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Saturday, Dec 20th

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UN panel raps US record on torture

stop torturePolice brutality, military interrogations and prisons were among the top concerns of a U.N. panel's report Friday that found the United States to be falling short of full compliance with an international anti-torture treaty.

The report by the U.N. Committee Against Torture, its first such review of the U.S. record since 2006, expressed concerns about allegations of police brutality and excessive use of force by law enforcement officials, particularly the Chicago Police Department's treatment of blacks and Latinos.

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Morocco hosts 'masquerade' civil rights forum

Morrocco sham civil rights forumMorocco’s foremost civil liberties activists won’t attend an international forum on human rights on Thursday launched by the government in the tourist hub of Marrakech. After numerous government attempts this year to bar them from organizing, the activists call the event “a farce” designed to perpetuate misconceptions about the state’s self-branded progressivism.

The Moroccan Association of Human Rights, known by its French abbreviation AMDH, says that this year's World Forum on Human Rights — an annual gathering of international rights activists — is a “masquerade” designed to deceive Western political and business partners about the North African kingdom's 2011 political reform project, launched in response to an ongoing popular movement for civil liberties. A handful of other rights groups are also boycotting the event.

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Italian man seriously wounded at West Bank protest

Italian man shot on west bankAn Italian man marching in support of Palestinians in the northern West Bank on Friday was shot and seriously wounded by Israeli forces, a Palestinian hospital official said.

Ramallah Hospital director Ahmad Bitawi says 30-year-old Patrick Corsi was shot during a peaceful protest Friday in the village of Kufr Qadom, near Nablus. He described Corsi's condition as stable.

Village resident Khaldon Ishtawi said Israeli soldiers opened fire without provocation on about 400 protesters from a distance of about 40 meters (130 feet) and shot Corsi in the chest.

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Alex Baer: Digging Deeper into the Cosmic Stuffing

sad turkeyAtheists, agnostics, and religionists can all agree on at least one thing at Thanksgiving: The staggering, blinding, on-target brilliance of the phrase "mixed blessings."

We mere mortals can only stand in awe, slack-jawed and agape, at the stunning mind that spotted that shared genetic trend-line, and first put that blunt, apt description into play.

(This is as good a time as any to remind myself that my screenplay -- there are now nine people in the country, by actual count, who are not working on a screenplay -- Slackjawed & Agape would be a fine name for a law firm of hapless lawerly bunglers -- or maybe a pair of washed-up private detectives who drive around in a souped-up muscle car, exploring catch phrases, cornering escaped grammarians, arresting suspicious syntax...

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The Crappy Mom Manifesto: Letter to Fellow Mothers from the Chemung County Jail

Steingraber:  Letter from a Crappy MomLast month extreme fossil fuel extraction and I were both recipients of an accusatory outburst by my 13-year-old.

“I hate fracking!” he said, half yelling, half sobbing. “Fracking turns you into a crappy mom!”

And he is right. Because of my ongoing efforts to halt both fracking and fracking’s metastasizing infrastructure from invading New York State, I have not chaperoned a school trip in three years. I missed Elijah’s opening-night star turn in Romeo and Juliet. I did not attend the high school girls’ cross country state championship, in which his sister competed.

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Suicide bomber kills five in attack on British embassy car in Kabul

Suicide bomber attacks British Embassy vehicleA suicide bomber attacked a British embassy vehicle in the Afghan capital on Thursday, killing five people including one Briton, officials said.

The blast in the east of Kabul wounded 33 people, including many bystanders, the latest in a wave of bombings to hit the city as the majority of foreign combat troops prepare to withdraw from the country by the end of the year.

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Cleveland video shows police shot boy within seconds

Cleveland shooting videoCleveland officials on Wednesday released a video of the fatal police shooting of a 12-year-old boy that shows him pointing a pellet gun around a park before police arrive and shoot him within two seconds.

Tamir E. Rice was shot by a patrol officer on Saturday after a 911 call reported someone pointing a gun at people at the Cudell Recreation Center. The caller said the gun could be a fake.

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Ebola vaccine from Glaxo passes early safety test

Ebola vaccineAn experimental Ebola vaccine made by GlaxoSmithKline caused no serious side effects and produced an immune response in all 20 healthy volunteers who received it in an early-stage clinical trial, scientists reported on Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The trial, which began on Sept. 2 and will monitor the volunteers for 48 weeks, is primarily aimed at assessing how safe the vaccine is. But the immune response offered hope that it would also be effective.

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Oil prices plummet as OPEC decides against output cut

Oil prices plummetCrude prices collapsed Thursday after the powerful oil collective OPEC said it wouldn't intervene in global markets and cut production levels to stem a drop in prices that have fallen 30% since June.

Saudi Arabia's oil minister Ali Al-Naimi delivered the news as he left a meeting of the cartel in Vienna. He said it was a "great decision." It took OPEC's 12 oil ministers nearly 5 hours to reach a decision.

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