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Friday, Dec 19th

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Palestinian cabinet minister Ziad Abu Ein dies after 'clash with Israeli forces'

Ziad Sbu AinAbu Ein, a minister without portfolio in his early 50s, was rushed by ambulance from the scene, but died before reaching hospital in the nearby Palestinian city of Ramallah.

In a statement, Abbas called the death "a barbaric act which we cannot be silent about or accept". Announcing three days of national mourning, he said he would take "necessary steps" after an investigation.

A spokesperson for the Israeli military said it was looking into the incident.

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U.N. investigator calls for prosecuting Bush-era torture crimes

Bush era criminalsA U.N. human rights expert said a report that the U.S. Senate released on Tuesday revealed a "clear policy orchestrated at a high level within the Bush administration" and called for prosecution of U.S. officials who ordered crimes, including torture, against detainees.

Ben Emmerson, United Nations special rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism, said senior Bush administration officials who planned and authorized crimes must be prosecuted, along with as CIA and other U.S. government officials who committed torture such as waterboarding.

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FBI Files Charges Against President Of Company Behind West Virginia Chemical Spill

fbi files charges against w va polluterThe former president of the company that contaminated drinking water for 300,000 West Virginians this past January has been arrested on criminal fraud charges, according to a Federal Bureau of Investigation complaint unsealed Monday.

Former Freedom Industries president Gary Southern was charged with bankruptcy fraud, wire fraud, and lying under oath during the company’s bankruptcy proceedings following the massive spill — a 10,000 gallon dump of a coal-cleaning chemical called crude MCHM into the Elk River. FBI Special Agent James F. Lafferty said in a sworn affidavit that Southern, in an attempt to protect his personal fortune of nearly $8 million and shield himself from lawsuits, developed a scheme to distance himself from the company and “deflect blame” to other parties.

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Serge Lazarevic, French Hostage Held By Al Qaeda In Africa, Is Released

Serge LzlarevicA Frenchman held for more than three years by al-Qaida's North African branch was freed Tuesday, days after two of the men implicated in his abduction were reportedly released from a prison in Mali.

Negotiations among the governments of Niger, Mali and France led to freedom for Serge Lazarevic, 51, who was described by the French president as in "relatively good health" despite his long captivity.

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Ex-Madoff aide gets 6-year prison sentence

Annetter BorgianoBernard Madoff's longtime assistant was sentenced to six years in prison Tuesday for helping the Ponzi scheme mastermind steal as much as $20 billion from investors rather than look at the massive fraud that happened "in front of her."

Annette Bongiorno, 66, was also held jointly liable for nearly $155.2 billion in forfeitures, representing the cumulative amounts taken in and distributed by one of the largest frauds in history. She is the second of five former Madoff employees convicted in March on fraud charges to receive a prison sentence for the crime.

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The Most Gruesome Moments in the CIA ‘Torture Report’

Torture reporthe CIA’s rendition, interrogation, and detention programs were even more nightmarish than you could imagine.

Interrogations that lasted for days on end. Detainees forced to stand on broken legs, or go 180 hours in a row without sleep. A prison so cold, one suspect essentially froze to death. The Senate Intelligence Committee is finally releasing its review of the CIA's detention and interrogation programs. And it is brutal.

Here are some of the most gruesome moments of detainee abuse from a summary of the report, obtained by The Daily Beast:

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TVNL warned you years ago: The Absurd Debate Over Torture

Dick CheneyAmerica consistently proclaims itself a nation of laws where justice is blind to privilege or class. And yet, as the world watches in disbelief, this country has become inextricably mired in non-stop debates that defy reason.

It is absolutely insane to discuss the possibility that a crime has some Machiavellian validity simply because it ‘works.’ And it is equally incredulous to engage in discussions about the propriety of prosecuting those who have openly admitted their heinous actions.

Something is terribly wrong with this picture.

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Israel indicts American over plot to bomb Muslims

adam everett livixAn Israeli court has indicted an American Christian for plotting to blow up Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem, the Justice Ministry said Tuesday.  The ministry identified the man as Adam Everett Livix of Texas. It said he was indicted Monday and was undergoing a psychiatric evaluation.

In a statement, the ministry said Livix told friends he had strong anti-Arab sentiments. The ministry said Livix later cooperated with his roommate, a serving soldier in the Israeli military, to obtain 1.4 kilograms (3 pounds) of explosive material to use to blow up the unidentified Jerusalem holy sites. The ministry said police discovered the plot in October.

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Maldives capital in crisis as water supply dries up

Maldives out of waterThe Maldives, a tiny island nation in the Indian Ocean, has run out of water. A popular tourist destination surrounded by pristine seas and turquoise-blue ocean vistas, the archipelago has declared a state of emergency after a fire at its only desalination plant led to the shortage that has affected the 130,000 inhabitants of the capital, Male.

Residents of Male are receiving bottled and desalinated water provided by neighboring countries via public taps and mobile vehicles, according to a statement issued by the United Nations on Monday.

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