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Al Qaeda most lethal terrorist ‘franchise’ in recent history: report

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Al Qaeda has been one of the most lethal terrorist organization in the world under the leadership of Osama bin Laden, according to an analysis by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) at the University of Maryland.

More than 600 groups have committed terrorist acts since 1998, with al Qaeda being responsible for less than 1 percent of all terrorist attacks. Although al Qaeda is responsible for a relatively low proportion of worldwide terrorist attacks, the group has been responsible for more than 20 percent of terrorism fatalities.

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“The terrorist organization Osama bin Laden founded, was responsible for fomenting more mass casualty attacks than any other group in recent history,” said START Director Gary LaFree, a University of Maryland professor responsible for assembling the world’s most comprehensive unclassified terrorism database.

LaFree told Raw Story that although bin Laden’s death has important symbolic value, he leaves behind “a whole set of groups that subscribe to many of the same values and beliefs.” Structurally, al Qaeda has “operated more like a franchise than a typical terrorist organization,” he noted, with groups like al Qaeda in Iraq, the Islamic Jihad of Yemen, and the Taliban replicating bin Laden’s organization.

START researchers Victor Asal and R. Karl Rethemeyer at the University of Albany have identified 33 separate terrorist groups with direct links and alliances to al Qaeda.


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Maddow reveals how one state stood up to Trump’s USPS cuts — and won

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MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow's opening segment on Friday focused on a positive story of political pressure stopping one of the Trump administration's attacks on the U.S. Postal Service.

Maddow reported how NBC Montana reporter Maritsa Georgiou had doggedly reported on the removal of postal boxes in Missoula, where she is based. Missoula has been a long-time Democratic Party stronghold.

Montana has a competitive U.S. Senate election in 2020, with Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock challenging first-term Republican Sen. Steve Daines.

As Georgiou chased the story, she learned there were also plans to remove boxes in the battleground of Billings. And more planned for the blue town of Bozeman. And other towns.

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2020 Election

Pepsi joins the chorus of people dunking on Tucker Carlson over Kamala Harris

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The Pepsi soda company mocked Fox News personality Tucker Carlson on Friday evening.

On Tuesday, Carlson flipped out after a guest attempted to teach him how to pronounce the name of Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), who is running for vice president on Joe Biden's ticket.

Video of the exchange was posted on Twitter by Nikki McCann Ramirez, a researcher at the watchdog group Media Matters for America.

Tucker Carlson loses it when a guest corrects his pronunciation of Kamala Harris's name pic.twitter.com/1fHIrPGuwN

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Chad Wolf’s authority is ‘illegitimate’: Hispanic Caucus chairman demands DHS chief ‘resign in disgrace’

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Immigrant rights groups and Texas Democrats are urging a review on the legality of Trump administration immigration policies after a government watchdog found two of the White House’s top immigration officials are not legally eligible to serve in their respective positions.

The Government Accountability Office on Friday determined that Chad Wolf, acting Department of Homeland Security secretary, and Ken Cuccinelli, a senior official performing deputy secretary duties, aren’t legally qualified to hold those posts.

United We Dream, an advocacy group pushing for immigration reform, said the GAO’s conclusion calls into question the latest guidance from the DHS on the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program that was initiated in 2012.

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