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US deploys 1000 more troops to Middle East, citing ‘hostile behavior’ from Iran

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The United States said Monday it has approved the deployment of 1,000 additional troops to the Middle East, against the backdrop of soaring tensions with Iran.

Acting Defence Secretary Patrick Shanahan said in a statement that the troops were being sent “for defensive purposes to address air, naval, and ground-based threats in the Middle East.”

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“The recent Iranian attacks validate the reliable, credible intelligence we have received on hostile behaviour by Iranian forces and their proxy groups that threaten United States personnel and interests across the region,” Shanahan said.

The US has blamed Iran for last week’s attacks on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman, a charge Tehran has denied as “baseless.”

Saudi Arabia blames Iran for tanker attacks

“The United States does not seek conflict with Iran,” the statement said, adding that the deployment aimed “to ensure the safety and welfare of our military personnel working throughout the region and to protect our national interests.”

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Tensions between Tehran and Washington have escalated ever since the US quit a multi-nation nuclear deal with Iran.

Washington has imposed crippling sanctions, bolstered its military presence in the region and blacklisted Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organization.

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If impeachment comes to the Senate – 5 questions answered

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Editor’s note: If the House of Representatives concludes its impeachment inquiry by passing articles of impeachment of President Donald Trump, attention will turn to the Senate. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, is known as a master of the Senate’s rules, and has been raising campaign donations with ads touting the power he would have over impeachment proceedings. Constitutional scholar Sarah Burns from the Rochester Institute of Technology answers some crucial questions already arising about what McConnell might be able to do, to either slow down the process or speed things along.

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Andrew Yang’s ‘freedom dividend’ echoes a 1930s basic income proposal that reshaped Social Security

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Entrepreneur and political novice Andrew Yang is hoping a wild gambit will help him win the Democratic presidential nomination: give 10 American families US$1,000 a month.

The announcement of a test run of his signature universal basic income proposal, which Yang argues is necessary to counter automation’s threat to millions of American jobs, garnered cheers from the student audience at the September debate and gave his candidacy a boost. At least half a million people have entered Yang’s basic income raffle.

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Scientists shed light on how brains turn pain up or down

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Pain perception is essential for survival, but how much something hurts can sometimes be amplified or suppressed: for example, soldiers who sustain an injury in battle often recall not feeling anything at the time.

A new study published in Cell Reports on Tuesday honed in on the brain circuitry responsible for upgrading or downgrading these pain signals, likening the mechanism to how a home thermostat controls room temperature.

Yarimar Carrasquillo, the paper's senior author and a scientist for the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), told AFP the region responsible was the central amygdala, which according to her work appeared to play a dual role.

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