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Life for most Libyans is worse than it was under Gaddafi

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© RT.com
The UK and US are removing some diplomatic staff from Libya amid political unrest throughout the country. Professor Mark Almond told RT that the spike in violence is mostly due to Libya's state of disorder - which has worsened since Gaddafi's overthrow.

The US State Department said that it has "approved the ordered departure of non-emergency personnel from Libya." It said that the US embassy in Tripoli would continue to remain "open and functioning."

A spokesman for the Foreign Office said that Britain's embassy is temporarily withdrawing a small number of staff - most of which "work in support of government ministries which have been affected by recent developments."

Those "recent developments" refer to an increase in violence which was sparked after two ex-rebels besieged two ministries last month over a law that would ban officials who served under former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Since then, gunmen have surrounded the Libyan foreign embassy and Benghazi has been the target of bomb attacks which left a police station damaged.

Mark Almond, an international relations professor at Turkey's Bilkent University, says the violence is largely to do with the country's chaotic state, as well as a power struggle regarding who should control the country's oil and gas industry.

Bad Guys

A look back at Ambassador Rice's changing narrative on Benghazi attack

Watch this video to see the shifting explanations given by our government following the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.

Crusader

WH: Obama called Hillary on night of Benghazi attack--more than six hours after it started

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© AP Photo/Evan Vucci
President Barack Obama called Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at approximately 10 p.m. on the night of the terrorist attacks on the U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told CNSNews.com.

That was more than six hours after the attacks started, more than an hour before Tryone Woods and Glen Doherty were killed--and about the time that Clinton first released a statement linking the attacks to "inflammatory material posted on the Internet," a reference to an anti-Muslim video on YouTube.

"Like every president before him, he has a national security adviser and deputy national security adviser," Carney told CNSNews.com on Tuesday. "He was in regular communication with his national security team directly, through them, and spoke with the secretary of state at approximately 10 p.m. He called her to get an update on the situation."

Carney was responding to questions from CNSNews.com about who Obama communicated with on the evening of Sept. 11, 2012. Outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, told the Senate Armed Services Committee they first notified the president of the attack during a Sept. 11, 2012 meeting that began at 5 p.m. and ran for about 30 minutes. They also told the committee they did not talk to Obama or anyone else at the White House after that meeting.

U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, State Department Information Management Officer Sean Smith, and former Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty, who worked for CIA, were killed in the Benghazi attacks.

Heart - Black

In Context: Hillary Clinton's 'What difference does it make' comment

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© Reuters
Then-Secretary of State and U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., greeted each other prior to a Senate committee hearing on Jan. 23, 2013
If the buildup doesn't disappoint, you can expect plenty of news out of the U.S. House Oversight Committee hearing on May 8, 2013.

The panel, which includes freshman U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Madison, will review how President Barack Obama's administration -- including then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton -- handled the Sept. 11, 2012 bombing at the U.S. consulate in Benghzai, Libya.

The attack killed four Americans -- and set off administration critics such as U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis.

A few days before the hearing, it was disclosed that a top U.S. diplomat had said "everyone" at the consulate thought "from the beginning" that the attack was an act of terror.

And even before that, Johnson had reminded citizens at least twice of what Clinton told him about the attack during a Senate committee hearing in January 2013.

"Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night and decided they'd go kill some Americans," Clinton said. "What difference - at this point, what difference does it make?"

Star of David

Stephen Hawking joins academic boycott of Israel

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© Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA
A statement published with Stephen Hawking's approval said his withdrawal was based on advice from academic contacts in Palestine.
Physicist pulls out of conference hosted by president Shimon Peres in protest at treatment of Palestinians

Professor Stephen Hawking is backing the academic boycott of Israel by pulling out of a conference hosted by Israeli president Shimon Peres in Jerusalem as a protest at Israel's treatment of Palestinians.

Hawking, 71, the world-renowned theoretical physicist and former Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge, had accepted an invitation to headline the fifth annual president's conference, Facing Tomorrow, in June, which features major international personalities, attracts thousands of participants and this year will celebrate Peres's 90th birthday.

Hawking is in very poor health, but last week he wrote a brief letter to the Israeli president to say he had changed his mind. He has not announced his decision publicly, but a statement published by the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine with Hawking's approval described it as "his independent decision to respect the boycott, based upon his knowledge of Palestine, and on the unanimous advice of his own academic contacts there".

Hawking's decision marks another victory in the campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions targeting Israeli academic institutions.

In April the Teachers' Union of Ireland became the first lecturers' association in Europe to call for an academic boycott of Israel, and in the United States members of the Association for Asian American Studies voted to support a boycott, the first national academic group to do so.

Eye 1

Alabama police look to drones to monitor college campus

University of Alabama at Hunstville

University of Alabama at Hunstville
Officials at an Alabama university have divulged a new plan to use unmanned aerial devices to help police monitor, and supposedly protect, students on campus.

Law enforcement officials unveiled the plan Wednesday at a press conference at the University of Alabama Huntsville, telling the Huntsville Times the aircraft would provide an "eye in the sky" that could help stop a mass shooting on campus.

Gary Maddux, the lead research director of Systems Management and Productions Center, said that because the remote-controlled surveillance devices fly at a lower altitude than drones, they are totally unlike the controversial military aircraft.

"We just want to be able to make a difference and we want to make a difference quickly and come up with something to help law enforcement," he said. "That's what it's all about - improving our response times so maybe we could mitigate the next tragedy that could occur."

Maddux did not specify how the surveillance technology will prevent criminal activity or improve campus police response time. He did add, however, that the drones will "be incredibly useful and offer a wide range of possible applications."

Stormtrooper

Cops beat woman for filming another beating "You want to film something b**ch? Film this!"

camera
© Shutterstock
Baltimore - Makia Smith sued the Baltimore Police Department, Police Commissioner Anthony Batts and police Officers Nathan Church, William Pilkerton, Jr., Nathan Ulmer and Kenneth Campbell in Federal Court.

Smith claims she was stuck in stand-still rush hour traffic in northern Baltimore when she saw the defendant officers beating up and arresting a young man.

She says pulled out her camera, stood on her car's door sill and filmed the beating.

"Officer Church saw plaintiff filming the beating and ran at her," the complaint states. "He scared her and she sat back in her vehicle. As he ran at her, he yelled, 'You want to film something bitch? Film this!'

Bad Guys

Stealing Syria's oil: The EU/Al-Qaeda oil consortium

Syria Oil
© ALICE Martins/AFP/Getty Images
A picture taken on April 15, 2013 shows a Syrian man in the Al Raqqa countryside, who until three months ago was a farmer, pouring crude oil brought from Deir Ezzor province into a pit where it will be distilled as part of the refining process to produce fuel.
The decision of the European Union to lift the embargo on Syrian government's energy exports by importing oil from the 'armed opposition' is another flagrant violation of international law. It violates the UN General Assembly declaration of 1962 on Permanent Sovereignty over Natural Resources and is yet another violation of the 1981 UN declaration on the Inadmissibility of Intervention and Interference in the Internal Affairs of States. But it is much more than a technical violation of the law. It marks the decent of civilization into barbarism.

London and Paris, have more than Washington, been at the forefront of aggression against Syria. In spite of the fact that it has now been confirmed by most media sources that the Syrian 'opposition' is Al-Qaeda, London and Paris persist in their insane drive to arm the terrorists, using the spurious argument that if they don't arm the 'moderates' the 'extremists' will take over the country. However, in the words of the New York Times, 'nowhere in rebel-controlled Syria is there a secular fighting force to speak of'. The fact that the Syrian 'rebels' are, in fact, Al-Qaeda has even been admitted by the war-mongering French daily Le Monde. So, Paris and London are pushing for further arming of Al-Qaeda and the legalization of oil trading with the jihadi terrorists. In plain language this means that the loose, terrorist network known to the world as Al-Qaeda will soon become one of the EU's partners in the oil business. A new absurd chapter in the Era of Terror is about to be enacted.

Chess

Russian airbase in Belarus no threat to Europe - Lavrov

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© RIA Novosti / Eduard Pesov
Sergei Lavrov, Radoslaw Sikorski and Guido Westerwelle in Warsaw
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday the possible establishment of a Russian airbase in Belarus should not be seen as a response to US missile defense plans in Europe.

"I see no reasons to worry about this issue," Lavrov said at a press conference with German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle and his Polish counterpart Radoslaw Sikorski in Warsaw.

The foreign minister said Russia and Belarus are a "unified military space," adding: "No matter if there are Belarusian or Russian planes there, nothing will change... We are protecting our border [the border of the Union State of Russia and Belarus]."

Telephone

"Welcome to America: All phone calls are now being recorded"