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The CrunchGov Essential is a scannable roundup of technology’s influence on the day’s big issues. Below a feature post, we present the most thoughtful, outrageous, and inspiring stories told through the web’s best content. Sign up for the morning newsletter here.

The U.S. has pledged not to seek the death penalty for NSA-whistleblower Edward Snowden. To persuade the Minister of Justice to give up Snowden, it appears that Eric Holder had to ironically assure Russian authorities that it will respect human rights.

“The United States would not seek the death penalty for Mr. Snowden should he return to the United States,” he wrote. “We believe these assurances eliminate these asserted grounds for Mr. Snowden’s claim that he should be treated as a refugee or granted asylum, temporary or otherwise.”

For good measure, he wrote that “Mr. Snowden will not be tortured. Torture is unlawful in the United States.”

Snowden is currently holed up in Moscow Airport, seeking asylum from the United States.

U.S. State Department employees tell me that the NSA spying affair is seriously harming their ability to negotiate human rights issues with authoritarian governments around the world. Apparently, the perception of hypocrisy does not put the U.S. in a compelling position.

The Essential: Anti-NSA Debate In Congress, Manning Trial Closes, Navy’s Kinect Sexual Assault Solution, FOD for Obamacare

Anti-NSA Debate [TechCrunch]

-Watch Congress debate whether the NSA’s dragnet spying operation should be defunded


Manning Trial Closes [TechCrunch]

Creepy having armed MPs in camo patrolling behind each row of reporters & looking over shoulders as we take notes on Manning trial today

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Charlie Savage (@charlie_savage) July 25, 2013

-The trial of Wikileaks Source Pfc. Bradley Manning ended yesterday
-Prosecutors argued that Manning leaked information out of lust for fame
-Manning faces life in prison for “aiding the enemy”

Using Kinect To Stop Sexual Assaults [Verge]

-The military awarded a contract to build a video game anti-rape simulator
-“The system will not use pre-programmed branching scenarios to determine the responses for the avatar. It will instead animate a human agent using a [Kinect] interface”

Funny Or Die Is Making A Pro-Obama Care Video [Mother Jones]

-Viral sketch comedy startup, Funny or Die, met with celebrities at the White House to design a pro-Obamacare video, aimed at getting young people to sign up for insurance.

Miscellaneous Funny:

Blink three times if you're being held against your will guys. RT @katetaylornyt: The Weiner volunteers at the forum. http://t.co/T8ve5Jlf0q

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Andrew Kaczynski (@BuzzFeedAndrew) July 25, 2013

Another World or Out Of This World as it is sometimes referred to is currently available on Steam in a 20th anniversary edition. The action/ platform game made its debut in 1991 and has since been ported to several different platforms. Recently Another World was selected as one of the few games chosen to be part of New York‘s Museum Of Modern Art.

Another World has been catapulted to “cult” status by critics and game lovers and is widely recognized as one of the most original and innovative games of its generation. Presented with high-definition graphics, and newly remastered sound, Another World is sure to capture the attention of new and old fans alike.

Another World 20th Anniversary Edition offers 3 difficulty modes; its original mode, an easy mode, and for skilled gamers, a mode that is more difficult than the game’s original hardcore mode. The 20th Anniversary edition also comes with the Development Journal and a making of video.

Grab a copy now on Steam for $9.99. Out Of This World The 20th Anniversary Edition is available on PC and Mac and was developed by Eric Chahi, DotEmu. Focus Home Entertainment is publishing the game.

Xbox Live Gold

If you’ve never had an Xbox Live Gold subscription before to know what it’s all about, fear not, as Microsoft is running a free Xbox Live Gold weekend.

This means you can play games online, browse the Internet, talk to your friends using Video Kinect, use TV and movie services such as Netflix, NBA Game Time, Rogers Anyplace TV and Crackle plus, and access music services like Xbox Music, MUZU.TV and Vevo. The free Gold weekend is available to residents of the US, Canada, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore and Taiwan.

Essentially, it’s available to everyone except Europe, which has caused a number of complaints. However, Major Nelson, director of programming at Microsoft, commented that they alternate regions when it comes to free Gold weekends so it “all equalizes out in the end.” If your country isn’t included, you can guarantee Microsoft will get around to you at some point. Case in point, the UK recently had an exclusive free Gold weekend.

The free Gold weekend started November 29th and will end on December 3rd at 9:00am PST. So if your Gold subscription has run out recently, or if you simply want to see what the service is like, get on your Xbox 360 now. Enjoy the likes of Halo 4‘s multiplayer and a huge variety of entertainment services while you can.

More at Xbox via Major Nelson

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