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Saturday, Sep 05th

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Vatican backs ex-communication for abortion after rape of 9 year old girl

A senior Vatican cleric has defended the excommunication in Brazil of the mother and doctors of a young girl who had an abortion with their help.

The nine-year-old had conceived twins after alleged abuse by her stepfather.

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Guards 'taking their last revenge' at Guantanamo: ex-prisoner

A freed Guantanamo Bay prisoner has said conditions at the US detention camp in Cuba have worsened since President Barack Obama was elected, claiming guards wanted to "take their last revenge".

Mohamed, a 30-year-old Ethiopian-born former British resident, gave further details of what he called the "medieval" torture he faced in Pakistan and Morocco, as well as in a secret CIA prison in Kabul and at Guantanamo.

"The result of my experience is that I feel emotionally dead," he told the Mail on Sunday newspaper. "It seems like a miracle my brain is still intact."

Far from conditions at Guantanamo improving since Obama was elected in November, Mohamed said the situation there was worse now than before.

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MI5 ‘colluded in scalpel torture’

SECRET MI5 memos reveal how the intelligence service colluded in the torture of a British resident and former Guantanamo Bay prisoner, it was claimed last night.

Binyam Mohamed, who returned to Britain after his release last month, said the MI5 memos showed that British spies orchestrated his questioning while he was being tortured with a scalpel in Morocco. He cited one MI5 memo which, he said, was headed “Request for further detainee questioning”.

Speaking for the first time about his 6½ years held as a CIA terror suspect in prisons in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Morocco and Guantanamo Bay, Mohamed gave a graphic account of “nightmarish tortures” that led him to come “close to insanity”. He said one interrogator in Morocco took his penis in his hand and cut it up to 30 times.

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Scientists to issue stark warning over dramatic new sea level figures

Rising sea levels pose a far bigger eco threat than previously thought. This week's climate change conference in Copenhagen will sound an alarm over new floodings - enough to swamp Bangladesh, Florida, the Norfolk Broads and the Thames estuary.

"It is now clear that there are going to be massive flooding disasters around the globe," said Dr David Vaughan, of the British Antarctic Survey. "Populations are shifting to the coast, which means that more and more people are going to be threatened by sea-level rises."

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The shame of Iraq's pariah widows

Her husband and three brothers were killed. Her parents were already dead. Her house was burnt down. She was pregnant at the time and lost the baby.

But, in the months that followed, Nadia Hussein had to endure much more.

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George Bush could be next on the war crimes list

George W. Bush could one day be the International Criminal Court's next target.

David Crane, an international law professor at Syracuse University, said the principle of law used to issue an arrest warrant for Omar al-Bashir could extend to former US President Bush over claims officials from his Administration may have engaged in torture by using coercive interrogation techniques on terror suspects.

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U.S. gov't takeover of mortgage giants good for Israeli banks

The U.S. government's landmark takeover of troubled mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will also serve to boost banks in Israel, according to banking analysts.

Officials announced that both giant institutions were being placed in a government conservatorship, a move that could end up costing taxpayers billions of dollars. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said allowing the companies to fail would have extracted a far higher price on consumers by driving up the cost of home loans and all other types of borrowing because the failures would "create great turmoil in our financial markets here at home and around the globe."

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Mauritania expels Israeli diplomats, shuts embassy

Mauritania's military junta expelled Israeli diplomats and shut the embassy on Friday after freezing ties with the Jewish state over its invasion of Gaza.

Mauritania was one of only three Arab countries that had full diplomatic relations with Israel and the closure of the embassy in Nouakchott leaves just Egypt and Jordan.

Abdel Aziz announced the decision to freeze relations at a summit of Arab nations in Doha, Qatar, in January. Qatar said at the time that it would freeze its own relations with Israel, which are at a lower level than full diplomatic ties.

Most other Arab countries also froze Israel's trade missions in their capitals after Israel's offensive in Gaza.

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Must Jews always see themselves as victims?

Fierce debate has been raging in 'The Independent' about Israel's conduct in Gaza. Here, one leading Jewish thinker argues that until Jews shake off their persecution complex, there can never be peace in the Middle East.

In most Jewish circles, if you pause to question this narrative and suggest that it might be exaggerated, that it unrealistically implies a level of dreadfulness and victimhood unique to Jews, you'll attract hostility and disbelief in equal measure, and precious little public sympathy. But in the work of Professor Salo Baron, probably the greatest Jewish historian of the 20th century, we find powerful justification for just such a questioning.

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