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Defense Secretary Mattis believes ISIS leader Baghdadi is still alive

Defense Secretary James Mattis and other U.S. officials believe that ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is still alive and has a role in the insurgent group.  “I think Baghdadi is alive, I think he’s alive and I’ll believe otherwise when we know we’ve killed him, but we’re going after him,” Mattis said Friday. “We assume he is alive.”   He went on to say that “for obvious reasons we’re trying to track him pretty closely because he’s declared war on us, so he’s going to reap his reward for it.”…

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Canada Letter: Summer Advice From Librarians, American Friends

Megan Stecyk, Saskatoon Public Library, Saskatchewan: “100 Days of Cree,” by Neal McLeod “McLeod describes Cree as ‘the sexiest’ of all languages, and his book explores the humor, modernity and adaptability of today’s Cree. It’s easy to drop in to any page and learn the Cree word for the Death Star from Star Wars or a Tim Horton’s double-double, as well as traditional and seasonal phrases.” “The Devourers,” by Indra Das “This is Das’s first full fiction piece outside of his work in science fiction anthologies. It’s a raw, intense…

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Ties to Cuba Enhance and Entangle Jorge Mas’s Marlins Bid

But if Mas does get the Marlins franchise, his family history could possibly affect baseball’s continuing efforts to create a working relationship with Cuba, one that would allow players from the island to join the major leagues in an orderly fashion instead of having to endure various dangers in order to defect. It was Mas’s father, after all, who was regularly reviled by the Cuban media as the leader of “the counterrevolutionary Miami mafia” because of his longstanding efforts to cripple the government of Fidel Castro. Those efforts began after…

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Russian Lawyer Who Met Donald Trump Jr. Once Represented Spy Agency

The documents concern a complex property dispute that dates back to at least 2004, when the Russian state fought against the private owners of an office building in northwest Moscow. The building was privatized in 1991, when much of the state’s vast property holdings were transferred to private hands in the aftermath of the Soviet Union’s collapse. But after Mr. Putin ascended to power at the end of 1999, the Russian government began to question some outcomes of the often-chaotic privatization. In 2006 a court in Moscow ruled that the…

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Defectors, Google Earth map decades of horror in North Korea

A Seoul-based non-governmental organization has used Google Earth technology to enable North Korean defectors to “build a digital map of crimes against humanity in North Korea.” The Transitional Justice Working Group (TJWG) released a new report  Wednesday, the result of two years of research and interviews with 375 North Korean defectors, that identifies what it says are grave sites, murder locations and government offices that “may be used for future investigation and prosecution of crimes against humanity.” Hangings, public executions, cremation sites, and remote burial sites are ostensibly identified, said…

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Contaminated, drugged liquor may be responsible for woman’s mysterious death at Mexican resort, dad says

A young woman, whose mysterious death at a luxurious Mexican resort in January is being probed by her parents, may have consumed bootlegged liquor that was contaminated — or drugged — before she drowned in a shallow pool, the family’s attorney said. Abbey Conner, 20, was found next to her brother, Austin, face-down in a pool at the five-star Iberostar Paraiso del Mar in Playa del Carmen. The Wisconsin woman was vacationing at the resort with her mother and stepfather. Related Image Expand / Collapse Abbey Conner died at a…

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Texas Bathroom Bill Has Emotions, and Stakes, Running High

“She’s very concerned,” Ms. Miller said. “It’s potentially not a safe situation for her.” Social conservatives, led by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, have denied that the bill discriminates against anyone and have accused critics of exaggerating the potential economic damage. One moderate Republican leader, State Representative Joe Straus, the speaker of the Texas House, has expressed concern that the law could prove damaging and dangerous for transgender people, but supporters of the bill say the issue is public safety and women’s privacy. “Straus doesn’t seem to be concerned about the…

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Excitement builds for “Great American Eclipse”

On Aug. 21, the moon will slip between Earth and sun, casting a roughly 70-mile-wide shadow that will race across the United States from Oregon to South Carolina, giving tens of millions of Americans a chance to enjoy — and study — a fleeting but sublime spectacle, the first coast-to-coast total solar eclipse in 99 years. It has been dubbed, appropriately enough, the “Great American Eclipse.” “It really is fortunate,” said Matthew Penn, an astronomer with the National Optical Astronomy Observatory who is leading a nationwide effort to photograph the…

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EXCLUSIVE: Jeff Bridges Marvels at Halle Berry’s Comic-Con Chug, Reveals Channing Tatum Dances in ‘Kingsman 2’

The cast of Kingsman: The Golden Circle don’t mess around when it comes to having a good time. On Thursday, Halle Berry surprised fans at the San Diego Comic-Con panel for the Kingsman sequel when the actress downed a full glass of straight bourbon on stage, and didn’t miss a beat. WATCH: New ‘Kingsman: The Golden Circle’ Trailer! More Action and More Julianne Moore ET caught up with Berry’s co-star, Jeff Bridges, after the event and the legendary actor couldn’t help but marvel at her impressive alcohol tolerance. “Look, she’s…

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