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Cake day: August 1st, 2023

  • This is the best summary I could come up with:

    As spotted by SteamDB creator Pavel Djundik, some data in the document was viewable despite the black redaction boxes, including Valve’s headcount and gross pay across various parts of the company over 18 years, and even some data about its gross margins that we weren’t able to uncover fully.

    The data breaks Valve employees into four different groups: “Admin,” “Games,” “Steam,” and, starting in 2011, “Hardware.”

    If you want to sift through the numbers yourself, I’ve included a full table of the data, sorted by year and category, at the end of this story.

    In November 2023, Valve’s Pierre-Loup Griffais told The Verge that he thinks “we’re firmly in the camp of being a full fledged hardware company by now.”

    The small number of staff across the board seemingly explains why Valve’s product list is so limited despite its immense business as basically the de facto PC gaming platform.

    While we haven’t seen any leaked profit numbers from this new headcount and payroll data, the figures give a more detailed picture of how much Valve is spending on its staff — which, given the massive popularity of Steam, is probably still just a fraction of the money the company is pulling in.

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  • This is the best summary I could come up with:

    When the government looked at changing the name six years ago, pranksters hijacked the process, with ‘Bob’ becoming the second most popular choice.

    The current government’s biggest challenge is to keep the debate on track.

    He spoke about communities in Northwest Territories that have reverted to aboriginal language names.

    A variety of aboriginal names were suggested, then someone came up with the idea of calling the territory ‘Bob.’

    Federation of Labour isn’t convinced a new name is a priority now, in the midst of an oil and gas boom.

    Whatever the timing, the government’s challenge will be getting people who speak the eight official languages of the territory to agree on a new name.

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    But before breaking up the band, the politically motivated and self-described “gay furry hackers” published a bunch of furious messages that SiegedSec claims were sent to them by Mike Howell, the executive director of the Heritage Foundation’s Oversight Project.

    The feud began on July 9 after SiegedSec said it obtained usernames, passwords, logs and “other juicy info” belonging to the Heritage Foundation, and then leaked that private data online in response to the org producing and promoting Project 2025.

    Project 2025 is a lengthy and fairly detailed blueprint that outlines how a future conservative president – such as, say, Donald Trump should he win the election again – could overhaul the federal government and public policy to enact a far-Right agenda and give huge powers to the executive branch.

    And ultimately, it seeks to expand the executive branch’s power, ensure that federal agencies and their leaders and rank-and-file fall heavily in line with the president’s agenda and “push back against woke policies in corporate America” [PDF].

    SiegedSec, whose previous targets have included America’s biggest nuclear power lab’s computer systems and NATO (on multiple occasions), said it took issue with Project 2025’s “authoritarian Christian nationalist plan to reform the United States government.”

    From there the messages said to have been sent from Howell become increasingly dark, lecturing the crew on beastiality and how it’s a “weird sin,” calling them perverts," and then telling vio “you won’t be able to wear a furry tiger costume when you’re getting pounded in the ass in the federal prison I put you in next year.”

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  • This is the best summary I could come up with:

    Hundreds of thousands of southeast Texas residents are entering the sixth day in a row suffering brutal heat without air conditioning and many are scrambling to find cool shelters, food, safe drinking water and health care resources.

    Pregnant Houston resident Jordyn Rush, 32, worries for her health as the intense heat deprives her of sleep and her fridge sits empty while the outage drags on, making life difficult as she prepares to undergo a C-section in 12 days.

    In Fort Bend County, a neighboring suburb to Houston, more than 41 people suffered carbon monoxide poisoning, Judge KP George said at a news conference Friday.

    “The combination of severe heat and limited access to electricity is dangerous, especially for vulnerable populations and those relying on electricity-dependent durable medical equipment and certain healthcare services,” said Dawn O’Connell, Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, in a news release.

    CrowdSource Rescue, a nonprofit primarily serving as a search-and-rescue group, identified roughly 120 senior living facilities that need assistance and helped deliver generators and supplies to 16 so far.

    A dozen Houston area hospitals are in a state of “internal disaster” and more than 40 dialysis clinics are struggling with outages, Texas Emergency Management Chief Nim Kidd said in a news conference Thursday.

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  • This is the best summary I could come up with:

    In a statement, the Department for Health and Social Care said that “licensed cannabis-based medicines are routinely funded by the NHS where there is clear evidence of their quality, safety and effectiveness”.But it added that “most products on the market are unlicensed medicines, and clinical guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) demonstrate a clear need for more research to support routine prescribing and funding decisions on the NHS”.

    One patient taking the drug for chronic pain is Julie Gould, from Wimbledon in south London.The 64-year-old started using medical cannabis in 2020 after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) in her 30s.“I’ve got permanent damage.

    I haven’t slept for two days and I really can’t cope with this.“I remember bursting into tears in front of her and she looked at me and said, ‘as we get older we all get aches and pains’.”Ms Gould started taking medical cannabis oil after getting a prescription through a private clinic and says it “instantly stops” the nerve pain she experiences.“In my view, it’s just a miraculous drug,” she says, adding that it helped her through withdrawals after she was put on a new medication for her RLS.She now only uses the medicine occasionally, but is concerned about how she would afford it if her symptoms got worse.“In 2020, 100ml of the oil I used cost about £150 - now that same 100ml is £350,” she says.

    Sativex, a cannabis-based spray used to treat MS muscle spasms, is licensed for prescription on the NHS, but the MS Society says there is an “unacceptable postcode lottery” for the drug.NHS England says it already offers several cannabis-based treatments that have been approved by the MHRA but “many doctors and professional bodies rightly remain concerned about the limited evidence available concerning the safety and efficacy of unlicensed products”.In a statement, it said "manufacturers are encouraged to engage with the UK medicines licensing process, which can help provide specialist doctors with the confidence to use the products, in the same way they use any other licensed medicines that are recommended for use on the NHS.”

    The UK medical cannabis market is the second largest in Europe and is expected to be worth £300m in 2025, according to market researchers Prohibition Partners.Prof Lynskey says it is “unfortunate” that some people are “excluded” due to the cost of cannabis from private clinics, especially as many of those living with chronic conditions are “not working or not working full time and struggling financially”.Even if the drug is made more accessible on the NHS, he says that attitudes towards medical cannabis may take longer to change.“There’s still a lot of stigma in the general population against it and that includes actually a lot of doctors, who either don’t know it’s legal or don’t believe it should be,” Prof Lynskey says.

    It costs £60 a session and a further £80 to £180 for the supply of medical cannabis oil.“I’m very lucky I am able to afford this, I’m in a good job, but there will be many people who really struggle to pay for it,” he told the BBC.Stephen is among a growing number of people who are turning to medical cannabis to treat their mental health.The T21 Project says that 42% of patients on the programme take the medicine for psychiatric conditions - making them the second largest group behind chronic pain patients.

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    It outlines how showbusiness institutions ignored widespread rumors he had a habit of sexual misconduct around young female comedians – including asking if he could disrobe and pleasure himself in front of them.

    In an admirable show of honesty, Mike Schur, a producer and writer who created the NBC series The Good Place and co-created Parks and Recreation and Brooklyn Nine-Nine, says on camera “I pretended I didn’t know” about the rumors when he cast Louis C.K.

    “Normally, we forgive the people who apologize and admit they did something wrong,” says Noam Dworman, owner of the Comedy Cellar nightclub in Manhattan, who made headlines when Louis C.K.

    lost a lot in the immediate aftermath of his admission, since then he has rebuilt his standup comedy career, sold out arenas like Madison Square Garden, and released a movie.

    Now, there is talk of attempting to redeem some performers tainted by #MeToo scandals, with actress Gaby Hoffmann, who appeared as Louis C.K.’s love interest in his FX series, criticizing cancel culture and reaffirming her friendship with the comic in a recent interview.There is, in these kinds of statements, a sense of wanting to get back to business as usual and turn away from difficult concepts.

    Sorry/Not Sorry asks viewers to consider all this again – as pop culture’s short memory threatens to erode progress made by the #MeToo movement – insisting that the stories of those hurt by misconduct remain a central part of the conversation.

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    Under DNC rules, requests to nominate a candidate must be presented in writing and include written approval from the proposed nominee – as well as a petition with signatures from at least 300 convention delegates.

    Another complicating factor: a plan announced by the Democratic National Committee long before Biden’s disastrous debate to do a virtual roll call vote sometime before the convention.

    At the convention, each candidate would be allowed 20 minutes of supporting speeches from the people nominating and seconding them – and then there would be a roll call vote by states, in alphabetical order.

    An open convention would be “reality TV like you can’t imagine,” said Elaine Kamarck, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a DNC member.

    Then, while the primary was still underway, Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated, leaving Vice President Hubert Humphrey to battle it out with anti-war Senator Eugene McCarthy.

    Republican Richard Nixon won the election that November and Democrats instituted a series of reforms to the nominating process to give regular voters more say.

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  • This is the best summary I could come up with:

    Despite my disagreements with him on particular issues, he has been the most effective president in the modern history of our country and is the strongest candidate to defeat Donald Trump — a demagogue and pathological liar.

    The United States should not provide Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing extremist government with another nickel as it continues to create one of the worst humanitarian disasters in modern history.

    At a time when people were terrified about the future, the president and those of us who supported him in Congress put Americans back to work, provided cash benefits to desperate parents and protected small businesses, hospitals, schools and child care centers.

    After decades of talk about our crumbling roads, bridges and water systems, we put more money into rebuilding America’s infrastructure than ever before — which is projected to create millions of well-paying jobs.

    At a time when the billionaires have never had it so good and when the United States is experiencing virtually unprecedented income and wealth inequality, over 60 percent of Americans live paycheck to paycheck, real weekly wages for the average worker have not risen in over 50 years, 25 percent of seniors live each year on $15,000 or less, we have a higher rate of childhood poverty than almost any other major country, and housing is becoming more and more unaffordable — among other crises.

    If Mr. Biden and his supporters focus on these issues — and refuse to be divided and distracted — the president will rally working families to his side in the industrial Midwest swing states and elsewhere and win the November election.

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  • This is the best summary I could come up with:

    Return to Oz, Disney’s 1985 dark take on Dorothy Gale (played by a then-9-year-old Fairuza Balk), shares its creative DNA with Star Wars.

    They later moved from Los Angeles to California’s Bay Area, where they established American Zoetrope studio with Francis Ford Coppola, and Murch would work on such landmark Coppola films as 1972’s The Godfather, 1974’s The Conversation and 1979’s Apocalypse Now (for which he won an Oscar for best sound and was nominated for an Oscar for best editing).

    Disney was also watching the success of the Star Wars franchise very carefully, and so they approached Murch, seeking new ideas.

    He proposed making a sequel to The Wizard of Oz — but not a musical, like the Judy Garland-starring predecessor from 1939, but one that hewed closer to the original L. Frank Baum books, which Murch adored as a child.

    Five weeks into production, the elaborate and technically complex shoot began to fall behind its schedule, and Disney, disapproving of the footage it had seen, fired Murch from the project.

    He used himself as collateral, telling executives that if Murch failed to deliver the film as promised and on time, he would see to it himself that Return to Oz came to fruition.

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  • This is the best summary I could come up with:

    During their summit in Washington, DC, this week, NATO member states committed more than $1 billion to improve the sharing of intelligence from national and commercial reconnaissance satellites.

    On June 25, NATO announced the establishment of a “space branch” in its Allied Command Transformation, which identifies trends and incorporates emerging capabilities into the alliance’s security strategy.

    The new intelligence-sharing agreement was signed on July 9 by representatives from 17 NATO nations, including the United States, to support the Alliance Persistent Surveillance from Space (APSS) program.

    The program will improve NATO’s ability to monitor activities on the ground and at sea with unprecedented accuracy and timeliness, the alliance said in a statement.

    At the time, NATO called the program a “data-centric initiative” aimed at bringing together intelligence information for easier dissemination among allies and breaking down barriers of secrecy and bureaucracy.

    NATO said AI analytical tools will also better manage growing amounts of surveillance data from space, and ensure decision-makers get faster access to time-sensitive observations.

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  • This is the best summary I could come up with:

    A proposed £1.2bn scheme to recycle effluent from the sewage system and turn it in to drinking water has been criticised as a threat to the environment and a potential costly “white elephant”.

    Regulators says effluent recycling is successfully used overseas, providing plentiful and safe supplies, but campaigners say there are more environmentally friendly options.

    Last week, Ofwat, the regulator, announced a proposed annual bill rise for Southern Water customers of 44%, or £183, by 2030.

    Southern Water is due to submit an application for a development consent order next year and says the scheme will keep “the taps and rivers” flowing.

    It is now proposed it is topped up with recycled effluent purified at a plant which would be built on a former landfill site at Havant.

    Earlier this year, Southern Water admitted to discharging sewage into the River Test, a chalk stream famous for its trout fishing.

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  • This is the best summary I could come up with:

    Stag beetle researchers have called on people across London to record any sightings to help track the insect’s whereabouts and numbers.Britain’s largest beetle species has been in “steep decline” across much of Europe but the capital remains a “hotspot”, according to the London Wildlife Trust.The beetle, whose males have distinctive antler-like jaws, are most commonly found in west and south-west London’s parks and woodlands.

    North and east London has seen fewer recorded sightings over the years, which the trust says remains unexplained.

    Stag beetles are 5-8cm longMale stag beetles have large, antler-shaped jawsMales often fly in the evening, before dusk, during summerFemale stag beetles lack antlers, have smaller but more powerful jaws and are usually seen on the groundAdults emerge from soil under logs or stumps from mid-May to late JulyStag beetles are found near dead wood, spending most of their lives as larvae in tree stumps and logs, growing for 4-7 yearsThe trust is asking people to report any sightings here., external

    Epping Forest, Richmond Park, and Wimbledon & Putney Commons are designated European Special Areas for Conservation partly for stag beetles, a London Wildlife Trust spokesperson said.

    "The males fly clumsily with a faint clattering whirr, and are most likely to be seen on sultry summer evenings an hour or two before dusk.

    "A trust spokesperson said the species was “globally threatened” and the count would help better map the beetles’ presence in London.

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    The Chinese government says it will investigate allegations that fuel tankers have been used to transport cooking oil after carrying toxic chemicals without being cleaned properly between loads.The controversy has spread online as social media users express concerns about potential food contamination.Tankers used for transporting fuel were found to be carrying food products, like cooking oil and syrup, and were not decontaminated correctly, according to state-run Beijing News.Transporting cooking oil in contaminated fuel trucks was said to have been so widespread it was considered an “open secret” in the industry, according to one driver quoted by the newspaper.The case is the latest blow to public trust in the Chinese government’s ability to enforce food safety standards.The controversy has been the top trending topic on Chinese social media in recent days.On Weibo - the country’s equivalent to X, formerly known as Twitter - there have been tens of thousands of posts about the scandal, which have racked up millions of views.“Food safety is the most important issue,” a comment liked more than 8,000 times said.Another comment said: “As an ordinary person, surviving in this world itself is an amazing thing already.”Many compared it to the 2008 Sanlu milk scandal, in which some 300,000 children became sick and at least six died after drinking powdered milk contaminated with high levels of the industrial chemical melamine.“This is much worse than the Sanlu scandal, it can’t be settled with just [a] statement,” a user commented.

    In China, tankers are not limited to any particular type of goods so can, in theory, carry food products straight after transporting coal-based oils.The claims involve several major Chinese companies including a subsidiary of state-owned Sinograin and the Hopefull Grain and Oil Group.Sinograin has said it is investigating whether food safety regulations were being followed correctly.The company also said it will immediately suspend the use of any trucks that are found to have fallen foul of the the rules.A Hopefull Grain representative told government-controlled newspaper Global Times that it was conducting a “thorough self-inspection”.The Chinese government has said food safety officials will carry out the investigation into the allegations.They have promised to punish any companies and individuals involved in wrongdoing.They have also vowed to immediately publish the findings of their investigation.

    “Illegal enterprises and relevant responsible persons will be severely punished in accordance with the law and will not be tolerated,” state broadcaster CCTV said.At the local level, both the Hebei and Tianjin provincial governments have said they are also looking into the matter.Additional reporting by Fan Wang

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  • This is the best summary I could come up with:

    System76 continues working vigorously on COSMIC, their Rust-written Linux desktop environment being written for Pop!_OS and to see availability on other Linux distributions as well.

    They are finishing up last minute changes before putting the flag on a COSMIC alpha release.

    System76 began their latest status update by noting there are around 20 issues to be resolved before issuing the COSMIC alpha release.

    The hope remains that the COSMIC alpha version will be out before the end of July.

    • COSMIC’s Input Settings has seen completed support for customizable shortcuts.

    • Compositor multi-threading by having cosmic-comp use multiple threads that can be particularly helpful for high refresh rate displays and multi-monitor setups.

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  • This is the best summary I could come up with:

    Mexico’s environmental protection agency said late Thursday that the statue, which appears to show an angry trident-wielding Poseidon “rising” from the sea a few meters from the beach, lacked permits.

    But this one appears to be all about present-day humanity, combining “cancel culture,” social media storms, lawsuits and the one truly fearsome, overpowering force in today’s world: Instagram selfie-fueled tourism.

    “Poseidon is a Greek god who is alien to our Maya culture,” according to the legal complaint filed recently against the statue.

    Carlos Morales, whose Indigenous Strategic Litigation group brought the complaint, says he wants the Poseidon statue removed.

    “I want Poseidon removed from the beach at Progreso because it is foreign to the Maya culture, and because it did not meet the requirements” of getting an environmental permits, he said.

    Defenders of the statue — which strikingly shows Poseidon’s body rising mightily from a relatively, calm, open stretch of water near the beach — also have their arguments, though they might not hold up as well in court: it’s pretty, and it’s good for business.

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  • This is the best summary I could come up with:

    Due to the ARM64 maintainer for the Linux kernel going on holiday, the ARM64 port updates have been submitted ahead of the opening of the Linux 6.11 merge window that will likely be on Monday or otherwise the following week depending upon if a 6.10-rc8 is warranted.

    When it comes to the ARM64 (AArch64) changes for this next kernel version, there’s been a lot of work on virtual CPU hotplug handling so that it should now be properly working on ARM64 ACPI-enabled systems.

    Another change with Linux 6.11 ARM64 is expanding the speculative SSBS workaround to more CPU cores.

    Arm’s Speculative Store Bypass handling is now being extended for additional affected CPU cores of he A710, A720, X2, X3, X925, N2, and V2.

    There are also ARM64 ACPI updates, GICv3 optimizations, perf updates for more hardware, and other smaller changes.

    See this merge request for all the ARM64 feature patches slated for Linux 6.11.

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  • This is the best summary I could come up with:

    The mayor of Merritt, B.C., has sent the province a bill for more than $100,000 over the repeated closure of the emergency room at the Nicola Valley Hospital.

    Emergency Health Services paramedics have to transport someone to neighbouring Kamloops for care, that takes them out of the community for at least two hours, according to Goetz.

    That means Merritt firefighters, the majority of whom are on-call volunteers, have to cover any medical calls.

    In an invoice shared with CBC News, printed on City of Merritt letterhead, a cost breakdown of $103,831.87 is presented to Premier David Eby.

    Those costs include $1,132.06 for medical oxygen, naloxone and other life-saving materials, $55,125 for responding to 497 incidents in 2023 and $43,062.34 for emergency room closures, which are listed as having a unit price of about $1,800.

    government announced in May it would earmark $155.7 million to encourage health-care staff to work in rural communities.

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  • This is the best summary I could come up with:

    Lyme disease is the most familiar — and by far the most common — but there’s growing concern about lesser-known threats as well, from various bacterial infections, to the rare Powassan virus that claimed Harris’s life earlier this year.

    “We are seeing a lot more victims, especially in those high-tick areas, specifically if you’re looking at Ontario, Quebec, and Nova Scotia,” said Heather Coatsworth, one of the Public Health Agency of Canada’s (PHAC) top tick experts, in an interview with CBC News.

    As for Powassan — named after the Ontario town where it was first discovered in a young boy who died of his illness back in 1958 — infections remain rare and localized to certain regions, Coatsworth noted.

    New U.S. surveillance data, published in the journal Clinical Microbiology and Infection in June, also shows a four-fold spike in the number of American cases, partially thanks to the broader spread of the black-legged ticks that carry both Powassan and Lyme.

    “Climate change is the main driver,” Coatsworth said, noting that the increased range of ticks means these various health threats are now appearing in more animal species and urban, downtown areas.

    Ottawa-area resident Mary Raths considers herself lucky for getting a prompt anaplasmosis diagnosis and treatment when she fell ill with a headache, nausea, and fever, not long after a camping trip in 2021.

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    Yet at the same time, US media was dominated by concerns about Biden’s health and fitness for the presidency, and while his speech was delivered forcefully enough, a lengthy struggle to tie a sash bearing the presidential medal of freedom on to the outgoing Nato secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, was a graphic reminder of the problem.

    However, the reality is that Ukraine has been asking publicly for extra air defence since April – a need tragically underlined on Monday when 44 were killed in attacks by Moscow, including the strike on a children’s hospital in Kyiv.

    Ukraine has received weapon systems from the west that nobody would have thought possible immediately after Russia first launched its full-scale invasion in February 2022, but the political fanfare that greets each new arrival has so far been followed by relative disappointment on the battlefield.

    When fresh US aid was withheld by Trump allies in Congress for months in the spring, Ukraine first lost Avdiivka in February, then border territory near Kharkiv in May, before sufficient supplies started coming through.

    That all 32 allies could agree on describing China’s discreet supply of military components and chemicals to Russia as a “decisive enabler” of the war in Ukraine was a success from the point of alliance unity, Von Hippel said.

    Such statements are unlikely to persuade Beijing to change its mind – “This is a hard nut to crack,” Von Hippel said – but anything that puts off China from supplying weapons to Russia can be defined as a success for the west.

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    ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A U.S. Coast Guard cutter on routine patrol in the Bering Sea came across several Chinese military ships in international waters but within the U.S. exclusive economic zone, officials said.

    A short time later, a helicopter aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak spotted a fourth ship approximately 84 miles (135 kilometers) north of the Amukta Pass.

    The Coast Guard did not respond to questions about how long the Chinese ships were in the Exclusive Economic Zone but said the Kimball and an air crew monitored them until they transited south of the Aleutian Islands and into the North Pacific Ocean.

    And in September 2021, Coast Guard cutters in the Bering Sea and North Pacific Ocean encountered Chinese ships about 50 miles (80 kilometers) off the Aleutian Islands.

    “I also met yesterday morning with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and specifically raised this issue—how America must be much more prepared for the increasing activity in the Arctic, and to also let Alaskans know that our military is on the job protecting our state and our country,” Sullivan said.

    He said it’s similar to how the U.S. has deployed Coast Guard or other ships to the Taiwan Strait to uphold freedom of navigation and support American allies in the region — with the important distinction that the Aleutian Islands are clearly part of the U.S.

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