Leader of bin Laden raid tells Trump: revoke my clearance, too

The man who led the raid that killed Osama bin Laden in 2011 has a message for President Donald Trump: Revoke my security clearance, too. Retired Navy Admiral William H. McRaven, who led US Joint Special Operations Command from 2011 to 2014, wrote a short, but blistering op-ed for the Washington Post on Thursday afternoon, challenging the president on his decision to revoke the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan. In the statement, he praised Brennan’s service to America, and his “unparalleled integrity.” McRaven continued, writing, “I would…

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An expert on Trump’s threat to revoke clearances: it’ll “set back the entire security establishment”

President Donald Trump revoked former CIA Director John Brennan’s security clearance on Wednesday — an extraordinary move that came less than a day after the former CIA director publicly criticized the president on television and Twitter. Brennan might not be the last, either. In a statement announcing his decision, Trump said he was considering rescinding the clearances of other top intelligence and law enforcement officials or preventing those who’ve already lost clearances from obtaining them in the future. The list includes former FBI Director James Comey, former Director of National…

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The US-Turkey trade spat, explained

Turkey slapped hefty tariffs on US cars, alcohol, tobacco, and other products on Wednesday — the latest blow in an escalating economic and diplomatic fight with the United States. Ankara’s retaliatory trade measures come after US President Donald Trump said Friday he would impose additional tariffs on Turkish aluminum and steel. And this trade spat with the US is exacerbating a brewing financial crisis in Turkey. Turkey’s currency, the lira, plunged to a record low against the dollar on Tuesday, though it recovered a bit on Wednesday after Turkish president…

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Hajj, the Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, explained for non-Muslims

At this moment, 1.5 million people from dozens of countries around the world are in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, to perform the hajj, the Islamic religious pilgrimage. It’s a huge event — in terms of both its significance in Islam and the massive logistical challenge of having that many people from all walks of life and every corner of the globe descend on one relatively small place all at once. But what actually goes on at the hajj? What is its religious and political significance? How do they handle all those…

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China’s brutal crackdown on the Uighur Muslim minority, explained

A United Nations human rights panel has accused the Chinese government of ruthlessly cracking down on Uighurs, an ethnic Muslim minority in China’s western Xinjiang autonomous region, and detaining as many as 1 million in internment camps and “reeducation” programs. These programs range from attempts at psychological indoctrination — studying communist propaganda and giving thanks to Chinese President Xi Jinping — to reports of waterboarding and other forms of torture. The Chinese government’s repression of ethnic Uighurs, most of whom are Sunni Muslim, has intensified in recent years amid what…

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Kofi Annan, former UN secretary-general, has died at 80

Kofi Annan, former United Nations secretary-general and Nobel Peace Prize-winner, has died at the age of 80. His foundation announced in a tweet on Saturday that Annan “passed away peacefully” after a short illness on Saturday in the Swiss city of Bern. It did not provide details but remembered him as a figure who radiated “genuine kindness, warmth, and brilliance in all he did.” Annan, who was born in Ghana in 1938 and was one of the world’s most celebrated diplomats, was the seventh United Nations secretary-general and the first…

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European museums may “loan” stolen artifacts back to countries in Africa

The legacy of colonialism and empire looms large in Europe. In recent months, museums in France, the United Kingdom, and Germany have begun to address the fact that large portions of their collections are, well, not theirs — and were stolen from other countries during the colonial era. But there’s no consensus on how to deal with the issue. And as the Washington Post reports, some museums are proposing “loaning” the artifacts back to their countries of origin for limited periods of time — rather than actually returning them. Countries…

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Unprecedented floods kill hundreds in India

Unprecedented flooding in the southern Indian state of Kerala has killed at least 180 people in just the past few days, according to local officials. On Friday, the region’s chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said it’s the worst flooding he’s seen in a century. “80 dams opened, 324 lives lost and 223,139 people are in about 1,500+ relief camps,” he tweeted, referring to the overall death toll in Kerala so far this monsoon season. India’s monsoon season typically lasts from June to September. According to the BBC, it’s normal for Kerala…

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US sanctions Myanmar’s security forces over Rohingya ethnic cleansing

The Trump administration has placed sanctions on several commanders and units of Myanmar’s security forces for their roles in the “ethnic cleansing” of Rohingya Muslims and other minority groups in the country. On Friday, the Treasury Department announced it had put sanctions on four commanders of Myanmar’s military and Border Guard Police (BGP) and two military units “for their involvement in ethnic cleansing in Burma’s Rakhine State and other widespread human rights abuses.” “Burmese security forces have engaged in violent campaigns against ethnic minority communities across Burma, including ethnic cleansing,…

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The Pentagon says ISIS is “well-positioned” to make a comeback

It looks like ISIS isn’t quite as defeated as President Donald Trump claims. Over the past eight months, Trump has repeatedly touted his administration’s success in defeating the terrorist organization and destroying its so-called caliphate in Iraq and Syria. In April, for example, he tweeted that “the United States, under my Administration, has done a great job of ridding the region of ISIS. Where is our ‘Thank you America?’” Yet Trump’s own military now says ISIS is still worryingly strong. On Thursday, a Pentagon spokesperson said that the terrorist group…

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