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The Fake Abortion Clinics Of America: Misconception

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Women across America who are seeking abortions are accidentally booking appointments at Crisis Pregnancy Centers — pro-life, government-funded religious centers that don’t provide abortions, but instead try to talk women out of terminating their pregnancies. VICE News investigated the misleading practices used by Crisis Pregnancy Centers to draw in women with unplanned pregnancies, and the misinformation that is spread to discourage them from pursuing abortions.

US Senate elevates Israel's status as 'major strategic partner'

An omnibus bill full of measures improving the relationship between Israel and the United States has passed the US Senate, after delay since May.
The bill declares Israel a “major strategic partner” of the US, enhances Israel’s trade status to expedite export licensing, increases cooperation on energy, water engineering, research and development, and expands authority for forward-deployed US weapons stockpiles in the Jewish state.
But missing from the bill is action on an issue long encouraged by Israeli officials and their advocates on Capitol Hill: inclusion of Israel into the US visa waiver program, which would allow smooth travel from one country to the other.
The visa waiver program has become controversial in recent weeks for reasons “entirely unrelated to Israel,” one Hill source familiar with the bill told The Jerusalem Post, “but because of what is going on with ISIS [Islamic State].”
Thousands of passport holders from countries within the program, including from the European Union, are now considered a national security risk with uninhibited access to the homeland. The program removes an entire layer of screening that puts pressure on other intelligence tools and agents, Hill members say.
The original draft of the bill, called the US-Israel Strategic Partnership Act, began to cut some of the red tape around the issue.
The US has been reticent to include Israel into the program because of Israel’s refusal rate at its own borders, possibly based on discriminatory principles, which goes against State Department policy for program entry. On the sidelines, conversations are now under way on how to lower Israel’s refusal rate.
As it passed, the bill “encourages” Israel’s inclusion into the program and, according to bill author Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), “affirms Israel’s ability to participate in the visa waiver program as long as she meets existing requirements.”
The declaration of Israel as a major strategic partner is an elevation from “major non-NATO ally,” Israel’s legal status as a US ally since 1988, and further binds the executive to ensure Israel’s qualitative military edge in the region.
"It establishes an architecture for things like cyber-security," said one source with a pro-Israel organization, adding that it broadens the relationship in "a number of different areas."
The bill seeks expeditious approval from the White House of long-term security guarantees to Israel through a decade, and increases its crisis stockpile of weaponry by a value of $200 million to a total of $1.8 billion, in addition to billions more towards other military projects.
The House of Representatives passed a similar bill in March.
Co-author of the bill Roy Blunt (R-MO) called the bill a bipartisan success “during this critical time in the Middle East region.”
Originally slated for passage in the Senate in May, ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Bob Corker (R-TN) proposed adding language to the bill that would trigger congressional hearings on any future agreement between world powers and Iran on its nuclear program. The bill, co-sponsored by 81 senators, was tabled over the language.
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee “applauded” its passage on Friday.
"By declaring in legislation that Israel is a ‘major strategic partner’ of the United States, the bill lays the foundation for expanded US-Israel cooperation in a wide variety of spheres, including defense, intelligence, homeland security, cyber security, energy, water, agriculture, and alternative fuel technologies," the AIPAC statement read.

Hope Goes Solo 

By Annie Walker

In an international friendly against Mexico on 13th of September, American goalkeeper, Hope Solo, became the new record holder for all-time shutouts in United States history.

Finishing with her 72nd clean sheet for the United States national team, the 8-0 victory over Mexico put Solo ahead of previous record holder, Briana Scurry.

Solo has played for the United States since 2000 and has been the starting goalkeeper since 2005. In 154 caps, she has won two gold medals at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics and a Golden Glove for her performance at the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Solo is the primary goalkeeper for the NWSL team Seattle Reign FC, who won the Supporters Shield for the 2014 season.

Although FIFA rankings currently have the American women’s national team ranked number one in the world, the US will still have to fight for one of the 3.5 CONCACAF spots, allotted to nations in the North American, Central American, and Caribbean confederation. If successful, the Americans will become one of 24 teams to compete at the 2015 Women’s World Cup.

Once qualifiers begin, head coach, Jill Ellis, will be forced to narrow her squad down from the 28 players she called up for the friendly matches against Mexico to the 20 players who will make up the official national squad. Hope Solo is almost all but sure to make the list, but the other choices Ellis will make, including on alternate goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris, will be a telling look into how the US is looking to make a third world cup victory happen in Canada.

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