TODAY IN HISTORY, AUGUST 30th


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A “NO” vote from Congress would ‘save face.’

 

“Kerry accuses Syria of using chemical agents; US preparing to release evidence” 1


NBC NEWS

By Catherine Chomiak and M. Alex Johnson, NBC News

Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday accused Syria of using chemical weapons against its people, and U.S. officials told NBC News that they would release intelligence evidence to prepare the public for a possible military response.

President Barack Obama hasn’t made any decision on whether wage strikes against the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters Monday. But other U.S. officials told NBC News that the administration could begin laying the groundwork by disclosing the evidence as early as Tuesday.

The officials said an attack isn’t imminent, because it will take time to make all the information public, and preparations must be coordinated with allies including Britain, France and Turkey. The U.S. is also unlikely to attack while a U.N. weapons team remains in Syria — and it isn’t scheduled to leave until Sunday.

The officials reiterated that any military action would be limited and not targeted at Assad because its goal would be to respond to the use of chemical weapons. Targets would be command and control bunkers, airfields and artillery.

FULL  ARTICLE

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“Syria opposition group claims 1,300 killed in chemical attack in Damascus suburbs”


CBS NEWS

BEIRUT The Syrian opposition said Wednesday that state security forces had launched intense artillery and rocket barrages on the eastern suburbs of the capital Damascus, claiming that hundreds of people died in what was being called a “poisonous gas” attack.

The attack coincided with the visit by a 20-member U.N. chemical weapons team to Syria to investigate three sites where chemical weapons attacks allegedly occurred during the past year. Their presence raises questions about why the regime – which called the claims of the attack Wednesday “absolutely baseless” – would use chemical agents at this time.

In a statement, White House spokesperson Josh Earnest said the U.S. is deeply concerned by reports chemical weapons use in Syria, and that the Obama administration is “working urgently to gather additional information.

“If the Syrian government has nothing to hide and is truly committed to an impartial and credible investigation of chemical weapons use in Syria, it will facilitate the U.N. team’s immediate and unfettered access to this site,” Earnest said.

The Egypt-based Arab League condemned the “horrific attack” against civilians and called for an investigation.

FULL  ARTICLE

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HOW CAN RUSSIA SUPPORT USING CHEMICAL WEAPONS?

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MTP: Richard Engel Reports on the Fighting in Egypt


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What do you think?  Should we suspend foreign aid to Egypt?

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“Star Trek actor George Takei backs petition to move Sochi Games to Vancouver”


George Takei on “The Last Word (MSNBC)

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THE PROVINCE

By Frank Luba

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VANCOUVER — Activist and actor George Takei, best known as helmsman Lt. Sulu in the original Star Trek series, is boldly going where tens of thousands have gone before, denouncing Russia’s anti-gay laws, calling instead for the 2014 Games to move to Vancouver from Sochi.

He’s the latest celebrity to weigh in on the Olympic controversy, endorsing a petition at Change.org that had garnered more than 55,000 supporters by Wednesday afternoon.

Russia “intends to enforce its laws against visiting LGBT (lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender) athletes, trainers and fans, meaning anyone even so much as waving a rainbow flag (and I presume many men enthusiastically watching and dramatically commenting on figure skating) would be arrested, held for weeks and then deported,” he wrote in a blog post posted Tuesday.

“Given this position, the (International Olympic Committee) must do the right thing, protect its athletes and the fans, and move the 2014 Winter Olympics out of Russia.”

Takei noted Vancouver’s facilities are still in good condition and the city would be the easiest of possible alternatives. Moving the Games, he said, would be much better than a boycott — one of the options touted by some activists.

“A boycott of the games would punish athletes who have trained for years to participate, and a boycott of Russian vodka isn’t going to affect the kind of change needed,” he wrote.

FULL  ARTICLE

Lady Gaga attends The Rally during NYC Pride 2013 on June 28, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Robin Marchant/Getty Images)

Lady Gaga attends The Rally during NYC Pride 2013 on June 28, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Robin Marchant/Getty Images)

Pop star Lady Gaga is speaking out on Twitter against the anti-LGBT violence in Russia and the country’s ban on gay activism.

Activists around the world have been pressing the international community to help stop Russia’s anti-LGBT laws that prohibit the “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations.” Under the law, promoting gay pride or speeches, kissing or holding hands in public, or even being suspected of being gay could mean jail time for both citizens and tourists.

In messages posted to her feed Monday, Lady Gaga offered her support to gay and lesbian Russians.

FULL  ARTICLE

Protesters pour out vodka over anti-gay Russian laws

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DON’T FORGET TO SIGN PETITION

[See Link Earlier in Post]

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“Russia Will Not Suspend Anti-Gay Legislation For 2014 Sochi Olympic Games: Official”


HUFFINGTON POST

By James Nichols

Despite assurance by the International Olympic Committee July 26 that attendees of the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi would not be held under the jurisdiction of Russia’s anti-gay legislation, the law’s co-sponsor is now articulating a different set of circumstances. Vitaly Milonov, the politician responsible for the “gay propaganda” ban in St. Petersburg later adopted by the country as a whole, claims that the law cannot be selectively enforced nor suspended.

In an interview with Interfax, Milonov stated:

I haven’t heard any comments from the government of the Russian Federation, but I know that it is acting in accordance with Russian law. And if a law has been approved by the federal legislature and signed by the president, then the government has no right to suspend it. It doesn’t have the authority.

In effect, it seems as if foreign athletes and spectators at the 2014 Olympic Games will, in fact, be subject to the legalities of Russia’s recent stream of anti-LGBT legislation. Signed into law by President Vladimir Putin on June 30, the legislation gives the Russian government agency to detain gay or “pro-gay” foreigners up to 14 days before facing expulsion from the country.

Perhaps most disturbing out of this recent interview with Milonov is the claim that he has “spoken with many American politicians” and that “they support the stance I’ve taken on this issue.” He also cites support from German legislators surrounding the anti-gay crackdown.

FULL  ARTICLE

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THE POPE, GAY PRIESTS, DIPLOMACY AND GOVT.


NBC NEWS/ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES

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“Who am I to judge?” —Pope Francis

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“Edward Snowden emerges, wants asylum in Russia”


CBS NEWS

MOSCOWNational Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden wants asylum in Russia and is willing to stop sharing information as a trade-off for such a deal, according to a lawmaker who was among a dozen activists and officials to meet with him Friday at the Moscow airport where he has been marooned for weeks.

Snowden appeared nervous, but in apparently good health during the meeting behind closed doors in the transit zone of Sheremetyevo airport, Duma member Vyacheslav Nikonov told reporters.

Human Rights Watch provided a photo of Snowden at the meeting, the first new image to appear of the former NSA systems analyst since the Guardian newspaper broke the story of widespread U.S. Internet surveillance based on his leaks.

Whether Russia would be willing to take Snowden up on his request is unclear. The Kremlin has signaled that it wants Snowden out. But granting asylum would be a diplomatically risky move, threatening to worsen Moscow-Washington already strained by U.S. criticism of President Vladimir Putin‘s crackdown on the country’s opposition and Putin’s allegation that the U.S. is meddling in Russian affairs.

FULL ARTICLE

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Want to tell your kid how Congress works to solve the nation’s pressing problems? O.K. Watch!


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Yes, these are the leaders of our nation.

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POWER TO THE PEOPLE: “EGYPT BLOWS ITS TOP!”


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Our $Billion in foreign aid to Egypt

should continue only if

the military sets up a truer democracy

with a guarantee of

peace with Israel.

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