U.S. to Commit Up to 3,000 Troops to Fight Ebola in Africa

From The New York Times:

Under pressure to do more to confront the Ebola outbreak sweeping across West Africa, President Obama on Tuesday is to announce an expansion of military and medical resources to combat the spread of the deadly virus, administration officials said.

The president will go beyond the 25-bed portable hospital that Pentagon officials said they would establish in Liberia, one of the three West African countries ravaged by the disease, officials said. Mr. Obama will offer help to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia in the construction of as many as 17 Ebola treatment centers in the region, with about 1,700 treatment beds.

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U.S. strikes Islamic State jihadists near Baghdad for first time

From Yahoo News:

The United States has bombed militants near Baghdad in support of Iraqi forces, striking close to the capital for the first time in its expanded campaign against Islamic State jihadists. But in a sign of their growing strength, a monitoring group said the jihadists had managed to bring down a Syrian warplane conducting strikes over their stronghold of Raqa in north-central Syria.

The US air strike against IS fighters in the Sadr al-Yusufiyah area, 25 kilometres (15 miles) from Baghdad, came as world diplomats pledged to support Iraq in its fight against the militants and less than a week after US President Barack Obama ordered a “relentless” war against IS. “US military forces continued to attack (IS) terrorists in Iraq, employing attack and fighter aircraft to conduct two air strikes Sunday and Monday in support of Iraqi security forces near Sinjar and southwest of Baghdad,” the US Central Command said in a statement.

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46,496,145: Food Stamp Recipients Can Fill Yankee Stadium 925 Times

From CNS News:

 In June 2014, there were 46,496,145 recipients of the food stamp program, which is enough to fill the Yankee Stadium 925 times, according to data fromthe Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The Yankee Stadium is equipped to hold 50,291 persons, meaning that the 46,496,145 Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients in June 2014 could fill the stadium 925 times.  The number of recipients was up 270,999 since the previous month in May 2014 when there were 46,225,146 individuals participating in the program.

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Iran fills key role in battling Islamic State in Iraq

From the L.A. Times:

In an isolated corner of northeastern Iraq, a foreign power has been a crucial contributor in a little-noticed front against the militant Islamic State — and it’s not the United States. At his office here, Mala Bakhtiar, military supervisor of the Kurdish peshmerga forces and a local politician, spoke openly of comprehensive Iranian involvement in logistics, intelligence-sharing and provision of military equipment to Kurdish troops.

“They gave us rockets, cannons, maps,” a grateful Bakhtiar said of the Iranians, gesturing at the large-scale maps competing for wall space. “We needed these things badly. The Kurdish leader also confirmed the presence of consultants from the Pasdaran, also known as the Revolutionary Guard — who, he said, “were very helpful” as advisors in the ongoing battle to dislodge the Sunni extremists from the nearby strategic town of Jalawla and vicinity.

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Ukraine Sees The Worst Fighting Since Ceasefire Began

From The Huffington Post:

 Shelling killed six people and wounded 15 others in the rebel stronghold of Donetsk, the city council said Monday — the worst reported violence since a cease-fire between Russian-backed rebels and Ukrainian troops took effect on Sept. 5. Nonetheless, the cease-fire deal has brought some normalcy to parts of eastern Ukraine and allowed prisoners on both sides to go home.

Another 73 Ukrainian soldiers were freed Sunday night in an exchange with the rebels, Col. Andriy Lysenko, spokesman for the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council, said Monday. Donetsk rebel leader Andrei Purgin was quoted by Interfax news agency as confirming that 73 rebels had been released in return. It was the largest reported prisoner exchange amid the fighting that began in mid-April. Fighting around Donetsk’s government-held airport has left many northern neighborhoods in the crossfire. Over the weekend, Ukraine said its troops repelled an attack of 200 rebel fighters, but suffered no military casualties.

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Rand Paul Moving Away From Tea Party

From the Newsmax:

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul has been shifting his position on a number of issues, moving him from one-time libertarian ideologue to become “a politician, like everybody else,” The Washington Post said. In an article Sunday by David Fahrenthold, the newspaper said that the potential 2016 GOP presidential candidate risks damaging his image as “an authentic non-politician who is unafraid to stand up for his beliefs.” 

“While he has maintained his core support for cutting spending and protecting Americans’ privacy rights, Paul has shaded, changed or dropped some of the ideas that he espoused as a tea party candidate and in his confrontational early days as a senator,” The Post wrote. The Washington Post reviewed Paul’s speeches, op-eds, and all of the legislation he has authored, and also interviewed several of his aides to analyze his philosophy.

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Mexican president condemns Texas’ decision to deploy National Guard along border

From Fox News:

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto says Texas’ decision to deploy National Guard troops along the border is “unpleasant” and “reprehensible.” Last month’s deployment had previously drawn Mexico’s ire. It says the border should not be militarized and issues should be solved jointly.

In an interview with the newspaper El Universal published Friday, Pena Nieto said Texas’ move could affect bilateral relations. Texas Gov. Rick Perry has criticized border security and suggested last month that Islamic terrorists could be entering the U.S. from Mexico, a charge Mexico has dismissed as “absurd.”

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Americans express ambivalence over a new Mideast military plunge


From the L.A. Times:

As the afternoon sun blazed down on the 9/11 Memorial, Derek Cooper weighed another U.S. military plunge into the Middle East. “It’s hard to say we shouldn’t be the world’s police, but at the same time, how would the world be if we weren’t?” asked the 32-year-old visitor from Vacaville. “I think a lot of times, we should keep our noses out of the business going on in the world. We’ve been in the Middle East one way or another for this long. What have we really accomplished?”

Going back and forth with himself in the shade near the memorial’s twin reflecting pools, amid a scattering of yellow roses and other tokens to the departed, Cooper gave voice to a widely shared ambivalence as the country reluctantly, resignedly faces a new battle in a war seemingly without end. The fight against the terrorist group Islamic State evinces little of the righteous anger that followed the Sept. 11 attacks, much less the gung-ho fervor that swept the nation after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

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D.C. Public Schools Hides Teacher Who Told Students to Compare Bush to Hitler

From The Daily Beast:

Godwin’s law made a surprise appearance in the District of Columbia Public Schools system when a McKinley Middle School teacher recently instructed 6th-grade students to compare George W. Bush to charismatic genocide-perpetrator Adolf Hitler.

On Wednesday afternoon, D.C. resident Matt Ashburn tweeted a photo of the homework assignment, which instructed kids to compare and contrast (based on a Scholastic text and an AP article) the former president and the fascist dictator. The teacher’s identity is being withheld by the school and DCPS.

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Oscar Pistorius convicted of negligent killing, could face jail time

From the L.A. Times:

South African Olympian Oscar Pistorius, who was cleared of murder in the killing of his girlfriend, was convicted Friday on the lesser charge of culpable homicide. Judge Thokozile Masipa accepted the athlete’s defense that he mistook Reeva Steenkamp for an intruder.

But she found that he was negligent when he fired four shots into the door of a toilet cubicle where the 29-year-old model had locked herself in the early hours of Valentine’s Day last year. The judge asked Pistorius to stand to hear the verdict. “The accused is found not guilty and discharged,” she said of the murder charges. “Instead he is found guilty of culpable homicide.”

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Oscar Pistorius appears at pre trial hearing in Pretoria