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Thursday, August 7, 2014

Good Morning, News!

Posted by Denis C. Theriault on Thu, Aug 7, 2014 at 9:27 AM

Russians and their infamous appetites, right? Moscow's answering the most recent round of Western sanctions over Ukraine with some new rules of its own. For at least the next year, it's banned fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, milk and dairy imports from the US, the European Union, Australia, Canada and Norway. I have no idea what this means for my favorite glasnost-era image—that of the conquering McDonald's golden arches lighting up over Moscow more than 20 years ago.

One American import apparently exempt from Russia's ban? Edward Snowden. The NSA whistleblower, at the end of his one-year asylum reprieve, was allowed to stay an additional three years.

The three-day cease-fire in Gaza could grow longer, if talks between Israelis and Palestinians work out over the next several hours. The United Nations' secretary general has delightfully suggested that these talks might lead to actual peace talks (ha!), saying Israel's air-and-ground assault had “shocked and shamed the world," while also calling the attacks on civilian shelters "outrageous, unacceptable and unjustifiable" and demanding an end to the "senseless cycle of suffering in Gaza and the West Bank, as well as in Israel."

The militant group Hamas, after losing its tunnels worth tens of millions of dollars and dramatically depleting its rocket arsenal, may have to embrace negotiations—hoping to retain its political legitimacy among Palestinians by persuading Israel to partially open Gaza's borders after years of isolation.

California's drought has gotten so awful, Orange County is betting people finally won't vomit when they realize the water they're drinking is actually recycled from their toilets. Because ex-toilet water will be better than little to no water. On the bright side? The drought might be forcing pot-growers to get a little more efficient, or "greener," as it were.

The Khmer Rouge killed or starved 2 million people during their brutal reign over Cambodia 40 years ago. Finally, just now, two of the junta's remaining former leaders, allowed to live peaceably into their 80s, have been convicted of crimes against humanity. They'll be locked up for however many months/years left in their lives.

This is bad news for Iraqi Kurds. Sunni militants with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, tussling with the Kurds around Mosul, have taken over Iraq's largest dam. Blowing it up would unleash a devastating flood over most of northern Iraq, literally drowning the Kurdish resistance.

This is bad news for Hawaii. Hurricane Iselle is on track for a direct hit, the first hurricane to visit the former Sandwich Islands in 22 years.

About that Ebola scare in New York... The guy who walked into an NYC hospital with suspicious symptoms after his return from a trip to Africa has tested negative, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have warned.

Yes, Target once gave money to someone who very much hated the concept of marriage equality. But that's all in the past. The peddler of cheap goods has issued a corporate pledge promoting same-sex marriage and also signed as a supporter of equality in a court case.

Portland housing prices—and I know you've already felt this in your bones forever—have officially become historically unaffordable.

Having to wear condoms, so the claim goes, has sent the porn industry fleeing Los Angeles altogether or, just maybe, back into the grimy arms of the Los Angeles underground.

YOU KNOW WHO ELSE IDLED THEIR DAYS AND NIGHTS THAT WAY, RIGHT? RIGHT?? RIGHT???!!!

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