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Sunday, Nov 23rd

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US joins Somalia and South Sudan in failing to support child rights

children's rightsSome U.S. lawmakers contend that ratification would allow children to sue their parents. Yet the treaty contains no such provision and leaves this issue to the discretion of ratifying states. Others contend that the treaty prohibits corporal punishment and would interfere with private family decisions. Again, the treaty does no such thing. Rather it seeks to protect children from domestic violence and abuse, a principle already enshrined in U.S. law.

Underlying these objections is a deeper worry that the convention will somehow erode U.S. sovereignty and federalism. This concern is misguided. The U.S. has ratified numerous other human rights treaties — including ones that protect against racial discrimination, torture and genocide — and has not experienced a concomitant loss of sovereignty.

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Swedish court rejects Julian Assange's appeal to rescind arrest warrant

Julian AssangeAn appellate court in Sweden ruled Thursday to uphold an arrest warrant for Julian Assange in connection with a sexual assault case involving two women.

The Wikileaks founder has claimed he is the victim of a human rights scandal and that the charges were inventions to orchestrate his arrest and extradition to the U.S., where is wanted for questioning about the release of thousands of classified cables in 2010.

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Gunman killed after three shot at Florida State University

Tallahassee shootingCampus police last night killed a gunman after three people were injured in a shooting at the library of Florida State University in Tallahassee.

Police locked down the campus as they hunted for the shooter. Students were warned of a "dangerous situation" and told to seek shelter and avoid doors or windows.  Officers finally confronted the gunman on the steps of the library, ordering him to drop his weapon. Instead he opened fire, and was shot dead by police.

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U.S. and Israeli firms selling spy gear to repressive regimes

spy gear sold by US firmsAmerican and Israeli companies are selling sophisticated surveillance equipment to some of the most despotic nations in the world, according to a report by a British watchdog organization.

Nations like Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and other Central Asian countries with widespread human rights abuses are using the technology to monitor the communications of thousands of ordinary citizens, and they couldn't do so without the products of the technology companies, says the report by Privacy International.

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US Supreme Court refuses to block SC gay marriages

US Supreme courtThe U.S. Supreme Court has refused to block gay marriages in South Carolina.

The high court on Thursday denied a request by Republican Attorney General Alan Wilson. He had wanted the marriages blocked while he challenges a judge's recent decision that opened the way for the marriages.

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Egypt's Genital-Mutilating Doc Goes Free

Female genital mutilation trialAn Egyptian court on Thursday handed down not guilty verdicts in the case of Raslan Fadl — the first doctor in Egypt to be tried for committing female genital mutilation (FGM), according to the rights group Equality Now.

The landmark case was closely watched by anti-FGM activists who hoped the verdict would set a precedent for enforcing a nationwide ban on the practice and deterring doctors and families from the damaging medical procedure.

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Legendary director Mike Nichols dies

mike nichols diesMike Nichols, esteemed director/writer/producer and husband of Diane Sawyer, has died.  ABC reports he died suddenly on Wednesday evening of cardiac arrest. He was 83.

Nichols' death was announced by ABC News President James Goldston.

"He was a true visionary, winning the highest honors in the arts for his work as a director, writer, producer and comic and was one of a tiny few to win the EGOT-an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony in his lifetime," Goldston said in the statement. "No one was more passionate about his craft than Mike."

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Anonymous takes on the Ku Klux Klan

kkkDid the hacktivist group Anonymous go too far in fighting the KKK?

With a promise that "This is just the beginning," the international hacktivist group Anonymous continued to control the Ku Klux Klan's online presence on Tuesday days after the KKK threatened to hurt potential protesters in Ferguson, Missouri. On social media, many celebrated the online group's actions.

The Anonymous cyberwar started during the weekend after the white supremacist group issued a warning to any potential rioters waiting for a grand jury decision on a possible charges against Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, who shot and killed unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in August.

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How Executive Ended Up With $196 Million in an IRA

IRA investmentCorporate and private-equity executives can accumulate millions of dollars in tax-favored retirement accounts, taking advantage of gaps in the law and IRS enforcement, said a Government Accountability Office study.

The Internal Revenue Service has trouble fighting back because legal disputes over asset values in individual retirement accounts are complex and time-consuming, the report said. Also, the IRS has a three-year deadline for challenging an individual’s tax return.

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