Tuesday, August 11, 2015

EU Says Attacks In Eastern Ukraine Violate Minsk Deal Tuesday August 11th, 2015 at 9:33 PM

EU Says Attacks In Eastern Ukraine Violate Minsk Deal

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The European Union said on August 11 that increasing attacks in government-held areas in eastern Ukraine violate February's cease-fire deal that was agreed in Minsk.

With Virtual Reality, a 360-Degree View Inside Syria

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With virtual reality, a 360-degree view inside war-torn streets of Syria

About 50 People Saved Off Libya's Coast

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About 50 migrants were rescued as they were trying to reach Italy from Libya, aid workers and the Italian coast guard said

Photos of the Day: Aug. 11

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In pictures selected Tuesday by Wall Street Journal editors, a child in Myanmar swims in floodwaters, a giraffe takes a drink in Botswana, and more.

Cheaper Chinese Currency Has Global Impact

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Beijing signaled with its currency devaluation that the domestic economic slowdown it has failed to reverse is no longer a problem confined within China’s borders. It is now the world’s problem, too.

U.S. Strains Mount After China Devalues Yuan

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China’s surprise move to weaken its currency drew quick condemnation from U.S. lawmakers and threatens to hurt the Obama administration’s push to seal a sweeping trade agreement with Pacific nations.

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Libyan PM resigns after critcism during TV interview 

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Abdullah al-Thinni became angry when TV host presented him with questions he said he had collected from viewers who criticized the government for a lack of security

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Mesmerising shade balls called in to combat California's drought 

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City of Los Angeles releases 20,000 shade balls to stop harmful chemical reaction in reservoirs

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Donald Trump prepared to spend 'hundreds of millions' on presidential campaign 

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New Step in Trump's Feud With Fox News; Clinton Weighs In – The ... 

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Donald Trump's turbulent relationship with Fox News showed signs of improvement Monday even as Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton seized on the billionaire businessman's clash with the network to cast his Republican ...

‘No one is helping us’: migrants clash with police on Kos - video 

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Syrian and Afghan migrants on the Greek island of Kos struggle with police, who discharged fire extinguishers at them, protesting against the length of time it was taking to process their paperwork. One Syrian refugee says migrants have been waiting between one week and ten days for help from the authorities and continue their journey
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Russia and Nato training for conflict, say analysts

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Size of exercises show both sides ‘preparing for worst’
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'Oath Keepers' bearing assault rifles 'patrol' Ferguson protests

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Four members of right-wing militia group arrive heavily armed in Ferguson, Missouri

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Russia and Nato 'actively preparing for war' 

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Rival war games by Russian armed forces and Nato represent greatest build up of military tension in Europe since Cold War, warns think tank

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FBI takes possession of Hillary Clinton's emails 

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Two thumb drives containing 30,000 emails handed over to FBI by Mrs Clinton's lawyer as at least two emails sent from her home server were deemed 'top secret'

After 'Shawshank' escape, fellow prisoners report severe beatings 

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Prisoners say they were slammed against walls and choked by guards desperate for information on Richard Matt and David Sweat

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UN troops killed two, raped girl in Central African Republic - Amnesty | Reuters - Firstpost

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The Guardian

UN troops killed two, raped girl in Central African Republic - Amnesty | Reuters
ABIDJAN Amnesty International on Tuesday accused United Nations peacekeepers of raping a 12-year-old girl and killing a boy and his father during an operation in Central African Republic's capital Bangui earlier this month. The U.N. mission, set up to ...
Exclusive: Another UN child sex crime allegation: who knew what and when?Fox News
UN Peacekeepers Accused of Deaths, Rape in African MissionNew York Times
UN peacekeepers accused of killing and rape in Central African RepublicThe Guardian

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US Couple Charged with Trying to Join IS

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A young Mississippi couple has been arrested and charged with trying to join Islamic State militants in Syria. Muhammad Dakhlalla, 22, and his fiance, Jaelyn Young, 20, were arrested by the FBI on Saturday after travelling to the Golden Triangle Airport in Columbus, Mississippi, where they were to board flights to Amsterdam en route to Istanbul. The pair was charged with conspiring and attempting to provide material support to Islamic State. An affidavit from an FBI agent says both...

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Hackers, Traders Accused of Biggest US Insider Trading Scheme 

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U.S. officials have accused an international group of hackers and stock traders of stealing insider information and making as much as $100 million in illegal profits. Federal authorities in New Jersey said Tuesday it is the biggest scheme of its kind ever prosecuted. Nine people in the United States and Ukraine have been indicted for alleged fraud. More than 20 other individuals and companies face related civil complaints.   Authorities said hackers stole financial and other...

China Devalues Currency, Roils Financial Markets

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China's central bank devalued its currency by nearly 2 percent Tuesday, rattling major stock markets around the world and sending the yuan to its lowest level in almost three years. The devaluation prompted worries about slowing global growth, but some said it was a necessary move to support the world’s second-largest economy. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.

Arlington Police Fire Officer Who Killed Unarmed Football Player Christian Taylor - ABC News

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ABC News

Arlington Police Fire Officer Who Killed Unarmed Football Player Christian Taylor
ABC News
Police in Arlington, Texas, have fired the officer who shot and killed an unarmed football player in Texas and the cop now faces a criminal investigation, according to the department's chief. Officer Brad Miller exercised "inappropriate judgment" and ...
Chief Fires Texas Officer Who Killed Unarmed College Football PlayerWall Street Journal 
Chief fires Texas officer who killed unarmed 19-year-oldFox News

Texas police chief fires officer who shot and killed unarmed teenCNN 
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Spanish Police Find Smuggled Picasso Masterpiece

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(MADRID) — A team of Spanish police experts flew to the French island of Corsica on Tuesday to retrieve a masterpiece by Pablo Picasso that was smuggled out of Spain, where it is considered a national treasure.
A spokesman for Spain’s Civil Guard said four police experts in national heritage and several Culture Ministry officials flew to recover the painting, “Head of a Young Woman,” which is valued at 24 million euros ($26 million). The officer said they expect to return with the painting later Tuesday.
The work is owned by Spanish banker Jaime Botin, brother of the late Emilio Botin, former head of the Santander banking group.
The National Court ruled in May that it could not be taken out of Spain, backing an earlier decision by the Culture Ministry. The ruling is under appeal before the Supreme Court.
The officer said they expect to return with the painting later Tuesday.
He was speaking on condition of anonymity in keeping with police regulations.
On arrival, the painting is to be taken to Madrid’s Reina Sofia Museum, museum officials said.
Corsican authorities said in a statement Aug. 4 that they had been tipped off about an attempted smuggling of the prized painting to Switzerland.
They said the oil painting, which comes from the Cubist master’s “pink period” and features a woman with long black hair, was seized July 31 when the captain was unable to produce a certificate.
On the boat, authorities say, a document was found in Spanish confirming that the work was of “cultural interest” and was banned from leaving Spain, Picasso’s homeland.

AP Top News at 4:15 p.m. EDT

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AP Top News at 4:15 p.m. EDT
Despite skepticism, US confident it can monitor Iran dealWASHINGTON (AP) - Iran's intelligence agencies have penetrated CIA front companies, executed Western agents and captured a sophisticated U.S. drone. So why should anyone believe American intelligence officials when they express confidence that they can monitor Iran's compliance with the just-completed nuclear agreement?
Hacking ring accused of making $100M on stolen news releasesNEWARK, N.J. (AP) - An international web of hackers and traders made $100 million on Wall Street by stealing a look at corporate press releases before they went out and then trading on that information ahead of the pack, federal authorities charged Tuesday. Authorities said it was the biggest scheme of its kind ever prosecuted, and one that demonstrated yet another way in which the financial world is vulnerable to cybercrime.
St. Louis County chief regained control of Ferguson protestsFERGUSON, Mo. (AP) - As another protest on Ferguson's beleaguered West Florissant Avenue began to turn rowdy, Jon Belmar was among the first to confront protesters. Wearing neither a helmet nor a shield, the St. Louis County police chief strode directly toward demonstrators, telling them to get out of the street and urging calm.
Can super PAC support save cash-strapped Perry bid?AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Rick Perry has raised so little money for his second-chance presidential bid that he's stopped paying his campaign staffers, the kind of cash crisis that could normally sink a candidate. But the former Texas governor has well-funded super PACs that say they're ready to step in and keep his message afloat at least through Iowa, where Perry has spent more time than any other White House hopeful.
Tourist playground meets hectic refugee camp on Greek islandKOS, Greece (AP) - On this sunny Greek island accustomed to dealing with nothing more than a summer influx of tourists, authorities are struggling to handle a far different human tide: tens of thousands of migrants arriving in crammed rubber dinghies in hopes of making new lives in Europe. Overwhelmed police clerks used fire extinguishers and batons on Tuesday to quell the crowds of weary and frustrated boat people fiercely jostling to be registered in Kos' main port, where thousands have been sleeping rough for days waiting for temporary travel documents.
Maine fugitive wanted in shooting death of his ex surrendersAUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - A man who broke into his ex-girlfriend's home, fatally shot her while her children slept and then spent more than two months hiding in the woods turned himself in on Tuesday, officials said. Robert Burton surrendered around noon in Dover-Foxcroft, ending the longest manhunt in decades in Maine, authorities said. The 38-year-old was "walking and talking" and appeared to be in decent shape, a spokesman for the Piscataquis County Sheriff's Department said. Authorities believe he had been breaking into camps and stealing food.
Top EPA official takes responsibility for mine spillALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Townspeople affected by the millions of gallons of toxic waste spilled from an abandoned gold mine and now flowing through their communities demanded clarity Tuesday about any long-term threats to their water supply. Colorado and New Mexico made disaster declarations for stretches of the Animas and San Juan rivers and the Navajo Nation declared an emergency as the waste spread downstream, reaching Lake Powell in Utah sometime this week.
WASHINGTON (AP) - A Wal-Mart truck driver who hadn't slept in 28 hours failed to slow down despite posted warning signs and was responsible for a highway crash last year that severely injured comedian Tracy Morgan and killed another comedian, the National Transportation Safety Board said Tuesday. But the board said the failure of Morgan and other passengers in a limousine-van to wear seat belts and adjust headrests contributed to the severity of injuries when the limo was struck from behind by the truck.
Bush: Clinton shares mistakes leading to Islamic State riseBURBANK, California (AP) - Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush will step up his criticism of Hillary Rodham Clinton and her tenure as secretary of state on Tuesday, arguing in a speech that the Democratic front-runner shares in the mistakes that he says led to the rise of the Islamic State. The former Florida governor will also call for meatier U.S. leadership in the Middle East, which he says is needed to defeat the militant group and an ideology that "is, to borrow a phrase, the focus of evil in the modern world."
Jets' Smith out 6-10 weeks after punched in jaw by teammateFLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) - Geno Smith's hopes for a breakout season with the New York Jets took a major blow - to the jaw. The quarterback will be sidelined at least 6-10 weeks with a broken jaw after being punched by teammate Ikemefuna Enemkpali in the locker room Tuesday morning. Smith, entering his third season, required surgery to repair the injuries.

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AP Top News at 8:29 p.m. EDT

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AP Top News at 8:29 p.m. EDT
Clinton campaign says email server to go to Justice DeptWASHINGTON (AP) - Hillary Rodham Clinton will turn over the personal email server she used while serving as secretary of state to the Justice Department, her campaign spokesman said Tuesday. The decision advances the investigation into the Democratic presidential front-runner's use of a private email account as the nation's top diplomat, and whether classified information was improperly stored on her home-brew email server.
The Latest on athlete's death: Police release 911 callARLINGTON, Texas (AP) - The latest on the fatal shooting by police in Texas of unarmed college football player Christian Taylor (all times CDT): 7 p.m.
Hackers accused of making $100M by peeking at press releasesNEWARK, N.J. (AP) - An international web of hackers and traders made $100 million on Wall Street by stealing a look at corporate press releases before they went out and then trading on that information ahead of the pack, federal authorities charged Tuesday. Authorities said it was the biggest scheme of its kind ever prosecuted, and one that demonstrated another alarming vulnerability in the financial system in this age of increasingly sophisticated cybercrime.
The Latest on Ferguson: Video released of alleged gunmanFERGUSON, Mo. (AP) - The latest in the events surrounding the anniversary of the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri (all times local): 4:45 p.m.
Kerry, top Democratic senator spar on Iran deal, sanctionsWASHINGTON (AP) - Secretary of State John Kerry sparred Tuesday with the lone Democratic senator to publicly oppose last month's historic Iran nuclear deal, saying there was no way the U.S. could prevent American allies from doing business with Tehran if Congress were to reject the agreement. Speaking across town in New York, Sen. Chuck Schumer disagreed and suggested Washington still could force the world into isolating the Iranians until they make deeper nuclear concessions.
Trump says he'll release policy specifics soonBIRCH RUN, Mich. (AP) - Donald Trump says his campaign is prepared to lay out specific policy plans. He's just not ready yet. "We're going to be announcing over the next two weeks numbers and specifics," Trump told reporters in Michigan, making his first public appearance since the first GOP primary debate. Still, he cautioned: "You really have to be flexible on jobs and everything else."
Fearing stigma, Colorado contested Superfund status for mineDENVER (AP) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency took full responsibility Tuesday for the mine waste spoiling rivers downstream from Silverton, Colorado, but people who live near the idled and leaking Gold King mine say local authorities and mining companies spent decades spurning federal cleanup help. They feared the stigma of a Superfund label, which delivers federal money up-front for extensive cleanups. They worried that corporations would kill a hoped-for revival in the area's mining industry rather than get stuck with cleanup costs. And some haven't trusted the federal government, townspeople say.
No bail for couple accused of trying to join Islamic StateOXFORD, Miss. (AP) - A young Mississippi couple who are charged with attempting to join the Islamic State were ordered held without bail Tuesday, pending federal grand jury action on the charges. Twenty-year-old Jaelyn Delshaun Young and 22-year-old Muhammad "Mo" Dakhlalla, who were arrested at a Mississippi airport just before boarding a flight with tickets bound for Istanbul, went before U.S. Magistrate Judge S. Allan Alexander in Oxford on Tuesday.
Q&A: What yuan devaluation means for China, other countriesBEIJING (AP) - China rattled global financial markets Tuesday by devaluing its currency - an effort, in part, to revive economic growth. The yuan's value declined 1.9 percent, its biggest one-day drop in a decade. The move could help Chinese companies by making their products less expensive in global markets. U.S. stocks plummeted, partly on fears about a worsening economic slowdown in China.
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) - Geno Smith's hopes for a breakout season with the New York Jets took a major blow - to the jaw. The quarterback will be sidelined at least 6-10 weeks with a broken jaw after being punched by teammate Ikemefuna Enemkpali in the locker room Tuesday morning. Smith, entering his third season, will require surgery to repair the injuries. He hadn't yet undergone the procedure as of late Tuesday afternoon.

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Council of Europe fears Transnistria may become part of Russia 

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Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbjorn Jagland believes that a full-scale armed conflict in Transnistria was unlikely. Yet, even one episode of violence may take the situation out of control.
Jagland wrote in an article for The New York Times that “many in Moldova worry that Transnistria could become the next Crimea.” “Transnistria’s leaders complain that Moldova is conspiring with Ukraine to keep them under economic blockade and have now ordered Transnistrian army reservists between 18 and 27 to mobilize.” Jagland wrote.
According to TASS, the term of the recruiting campaign in Transnistria was extended till the end of 2015. “The recruiting campaign shall be carried out throughout the calendar year 2015,” the decree of the President of the unrecognized republic Yevgeny Shevchuk said.
Another decree from the head of state announced the recruitment of reserve officers during the entire 2015 as well.
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A Man's Castle Is His Home: Kremlin Bigwig Opens Up About Opulent Country Estate

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Russian President Vladimir Putin’s chief domestic political architect has given journalists a personal tour of his lavish summer estate that has sparked accusations of corruption from Kremlin opponents.

World Briefing: Syria: Islamic State Frees 22 Assyrian Christians 

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ISIS seized more than 200 Assyrians in February when its fighters overran more than a dozen villages near the northeastern city of Hasaka.

China's currency devaluation sends global exporters reeling

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China has fired a powerful salvo in the global currency wars with the biggest devaluation of its currency in two decades, in an effort to shore up a spluttering economy.

​John Kerry: It's "very likely" Russia and China are reading my emails

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Secretary of State John Kerry divulges uncertainty over his cybersecurity in an interview with "CBS Evening News" anchor Scott Pelley

Should investors worry about China's currency?

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Beijing's shock move to devalue yuan could weigh on corporate profits and delay Fed interest rate hike
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Hillary Clinton says she'll give her email server to FBI

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After months of criticism for holding on to private server she used as secretary of state, candidate gives in

Clinton campaign says email server to go to Justice Dept

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- Hillary Rodham Clinton will turn over the personal email server she used while serving as secretary of state to the Justice Department, her campaign spokesman said Tuesday....

Trump's Surprisingly Honest Lessons About Big Money in Politics

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He's being bluntly clear about how money buys influence.

Clinton: GOP Failed to Mention '1 Word' About College Costs

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Clinton says Republicans failed to mention '1 word' about college costs in presidential debate

Oil Price Slumps to Lowest Level in More Than 6 Years

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Oil price slides to lowest level since 2009 amid demand worries, higher OPEC production

Q&A: What Yuan Devaluation Means for China, Other Countries

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Q&A: What China's yuan devaluation means for its struggling exporters and relations with US
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Page 7

Hacking Charges Show Merger of Finance and Cybercrime

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Indictments in insider trading case show how hackers expand their reach while security lags

Keeping the World’s Eyes on Iran’s Nuclear Menace

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They say close only counts with nuclear weapons. That’s something to keep in mind amid the increasingly rancorous debate over the pending atomic accord the U.S. and five other nations have struck with Iran.
Let’s face it: nuclear weapons are the only true weapon of mass destruction. Next to a nuclear blast, biological, chemical and conventional terror attacks are also-rans.
Seeking limits on nuclear weapons should not be confused with important, but less critical, aspects, like the unsavory aspects of one’s negotiating partner.
“It’s pretty evident that the single greatest threat to the region was their getting the nuclear weapon,” Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday. “So we focused on getting rid of the nuclear weapon. Nothing, however, has been diminished in our ability to push back against them on their arms trafficking, their support for terror, their proxies that they send in to other countries, the things that happen in their support for Assad, their messing around with the Iraqi Shia.”
This is where the debate over the wisdom of the proposed Iranian accord has foundered. Instead of focusing on the physics—what is the best way to keep nuclear weapons out of the mullahs’ hands—the increasingly bitter fight in Washington is being derailed by opponents of the deal who cite Iran’s support for Hezbollah, and its oft-stated desire to destroy Israel, as justification for their opposition. That’s akin to arguing that the thug who knifed you in the past shouldn’t be deterred from trying to get a gun.
“A vote for this deal means more money for Iranian terrorism,” warns Robert Bartlett, a former U.S. Army sergeant. He was seriously wounded in Iraq in 2005, apparently by an Iranian explosively-formed penetrator, a sophisticated roadside bomb that killed hundreds of Americans in Iraq. “What do you think they are going to do when they get more money?” he asks in a video from the newly-formed Veterans Against the Deal.
One can’t help but acknowledge Bartlett’s point. Yet the Iran deal isn’t about doing Iran a favor. It’s about doing what is best for the U.S. and the other five nations on its side.
There are weaknesses in the proposed pact. It allows Iran to remain a nuclear-threshold state, and scraps sanctions that frees funding that could fund mayhem. President Obama has over-played his hand by arguing that those opposed to the deal are pushing for another U.S.-led war in the religious tinderbox that is the greater Middle East.
But that’s all underbrush. The proposal strips nearly all of Iran’s nuclear-development program naked. It would give Washington and the rest of the world far more knowledge about Tehran’s nuclear schemes than it has today, and inspection regimes to keep an eye on them for at least a decade. The pact’s secondary flaws are no reason to derail the primary goal of denying Iran a nuclear weapon.
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Labour Party’s Next Leader May Be Son of Britain’s Hard Left

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Jeremy Corbyn, a perennial outsider who has disobeyed Labour Party instructions on how to vote more than 500 times since 1997, is considered the favorite to be the party’s new leader.

El Salvador Cracks Down on Crime, but Gangs Remain Unbowed 

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Students at a school in in La Chacra, a slum where shootouts among different gang factions resound almost daily, worked on a social studies assignment about the benefits of seeking employmentoutside of El Salvador.

Maine fugitive wanted in shooting death of his ex surrenders

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AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) -- A man who broke into his ex-girlfriend's home, fatally shot her while her children slept and then spent more than two months hiding in the woods turned himself in on Tuesday, officials said....

UN peacekeepers accused of deaths, rape in African mission

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UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- Amnesty International is accusing U.N. peacekeepers of indiscriminately killing a 16-year-old boy and his father and raping a 12-year-old girl in separate incidents in Central African Republic, the latest in a series of allegations against peacekeepers there....
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Kerry, top Democratic senator spar on Iran deal, sanctions

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- Secretary of State John Kerry sparred Tuesday with the lone Democratic senator to publicly oppose last month's historic Iran nuclear deal, saying there was no way the U.S. could prevent American allies from doing business with Tehran if Congress were to reject the agreement....

Putin is actually in serious trouble

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Are little green men about to appear on the North Pole?
Russia's claim last week, using an extremely creative interpretation of international law, to exclusive economic rights to nearly half a million square miles of the Arctic Sea, was certainly a head scratcher. 
Sure the territory is valuable due to its untapped reserves of fossil fuels and for the shipping lanes that will open as Arctic ice melts. But the claim is likely to ultimately be rejected by the United Nations.
At the same time, sparking a manufactured international crisis over the Arctic, one that pits Russia against the United States and Canada, might be just what the doctor ordered.
Why? Because Vladimir Putin badly needs to make a new action movie to distract his people.
The Kremlin leader is boxed in on so many fronts right now that he badly needs to change the subject.

The Donbas quagmire

For starters, Putin has no good options in eastern Ukraine.
The old fantasies about seizing so-called Novorossia, the strip of land from Kharkiv to Odesa, and establishing a land bridge to Crimea are dead. And the more modest goal expanding the territory Russia and its proxies currently hold, perhaps with a push to Mariupol, is probably out of the question too.
Either campaign would be costly in terms of blood and treasure, it would certainly spark a fresh round of sanctions, and it would involve occupying hostile territory. The recent uptick in fighting this week reeks more of desperation than of a serious move to acquire more territory. 
Russia could, of course, just annex the territories controlled by Moscow's proxies; or it could freeze the conflict and establish a Russian protectorate there.
But in this case, Moscow would be shouldered with the burden of financing an economically unproductive enclave whose infrastructure has been destroyed. And do so while Russia's economy is sinking into an ever deeper recession.
A woman walks near a residential building and a car, which locals said were damaged during recent shelling, in Donetsk, Ukraine, August 7, 2015. REUTERS/Alexander ErmochenkoThomson ReutersWoman walks near a residential building and a car, which locals said were damaged during recent shelling, in Donetsk, Ukraine
Moreover, Russia would lose any leverage over the remainder of Ukraine, which would quickly move West. Sanctions would be continued, and possibly escalated.
The Kremlin's preferred option, given these limitations, is to force the territories back into Ukraine on Moscow's terms — with broad autonomy and the ability to veto decisions by the Kiev government. But Ukraine and the West appear unwilling to let this happen.
Putin has boxed himself into a corner in Ukraine, and it is difficult to see how he is going to get out of the quagmire he has created.

Trapped at home

It's also difficult to imagine how Putin is going to extract himself from the quagmire he has created at home.
The Kremlin leader is caught in a trap of his own making, between economic and political imperatives.
With the economy sinking deeper into recession, inflation spiking, oil prices dipping below $50 a barrel, and the ruble approaching the lows it reached earlier in the year, Putin badly needs sanctions eased to give the economy breathing space.
But for that to happen, he would need to climb down in Ukraine, a move that would undermine the whole rationale for his rule and infuriate the nationalist supporters who make up his base.
putin bullets bless itAPIn this photo taken on Wednesday, July 22, 2015, a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin, made by Ukrainian artist Dasha Marchenko out of cartridge cases, is seen in the artist's studio in Kiev, Ukraine.
"Putin's return to the presidential seat heralded a rather sudden pivot towards a deep-seated domestic nationalism," Moscow-based journalist Anna Arutunyan wrote recently.
"Yet nationalism as a state policy and identity, initially implemented to shore up Kremlin power, now has the Kremlin itself trapped and threatened by forces that it initially nurtured, but can no longer fully control."
A recent report in Novaya Gazeta, for example, claimed that the war in eastern Ukraine risks "metastasizing" as volunteer fighters have been returning to Russia with large quantities of heavy weapons. 
During his first two terms in the Kremlin, Putin's team — and most notably his chief political operator, Vladislav Surkov — very skilfully co-opted and manipulated both liberal and nationalist groups.
That strategy caught up with him in 2011-12, when liberal disappointment resulted in the largest anti-Kremlin street protests Russia has seen since the breakup of the Soviet Union — leaving him no place else to turn but toward the nationalists.
"Given the higher prevalence of nationalist views — especially among members of the security services — a sense of betrayal could have much bigger consequences for the Kremlin than simply mass protests," Arutunyan wrote.
russia soldiers bless itSergei Karpukhin/ReutersRussian servicemen, dressed in historical uniform, take part in a military parade rehearsal in Red Square, with St. Basil's Cathedral seen in the background, in Moscow November 5, 2012. The

Losing the energy card

And on top of it all, Putin has an energy problem. It's not just that oil prices are low, and will remain so for sometime — although that certainly is a problem.
But the real essence of Putin's energy woes are structural, not cyclical. The global energy game is changing — and it is not changing in Moscow's favor.
Shale, liquified natural gas (LNG), and renewables — three areas where Russia is extremely weak — are ascendant and are dramatically altering the market.
The potential for ending sanctions on Iran puts a powerful new player and competitor — the world's third largest natural gas producer — in the game.
And the Ukraine conflict and Moscow's aggressive posture toward the West have led Europe — Russia's most important market — to change its energy policies and seek alternative suppliers.
Moreover, rather than looking the other way as Gazprom repeatedly flouted the European Union's antitrust laws, now Brussels is now cracking down. 
If one looks at Gazprom as a barometer of Russia's fortunes, one statistic says it all: in 2008, the company had a market value of $360 billion; today it is worth just $55 billion. 
Energy has always been Putin's trump card. He has been able to use it to bully former neighbors into submission and bribe and blackmail the Europeans.
Now it's become a trump card he is losing fast.

Propaganda can't buy you love

But at least Putin is still winning the battle for hearts and minds, right?
Vladimir PutinLaurence Griffiths/Getty Images
For more than a year, we've been hearing about how Russia's slick propaganda machine is crushing the West in the information war.
Moscow has no doubt been very effective mounting guerrilla marketing campaigns aim at sowing doubt and confusion in the West. And they have been skilfull in manipulating and surreptitiously influencing media narratives on issues like the Ukraine war and the downing of flight MH17.
But guess what? After spending nearly half a billion dollars to get its message out to the world, after unleashing armies of trolls to disrupt Western news sites, after launching the most widespread disinformation campaign since the end of the Cold War, after all this, Russia's global image is in the toilet.
According to the Pew Research Center's new report, only three countries in the world have a net positive opinion of Russia: China, Vietnam, and Ghana. Worldwide, a median of just 30 percent view Russia favorably. 
Writing in Bloomberg View, political commentator Leonid Bershidsky quipped that "the money might be spent just as wisely buying more $600,000 watches for Putin's press secretary, Dmitry Peskov." 
And the numbers are dismal across the board. In Europe, just 26% view Russia favorably, in the Middle East, only 25% do. In Latin America, it's only 29%. In the regions most favorably inclined toward Russia — Asia and Africa — it's just 37%.
And if Russia's global image is bad, Putin's is dismal. Worldwide, just 24% trust him. In Europe, just 15% do.
To be sure, Russia's propaganda machine is working wonders at home, where Putin's popularity is stratospheric despite a flailing economy. But one has to wonder how much long that that can last.
Read the original article on Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Reprinted with the permission of RFE/RL, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036. Copyright 2015. Follow Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty on Twitter.
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Turkey air strikes: PKK targeted by air force jets

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Turkey launched a series of overnight air strikes against Kurdish militants, aimed at 17 targets in the south-east, the army says.
The targets were in Hakkari province on the border with Iran and Iraq.
Turkey has seen increasing violence in recent weeks between the military and Kurdish separatists.
The strikes come a day after nine people were killed in a wave of attacks on security forces, some of them in the south-east.
The PKK has said it was behind one of those - the bombing of an Istanbul police station in which four people died.
In a statement, the PKK named three of its members who died in the attack and during a subsequent clash with Turkish security forces.
A ceasefire in the long-running conflict with the group appeared to disintegrate in July, when Turkey began bombing PKK camps in northern Iraq, at the same time as launching air strikes on Islamic State (IS) militants in Syria.
At least 50 people have died in the renewed violence.
Tuesday's air strikes are being widely interpreted as retaliation for the attacks conducted on Monday, says the BBC's Selin Girit in Istanbul.
Early on Tuesday morning, further attacks took place. The Turkish military said Kurdish militants had attacked an army base in Sirnak, in the south-east. A soldier died of his wounds in hospital.
Dawn raids also saw 16 people who were allegedly members of the Patriotic Revolutionist Youth Movement, being taken into custody according to the state-run agency Anadolu.
And overnight, there were more shoot-outs between Turkish forces and militants in three other cities.
Turkey has for the last couple of weeks hit targets of the PKK in its strongholds in the remote mountains of northern Iraq and south-eastern Turkey.
Kurdish fighters, some from the PKK, have secured significant victories against IS in Syria and Iraq.
But the PKK accuses Turkey of using its campaign against IS as cover for taking on the separatists - something the government denies.
Turkey, like a number of Western countries, considers the PKK a terrorist organisation.
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Hackers who breached corporate wires made millions off insider trading

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An international hacking ring armed with tens of thousands of corporate secrets pocketed more than $100 million from illicit trades, targeting a core vulnerability of the financial system in one of the digital age's most sprawling insider-trading schemes, federal investigators said Tuesday.
Since 2010, more than 30 hackers and traders across the U.S., Ukraine, Russia and other countries coordinated to steal and profit from more than 150,000 press releases, which were scheduled to be delivered to investors from corporate wire services Business Wire, PR Newswire and Marketwired.
With advance details on financial performance and corporate mergers from dozens of companies — including Bank of America, Boeing, Ford Motor, Home Depot, defense contractor Northrop Grumman and Smith & Wesson — the team made rapid and lucrative trades from shared brokerage accounts, funneling the money through shell companies and offshore bank accounts in Estonia and Macau.
Unlike the recent high-profile hacks of health insurers and government agencies, the sophisticated hacks targeted not just people's identities, but corporate intelligence, and some hackers and traders were even aided by former broker-dealers registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
By breaking into the wire services, some of Wall Street's most vital and unnoticed information hubs, investigators said the hackers and traders were able to defraud investors on a massive scale while leaving no public trace, a worrying development for the increasingly intricate networks that keep the financial world online.
The “brazen scheme ... was unprecedented in terms of the scope of the hacking, the number of traders involved, the number of securities unlawfully traded and the amount of profits generated,” SEC Chair Mary Jo White said Tuesday at a Newark news conference alongside Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson. “The traders were market-savvy, using equities and options … to maximize their profits.”
The years-long subterfuge highlights the hidden danger of modern finance and the broader Web, in which any one compromised link in the larger chain can quietly endanger the system for years. The hackers, experts said, didn't have to breach many individual companies or vacuum up a large amount of files to succeed. Instead, they hit data-rich clearinghouses knowing exactly what they wanted, ensuring an efficient attack.
"With these financial schemes, it didn’t used to be this tailored. It used to be more smash-and-grab, where they'd go in, siphon off whatever they can and sell it on the underground," said Jen Weedon, manager of threat intelligence at FireEye, a cyber-security firm. "Now cyber-criminals are looking more and more like these organized nation-state groups: They have a supply chain, they have a division of labor and they have customers with requirements that they're going off and executing on."
The scheme was detailed in a sweeping lawsuit filed by the SEC, which announced civil charges against 32 defendants. Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn and New Jersey also filed criminal charges. Federal agents on Tuesday began arresting suspects Tuesday, with nine facing criminal charges for their role in grabbing $30 million in profits.
Authorities said they have also seized a house boat, an apartment complex, a shopping center and a dozen other properties, as well as more than a dozen brokerage accounts holding $6.5 million.
Two Ukrainian hackers, Oleksandr Ieremenko, 23, and Ivan Turchynov, 27, were said to have spearheaded the scheme, by cracking into the newswires and then listing the information on secret outposts accessed by traders in the U.S., Russia, Ukraine, Malta, Cyprus and France.
The hackers, who breached the wires and swiped employee credentials through a series of attacks, shared the stolen intelligence with a black-market network of traders, who would then pay the hackers a cut of their ill-gotten profits, indictments show.
Speaking in Russian, Turchynov said in an online chat in 2011 that rogue traders who made money from the hacked information would need to share a cut of their "seasonal" profits, according to the indictment. He added, "If you get really high with time you pay a fixed amount of dough a month."
The hackers, who called the early-accessed filings "fresh stuff," masked their movements through proxy servers and stolen employee identities, and recruited traders with videos showcasing how swiftly they could steal corporate data before its release. Traders kept "shopping lists" of the releases they wanted from select public companies, many of whom were large Fortune 500 conglomerates with heavy interest in market trading.
The ability to see a stock's near-future generated windfalls at warp speed; in one instance, traders made half a million dollars in 36 minutes. In a 2013 scheme, the traders bought more than $8 million in shares of Align Technology after stolen documents showed that the medical-device maker's revenues had recently soared. One day later, when the news went public, the traders cashed out for a profit of more than $1.4 million.
The hackers tapped an armament of brute-force, injection and "spear-phishing" attacks, bulldozing through security systems, implanting malicious code or persuading employees to click on booby-trapped links.
SEC investigators unraveled the scheme with the help of "enhanced trading surveillance" technology, White said, which can comb through millions of financial trades, track suspicious behavior and otherwise sniff out threats to "the integrity of our markets."
The charged traders included Vitaly Korchevsky, 49, an investment advisor who ran once managed mutual funds for Morgan Stanley; Arkadiy Dubovoy, 50, and Igor Dubovoy, 28, a father-and-son team living in Alpharetta, Georgia; and a relative, Pavel Dubovoy, 32, in Ukraine.
The traders were helped by four co-conspirators in Alpharetta and Suwanee, Georgia; Glenn Mills, Pennsylvania; and Brooklyn, two of whom were formerly broker-dealers registered with the SEC. The indictments and complaints did not list attorneys for those charged.
In 2013, investigators said, the team explored even newer ways of defrauding trades, including tricking sellers by rapidly buying and cancelling trades, which one called a "special daytrading strategy."
These hackers aren't alone in setting their sights on hyper-profitable market-moving events. In December, FireEye told the Federal Bureau of Investigation that another hacker group, called FIN4, had targeted the computer networks of more than 100 health care, law and pharmaceutical firms, hoping to grab insider intelligence on "impending market catalysts" that could help the group rake in cash from lucrative trades.
The case also echoes a decade-old scheme masterminded by two employees of Estonian financial-services firm Lohmus Haavel & Viisemann, whose theft of Business Wire releases netted them nearly $8 million in illicit profits before their arrest. The firm agreed to a civil settlement and $14 million in fines.
The wire services said they were cooperating closely with federal investigators, and Business Wire, a subsidiary of Warren Buffett's investment empire Berkshire Hathaway, said it had hired a cybersecurity team to test its systems and ensure its "network is fully operational and secure.”
Company chief executive Cathy Baron Tamraz said in a statement that Business Wire leads multiple security audits every year. But "despite extreme vigilance and commitment," Tamraz said, "recent events illustrate that no one is immune to the highly sophisticated illegal cyber-intrusions that are plaguing every aspect of our society."
Drew Harwell is a national business reporter at The Washington Post.
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Donald Trump is an aimless, angry leader

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Donald Trump heading to the stage for last Thursday’s debate. (Brian Snyder/Reuters)
By Editorial Board August 10 at 5:37 PM
“I DON’T frankly have time for total political correctness,” Donald Trump said at the Republican presidential debate last week. “And to be honest with you, this country doesn’t have time either.” We agree — if political correctness is understood to mean self-censorship of controversial but legitimate views, for fear of social ostracism.
Where we part company with Mr. Trump is his apparent belief that calling people who disagree with him “pigs,” disparaging their looks or launching crude insinuations seemingly about their menstrual cycles amounts to some kind of brave rebellion against convention — rather than self-indulgent vulgarity. Mr. Trump seems to have confused political correctness with decency and civility; we need less of the former but more, much more, of the latter.
Keep that in mind the next time someone piously informs you that, whatever else you can say about him, Mr. Trump has touched a nerve, or tapped a feeling, or struck a chord. Frustration with politics transcends party these days, though in the case of Mr. Trump’s campaign, the nerves, feelings and chords in question belong to the much-aggrieved Republican Party “base.” It’s angry, we are told, because it sent a GOP majority to Washington which promptly betrayed its promise to repeal Obamacare and otherwise turn policy to the right.
A couple of points about Mr. Trump’s following and its anger: It does not represent a majority of the GOP, much less the country; 23 percent of Americans identify as Republicans, and Mr. Trump is the choice of about a quarter of them, for now. Furthermore, their anger is unfocused and, to the extent it’s rooted in racially tinged perceptions of illegal immigration or of the nation’s first black president, repellent. And finally, even the most justified political anger is not a political program.
Anyone — we’re tempted to say any moron — can grab a torch and run in front of the mob. What takes talent is what you might call political anger management: to identify legitimate complaints and turn them in a constructive direction, on behalf of a governing prescription. Mr. Trump, with his simplistic demands for a massive tariff on Chinese imports, or his insistence that the Mexican government is deliberately sending criminals to the United States, shows no sign of possessing such a capability. He shows no sign of acknowledging the need for it.
The truth is that Mr. Trump is not telling people the truth. The problem with the GOP is not the corruption or pusillanimity of the party’s leaders; it is the implausibility of the Republican base’s demands. Yes, Republicans control Congress, but what part of “even Republicans can’t agree on everything,” or “presidential veto,” or “political reality” does the “base” not understand?
Come to think of it, any politician of either party who promises to fix or change or overthrow Washington through sheer force of personality or ideological purity is misleading the voters. Yes, the political process is flawed, maybe even broken, but it’s all we have. Serious presidential candidates will be spending the next few months explaining how they propose to make it work on behalf of people’s real-world needs and interests. They’ll be trying to redeem American politics, not debasing it.
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The one reason Donald Trump was the clear winner of the first GOP debate

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Donald Trump, the Republican front-runner, delivers his closing statement. (Mandel Ngan/Agence France-Presse via Getty Images)
It was billed as The Donald Trump Show, and the Republican front-runner delivered. He mugged. He pouted. He projected outrage without being troubled by specificity or fact. When he got punched — and the moderators threw haymakers all night — he stuck out his chin and punched back.
Eugene Robinson writes a twice-a-week column on politics and culture, contributes to the PostPartisan blog, and hosts a weekly online chat with readers. In a three-decade career at The Post, Robinson has been city hall reporter, city editor, foreign correspondent in Buenos Aires and London, foreign editor, and assistant managing editor in charge of the paper’s Style section. 
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Trump made it through the first Republican debate by avoiding the one mistake that could have seriously damaged his insurgent campaign: sounding like a professional politician. For that reason alone, he seemed to me the clear winner.
I watched the debate at the House of Blues in downtown Cleveland with a crowd of true-believer conservatives at a viewing party sponsored by the American Conservative Union. It might not have been a representative sample of Republican primary voters, and I should note that there was an open bar. So my observations should not be confused with actual political science.
That said, it was fascinating that Trump got the loudest cheers, by far, from the beginning of the debate until about three-fourths of the way through, when either exhaustion or the bar began to take a toll and the crowd’s attention seemed to wander.
The Trumpiest moments of the GOP debate(2:34)
From taking a jab at Rosie O'Donnell to consoling Sen. Rand Paul on a difficult night, here are Donald Trump's memorable lines from his first GOP presidential debate. (Fox News Channel)
Anyone who thought the Fox News moderators might go easy on the GOP field, or at least its leader, was mistaken. Yet when Bret Baier maneuvered Trump into acknowledging that he might run in the general election as an independent, there were oohs and aahs — but no catcalls. When Megyn Kelly pressed him on the crude and hurtful things he has said about women, Trump’s shrug — “What I say is what I say” — got a laugh, and his attack on “political correctness” drew applause. When Chris Wallace burrowed in on his four corporate bankruptcies, Trump’s explanation that he was just playing by the rules went over just fine.
One particularly telling moment, I thought, came when Trump was asked about his previous support of Democrats, including likely nominee Hillary Clinton. The gist of Trump’s answer was this: Hey, I gave lots of money to politicians of both parties because that’s what rich and powerful people do, and in exchange they get access and influence. It’s a rotten system but that’s the way it works, and let’s not pretend otherwise.
I think that exchange might help befuddled politicians and pundits understand the Trump insurrection. That is how the system works. For voters who feel powerless and marginalized, I believe it is refreshing and perhaps liberating to hear an insider talk honestly about the role big money plays in politics.
Will Trump’s poll numbers continue to rise? I have no idea. But I think the GOP establishment is whistling past the graveyard if it thinks the Trump bubble has burst.
It was impossible this week to walk anywhere in this lakeside city’s revivifying downtown without bumping into members of the Republican Party’s political elite, and conversations with them suggested a kind of magical thinking: Somehow, they assume, this whole Trump thing will go poof and disappear. Order will be restored to the GOP universe.
That may come to pass. But I’m pretty sure it didn’t happen Thursday night.
Oh yes, there were nine other men on that stage at Quicken Loans Arena. The consensus here seemed to be that Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who just squeaked into the prime-time debate, had a good evening and should continue his rise in the polls. There was also a lot of buzz about Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.), who some saw as smooth and almost Obama-esque in a hopey-changey kind of way.
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The many faces of Trump from the GOP debate
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From Donald Trump’s slam on Rosie O’Donnell to his incendiary comments on illegal immigrants, here are Trump’s many faces and memorable lines from his first GOP presidential debate.
From Donald Trump’s slam on Rosie O’Donnell to his incendiary comments on illegal immigrants, here are Trump’s many faces and memorable lines from his first GOP presidential debate.
 “I cannot say, ‘I have to respect the person, who is not me,’” Trump said about possibly running a third-party campaign if he isn’t tapped as the GOP nominee, “We want to win, and we will win. But I want to win as the Republican. I want to run as the Republican nominee.”John Minchillo/AP
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Jeb Bush, by my reckoning, had a fair-to-middling night. I felt no passion from the House of Blues crowd for anything he said. If he ends up being the nominee, it will be because the party falls in line, not in love.
The political cognoscenti seem to think that neurosurgeon Ben Carson had a terrible evening. I wouldn’t be surprised if his poll numbers went up. Just a hunch, but he came across as genuine and charming.
As for the “kiddie table” debate held earlier Thursday, the conventional wisdom is right: Businesswoman Carly Fiorina was the star and should at least vault into the top 10. I think she’s wrong about most everything, but she’s sharp as a tack.
The GOP race is full of excitement. There’s one problem: On most issues, from women’s health to national security, the party is far out of step with the general electorate. Keep that in mind as this political version of “Game of Thrones” continues to unfold.
Read more from Eugene Robinson’s archivefollow him on Twitter or subscribe to his updates on Facebook. You can also join him Tuesdays at 1 p.m. for a live Q&A.
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