Links to Start Your Week 8/3/13

I’d like to start off this list of links with a look at what Bradley Manning’s sentence in military prison will probably be like. The sentencing phase of his trial started Wednesday and will continue until the 9th, at which point we’ll know how much time Manning will serve. We already know that 112 days will be deducted from his sentence due to his mistreatment while he was awaiting trial.

Senator Dick Durbin has introduced a bill to require the NSA to provide Congress with more information about their surveillance programs, including when exactly each began and what terrorist plots, if any, they have helped to disrupt. His goal is for Congress to use this information to determine how the agency can continue its work to counter terrorist plots by using its surveillance powers in a more targeted fashion.

Meanwhile, today 25 U.S. embassies have closed and others around the world have been put on high alert, based on intelligence indicating that Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the branch of the organization located in Yemen, was planning an attack sometime between now and the end of August.

And a different security issue faces the U.S. now and moving forward as well: that of catastrophic storms occurring with greater frequency due to climate change. Over the past three years, there have been 10 major storms that cost the federal government over $1 billion, with Hurricane Sandy potentially eventually costing $60 billion. One of the key takeaways from this article: that the kind of storms/flooding that used to be so extreme and so rare that they were called 100-year floods could start to happen every 3-20 years.

Finally, today is the first day of Shark Week! Check out someone’s journey from shark-phobic to shark-philiac and advocate.

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