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RationalWiki:What is going on in the world?/December 2015

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December 2015[edit]

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13 Climate Accord Reached at Paris Summit
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19A California methane gas pipeline has been leaking since October and has emitted an estimated 150 million pounds of methane. This is considered one of the worst environmental disasters since the BP oil spill in 2010.
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21Justice, of sorts, for Ahmed Hajib Haider: Two sentenced to death, six to varied jailtime for one of the recent killings of secular Bangladeshi bloggers.
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20The NSA has been caught spying on Netanyahu and his top aides including “the contents of some of their private conversations with members of Congress and American-Jewish groups”
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3RIP Ian.
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34Israel bans novel on Arab-Jewish romance from schools for 'threatening Jewish Identity', miscegenation fears. Israeli authors and politicians blast the move.
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16The RINO dropped out.
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31Ethan Couch and mother arrested in Mexico
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27Lemmy Kilmister, finally Killed by Death.
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2Our God has been violated! Oklahoma man caught having sexual intercourse with a goat on surveillance video
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28 Iraqi forces have finally recaptured Ramadi from Daesh.
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24The Washington Post finds that police in the USA have fatally shot nearly 1,000 people in 2015.
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23Another hidden provision in the recent US budget prevents people who have visited or are nationals of Iran, Syria, Sudan and Iraq, potentially including descendants of these countries' citizens, from being eligible for the Visa Waiver Program. Such legislation may be in violation with the US-Iran nuclear agreement.
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45First reported in paywalled Israeli paper, Israeli settlers at wedding celebration wave and stab a photo of baby Ali Dawabsheh who was burned alive in an arson attack. This sort of depravity apparently goes on all the time.
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18Latest Snowden revelation: U.S. and Brit spy agencies acquired the capability to covertly exploit security vulnerabilities in 13 different models of firewalls made by Juniper Networks, a leading provider of networking and Internet security gear.
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22The Turkish military has begun week long operationagainst the Kurdish PKK resulting in mounting civilian deaths. Meanwhile the pro-Kurdish HDP leader has been welcomed in Moscow.
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41The State of Israel is being sued by ex-ultra orthodox Jews who were left ignorant by state-funded yeshiva schools.
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18Recently discovered medical records from Hitler's stay in Landsberg prison seem to provide evidence that Hitler had cryptorchidism.
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38U.S. Dept of Homeland Security refuses to let UK Muslim couple and their nine kids board a plane to U.S. for Disneyland, a trip they'd been saving for.
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23The War on Christmas that doesn't involve not getting a reindeer on your coffee cup: the Sultanate of Brunei has banned public celebration of Christmas. Somalia makes it two.
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28FDA relaxes restrictions on gay and bisexual men donating blood; the lifetime ban is gone, but they still have to wait a year after having sex.
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42SpaceX has done it. Stage 1 of a Falcon 9 rocket returned to Earth and landed at Cape Canaveral.
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28Please please please let this be Martin Shkreli's main defense in court.
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-1Oberlin College students are disrespected by ersatz ethnic cafeteria food.
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20Lindsey Graham is out.
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40 Politifact fact-checks Bernie Sanders' comparison of healthcare in the United States to that in the United Kingdom and France: he tells the truth. Amazing, right?
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18AP: Dovish Israeli groups say they face harsh crackdown. Somewhat new for mainstream media to be looking at this.
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38 Possibly huge news out of Mexico - a vaccine against Dengue feverWikipedia has been approved, marking the first time prevention or cure is available for the three deadliest tropical diseases: Malaria, Yellow Fever, and Dengue
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-64Yes, it's Fox "News," but their poll claims that among Democrats, 45 percent favor banning Muslims from entering the U.S. if Trump’s name is not mentioned, yet when the plan is identified as Trump’s, support drops to 25 percent. Misleading phrasing.
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23Another likely Srebrenica mass grave found in the village of Kozluk. Investigators suggest the grave contains remains of victims who were buried in July 1995 as part of Europe's worst massacre since WWII.
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35Almost 100 drug offenders have had their sentences commuted by Obama. Most shouldn't have been imprisoned anyway.
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6Rather than carry Israelis (in violation of Kuwait law), Kuwait Airways drops NYC-London route
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52Where’s Bernie? Media ignores Sanders though he’s more popular than Trump
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5030% of Republicans support bombing Agrabah. Agrabah is the fictional sultanate of Disney's Aladdin. Also, 41% of Trump supporters. 19% of Democrats.
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37Hate crimes against Muslim Americans and mosques -- from shootings to assaults to arson -- across the United States have tripled in the last month.
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17Darwin Day resolution in the Senate
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15The Institute for Creation Research is looking to expand its current headquarters in Dallas with a museum and planetarium and claims to have the funds necessary. The "Dallas Museum of Science and Earth History" would need a zoning change to be built so it's up to the city council (or a random mutation?) to start any construction.
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25In newly released documents investment wonder kid Martin Shkreli performance was shown to be so terrible that during times the S&P gained 9-15% he could lose all of new investor money in about 2 months.
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35During a news conference, Putin endorses Trump as "absolute leader in the presidential race" and "talented beyond doubt"....honour among thieves??
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34 Cuba and the United States have resumed commercial flights.
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9Superb investigative journalism on rape, rape victims, and disturbing mistakes in law enforcement approaches and procedures.
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11Ethan Couch, the rich kid who was acquitted of drunk driving and the manslaughter of 4 people, has not contacted his probation officer and is now presumed to be on the run.
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36Ehsan Abdulaziz, a Saudi businessman, has been acquitted of raping an 18 year old girl. His defense was that he fell and accidentally raped her.
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43Well-loved and heroic CEO Martin Shkreli, the one who arbitrarily raised the price of a life-saving cancer drug by 5000% for personal profit, has been indicted for fraud and conspiracy. Not for his egregious gouging of cancer patients, but for ripping off other rich people.
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34New security measures in Hebron mean that Palestinian residents living under Israeli control will be assigned "numbers" EDIT: All Israeli citizens have been assigned "numbers" since 1982, and Palestinians as well. But that shouldn't stand in the way of a good "Israel is Nazis" story.
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22The new House budget includes tax cuts, lifts the US ban on exporting oil, and includes CISA, another domestic spying bill.
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29An evangelical college has suspended a professor for posting on Facebook that Christians and Muslims "worship the same God."
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28Hillary Clinton portrays herself as a crusader against corporate crime while accepting cash from a "shadow bank" sanctioned by SEC; the president of the Wall Street firm hosts parties for her in his home.
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16The United States is no longer seeking a regime change in Syria, at least for now.
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20Saudi Arabia has elected 20 women to local government seats in its first election with enfranchised women. 20 out of over 2000 is a start, at least.
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24Saudi Arabia has unveiled an anti-terrorist coalition that includes 34 Islamic countries. Though it is made up of Sunni majority countries and doesn't include Shia majority countries like Iraq or Iran.
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36Children in Flint, Michigan have so much lead in their blood that a state of emergency has been declared.
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31Putin has signed a law allowing Russia to overturn international courts decisions.
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36Thai man faces up to 37 years in prison. His barbaric and heinous crime? Making a sarcastic comment about the king's dog.
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19It appears Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 was taken down by an electrical failure that turned it into a flying brick.
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19JAMA Pediatrics has published a study finding that antidepressants taken during pregnancy increase risk of autism by 87 percent. Jenny McCarthy wasn't involved.
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31Italian police seize 3500 fake apostolic blessings. How do you tell?
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19Real medicines have lies told about their effectiveness too - Aussies order Nurofen "pain specific" range removed from shelves for false advertising - it is sold for up to twice the price of the regular product - but has exactly the same makeup.
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21Taking a very liberal approach to Mohammed's warning against the killing of innocents, DAESH now rules that children with deformities and developmental problems are to be euthanised. Note that this story has very doubtful provenance (Snopes)
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50...except that the preschool teacher made it up.
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-9Neo-Nazi attacks against Muslims? Bans on religious clothing across Europe? Anti-immigration hysteria over Syria? Turns out DAESH considers the biggest threat in Europe to be French preschool teachers and their secular values.
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22Lindsey Graham has a stopped clock moment, allying with Jon Stewart to continue funding for 9/11 responders.
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42Le Pen's National Front gets its ass handed to it.
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12Art Bell retires (again), due to some violent nut shooting at him.
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31The fascinating history of how Jefferson and other Founding Fathers defended Muslim rights.
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23A fire at a South California mosque was intentional. The FBI and ATF are currently investigating whether the fire was motivated by the San Bernardino shooting.
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18Wingnut web sites claimed that USAF Vet had joined ISIS, a total lie. Smear spread around media, now debunked.
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27The US is set to ban microbeads in cleaning products.
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26Beijing's government issues its first ever "red alert" over extreme levels of smog.
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22A comparative study of Swiss elections shows that compulsory voting increases support for left-wing policies. WaPo article by the study authors here.
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14Two-pronged article: speculation on new planets in the solar system, and a look at how scientific publishing sometimes works in the age of the internet.
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28Gun rights groups CATI Texas and DontComply.com have announced a planned protest against gun-free zones. And by "protest," they mean staging a mock mass shooting at the University of Texas campus during finals week complete with cardboard weapons and gun sounds blared from bullhorns. Oh dear god.
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33Justice Antonin Scalia surprised the Supreme Court and the public during Wednesday’s oral arguments in a case challenging affirmative action when he suggested that black students do better in “less-advanced schools” that are on “slower tracks.”
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28Muslim civil rights group’s D.C. office evacuated by police after receiving “foreign substance” in mail with hate message. Reuters confirms.
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47Antivaxxers in Australia set up "black market" childcare that doesn't require vaccination. Predictably, it ends up showing why vaccines exist.
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44Tennessee school wins right to ban gays and women who’ve had sex: ‘This is who we are’
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12Angela Merkel named Time Person of the Year. (Bernie Sanders won the online poll.)
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32Campus censorship of pro-Palestinian advocates isn't just one example of campus free speech attacks. It's arguably the most common "PC" speech policing.
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36ePetition to Parliament to ban Donald Trump from the UK for hate speech tops 200,000 300,000 400,000 500,000 after a BBC report. If you go to the petition page and hit "reload", you can actually watch the number going up in real time.
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13The US is conducting an investigation to an allegation that Iran tested a mid-range ballistic missile.
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23SCOTUS may change how voting districts are drawn.
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21The Iraqi Army which has previously focused on gardening and interpretive dance is finally making some progress in the fight against ISIS.
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24Exxon-Mobil, unlike the Republican Party, admits global warming is real.
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28Times of Israel reports that more than 1 in 3 Americans, and almost half of Democrats, believe Israel has too much influence over U.S. politics.
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21CNN exposes myths about Muslim-Americans.
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20Scary news out of Malaysia: police to be given vastly expanded authority in poorly-defined 'secure areas'
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24Is Godwin's Law finally disproved??
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27That South Carolina legislator who wants to return Confederate flag has now filed a bill attacking one of the flag's main opponents, a descendant of Jefferson Davis, implying she lied about her ancestry. Stay classy.
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27Fascism in France. Front National, the French extreme-right party led by Marine Le Pen, made a historic breakthrough by winning more votes than any other party in the first round of the country’s regional elections.
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19Venezuelan opposition wins parliamentary elections, beating the Chavist PSUV by a landslide.
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22Feds to conduct civil rights probe of Chicago police.
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31Jerry Falwell Jr, speaking at Liberty University, claiming the Bible as their chief authority and ignoring it when politically expedient: "If more good people had concealed-carry permits, then we could end those Muslims before they walked in and killed them."
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35Update on Jimmy Carter's brain cancer: it has been cured, four months after diagnosis.
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23 Ted Cruz, in reference to the San Bernardino shootings, claims in a shooting range you stop bad guys by using our guns. He declared that any "jihadist" who further tries to terrorize America will "encounter the business end of firearms" if he is president."
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7Daily Heil not writing shit for a change: British (?) Muslim telling Islamists to fuck off.
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12Governor of Yemen city of Aden killed in attack
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18A triple suicide bombing kills 27 people on Lake Chad island.
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163 people are injured in the London Underground after knife attack occurred. This attck is being investigated as a terrorist attack since one of the attackers screamed "this is for Syria". Update Londoners respond
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2595,000 Words, Many of Them Ominous, From Donald Trump’s Tongue.
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23"[T]he House of Representatives unveiled a marble bust of former Vice President Cheney, which — until a person of conscience vandalizes or destroys it — will reside in Emancipation Hall of the U.S. Capitol."
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27The New York Times runs a Page 1 editorial in its Saturday edition calling for stricter gun control. The Times last ran a Page 1 editorial in 1920. The editorial itself is here.
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21The hot new event scheduled for the 2016 Olympics: Avoiding disease from the raw sewage in the water!
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9Germany will now send air reconnaissance support and soldiers, for training purposes, against ISIL.
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26Just when you thought it was over: South Carolina state legislator prefiles a bill to hold a referendum on returning the Confederate flag; also sends Christmas cards to fellow legislators accusing them of 'betrayal' by voting to remove the flag and including a quote from Dante about traitors in Hell. Claims it's a joke.
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35Pentagon opens all combat jobs to women who can meet the required standards. (Well, technically the SecDef gave the services a legally-mandated thirty days to make sure they had things sorted out before) (yes, Jpatt over at Conservapedia has already begun losing it on their behalf)
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31A new study finds Lots of People Think Complete Nonsense Is Profound. (Yes, they did use the Deepak Chopra Random Bullshit Generator in their tests.)
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34So you've probably heard about the Zuckerbergs "giving away" their Facebook stock. Except they aren't donating it to charity. They're using it to set up an LLC they control. This was largely overlooked in the breathless initial reporting.
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17NATO invites Montenegro to join.
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30Surprising absolutely no one, Republicans in the U.S. Senate vote against gun control bills introduced after this month's mass shooting.
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6Lori BerensonWikipedia is returning to the US from Peru.
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28 The US military now welcomes women to all combat jobs.
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11 John Kerry acknowledges air power alone cannot defeat ISIS. But by ground forces he did not mean Western units, of course.
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31U.S. gun industry executives laud mass shootings as good for business.
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45Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan addresses a women's conference in Istanbul, telling them "you cannot put women and men on an equal footing" along with other disparaging comments about feminism and "women's problems".
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2UK joins the coalition of the willingWikipedia 2.0. America is reportedly heard calling off plans to rename the English language.
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27Earth has lost a third of its arable land in the last 40 years, according to a University of Sheffield study.
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21Impeachment proceedings are opened against Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff.
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27 Donald Trump appears on the Alex Jones show, because why not?
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20 Active shooter(s) incident in San Bernardino. The Westboro Baptist Church plans to picket the funerals.
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31 Orange Orangutan wants to maximize collateral damage in order to "take down terror."
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21Faith-based groups earn millions on refugee loan commissions.
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11What Americans get wrong: Survey reveals gap between public perception and reality. Full international version here
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4Judge: Maryland Cross Memorial Doesn't Violate Constitution.
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51Leaked documents reveal that members of the Dothan, Alabama police force belonged to a Neoconfederate organization, and routinely planted drugs on young black men with the cooperation of the district attorney.
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8In a very tolerant move, the IDF will allow HIV+ Israelis into the army, because having HIV shouldn't prevent you from assaulting Palestinian civilians.
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30Bitcoin community falls for yet another Ponzi scheme en-masse. At least 10,000 people duped for about US$ 19 million in total.
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25Pope Francis Loves Uganda but Didn’t Speak Out to Save LGBT Lives.
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16This month's computer security breach: toy maker VTech had its systems compromised, giving access to accounts containing the personal information of millions of children, possibly including pictures and chat messages.
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18Contrary to all those leftist lies Fox News is totally not racist, and by that I mean one of their hosts asked a black person on-air if she made Kool-Aid. (If you're not American, it's a black stereotype.)
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23A Canadian man caught at a border crossing with 51 turtles taped to his body pleaded guilty to smuggling.
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21 China is constructing a military base in East Africa, where France, the US, and Japan (as part of the UN antipiracy force) also have bases. What could possibly go wrong?
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21 Attention Patriots! Climate change and global warming are threats to national security.