Angelina Jolie Files for Divorce from Brad Pitt | True News



It has been reported and confirmed that Angelina Jolie has filed for divorce from Brad Pitt – and that the Hollywood power couple is no more. Stefan Molyneux …

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Barcelona balances security and freedom after deadly attacks

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MADRID (Reuters) – Spain’s northeastern region of Catalonia, hit last week by two Islamist militant attacks which killed 15 people, is to deploy more police, install bollards in Barcelona and step up security around stations and tourist landmarks.

The trick is to strike a balance between security and not overloading residents with restrictions.

“We’re looking at introducing (street) obstacles that could be mobile,” Joaquin Forn, who is in charge of home affairs in Catalonia, told a news conference on Wednesday.

A van ploughed into crowds of holidaymakers and local residents on Barcelona’s crowded Las Ramblas boulevard last Thursday, killing 13 people. Two others were killed during the driver’s getaway and in a separate attack in Cabrils.

The Barcelona rampage reignited a row over how cities can better prevent such attacks. Militants have used trucks and cars as weapons to kill nearly 130 people in France, Germany, Britain, Sweden and Spain over the past 13 months.

German police, for example, placed concrete barriers in front of Cologne’s world famous gothic cathedral on Wednesday after reports that Islamist militants had sought to target Barcelona’s La Sagrada Familia church.

Catalan authorities may also erect some permanent barriers and turn some streets into pedestrian-only thoroughfares, Forn said.

The regional capital, which receives around 30 million visitors a year, is home to several landmarks designed by architect Antoni Gaudi, including the towering Sagrada Familia. Forn added that some 10 percent more police would be deployed.

EUROPEAN CONNECTIONS?

Investigators are still looking into whether the suspects behind last week’s attacks had links to France or Belgium and are examining their movements over recent weeks as they look for connections to possible cells elsewhere in Europe.

The car used in the attack in Cambrils, north of Barcelona, was caught on camera speeding in the Paris region days earlier.

“We are still trying to establish why they were in the Paris area,” French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb told reporters at a joint news conference in Paris with his Spanish counterpart on Wednesday.

Spanish Interior Minister Juan Ignacio Zoido said France and Spain would continue to reinforce border checks and step up information exchanges, including of passenger information in real time.

One of the suspects has said the leader of the militant group was an imam, Abdelbaki Es Satty, who died a day before the Barcelona attack when a house the group was using to build bombs blew up.

Court officials in Spain’s Valencia region said on Wednesday that Spain had issued an expulsion order against Es Satty after he served a four-year jail term for drug-trafficking but that this was annulled by a court in 2015 after Es Satty appealed.

The judge at the time overturned the expulsion order partly because Es Satty had employment roots in Spain which he said “shows his efforts to integrate in Spanish society.”

A dozen Islamist militants suspected of involvement in the plot were either killed or arrested. A judge on Tuesday ordered two suspects jailed, one remained in police custody pending further investigation and a fourth was freed with conditions.

Reporting by Inmaculada Sanz, Emma Pinedo and Adrian Croft, Additional reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta in Paris, Writing by Sarah White Editing by Jeremy Gaunt

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‘Pretty Little Liars’ actress Sasha Pieterse shares topless pic: ‘Freedom’

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Sasha Pieterse enjoys her freedom.

The actress posted a picture of herself along with two friends standing topless in front of a cliff.

“Freedom,” the 21-year-old captioned the snap.

Joining Pieterse were her “Honored” co-stars Karrueche Tran and Meghan Rienks.

The co-stars have been hanging out a lot while promoting their new film sharing pictures on Instagram.

Pieterse is best known for her role as Alison DiLaurentis in Freeform’s “Pretty Little Liars.”

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‘Pretty Little Liars’ actress Sasha Pieterse shares topless pic: ‘Freedom’

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Sasha Pieterse enjoys her freedom.

The actress posted a picture of herself along with two friends standing topless in front of a cliff.

“Freedom,” the 21-year-old captioned the snap.

Joining Pieterse were her “Honored” co-stars Karrueche Tran and Meghan Rienks.

The co-stars have been hanging out a lot while promoting their new film sharing pictures on Instagram.

Pieterse is best known for her role as Alison DiLaurentis in Freeform’s “Pretty Little Liars.”

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China angered at U.S. criticism of religious freedom, says U.S. not perfect

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BEIJING (Reuters) – China hit back on Wednesday at criticism by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson of its record on religious freedom, saying the United States was not perfect and should be looking after its own affairs rather than making baseless accusations.

Tillerson, speaking at the State Department while introducing the agency’s annual report on religious freedom, said the Chinese government tortures and imprisons thousands for their religious beliefs, citing the targeting of Falun Gong members, Uighur Muslims and Tibetan Buddhists.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said China fully respected and protected freedom of religion and belief.

“The so-called U.S. report ignores the facts, confuses right and wrong and makes wanton criticism of China’s religious freedom situation,” she told a daily news briefing.

“China is resolutely opposed to this and has lodged solemn representations with the U.S. side.”

The United States would do better to look at its own problems, Hua added.

“Everyone has seen that the facts prove the United States is not totally perfect,” she said, without providing any examples.

“We urge the United States to respect the facts and properly manage its own affairs, and stop using the wrong means of the so-called religious freedom issue to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries.”

State news agency Xinhua said in an English-language commentary the violence at a weekend rally by white nationalists in Charlottesville, Virginia, meant the United States should reflect on its own problems before pointing the finger at China.

“Against the backdrop of the recent clash between white supremacists and their opponents, the U.S. accusations against China simply lay bare the double standard it employs,” it said.

“The violence highlighted the danger of racism, which is a serious problem in a still divided U.S. society,” Xinhua added.”Despite its self-proclaimed role as the world’s human rights champion, the fact is the world’s sole superpower is far from becoming a respected role model in this regard.”

The violence erupted on Saturday after white nationalists converged in Charlottesville for a “Unite the Right” rally to protest against plans to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee, commander of the pro-slavery Confederate army during the U.S. Civil War.

Many of the rally participants were seen carrying firearms, sticks and shields. Some also wore helmets. Counter-protesters likewise came equipped with sticks, helmets and shields.

The two sides clashed in scattered street brawls before a car ploughed into the rally opponents, killing a woman and injuring 19. A 20-year-old Ohio man, James Fields, said to have harboured Nazi sympathies, was charged with murder.

Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Robert Birsel

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Tillerson raps some U.S. allies for religious freedom violations, slams IS

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. allies including Saudi Arabia and Bahrain did not uphold principles of religious freedom in 2016, while Islamic State has carried out “genocide” against religious minorities, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Tuesday.

Tillerson made the comments at the State Department while introducing the agency’s annual report on religious freedom, required by a 1998 act of Congress. The report is the first to be released during the Trump administration and covers 2016.

Saudi Arabia, Tillerson said, ought to “embrace greater degrees of religious freedom for all of its citizens.” He cited criminal penalties for apostasy, atheism, blasphemy, and insulting the Saudi state’s interpretation of Islam, as well as attacks and discrimination targeting Shi’ite Muslims.

The kingdom follows the strict Sunni Muslim Wahhabi school of Islam.

The report said Saudi Arabia has used counter-terrorism laws to target atheists and Shi’ite Muslims. The United States and Saudi Arabia have long been close partners in counter-terrorism efforts and the kingdom was the first stop on U.S. President Donald Trump’s maiden international visit.

Tillerson singled out another Gulf Arab state, Bahrain, saying it “must stop discriminating against the Shia communities.”

Bahrain’s foreign ministry said Tillerson’s remarks were “inappropriate” and showed “a deep misunderstanding of the facts.” It called on the State Department to discuss such matters directly with the kingdom before making statements.

“The history of the Kingdom of Bahrain is characterized by coexistence and religious harmony,” the ministry said in a statement. It said Bahrainis of different sects, including Shi’ites, served as government officials, judges, diplomats and other professions.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson delivers remarks on the 2016 International Religious Freedom Annual report at the State Department in Washington, U.S. August 15, 2017.Jonathan Ernst

Tillerson said that in Turkey, a NATO ally, “authorities continued to limit the human rights of members of some religious minority groups.” American pastor Andrew Brunson has been jailed in Turkey since October on charges of being part of a terrorist organization, according to news reports.

Tillerson said religious freedom is “under attack” in Pakistan, citing the marginalisation of Ahmadiyya Muslims, a minority sect which Pakistan considers non-Muslim.

Tillerson said Islamic State, the Sunni extremist group that has controlled parts of Iraq and Syria, “is clearly responsible for genocide against Yezidis, Christians, and Shia Muslims in areas it controls or has controlled.”

Tillerson said Iran targeted religious minorities including Baha’is and Christians, and in 2016 executed 20 people on charges including “waging war against God.” He also called out China and Sudan in his remarks.

The Chinese government tortures and imprisons thousands for practicing their religious beliefs, Tillerson said, citing the targeting of Falun Gong members, Uighur Muslims and Tibetan Buddhists. And in Sudan, the government arrests and intimidates clergy and blocks the construction of churches while tearing down existing ones, he said.

Tillerson’s decision to introduce the report contrasted with how he handled the State Department’s annual human rights report in March. He declined to unveil it in person, breaking with precedent, and drew criticism he was not giving rights issues adequate attention.

The report did not address Trump’s attempt this year to temporarily suspend refugee admissions and his decision to impose a lower cap on the number of those admissions. The report states that resettlement is a “vital tool for providing refugees protection.”

Many refugees admitted to the United States in 2016 were fleeing religious intolerance and persecution, it said.

Reporting by Yeganeh Torbati. additional reporting by Omar Fahmy in Cairo; Editing by Yara Bayoumy, James Dalgleish and Michael Perry

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California again leads list with 6 of the top 10 most polluted U S cities



California’s smoggy reputation appears to be deserved: Six of the USA’s 10 cities with the worst air pollution are in the Golden State, according to a new report.

Bakersfield, Calif., again holds the dubious distinction of having the USA’s most days of highly polluted air, based on data from 2013-2015, the American Lung Association’s annual “State of the Air” report released Wednesday found.

In addition to the worst spikes of short-term pollution — led by Bakersfield — the report also lists the cities with the worst overall year-round pollution — led by Visala/Hanford, Calif.— and the worst ozone pollution, led by the Los Angeles/Long Beach area.

California’s soaring population and topography allow air pollution to overcome the state’s strict environmental laws, said Paul Billings of the American Lung Association. The boom in people brings with it an increase in cars and trucks on the roads, and many of those people live in valley and basins, right where pollution tends to settle.

Nearly year-round sunny skies also don’t help: Those picture-perfect days are a major factor in high levels of ozone pollution, he added.

The state would be far worse off without its strict laws on tailpipe pollution and eliminating coal-fired power plants. “They’ve done more than any other state to counteract air pollution,” Billings said.

Overall, the report is a mixture of good and bad news: While year-round pollution has improved, short-term spikes of intensely polluted air have increased.

“While most of the nation has much cleaner air quality than even a decade ago, many cities reported their highest number of unhealthy days since the report began” 18 years ago, it found.

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The Minifree Libreboot T400 is free as in freedom

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The Libreboot T400 doesn’t look like much. It’s basically a refurbished Lenovo Thinkpad with the traditional Lenovo/IBM pointer nubbin and a small touchpad. It’s a plain black laptop, as familiar as any luggable assigned to a cubicle warrior on the road. But, under the hood, you have a machine that fights for freedom.

The T400 runs Libreboot, a free and open BIOS and the Trisquel GNU/Linux OS. Both of these tools should render the Libreboot T400 as secure from tampering as can be. “Your Libreboot T400 obeys you, and nobody else!” write its creators, and that seems to be the case.

How does it work? And should you spend about $300 on a refurbished Thinkpad with Linux installed? That depends on what you’re trying to do. The model I tested was on the low end with enough speed and performance to count but Trisquel tended to bog down a bit and the secure browser, “an unbranded Mozilla based browser that never recommends non-free software,” was a little too locked down for its own good. I was able to work around a number of the issues I had but this is definitely not for the faint of heart.

That said, you are getting a nearly fully open computer. The 14.1-inch machine runs a Intel Core 2 Duo P8400 processor and starts at 4GB of RAM with 160GB hard drive space. That costs about $257 plus shipping and includes a battery and US charger.

Once you have the T400 you’re basically running a completely clean machine. It runs a free (as in freedom) operating system complete with open drivers and applications and Libreboot ensures that you have no locked-down software on the machine. You could easily recreate this package yourself on your own computer but I suspect that you, like me, would eventually run into a problem that couldn’t be solved entirely with free software. Hence the impetus to let Minifree do the work for you.

If you’re a crusader for privacy, security, and open standards, than this laptop is for you. Thankfully it’s surprisingly cheap and quite rugged so you’re not only sticking it to the man but you could possibly buy a few of these and throw them at the man in a pinch.

The era of common Linux on the desktop – and not in the form of a secure, libre device like this – is probably still to come. While it’s trivial (and fun) to install a Linux instance these days I doubt anyone would do it outright on a laptop that they’re using on a daily basis. But for less than a price of a cellphone you can use something like the T400 and feel safe and secure that you’re not supporting (many) corporate interests when it comes to your computing experience. It’s not a perfect laptop by any stretch but it’s just the thing if you’re looking for something that no one but you controls.

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Merkel, visiting ex-Stasi jail, defends freedom and democracy

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BERLIN (Reuters) – Chancellor Angela Merkel invoked the injustices of communist East Germany on Friday to defend freedom and democracy during a visit to a notorious prison of the former Stasi secret police in Berlin.

Merkel, the daughter of a Protestant pastor who grew up in the German Democratic Republic (GDR), visited the ex-prison of Hohenschoenhausen a day before she launches her campaign for a fourth term as chancellor in a national election on Sept. 24.

Thousands of political prisoners were incarcerated in the jail, which after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the 1990 reunification of Germany became a museum and memorial.

“The injustice that occurred in the GDR, that many people had to experience in an awful way, must not be forgotten,” said Merkel, who has just returned to work after a three-week summer holiday.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel visits a former Stasi prison in Berlin-Hohenschoenhausen in Berlin, Germany, August 11, 2017.Hannibal Hanschke

She said the visit to the former Stasi prison, two days before the anniversary of the start of construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961, was “of particular significance for me”.

“It seems a long time ago, but it warns us to work hard for freedom and democracy,” she said.

During her visit, Merkel met a former inmate, Arno Drefke, who often guides visitors through the spacious former prison, which is now preparing for a two-year renovation that will add new exhibition areas and seminar rooms.

Merkel and her conservatives, in power since 2005, are expected to win another term, although an opinion poll by Infratest dimap published late on Thursday suggested her popularity had dropped 10 percentage points to 59 percent.

However, Merkel appears to have little to fear as her main rival, the Social Democrats’ chancellor candidate Martin Schulz, saw his popularity hit a new low of 33 percent, down four points from last month.

Writing by Paul Carrel and Andrea Shalal; Editing by Gareth Jones

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EXCLUSIVE: Freedom Foundation sues Seattle over controversial new income tax

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The Freedom Foundation sued Seattle Wednesday over its controversial new income tax on the rich, which critics call “an assault” on the law that sets a dangerous precedent.  

The tax, passed by the Seattle City Council last month, targets high-income earners as part of what local lawmakers describe as “a new formula for fairness.”

The tax measure requires residents to pay a 2.25 percent tax if they are a single filer and make more than $250,000 annually or file jointly and make more than $500,000.

Its passage prompted a court challenge from the Freedom Foundation, a conservative think tank that considers the tax a slippery slope that could open the door to more taxes in the future.  

The outrage over the tax even prompted the Washington Republican Party to call for “civil disobedience” and urged its members to “refuse to comply, file or pay.”

STATE GOP URGES ‘CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE’ OVER NEW SEATTLE TAX, SAYS RESIDENTS SHOULD NOT PAY 

Wednesday’s suit, filed in King County Superior Court on behalf of several of the city’s residents, lays out the case against the tax.

“This is clearly bad policy and illegal, but it’s also an assault on the rule of law,” David Dewhirst, a lawyer for the Freedom Foundation, told Fox News in a statement. “If they can get away with it this time, where does it stop?”

‘If they can get away with it this time, where does it stop?’

– David Dewhirst, lawyer for Freedom Foundation

The suit argues that Seattle’s plan to tax the rich is unconstitutional, because the state of Washington imposes strict limits on taxes; prohibits taxes on net income; and requires cities to get permission to tax residents.

“This tax ordinance’s legal and constitutional infirmities are patently obvious,” Dewhirst said.  “That’s what makes this whole thing so chilling.”

Dewhirst accused city council members of knowingly adopting “a law that can only survive if the courts abandon decades of precedent – precedent grounded in Washington’s fundamental commitment to legal equality.”

Outgoing Democratic Mayor Ed Murray says the goal of the tax “is to replace our regressive tax system with a new formula for fairness while ensuring Seattle stands up President Trump’s austere budget that cuts transportation, affordable housing, healthcare and social services.”

The city estimates the new tax would raise $140 million a year and cost between $10 million and $13 million to set up, plus an additional $6 million a year to enforce. The money would go toward affordable housing projects as well as other services for lower-paid workers.

Councilmember Kshama Sawant told Fox News in July that the need for the tax is “crystal clear.”

She said the city isn’t backing down – and says Seattle is ready to duke it out in court in what’s likely to be a very costly legal battle.

“We will no longer tolerate a system that buries poor and working class people in taxes, while giving big business and the super-rich yet another free ride; a system that underfunds affordable housing to the point where thousands are homeless, a system that criminally underfunds education,” Sawant said.

Washington is one of seven states in the country that does not have a personal income tax. 

Analysts at the Washington Policy Center also note the Washington Supreme Court ruled in 1951 to invalidate the state income tax. Further, a law passed in 1984 prohibits any city or county from levying a tax on net income.

The state’s voters have rejected the idea of an income tax nine separate times. Washington voters did approve an income tax in 1932, but the state Supreme Court ruled the measure was unconstitutional.

 

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