher-interest-rates-today/  

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US regime to halt Saudi arms sales over Yemen war crimes

December 15, 2016
posted by

Defense News    

"The US plans to halt some arms sales to Saudi Arabia because of the high civilian death toll in the kingdom's Yemen bombing campaign. Quoting a US official, Reuters first reported that 'systemic, endemic' problems in Saudi Arabia's targeting drove the US decision, which officials acknowledged Tuesday, to halt a future weapons sale involving precision-guided munitions made by Raytheon. The contract -- to convert dumb bombs into precision-guided munitions that can more accurately hit their targets -- is valued at $350 million, according to a report in The New York Times." (12/14/16)

http://www.defensenews.com/articles/us-to-halt-arms-sales-to-saudi-arabia-over-yemen-casualties  

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CO: Judge orders state’s electors to vote for Clinton

December 15, 2016
posted by

Associated Press    

"Colorado's nine electors must vote for Hillary Clinton because she won the state's popular vote, a judge ruled Tuesday, effectively stopping the state's electors from joining a longshot effort to unite with Republicans behind a compromise presidential candidate other than Donald Trump. Denver Judge Elizabeth Starrs also ruled that any electors who fail to do so can immediately be replaced when the Electoral College convenes Dec. 19. She responded to a request from Colorado's secretary of state, who was seeking a way to prevent electors from diverging from the winner of the state's popular vote." (12/13/16)

http://elections.ap.org/content/judge-orders-colorado-electors-vote-hillary-clinton  

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India: 12 arrested for not standing during national anthem

December 15, 2016
posted by

Epoch Times    

"Twelve people have been arrested in southern India for not standing while the national anthem was being played at an international film festival, police said Tuesday. The arrests Monday follow a ruling by India's Supreme Court last month that said the anthem must be played before every film screening in the country, accompanied by an image of the national flag, and that audiences must stand. The court said the rule was aimed at instilling a sense of patriotism." (12/13/16)

http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/2197899-india-arrests-12-for-not-standing-during-national-anthem/  

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Russia: Facial recognition app sparks interest, controversy

December 15, 2016
posted by

Fox News    

"A facial recognition app out of Russia is raising eyebrows, both because of its abilities and the privacy concerns it sparks. The app, FindFace, involves users submitting photos -- for example, of someone they saw on the street and might like to be able to contact. Then, the app searches a Russian social network called Vkontakte to look for a match with a reported accuracy of about 70 percent among the millions of accounts. It's even performed better than Google at a competition called MegaFace. While some have praised the app for its ability to make successful matches -- law enforcement and casinos are said to be interested in the tech -- others have privacy concerns." (12/14/16)

http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2016/12/14/russian-facial-recognition-app-sparks-interest-controversy.html  

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Trump endorses Romney niece Ronna Romney McDaniel for RNC chair

December 15, 2016
posted by

Raw Story Raw Story    

"U.S. President-elect Donald Trump on Wednesday endorsed a niece of former critic Mitt Romney to be the next chair of the Republican National Committee as he moved to put his stamp on the party leadership. The RNC named Michigan Republican Party chair Ronna Romney McDaniel as its deputy chair, and Trump said he looked forward to her taking over the party leadership. Trump’s incoming White House chief of staff, Reince Priebus, will leave the RNC chairmanship when Trump takes office on Jan. 20. 'I’m excited to have a highly effective leader in Ronna McDaniel as RNC deputy chair and I look forward to her serving as the party’s chairman in 2017,' Trump said in a statement." (12/14/16)

http://www.rawstory.com/2016/12/trump-endorses-romney-niece-ronna-romney-mcdaniel-for-rnc-chair  

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Mexico: Senate approves medical cannabis bill

December 14, 2016
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle San Francisco Chronicle    

"Mexico is one step closer to softening their once-rigid stance against cannabis by passing a medical marijuana bill. The country’s Senate on Tuesday passed a bill approving the use of medical marijuana with overwhelming support, reports the Associated Press. The measure gives the Health Department the responsibility to 'design public policies to regulate the medicinal use of this plant and its derivatives,' according to a statement from lawmakers. It was passed with 98-7 vote." (12/14/16)

http://blog.sfgate.com/smellthetruth/2016/12/14/mexico-lawmakers-approve-medical-marijuana-bill  

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Michigan: Regime again asks judge not to order Flint bottled water deliveries

December 14, 2016
posted by

USA Today USA Today    

"The state of Michigan late on Tuesday asked a federal judge to dissolve an order requiring delivery of bottled water to certain Flint households, saying lead levels in the water are now lower than federal limits set out in the Safe Drinking Water Act. U.S. District Judge David Lawson has twice ordered state officials to start delivering bottled water to Flint households, unless the state can show the household has a properly installed and maintained water filter, or the resident refuses to accept water deliveries. The state has protested, saying the water deliveries are not needed, would cost the state millions of dollars and would hurt Flint's recovery efforts, which are partly based on having Flint residents run their taps more frequently to help cleanse the water distribution system." (12/14/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2016/12/14/michigan-again-asks-judge-not-order-flint-bottled-water-deliveries/95437098  

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Dutch court rules Kiev regime can steal art belonging to Crimean museums

December 14, 2016
posted by

MSN News    

"A Dutch court ruled Wednesday that priceless Crimean art treasures loaned to an Amsterdam museum shortly before [Crimeans voted to secede from Ukraine] in 2014 should go back [sic] to Ukraine. Four Crimean museums launched a joint legal bid in November 2014 to force the Allard Pierson Museum to return the historic collection of archaeological artefacts, displayed in an exhibition titled: 'The Crimea: Gold and Secrets from the Black Sea.' ... 'The claim by Crimean museums that the artefacts are Crimean heritage, or belong to the Autonomous Republic of Crimea was not accepted by the judges, because neither are sovereign states,' the Amsterdam regional court added." (12/14/16)

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/crimea-treasures-must-be-returned-to-ukraine-dutch-court/ar-AAlxZPm  

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Stein spent nearly $1 million of recount funds on consultants, staff, admin expenses

December 14, 2016
posted by

Fox News    

"Green Party nominee Jill Stein spent nearly $1 million of the funds she raised for recount efforts in three battleground states on consultants, staff, and administrative costs. Stein, who pushed for recounts in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan, raised $7.3 million for the efforts and said that 'every dollar' went towards costs associated with the recount efforts. ... The staff payroll tallied $212,500 while consultants pocketed $364,000. Administrative expenses, such as travel costs, ran $353,618. In all, $930,118 was used to pay consultants, staff, and administrative costs." (12/14/16)

http://nation.foxnews.com/2016/12/14/stein-spent-nearly-1-million-recount-funds-consultants-staff-admin-expenses  

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Three Marines face courts-martial in hazing probe

December 14, 2016
posted by

USA Today USA Today    

"A Marine Corps general has referred charges for courts-martial against three drill instructors at the training depot at Parris Island, S.C., though none were involved in the investigation into the death of a Michigan recruit at the base in March. After the death of Raheel Siddiqui, 20, the Marines concluded three investigations, including one into his March 7 death, in which investigators said he leapt from a third-story stairwell after being slapped by a drill instructor." (12/14/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2016/12/14/marines-courts-martial-hazing-probe/95414932/  

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CA: Uber gives middle finger to bureaucrats, launches self-driving car fleet in San Francisco

December 14, 2016
posted by

Yahoo! News Yahoo! News    

"Uber has rolled out its self-driving car fleet in its hometown of San Francisco, despite lacking the proper permit that state regulators say is required. Starting Wednesday, riders who request an UberX, one of the company's budget ride options, may be matched with a self-driving Uber. It is unclear how many of these cars Uber has in San Francisco. Launching the program kicked off a battle with the California Department of Motor Vehicles, which said on Tuesday that Uber does not have a permit to test autonomous vehicles on California roads, and demanded the company follow the permitting process that is in place. 'Twenty manufacturers have already obtained permits to test hundreds of cars on California roads. Uber shall do the same,' the agency said in a written statement." [editor's note: The world would be a much better place if everyone ignored bureaucrats (and shot the ones who can't take a hint - TLK] (12/14/16)

https://www.yahoo.com/news/uber-launches-self-driving-car-fleet-san-francisco-165800284--sector.html  

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Ashley Madison owner agrees to spread around $1.6 million in bribes to make extortionists go away

December 14, 2016
posted by

Durango Herald    

"The owner of dating site Ashley Madison has agreed to pay $1.6 million to settle a Federal Trade Commission investigation and state charges related to the massive 2015 data breach, the FTC announced Wednesday. ... The proposed settlement calls for an $8.75 million judgment against Ruby, but the company won't actually be on the hook for that full amount. Instead, the bulk of that figure will be 'partially suspended' after it pays $828,500 to the commission, according to the FTC's news release. Ruby will also have to pay $828,500 to a coalition of 13 states and the District of Columbia which worked with the FTC on the settlement." [editor's note: See who isn't getting any money? Yep, the presumptive victims of any of Ashley Madison's negligence or practice. Every dime of the money is going to grease the palms of bureaucrats and make this go away - TLK] (12/14/16)

https://durangoherald.com/articles/121705-ashley-madison-owner-agrees-to-pay-1-6-million-to-settle-u-s-investigations  

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Google releases eight National Security Letters sent by FBI between 2010 and 2015

December 14, 2016
posted by

Tech Times    

"As part of Google's commitment to transparency in relation to the government's requests to obtain user data, the company on Tuesday published eight National Security Letters (NSL) penned by the FBI, and received by Google either through litigation or legislation. The letters Google has published were sent from different FBI offices across the country, including North Carolina, Florida, Arizona, New York, and California. The letters seek broad accessibility to content tied to around 20 user accounts. Google has redacted the usernames as a privacy measure, and a spokesperson for the company has said that the targeted individuals have been notified." (12/14/16)

http://www.techtimes.com/articles/188740/20161214/google-releases-8-national-security-letters-sent-by-the-fbi-between-2010-and-2015.htm  

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UK: Amazon makes its first drone delivery to a real customer

December 14, 2016
posted by

Albuquerque Journal    

"Amazon.com has long talked about its ambitions for using drones to deliver small parcels to its legions of customers. Now, it appears the e-commerce giant is one step closer to that goal. On Wednesday, the company said that it has made its first autonomous drone delivery -- an order for an Amazon Fire TV streaming device and a bag of popcorn -- to a shopper in the United Kingdom. Jeffrey P. Bezos, the chief executive of Amazon and owner of The Washington Post, tweeted Wednesday morning that the box was at the customer's home 13 minutes after the order was placed." (12/14/16)

https://www.abqjournal.com/908702/amazon-makes-its-first-drone-delivery-to-a-real-customer.html  

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US Marines ground all Ospreys in Japan after crash

December 14, 2016
posted by

Fox News    

"The U.S. Marine Corps announced Wednesday it would temporarily ground all Japan-based MV-22 Osprey aircraft after a crash Tuesday six miles off the coast of Okinawa. The Osprey, which can take off like a helicopter and fly like a plane, was conducting a nighttime mid-air refueling operation over the Pacific when the rotor blades struck the refueling line, damaging the aircraft, Lt Gen. Lawrence D. Nicholson, the Commanding General of III Marine Expeditionary Force, said at a news conference." (12/14/16)

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2016/12/14/us-marines-ground-all-ospreys-in-japan-after-crash.html  

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US Energy Department rejects Trump transition request for climate staff names

December 14, 2016
posted by

CBS News CBS News    

"The Energy Department will not release the names of employees that have worked on climate change policy, an agency spokesperson said Tuesday, pushing back on requests from President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team. 'We will be forthcoming with all publicly-available information with the transition team,' spokesperson Eben Burnham-Snyder said in a statement. But, '[w]e will not be providing any individual names to the transition team.' The agency said it 'received significant feedback' from its employees, after the Trump transition team released a 74-question survey asking officials to identify those who were involved in international climate talks and who worked to advance the current administration's climate policies." [editor's note: "Pushback?" This isn't rocket science -- if you don't want your name and activities to be public information, get your mouth off the taxpayer teat and go get an honest job - TLK] (12/14/16)

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/energy-dept-rejects-trump-transition-request-for-climate-staff-names/  

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FBI looks into Congress’s claims VA lied about hospital costs

December 14, 2016
posted by

US News & World Report US News & World Report    

"The Justice Department is considering whether to investigate allegations that Veterans Affairs Department executives lied to Congress to conceal massive cost overruns at a $1.7 billion VA hospital under construction outside Denver. The FBI's Washington field office is reviewing the allegations, the Justice Department said in a letter to Congress. The letter was dated Dec. 9 and made public Tuesday. The FBI is part of the Justice Department. Lawmakers accuse VA executives of lying when they testified before the House Veterans Affairs Committee in 2013 and 2014 about the cost of the hospital in suburban Aurora. The current projected price tag is nearly triple the 2014 estimate." (12/13/16)

http://www.usnews.com/news/us/articles/2016-12-13/justice-department-considers-probe-of-va-perjury-allegations  

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YouTube blocks North Korean channel to appease US regime censors

December 14, 2016
posted by

The Washington Post Washington Post    

YouTube has blocked North Korea's state television channel, which broadcasts news on everything from nuclear tests to Kim Jong Un's outings, to avoid breaching U.S. sanctions against the regime. The action was apparently taken not because of the content in the channel but because the North Korean government could earn money from it through advertising. ... Under sanctions imposed in March, the Treasury Department designated North Korea's Propaganda and Agitation Department as engaging in censorship on behalf of authorities. The measures ban any U.S. company or person from doing business with the department." [editor's note: Yes, you read that right -- the US is using North Korea's censorship as justification for its own - TLK] (12/14/16)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/youtube-blocks-north-korean-channel-to-avoid-breaching-sanctions/2016/12/14/12938986-dfcf-4ab3-8209-b8436396f810_story.html  

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Syria: Assad regime has full control of eastern Aleppo, says Russian UN ambassador

December 14, 2016
posted by

ABC News ABC News    

"Eastern Aleppo has fallen, and military activities there have stopped, according to Russia's United Nations ambassador. 'The Syrian government has re-established control over eastern Aleppo,' Vitaly Churkin told the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday. Residents of eastern Aleppo told ABC News that it is quiet there, with no sounds of battle, but ABC News could not immediately confirm whether fighting has ended. ... The Russian announcement came after months of siege and years of fighting between rebels and Syrian government forces. In recent months, the Syrian government, with help from its Russian and Iranian allies, intensified its airstrikes on eastern Aleppo and tightened the siege in an attempt to gain full control of the area, rebel held until recently." (12/13/16)

http://abcnews.go.com/International/syrian-government-reportedly-kills-dozens-civilians-aleppo-spot/story?id=44160179  

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Maduro shuts down Venezuela-Colombia border amid cash chaos

December 14, 2016
posted by

PanAm Post PanAm Post    

"President Nicolas Maduro issued the closure of the Venezuelan-Colombia border for 72 hours in order to avoid the return of 100 Bolivar bills that, according to him, are in Cucuta being hoarded by the mafia. Maduro made the order on the night of Monday, December 13, saying that no one would lose money except for the mafias in control of the exchange houses linked to the Venezuelan opposition." (12/13/16)

https://panampost.com/orlando-avendano/2016/12/13/maduro-shuts-down-venezuela-colombia-border-amid-cash-caos/  

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Uber encrypts its computers from afar when the government raids its offices, a lawsuit claims

December 14, 2016
posted by

Business Insider    

"When government agents raid Uber's offices, the company springs into action with an immediate response: it shuts everything down and encrypt all its computers. That's according to a court declaration by former employee Ward Spangenberg, who served as Uber's forensic investigator until last February. Spangenberg was fired by Uber and is now suing the ride-hailing startup for age discrimination, whistleblower retaliation, and defamation. ... Asked about Spangenberg's allegations and if the plan he described was indeed standard Uber procedure during government raids, Uber sent Business Insider the following statement: 'It's no secret that Uber has trip coordinates and other personally identifiable information about riders and drivers, and it's our obligation to protect that. We cooperate with authorities when they come to us with subpoenas." [editor's note: If this is true, Uber is heroic. I wish EVERY company had an "encrypt everything we own, NOW" button and someone standing by to push it at the first sign of a badge - TLK] (12/11/16)

http://www.businessinsider.com/uber-encrypts-company-computers-during-raids-lawsuit-claims-2016-12  

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