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Wednesday, Oct 22nd

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Suicide Bomber Kills 21 Outside Baghdad Mosque

Baghdad bomber kills 19A suicide bomber has detonated explosives at a Shia mosque in western Baghdad, killing at least 21people, security and medical officials said.

The blast in the Harthiyah area, which also wounded at least 30 people, is the latest in a string of bombings in the Iraqi capital that have killed dozens of people in recent days.

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Hong Kong protest clashes leave 20 injured

Hong Kong protestsDozens of Hong Kong police with shields and helmets pushed into a crowd of protesters gathered at barricades in the territory’s densely populated Mong Kok shopping district early on Sunday, striking them repeatedly with batons.

Twenty people were injured in the Mong Kok clashes, in what was a fourth night of heightened violence.

Tens of thousands of protesters have come out over the past three weeks to demand greater electoral freedoms from Beijing, and Hong Kong’s public has been split —some support their agenda while others oppose the disruption of business in the Asian finance hub.

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U.S. accused of misleading British minister over treatment of Shaker Aamer in Guantánamo Bay

Shaker AamerThe US government has been accused of misleading a British minister over the brutal treatment endured by the last British resident being held inside Guantánamo Bay.

Testimony from detainees has described increasingly violent “forcible cell extraction” (FCE) tactics, in which an inmate is forced out of his cell by armed guards, usually before being taken to the force-feeding chair.

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Paris bans smoking in park playgrounds

Paris smoking banSmoking has been banned in the children’s playgrounds of a Paris park for a trial period of a year, in an initiative likely to be extended to other outdoor public spaces.

The measure was introduced during the weekend as part of a government-sponsored campaign to reduce the high number of smoking-related deaths in France.

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ACLU faults police Taser policies in Iowa

Iowa taseringPolicies on Taser use by Iowa law enforcement agencies are inadequate and alarmingly varied, with only a handful of the state's 99 sheriff's departments specifically prohibiting using electric shocks on pregnant women, the elderly, children or people who are already restrained, the first statewide review of the weapons shows.

The state's lack of officer training requirements also jeopardizes public safety while potentially depriving citizens of their constitutional rights against excessive force and cruel or unusual punishment. The deficiencies expose police agencies to potentially serious and expensive liabilities, the study by the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa and the University of Iowa College of Law Clinic concludes.

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Rights group: Airstrikes on IS oil facilities killed civilians

Air strikes kill civiliansAt least 10 civilians were killed when U.S. airstrikes against Islamic State targets struck an oil facility and a gas processing plant in Syria on Friday, an observer group reports.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said seven civilians were killed at a Konoco gas factory in Der-Ezzor province, and three were killed in similar strikes on oil fields in the countryside around Shadadi. One was reportedly below age 18.

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Catholic bishops drop moves to accept gays

Bishopes drop move to accept gaysRoman Catholic bishops on Saturday reversed a historic acceptance of gays, dropping parts of a controversial document that had talked more positively of homosexuals than ever before in Church history.

The document, issued at the end of a two-week assembly, or synod, of some 200 Roman Catholic bishops from around the world, pointed to deep divisions within the Church on issues such as reaching out to homosexuals and Catholics who have divorced and re-married in civil services.

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Do Detroit's water shutoffs violate international law? UN to investigate.

Detroit water shut-offsTwo human rights experts from the United Nations plan to visit Detroit this weekend to investigate whether the city is violating international laws by disconnecting water service to thousands of homes belonging to people who haven't paid their utility bills, according to news reports.

The visit is coming in the wake of a letter sent to the UN Human Rights Council detailing potential human rights violations apparent in the water shutoffs. The letter – authored by the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan – argues that the shutoffs are unjustified because many of those affected can't afford to pay their bills. The letter also says that the shutoffs disproportionately affect Detroit’s African-American residents.

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UK fracking faces bust amid Opec oil price war

UK FrackingExperts have warned that a rush to start fracking for oil across Britain may already be over before it has even begun as the slump in global crude oil prices makes the controversial method of drilling look increasingly uneconomic.

Bids from oil companies for licences to search and potentially drill for oil onshore in the UK are due on October 28. The auction of mineral exploration rights across vast swathes of the country will, it is hoped, spur a shale oil and gas “revolution” similar to that which has helped transform the US economy.

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