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Friday, July 26, 2013

Tunisian Politicians Killed By Same Gun

An Al-Qaeda-linked extremist cell was behind the murders of both Mohammed Brahmi (yesterday) and Chokr Belaid (five months ago). In fact, ballistics tests prove that the bullets that killed them were even fired from the same gun. Allegedly, the gunman is Boubakr Hakim, a smuggler with known jihadist sympathies. He has already been implicated in the 14-man terrorist cell behind Belaid’s murder.

Thousands took to the streets to protest his death and blamed the mild Islamist government, Ennhada, demanding that it resign to make way for a national unity government. Today, thousands of Islamists took to the streets for rival protests in support of the current government. A third secular group announced the resignation of five of its members of the Constituent Assembly, which is tasked with writing the country’s new constitution.

Halliburton Pleads Guilty to Destruction of Evidence

The Justice Department announced that Halliburton will plead guilty to criminal destruction of evidence during the investigation into the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. It will face the maximum fine of $200,000 (it has already donated $55 million voluntarily for wildlife preservation).

Halliburton was the oil services company that oversaw the cement pouring when Macando was built. In 2011, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management found BP and Halliburton equally responsible for the spill. Halliburton denied having anything to do with it, saying all operations decisions were left up to BP. After the Deepwater Horizon explosion, however, Halliburton conducted two advanced 3-D simulations on the advice it had given to BP on how many centralizers to use when securing the well. It had suggested 21; BP used 6. The simulations showed little difference between the two and Halliburton ordered the results of both destroyed.

North Carolina Agrees to Compensate Sterilization Victims

North Carolina agreed to adopt a budget that includes $10 million to compensate victims of forced sterilization, a plan which state Republicans had rejected last year. One State Senator said he didn’t believe compensation would put the issue to rest because “if you start compensating people who have been ‘victimized’ by past history, I don’t know where that would end.” It is believed North Carolina forcibly sterilized 7,000-8,000 people between 1929 and 1974.

While many states had sterilization plans aimed at the “feeble-minded,” North Carolina was notable for broadening its program after World War II. Some victims were as young as 10 and chosen because they were considered promiscuous or did not get along with their schoolmates. Elaine Riddick, the most vocal advocate, was raped and became pregnant when she was 13. She gave birth at age 14 and immediately sterilized against her will.

Deadly Bombings In Pakistan Market

In the main town of the Kurram tribal region, Parachinar, more than 100 people have been injured and at least 39 killed when two explosions occurred near two different mosques. The area at the time was thronged with shoppers buying food to prepare for breaking their Ramadan fast. There was not enough space to keep the wounded, and many ended up lying on the lawn or the floor.

It is not immediately clear who is behind the attacks, but the area has a significant Shia population (a minority in Pakistan) and has been subject to attacks by Sunni militant groups before.

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