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Police begin removing protesters from Dakota pipeline encampment

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Police in North Dakota began clearing a group of Native American and environmental protesters from an encampment near an oil pipeline construction site on Thursday in a move that could escalate tensions in a standoff that has lasted several months.

The police moved in on the protesters camped on private property near the $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline about 11:15 a.m., according to a statement from the Morton County Sheriff’s Department.

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Police were also removing roadblocks set up by the demonstrators, but Donnell Preskey, a spokeswoman for the sheriff’s department, said protesters had lit some blockades on fire.

Law enforcement used a sound cannon in a effort to force protesters to move, Preskey said by telephone. There had not been any arrests on Thursday and the number of protesters at the site was unknown, Preskey added.

Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier said in a statement on Thursday that authorities had been forced to respond after protesters “escalated unlawful behavior” over the weekend, which he said included setting up illegal roadblocks, trespassing and establishing an encampment.

Photos from the sheriff’s department showed a line of dozens of heavily armed police standing alongside two armored vehicles.

The 1,172-mile (1,885-km) pipeline, being built by a group of companies led by Energy Transfer Partners LP, would offer the fastest and most direct route to bring Bakken shale oil from North Dakota to U.S. Gulf Coast refineries.

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Supporters say it would be safer and more cost-effective than transporting the oil by road or rail.

But the pipeline has drawn the ire of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and environmental activists who say it threatens the water supply and sacred tribal sites. They have been protesting for several months, and dozens have been arrested.

On Monday, Native American protesters occupied privately owned land in the path of the proposed pipeline, saying they were the land’s rightful owners under an 1851 treaty with the U.S. government.

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Members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe asked Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton on Thursday to oppose the pipeline. She has so far not taken a public position on the issue.

The Federal Aviation Administration has suspended aircraft from flying over the area affected by the protests. The restriction, issued on Wednesday, bars any aircraft other than those belonging to law enforcement from flying within a radius of 4 nautical miles of Cannon Ball, located about 50 miles (80 km) south of the state capital, Bismarck.

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(Reporting by Timothy Mclaughlin in Chicago; Additional reporting by Valerie Volcovici in Washington; Editing by Paul Simao and Peter Cooney) 


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America could be on the verge of a huge shift to the left — here’s what you can expect

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A new socialist movement is cohering in the US, thanks in large part to the popular class politics of Bernie Sanders. But as that movement grows and progresses, it is bound to run into dangerous obstacles and thorny contradictions. The new US socialist movement is without a single "line" or monolithic political position. That's a strength of the movement, since none of us has all the answers. Still, many people in the movement, ourselves included, feel strongly about certain approaches to strategy. One approach we feel strongly about is what we call "the democratic road to socialism," or the idea that we need to make good use of the democratic structures and processes available to us (and to improve and expand them) in order to advance our cause.A country like the United States has both a well-developed capitalist state, beholden to the capitalist class and armed to the teeth, and mechanisms for democratic participation in that state that allow people to exercise some measure of control over their representatives. Even though their choices are limited, their representatives are bought off by the rich, and the capitalist class holds the entire system hostage with the threat of devastating economic retaliation if things don't go their way, the system does have some basic democratic elements that its citizens largely affirm and occasionally participate in.This is a tricky situation to navigate. If the democratic capitalist state were less developed, it might be possible to convince people to simply storm the gates, tear up the old rules, and start fresh in a socialist society. This is what socialists tried to do in Russia in 1917: the state was weak and after centuries of autocratic rule it didn't have much legitimacy in the eyes of most Russians, so revolutionaries could get popular support for scrapping it and starting over.
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White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney caught on tape saying US is ‘desperate’

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White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney was caught on tape admitting that, despite President Donald Trump's policy preferences, the United States is "desperate" for more immigrants, according to a recording obtained by the Washington Post.

He further undermined the administration's claims of its economic prowess, admitting that immigration is necessary for sustained economic growth.

"We are desperate — desperate — for more people," Mulvaney said, according to the post, stressing that it should be legal. "We are running out of people to fuel the economic growth that we've had in our nation over the last four years. We need more immigrants."

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Hawaii holds woman over missing children amid suspicious deaths and ‘doomsday cult’ links

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A 46-year-old American woman with reported links to a doomsday cult and to at least three people whose deaths are being investigated has been arrested in Hawaii over the disappearance of her two children.

Lori Vallow was arrested Thursday on the island of Kauai and charged with felony desertion of the children, 7-year-old Joshua Vallow, who is autistic, and 17-year-old Tylee Ryan, police said in a statement.

According to US media reports, the children, who have different fathers, were last seen on September 23, 2019.

Their disappearance was reported in November by the boy's grandparents, who live in Louisiana and had heard nothing from the children for an extended period.

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