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Rolling Bombs: Crude-Oil Rail Tankers Threaten U.S. Populations, Environment
by Mary Papenfuss
A spate of derailments of trains carrying crude oil has hit the U.S. and Canada, and a new report warns that the technology involved is outdated and dangerous – and little is being done to address it. Mary Papenfuss investigates.

Muslim Terrorism Expert Testifying at Tsarnaev Trial Isn’t an Expert on Much
by Lara Turner
The prosecution’s terrorism expert witness doesn’t speak Arabic, hasn’t done much field research and wasn’t too forthcoming about his organization’s connections to the pro-Israel lobby. So what’s his insight into Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, and is it accurate? Lara Turner examines the testimony.

Tsarnaev Carjacking Victim’s Escape Video a Microcosm of Why a Closer Look Is Warranted
by James Henry
The video of Dun “Danny” Meng’s escape is a microcosm of what’s frustrating about the Boston bombing trial: It features cherry-picked prosecution evidence, inconsistencies that were uncovered pre-trial and a defense solely interested in trying to avoid the death penalty for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. So the video raises more questions than it answers, and no one’s asking those questions.

WHO

NSA Doesn’t Need to Spy on Your Calls to Learn Your Secrets
In this must-read excerpt from DATA AND GOLIATH: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World, author Bruce Schneier explains the flaw in the government’s assertion that “metadata” isn’t as intrusive as eavesdropping. Rather, metadata collection is all-encompassing and highly instrusive. And as former NSA and CIA Director Michael Hayden said last year, “We kill people based on metadata.”

Court Accepts DOJ’s ‘State Secrets’ Claim to Protect Shadowy Neocons: a New Low
Glenn Greenwald attacks a federal court ruling that effectively immunizes a roster of “Neocon extremists” working for a shadowy anti-Iranian group calling itself United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI). At the behest of the Department of Justice, an Obama-appointed federal judge threw out a defamation case against UANI based on the state secrets privilege. That’s in spite of the fact that UANI is not “officially” run by, linked to or affiliated with the U.S. government. Nor should it even have access to state secrets. This is not a joke.

WHAT

Free Trade Isn’t About Trade. It’s About Bureaucrats—and Guns.
If enacted, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will usher in the privatization of the investor-state dispute settlement process. That means laws passed by governments—and, in effect, their national sovereignty—are suddenly open to challenges by private corporations. Germany didn’t want nukes. But under free trade rules a Swedish energy company sued Germany for creating undue restrictions on their business. And that’s what the TPP would do … not just put corporations on a par with national governments, but often above them. WhoWhatWhy examined the similar components of the forthcoming U.S.-EU trade deal here.

WHY

Germanwings Plane Deliberately Flown into Mountain, Says Prosecutor
Yesterday, investigators wondered why the Germanwings plane took a long, steady descent right into the side of a mountain. Today, armed with flight data from the black box, a French prosecutor said it was clear that the co-pilot—Andreas Lubitz—deliberately locked the pilot out of the cockpit and intentionally flew the plane and its passengers to their collective demise.

Why Bombing This Tiny Oil Producer Is Roiling the Energy Market
The proxy war between Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shiite Iran just got a lot bigger. A Saudi-led effort bombed the embattled nation of Yemen, where Iranian-backed Houthi rebels have been wresting control of the nation. And for the first time during the Saudi production glut, oil prices reacted to turmoil in the region. Why does this escalation in Yemen matter to oil markets? Location, location, location!

Why Is Confucius Still Relevant Today? His Sound Bites Hold Up
After years of being dissed by Chinese Commies, Confucius is making a big comeback … and not just among disgruntled Chinese looking to reconnect with the past. No, the Communist Party—yes, the same organization that battled his influence and smashed his memory during the Cultural Revolution—is reviving key precepts and sayings of the famous philosopher. It looks like Confucius is getting the last laugh.

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