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Tue, 22 May 2018
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Voters split on US troop increase in Afghanistan

soldiers desert
© Lucas Jackson / Reuters
Almost a half of American voters support President Donald Trump's plan to increase troops in Afghanistan, while almost the same number oppose the plan, a new poll showed.

Of those polled, 45 percent of voters support Trump's plan to increase troops while 41 percent oppose the step, according to a Politico/Morning Consult poll released on Wednesday.

When voters were asked to self-identify along party lines, 68 percent of Republicans supported the increase, with 30 percent of Democrats and 35 percent of independents disagreed, according to the poll.

Comment: See: Behind the Headlines: Afghanistan: Where Empires Go To Die

Cloud Lightning

Texas shale drillers hit hard by Hurricane Harvey

Texas shale oil refinery
© Ernest Scheyder / Reuters
Crude oil prices are taking a serious hit from Hurricane Harvey, slammed on multiple fronts at a time when benchmark prices were already showing some signs of strain.

As has already been widely noted, Hurricane Harvey has knocked out major refineries along the Gulf Coast. Goldman Sachs said in a research note that an estimated 3 million barrels per day of refining capacity was offline, as of Monday. On Tuesday, ExxonMobil began winding down some operations at its Beaumont, TX refinery as the storm headed east towards eastern Texas and Louisiana. The outage at the 362,000 bpd facility would add to the region's woes. Also, the US' largest refinery, Motiva's Port Arthur facility, which produces over 600,000 bpd, has already curtailed its operations and was considering deeper reductions at the time of this writing.


Best Buy claims photo of water selling for $42 per case in Houston was a "big mistake"

best buy water price gouging

"The mistake was made when employees priced a case of water using the single-bottle price for each bottle in the case," Best Buy said
Electronics retailer Best Buy apologized after viral photos appeared to show cases of water selling for more than $40 in Houston as Hurricane Harvey approached, CNBC reported.

Best Buy does not sell water by the case and said signage promoting an offer of $42.96 a pack was "a big mistake on the part of a few employees at one store on Friday," a company spokeswoman told CNBC. "We're sorry and it won't happen again. Not as an excuse but as an explanation, we don't typically sell cases of water. The mistake was made when employees priced a case of water using the single-bottle price for each bottle in the case."

Eye 2

Antifa attacks free-lance journalist: What violence on the Left?

antifa attack journalist
There is no shortage of hypocrisy to go around on the Left these days. My favorite is the endless harassing of Donald Trump for having the audacity to condemn violence on both sides of Charlottesville - the KKK, NeoNazis vs. BLM and Antifa.

This time it hits a little closer to home. They almost killed one of our own.

I am not talking about white people. I am not talking about people on the Right. I am not talking about a Jew. He may or not be all or none of these things.

His name is Keith, and he is a journalist.

I know that journalists are similar to the police, firefighters and the military. When journalists are embedded with soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan they die just as quickly when their caravans are attacked with IED's. When they go into Syria and Nigeria, ISIS makes a giant show of lopping their heads off.

I am not asking for sympathy, we signed up for this.


Russian arms manufacturer Kalashnikov unveils anti-drone gun


Meet the REX-1
The makers of the classic AK-47 have gone futuristic

Since the dawn of man there has always been an arms race-one man invents a new machine, another invents something to counter it. With their increasing availability, Drones, and therefore anti-drone tech, is becoming a major field in the defense industry.

People 2

Poll finds majority of Americans fed up with politically correct corporate discrimination

google bench
Since I've been feeding you a heavy dose of pessimism about America's general cultural slouch away from respecting free speech rights and dissenting views, I feel like I owe it to you to share hopeful glimmers when they appear. Our hyperdrive news cycle has already zoomed past Google's widely-discussed firing of an engineer for "perpetuating gender stereotypes" in a controversial (and often mischaracterized) internal memo, but let's take a moment to revisit that kerfuffle. Not only did the episode shine a cautionary spotlight on the perils of corporate America's intensifying private coercion problem vis-a-vis free expression, it raised serious questions about viewpoint discrimination and punishment in the workplace.

Google's decision precipitated a swift backlash, including calls for the CEO's resignation, robust defenses of James Damore's arguments, and the publication of a non-scientific poll of more than 400 employees at the tech giant (drawing from a population that uses a particular app), revealing that a majority disagreed with management's draconian course of action. A fresh national survey confirms that those Googlers who gave their leadership the thumbs-down on this question are representative of most Americans' instincts on the controversy.

Chart Bar

More than half of Britons think Islam 'poses a threat to the West,' study reveals

Muslim men Westminster
© Stefan Wermuth / Reuters
Muslim men stand in line on Westminster Bridge during an event to mark one week since a man drove his car into pedestrians then stabbed a police officer in London, Britain, March 29, 2017
More than half of Britons believe Islam "poses a threat to the West," despite the UK becoming more tolerant and open overall, a new study has claimed.

Following recent Islamist-inspired terrorist incidents in Westminster, Manchester and London's Borough Market, 42 percent of people say they now have less trust for Muslims in Britain, while 52 percent believe Islam poses a threat, the Populus poll published by campaign group Hope not Hate shows.

The figures also reveal that a quarter of English people think Islam is a "dangerous religion that incites violence."

Older people are more likely to express Islamophobic views, the poll finds, "painting a worrying set of views" which Hope not Hate said would require "significant effort" to address.

The increase in negative attitudes towards Muslims comes despite an overall improvement in attitudes among Britons towards different groups in society. The report found that two-fifths of the population have a liberal outlook, compared to 22 percent six years ago.

Star of David

Palestinians protest new 'segregation fence' in Hebron neighborhood

new fence israel
© Ella Hattey
Palestinian child protests the extension of a fence constructed by the Israeli military inside of the West Bank city of Hebron that prohibits Palestinian use, August 28, 2017.
The recent extension of a fence further segregating a Palestinian community in Hebron has angered residents and sparked the first in a series of protest against their oppressors. The evening of the August 28 saw the Salayma neighborhood take to the street behind the erected fence to oppose the injustice. Working in collaboration with Youth Against Settlements-a Hebron-based nonviolent organization that works to end closures, restrictions, human rights violations and military occupation of Palestinian land-the community gathered for approximately one and a half hours chanting "We want to live in freedom! We don't want no fence!" and waving signs with slogans such as "no fence, no apartheid."

The construction is an extension of a fence originally erected in 2012 to segregate the community and restrict their access. It divides in two the Ibrahimi Street, the road that leads to the Ibrahimi Mosque; two-thirds of the street is divided off and allocated to the Israeli settlers, with the remaining third left for the Palestinian community. The gross inequality is stark, the Israeli side is well paved and accessible to cars and buses, whereas the Palestinian side is made up of broken paving stones and only accessible on foot. To make matters worse, a further extension of the fence not only lengthens it 36 yards (making it 133 yards in total) but now includes a gate that is locked between the hours of 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. Upon opening the gate, a loud alarm sounds alerting the soldiers on duty of who are passing. The gate is not wheelchair accessible, causing a massive problem for the three disabled residents who have to maneuver their mobility scooters through a narrow passage and uneven surface.


Ukrainian security services snatch Russian journalist from street with plans to deport her for "smearing Ukraine"

Anna Kurbatova
© Channel One / 1tv.ru
Anna Kurbatova
Russian television correspondent Anna Kurbatova has been detained by the Ukrainian security services in Kiev. The journalist, who works for Russia's Channel 1, will be deported for "smearing" Ukraine, according to a security services spokesperson.

The incident occurred in the city center of the Ukrainian capital on Wednesday. Kurbatova was "grabbed by unknown assailants, forced into a car and driven away," according to Channel 1.

The Russian authorities are closely monitoring the situation to learn more about the fate of the journalist.

Microscope 1

Worries about a Galveston Bio-Lab

Exclusive: The flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey has left thousands homeless in the greater Houston area but there also is rising concern about a biological lab in Galveston that houses deadly diseases, notes Joe Lauria.

Galveston National Laboratory
© Galveston National Library
Galveston National Laboratory
Concern is rising for the safety of a biological lab containing deadly diseases on Galveston island, which has been hit by the massive storm devastating southeast Texas.