Tuesday, July 22, 2014

MH17 black boxes handed over by pro-Russia rebels

MH17 black boxes handed over by pro-Russia rebels

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Malaysian officials receive flight recorders from downed plane in ceremony after 12 hours of negotiations
Four days after the Boeing 777 came crashing down into the fields of eastern Ukraine, the black box recorders from flight MH17 were finally handed over to the Malaysians at a surreal night-time ceremony in Donetsk.
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Flight 17: Will Russia pay? 

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Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisconsin, on CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper."
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Time: 04:37More in News & Politics

MH17 black boxes handed over to Malaysia 

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Pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine have handed over flight data recorders from MH17 to Malaysia officials. Phil Black reports.
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Time: 02:36More in News & Politics

South Korea police: body belongs to fugitive ferry businessman

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SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korean police said on Tuesday that a body found last month in the south of the country belonged to a fugitive businessman who headed the family that owned the operator of a ferry that capsized in April, killing more than 300 people.

Special constables' chief says officers should be armed with Tasers because they 'face the same dangers' as regular police

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James Deller, a leading special constable, said he and other volunteers face the same risks as ordinary officers and need the same protection.

EU Ministers Set to Approve New Russian Sanctions

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EU foreign ministers on Tuesday are expected to approve sanctions that will target Russian oligarchs in response to the suspected downing of a Malaysia Airlines jetliner by Moscow-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine, diplomats said.

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Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes to Malaysia - Voice of America

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Voice of America

Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes to Malaysia
Voice of America
A senior separatist leader, Aleksander Borodai, handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts in the city of Donetsk in the early hours of Tuesday. “Here they are, the black boxes,” Borodai told a room packed ...
MH17 plane crash: Ukraine rebels hand over black boxesBBC News
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak. Photo: ReutersSydney Morning Herald 
Rebels turn over MH17 black boxesUSA TODAY

The Australian-Irish Times- Bloomberg
all 654 
news articles »

Donetsk residents flee Ukrainian chaos 

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In the pro-Russian rebel-held city of Donetsk, people flee from the violence raging outside. Ivan Watson reports.
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Badly decomposed body found in South Korea is fugitive ferry tycoon, say police 

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Businessman Yoo Byung-un headed family that owns operator of Sewol ferry which sank in April, killing 300 Continue reading...

Journey Home Finally Begins for the Victims

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The train bearing the bodies of the victims of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 finally began its long journey to get them out of Ukraine’s war-torn badlands and closer to home.

Bodies, black boxes handed over from Ukraine crash site

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DONETSK Ukraine (Reuters) - The remains of some of the nearly 300 victims of the Malaysia Airlines plane downed over Ukraine were making their way to the Netherlands on Tuesday as a senior Ukrainian separatist leader handed over the plane's black boxes to Malaysian experts.


Death toll continues to rise in Gaza 

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CNN's Wolf Blitzer runs through the latest developments in the fighting between Hamas and Israeli Defense Forces in Gaza.
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Israel keeps up Gaza assaults, Kerry presses for truce

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GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel kept up its assaults in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, killing a Palestinian man in an air strike, as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in the region with a mission to seek a ceasefire in the 14-day-old conflict "as soon as possible."


Ukranian President compares MH17 to 9/11 

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Anderson Cooper reports on the latest developments on the downing of the Malaysian airliner.
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Time: 03:06More in News & Politics

Why Putin Is Willing to Take Big Risks in Ukraine

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Capital Journal:To understand what Vladimir Putin is really up to in Ukraine—why he is willing to take such risks—it's necessary to look at the tale of two countries, writes Gerald F. Seib.

US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

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U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.

Why Americans are fighting for IDF 

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CNN's Polo Sandoval reports on why Americans are traveling to the Middle East to fight for Israel.
Time: 01:46More in News & Politics

Russian officials: MH17 was near warplane 

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Russian officials purported that a Ukrainian warplane was near MH17 before it was shot down. Diana Magnay reports.
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Time: 01:58More in News & Politics
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Page 4

MH17: UN resolution passes as Russia points fingers at Ukraine video 

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Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop welcomed the acceptance of a UN resolution condemning the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 and demanding access to the crash site. Russia backed the resolution, but soon after accused Ukraine of exploiting the situation for political meansContinue reading...

Is this Russian seperatist rebel stealing MH17 victim's ring?

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A blonde-haired fighter, wearing a black beret, is bent over what looks like wreckage and apparently holding what seems to be a gold ring.

David Cameron urges France to axe Vladimir Putin arms deal

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The Prime Minister insisted there should be an embargo on commercial dealings with Russian defence, banking, energy and aviation firms.

Pro-Russian rebels hand over MH17 black boxes to Malaysian investigators

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Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said that the boxes were handed over to the Malaysian team in Donetsk at 9pm Ukraine time.

MH17: UN backs resolution demanding access to crash site live updates 

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The Security council has unanimously backed an Australian-drafted resolution condemning the "downing" of flight MH17 as separatists handover the black boxes to a Malaysian delegation
Train holding bodies leaves rebel-held station
Obama: 'Burden on Russia' to ensure crash access
Five killed as clashes break out in Donetsk
UN adopts resolution to investigate crash site
Rebels allow experts limited acces to site and bodies
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Rebel leader: I invite international help 

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Chris Cuomo sits down with the rebel leader of the self-styled Donetsk People's Republic to discuss the downing of MH17.
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Page 5

South Korea Finds Body of 'Sewol' Patriarch

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Ending a three-month nationwide manhunt after South Korea's ferry disaster, police confirmed that the body of the patriarch of the family that controls the ship's operator had been found in a plum field in the south of the country.

Dutch Forensics Team Starts Its Probe

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Team of experts that has been dispatched to disaster sites like the 2004 tsunami in Thailand is working in eastern Ukraine and the Netherlands to collect evidence that will help identify the victims of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.

Russian Television Under Spotlight After Malaysia Airlines Crash in Ukraine 

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In late 2009, the British journalist Sara Firth became a Russian propaganda mouthpiece.
The decision seemed to make sense at the time. Firth had just earned a postgraduate diploma in investigative journalism when she was offered a role as on-air-correspondent for RT, a Russian television network that is broadcast for foreign audiences in English, Spanish and Arabic. The gig came with an attractive salary, vibrant colleagues and the chance to report big stories in global hotspots. Firth had ambition, a sense of adventure, and a fascination with Russia. She took the job.
Founded in 2005, RT is billed as a counterweight to the bias of Western media outlets. In reality, the broadcast outlet is an unofficial house organ for President Vladimir Putin’s government. Under the guise of journalistic inquiry, it produces agitprop funded by the Russian state, and beams it around the world to nearly 650 million people in more than 100 countries. RT is Russia’s “propaganda bullhorn,” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said recently, “deployed to promote President Putin’s fantasy about what is playing out on the ground.”
Firth was no dupe. She knew the politics of her paymasters. “We are lying every single day at RT,” she explained Monday afternoon in a phone interview from England. “There are a million different ways to lie, and I really learned that at RT.”
Since a Malaysian jetliner crashed in a wheat field in eastern Ukraine last week, RT’s pro-Putin packaging has been exposed in grim detail. In the aftermath of the tragedy, which killed all 298 souls on board, the outlet—like the rest of Russian state media—has seemed as if it were reporting on an entirely different crime. As the international media published reports indicating the plane was shot down by pro-Russian separatists, RT has suggested Ukraine was responsible, cast Moscow as a scapegoat and bemoaned the insensitivity of outlets focusing on the geopolitical consequences of the crime.
For Firth, the coverage was the last straw. She announced her resignation on July 18, as her employer broadcast a flurry of reports that read more like Kremlin press releases. She described a five-year fight to uphold the principles of journalistic integrity in a place where every reporting assignment comes with a “brief” outlining the story’s conclusion. “It’s mass information manipulation,” she says. “They have a very clear idea in their mind of what they’re trying to prove.”
RT is neither the first nor the only outlet that exists to serve the state rather than its citizens. Nearly every major country has a thriving state-sponsored media. (The U.S. funds media organizations like Voice of America and Radio Free Asia that target foreign populations through the Broadcasting Board of Governors.) In Russia, the domestic media have long been lapdogs, and reporters who bite their masters sometimes turn up dead. “The media in Russia are expected to be mouthpieces for power,” says Sarah Oates, a professor of journalism at the University of Maryland who studies the Russian media. “RT follows this model. They’ll mix a little bit of reality with a little bit of smearing, and they’ll steer the viewer into questioning things.”
RT’s motto is “Question More,” which sounds like a worthy credo. In practice, it arranges those questions to light the way to specific answers. The formula is well-honed. RT hires young, telegenic correspondents who speak fluent English and believe, as Firth does, that a flawed media ecosystem benefits when broadcasters challenge the dominant narrative. And it pays them lavishly to report from far-flung battlefields or its gleaming studios. “They want you to be on air looking young, looking sexy, looking fresh. Being a bit quirky,” says Firth. “They’re after impact. They don’t mind too much about the fact checking.”
In the aftermath of the crash last week, the RT machine kicked into overdrive, churning out a steady stream of strange reports. In an effort to implicitly assign blame on the Ukrainians, it noted the proximity of Putin’s own plane. It quoted a Russian defense ministry source asking why a Ukrainian air force jet was detected nearby. And it quoted another anonymous Russian official, who volunteered the juicy claim that a Ukrainian anti-aircraft missile was operational in the vicinity at the time of the incident. This is how RT works, explains Firth: by arranging facts to fit a fantasy.
“What they do is a very smart, slick way of manipulating reality,” she says. “In Ukraine, you’re taking a very small part of a much wider story, totally omitted the context of the story, and so what you wind up with on air is outright misinformation.”
Sometimes the end result is anything but slick. In March, a group of alumni and students from theMohyla School of Journalism in Kiev, along with associated journalists, launched a fact-checking site to chronicle false reporting about the Ukrainian crisis. The site, Stopfake.org, features a long menu of whoppers from Russian media. Among the most egregious, the group’s founder told TIME, is the case of a blond actress who has cropped up in different roles over the course of conflict. The actress, Maria Tsypko, has been interviewed on state TV and identified as separatist camp organizer in Odessa, a political refugee in Sevastopol and an election monitor in Crimea, according to the site. The only thing that never changes is her affection for Mother Russia.
These outlandish flubs are a problem for the Russian propaganda effort, which forks out millions to cloak spin as truth-telling. It’s hard to maintain the illusion when the audience can see the strings and wires behind the scenes. “It’s been a particularly effective means of propaganda, and a very effective voice for the Russian state,” says Oates. “But if you’re going to engage in propaganda, you have to do it well. They have completely embarrassed themselves.”
RT did not respond to an interview request from TIME. According to Firth, you can reliably glean management’s perspective from the opinions they allow their employees to parrot. Many, Firth says, are like herself: committed journalists who thought they could persevere and take advantage of the opportunity to report important stories, the goals of their bosses notwithstanding.
“For five years, you’re kind of fighting against this—and with your colleagues you’re rolling your eyes and making jokes,” she says. “The worst-kept secret is that RT is blatant propaganda. I’m one in a very long line of people who have left for the same reason. Everyone has their breaking point. I wish I had done it sooner. But I didn’t.”
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MH17 black boxes handed over by pro-Russia rebels - The Guardian

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The Guardian

MH17 black boxes handed over by pro-Russia rebels
The Guardian
Four days after the Boeing 777 came crashing down into the fields of eastern Ukraine, the black box recorders from flight MH17 were finally handed over to the Malaysians at a surreal night-time ceremony in Donetsk. Almost 12 hours after negotiations ...
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17: Train with bodies leaves crash areaCBC.ca
World mourns victims of MH17MSN NZ News
World Presses Russia for Access to MH17 Site and RemainsNBCNews.com
Sydney Morning Herald -Los Angeles Times
all 3,797 news articles »

Russia Faces 'Hard-Hitting' Sanctions Over MH17

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EU foreign ministers could impose penalties on Russian businesses, organisations and individuals as they meet in Brussels.

Malaysian Airlines MH17 Was Ordered to Fly over the East Ukraine Warzone

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On the matter of MH17’s flight path, Malaysian Airlines confirms that the pilot was instructed to fly at a lower altitude by the Kiev air traffic control tower upon its entry into Ukraine airspace.
 ”MH17 filed a flight plan requesting to fly at 35,000ft throughout Ukrainian airspace. This is close to the ‘optimum’ altitude.
However, an aircraft’s altitude in flight is determined by air traffic control on the ground. Upon entering Ukrainian airspace, MH17 was instructed by Ukrainian air traffic control to fly at 33,000ft.”
( For further details see press releases at : http://www.malaysiaairlines.com/my/en/site/mh17.html)
33,000 feet is 1000 feet above the restricted flight altitude (see image below). The request of the Ukrainian air traffic control authorities was implemented.
Deviation from the “Normal” Approved Flight Path
With regard to the MH17 flight path, Malaysian airlines confirms that it followed the rules set by Eurocontrol and the International Civil Aviation Authority  (ICAO) (emphasis added):
I would like to refer to recent reported comments by officials from Eurocontrol, the body which approves European flight paths under ICAO rules.According to the Wall Street Journal, the officials stated that some 400 commercial flights, including 150 international flights crossed eastern Ukraine daily before the crash. Officials from Eurocontrol also stated that in the two days before the incident, 75 different airlines flew the same route as MH17.MH17’s flight path was a busy major airway, like a highway in the sky. It followed a route which was set out by the international aviation authorities, approved by Eurocontrol, and used by hundreds of other aircraft.
It flew at an altitude set, and deemed safe, by the local air traffic control. And it never strayed into restricted airspace. [this MAS statement is refuted by recent evidence]
The flight and its operators followed the rules. But on the ground, the rules of war were broken. In an unacceptable act of aggression, it appears that MH17 was shot down; its passengers and crew killed by a missile.
The route over Ukrainian airspace where the incident occurred is commonly used for Europe to Asia flights. A flight from a different carrier was on the same route at the time of the MH17 incident, as were a number of other flights from other carriers in the days and weeks before. Eurocontrol maintains records of all flights across European airspace, including those across Ukraine.
What this statement confirms is that the MH17 ‘s “usual flight path” was similar to the flight paths of some 150 international flights which cross Eastern Ukraine on a daily basis. According to Malaysian Airlines “The usual flight route [across the sea of Azov] was earlier declared safe by the International Civil Aviation Organisation. The International Air Transportation Association has stated that the airspace the aircraft was traversing was not subject to restrictions.”
That approved flight path is indicated in the maps below.
The regular flight path of MH17 (and other international flights) over a period of ten days prior to July 17th ( day of the disaster), crossing Eastern Ukraine in a Southeasterly direction is across the Sea of Azov. (see map below)
The flight path on July 17th was changed.
The flight and its operators followed the rules. But on the ground, the rules of war were broken. In an unacceptable act of aggression, it appears that MH17 was shot down; its passengers and crew killed by a missile. (MAS, ibid)
While the audio records of the MH17 flight have been confiscated by the Kiev government, the order to change the flight path did not come from Eurocontrol.
Did this order to change the flight path come from the Ukrainian authorities? Was the pilot instructed to change course?
British Media Fabrications: “Lets Conjure Up a Storm”
British news reports acknowledge that there was a change in the flight path, claiming without evidence that it was to “avoid thunderstorms in southern Ukraine”.
MAS operations director Captain Izham Ismail has also refuted claims that heavy weather led to MH17 changing its flight plan.“There were no reports from the pilot to suggest that this was the case,” Izham said. (News Malaysia   July 20, 2014)
What is significant, however, is that the Western media acknowledged that the change in the flight path did occur, and the that “heavy weather” narrative is a fabrication.
Ukraine Fighter Jets in a Corridor Reserved for Commercial Aircraft
It is worth noting that a Ukrainian SU-25 fighter jet equipped with air-to-air R-60 missiles was detected within 5-10 km of the Malaysian aircraft, within an air corridor reserved for commercial aircraft.
-Image courtesy of the Russian Defense Ministry
Image courtesy of the Russian Defense Ministry
What was the purpose of this air force deployment? Was the Ukraine fighter jet “escorting” the Malaysian aircraft in a Northerly direction towards the war zone?
The change in the flight path for Malaysian airlines MH17 on July 17 is clearly indicated in the map below. It takes MH17 over the war zone, namely Donetsk and Lugansk.
Comparison: MH17 Flight Path on July 16, 2014, MH17 Flight Path Over the warzone on July 17, 2014
Screenshots of Flight Paths of MH17 for July 14-17, 2014
14th July Route15th July Route  16th July Route17th July Route
The first dynamic map compares the two flight paths: The second flight path which is that of July 17th takes the plane over the Donesk oblast warzone, bordering onto Lugansk oblast.
The four static images  indicate screen shots of the Flight Paths of MH17 for the period July 14-17, 2014
The information conveyed in these maps suggests that the flight path on July 17 was changed.
MH17 was diverted from the normal South Easterly route over the sea of Azov to a path over the Donetsk oblast.
Who ordered the change of  the flight path?
We call upon Malaysian Airlines to clarify its official statement and demand the release of the audio files between the pilot and the Kiev air traffic control tower.
The transcript of these audio files should be made public.
Also to be confirmed: was the Ukrainian SU-25 jet fighter in communication with the M17 aircraft?
The evidence confirms that the flight path on July 17th was NOT the usual approved flight path. It had been changed.
The change was not ordered by Eurocontrol.
Who was behind this changed flight path which spearheaded the aircraft into the war zone, resulting in 298 deaths?
What was the reason for the change in flight path?
The damage incurred to Malaysian Airlines as a result of these two tragic occurrences must also be addressed. Malaysian airlines has high safety standards and an outstanding record.
These two accidents are part of a criminal undertaking. They are not the result of negligence on the part of Malaysian Airlines, which potentially faces bankruptcy.
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Obama Urges Full, Unimpeded Ukraine Probe

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U.S. President Barack Obama says Russia must do its part to pressure pro-Russian separatists to allow international access to the downed Malaysian airliner in Ukraine.   In remarks at the White House Monday, Obama said the truth must come out and international teams must be allowed access to the crash site, which has been blocked by separatists. "We have to make sure the truth is out, and that accountability exists," Obama said   The president said Russian-backed...

MH17 Crash Bodies 'To Be Taken To Kharkiv'

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All the victims from the site of the Malaysia Airline crash in Ukraine have been put into refrigerated wagons and will be taken to the city of Kharkiv, the country's deputy prime minister says.

Obama delivers statement on MH17 disaster in Ukraine  live updates 

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  • US president to make statement on Malaysia airlines
  • Four killed as clashes resume in Donetsk
  • Dutch prosecutors open war crimes investigation
  • Rebels allow experts limited acces to site and bodies
  • Read the Guardian's earlier live coverage here
As we await President Obama's statement on the MH17 disaster, here is a summary of developments so far today.
Four people have been killed in heavy clashes in Donetsk, the rebel stronghold, as international team of forensic experts arrive at the crash site in Terez, eastern Ukraine. Transportation of bodies away from the crash site could be delayed further by fighting between pro-Russia rebels and pro-Ukraine groups in Donetsk.
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Obama Gives Protection to Gay, Transgender Workers - ABC News

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Obama Gives Protection to Gay, Transgender Workers
ABC News
President Barack Obama on Monday gave employment protection to gay and transgender workers in the federal government and its contracting agencies, after being convinced by advocates of what he called the "irrefutable rightness of your cause.".
Obama Signs Order Barring Anti-Gay DiscriminationWall Street Journal 
Obama Signs Order Banning Anti-Gay Bias in Federal WorkBusinessweek
Obama Signs Ban on LGBT Discrimination by Federal Contractors NBCNews.com
The Hill-Keen News Service -Washington Post (blog)
all 87 
news articles »

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