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Take 2

Might makes right: North Korea says U.S. is 'hell-bent on regime change'

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© Ministry of Defense/EPA
A damaged drone found after an artillery bombardment between South and North Korea.
Pyongyang's deputy UN ambassador warns US that moves viewed as crossing 'red line' will provoke countermeasures

North Korea on Friday accused the US of being "hell-bent on regime change" and warned that any manoeuvres with that intention will be viewed as a "red line" that will result in countermeasures.

Pyongyang's deputy United Nations ambassador, Ri Tong Il, also repeated that his government "made it very clear we will carry out a new form of nuclear test" but refused to elaborate, saying only: "I recommend you to wait and see what it is."

His comments came at North Korea's second press conference at the UN in two weeks, a surprising rate for the reclusive Communist regime.

Ri blamed the US for aggravating tensions on the Korean peninsula by continuing "very dangerous" military drills with South Korea, by pursuing action in the UN security council against his country's recent ballistic missile launches and by going after Pyongyang's human rights performance.

Dollar

Vietnam sentences corrupt bankers to death by firing squad

© Unknown
American bankers who brought on the 2008 global financial collapse, by and large, didn't get indicted, or face any significant consequences for their actions. In fact, many of them even got huge bonuses.

That wouldn't have been the case in Vietnam, another nation struggling with corrupt and unscrupulous bankers.

During a recent cleanup of Vietnam's financial sector, the strictly authoritarian nation sentenced three bankers to death by firing squad in the past six months alone.

Newspaper

"No neo-Nazis in the Interim Government" - The media's disinformation campaign on Ukraine

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© GlobalResearch.ca
Dmitry Yaroch (centre), leader of Right Sector.
Since the overthrow of the Yanukovych government in Ukraine at the end of February 2014, the mainstream media en masse has attempted to whitewash the nature of the current Ukrainian government. This has occurred even in some progressive publications and websites, e.g., a recent two-part series in Rabble.ca.

As soon as this government took over, the New York Times referred to it as a new wave of democracy, and this then set the tone for the media in the West. Although here and there it's sometimes mentioned that Svoboda, a member of the coalition government, "once had some quasi-fascist inclinations," that's as far as it goes. All else about Svoboda and the paramilitary Right Sector has been effectively swept off into Orwell's memory hole.

This is not to say that no one on the Internet has commented on the true nature of Svoboda. To their credit a number of well qualified observers have had no problem spelling out that Svoboda has a solid neo-nazi fascist basis, and not just "inclinations" towards these beliefs. For example, consider the views of Max Blumenthal, Professor Stephen F. Cohen, Professor Francis Boyle,Professor Michel Chossudovsky,Dr. Inna Rogatchi, David Speedie, Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, Oleg Shynkarenko, Andrew Foxall and Oren Kessler.

Dollar

Obama lied again: Private health insurance, outside Obamacare, still available

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© Unknown
In the months and weeks leading up to March 31, the Obama administration pushed the message through press releases, tweets and blog posts that the last day in March was the final opportunity to get health insurance in 2014. A White House blog post on Monday is typical, beginning with the words, "If you don't have health insurance, today is the last day to get coverage that starts in 2014." Many of the White House's celebrity endorsers proclaimed on Twitter, "TODAY is the Last Day to #GetCovered!" Although exceptions were noted for extraordinary circumstances, certain "life events," and a special extension for those "in line" as of March 31, the impression given was that those who missed the deadline were out of luck.

However, the day after open enrollment for Obamacare ended, the website for Healthcare.gov updated the entry under the topic, "How can I get coverage outside of open enrollment?"

Sheriff

Depth and extent of federal domestic militarization should shock U.S. taxpayers

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© Watchdog.org
[1]The Long Arm of the Law Getting Longer: The number of law enforcement agents, such as these from the Environmental Protection Agency, have grown in recent years
In late February, four federal agents carrying side arms with a drug-sniffing dog descended on the Taos Ski Valley [2]in what was called a "saturation patrol."

Authorities were working on tips of possible drug selling and impaired driving in the ski resort's parking lot and surrounding area.

But the agents weren't from the FBI, ATF or even the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Rather, the agents represented the U.S. Forest Service.

"It's one of the untold stories about government," said former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson [4], who lives in Taos, is an avid skier and has been a leading critic of the operation that turned up only a few minor infractions. "People don't grasp the size and the scope of these entities and their law enforcement arms."

It may come as a surprise to many U.S. taxpayers, but a slew of federal agencies - some whose responsibilities seem to have little to do with combating crime - carry active law enforcement operations.

Telephone

U.S. blasts EU's plan for anti-snooping network as 'draconian'

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© Reuters/Kai Pfaffenbach
US officials on Friday slammed plans to construct an EU-centric communication system, designed to prevent emails and phone calls from being swept up by the NSA, warning that such a move is a violation of trade laws.

Calling Europe's proposal to build its own integrated communication system "draconian," the office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) said American tech companies, which are worth an estimated $8 trillion per year, would take a financial hit if Brussels gives the initiative the green light.

"Recent proposals from countries within the European Union to create a Europe-only electronic network (dubbed a 'Schengen cloud' by advocates) or to create national-only electronic networks could potentially lead to effective exclusion or discrimination against foreign service suppliers that are directly offering network services, or dependent on them," the USTR said in its annual report.

Snakes in Suits

'Eat pork or go hungry': France's Marine Le Pen tells school canteens to stop offering alternatives to Muslim children

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Marine Le Pen says schools in towns run by her National Front party will stop serving non-pork alternatives to Muslim children
Far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen said on Friday it would prevent schools from offering non-pork alternatives to Muslim pupils in the 11 towns it won in local elections, saying such arrangements were contrary to France's secular values.

France's republic has a strict secular tradition enforceable by law, but faith-related demands have risen in recent years, especially from the country's five-million-strong Muslim minority, the largest in Europe.

'We will not accept any religious demands in school menus,' Le Pen told RTL radio. 'There is no reason for religion to enter the public sphere, that's the law.'

Pork is forbidden under Jewish and Muslim dietary laws.

Light Saber

Nigel Farage: I have more respect for Putin than for 'kids' who run Britain

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© Matt Cardy/Getty Images
Ukip leader, Nigel Farage, said Vladimir Putin was doing a better job on foreign policy than David Cameron or William Hague.
Ukip leader stands by admiration of Russian president, as Nick Clegg says support for sponsor of Syria's Assad is grotesque

Nigel Farage has repeated his admiration for Vladimir Putin, saying he respects him more than the "kids" who run Britain, as Nick Clegg condemned support for the Russian president as "utterly grotesque".

The Ukip leader said he did not like or trust Putin, or want to live in Russia, but he was doing a better job on foreign policy than David Cameron and the foreign secretary, William Hague.

A number of politicians have expressed surprise about Farage's comments in an interview with GQ magazine, in which the Ukip leader said Putin was the world leader he most admired as an "operator".

"The way he played the whole Syria thing. Brilliant. Not that I approve of him politically. How many journalists in jail now?" he said.

Asked about Farage's comments, Clegg, the deputy prime minister, said: "I just think it is utterly grotesque that Nigel Farage apparently admires - and that was the question to him: 'Who do you admire?' - admires someone, Vladimir Putin, who has been the chief sponsor and protector of one of the most brutal dictators on the face of the planet, President Assad [of Syria], who has blocked at every single turn in the United Nations any attempt by the international community to work in concert to help the many, many millions of people who have been driven from their homes and have been brutalised, and have been tortured and have been killed.

Megaphone

Britain's Nigel Farage warns of 'unpleasant' end to EU

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© Reuters / Toby Melville
Demonstrators from the far-right English Defence League (EDL) stand in front of police lines during a protest in east London

Neo-Nazism is on the rise in Europe and if nations do not opt-out of EU democratically, the entity has a violent end ahead of it, UKIP leader Nigel Farage said during a second public debate on the UK's EU membership.

Farage specified that if EU members could not rein back control over their own countries diplomatically, then neo-Nazi groups, like the Golden Dawn party in Greece, would do it for them through violence.

"I want to see the EU brought to an end, but I want it to end democratically. If it does not end democratically I am afraid it will end unpleasantly," Farage said during the debate with the leader of Liberal Democrats Nick Clegg.

According to the viewers, Nigel Farage won the television debate on Europe by 69 percent to 31 percent, a Guardian ICM poll showed.

During the debate Farage criticized big business, wealthy landowners and focused on growing violence in Europe, stating that his goal was to take care of the white working class.

Quenelle

Ukrainian soldiers in Crimea apply for Russian citizenship by the thousands

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© RIA Novosti
Most Ukrainian soldiers on service in Crimea voiced their wish to join the Russian Armed Forces and they were granted this opportunity, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said on Friday.

"As of today over 8,000 of these soldiers have submitted paperwork to get Russian passports. Around 3,000 of them have already been assigned duties. We now have to create conditions for their speedy adjustment to serving in the Russian army," Shoigu said at an off-schedule ministerial meeting.

The Russian defense minister also stated that the Ukrainian soldiers could easily leave Crimea to return to Ukraine.

The majority of Ukrainian soldiers willing to continue serving in the Armed Forces of Ukraine have left Crimea leaving behind some 400 people responsible for combat equipment withdrawal, said Vitaliy Yarema, Ukraine's first deputy prime minister of the interim government in Kiev, as he spoke to the press on Friday.