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Tuesday, Jan 17th

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Aleppo civilians facing execution plead, 'Oh, God, help us'

Aleppo civilians executedDesperate Syrians trapped in biesieged eastern Aleppo see death on their doorstep and are describing what may be their final moments in social media posts and telephone calls.

"At home waiting for the inevitable fate that Allah wills," Salah Ashkar, 28, said in a telephone call, his voice quaking as Syrian government forces moved in to reclaim the last portions of Aleppo held by rebel forces.

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Obama won't declassify Senate 'torture report' now, but will preserve it

Torture report will not be de-classifiedPresident Barack Obama has moved to preserve a Senate report on harsh interrogation tactics used by the CIA during the war on terror, but he's passed up options that could have led to declassification of broad swaths of the review in the near future.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), other lawmakers, and human rights and transparency advocates have been pressing Obama to declassify the nearly 7,000-page unabridged version of the Senate Intelligence Committee "torture report," or to have it declared an official record of one of the agencies that has a copy.

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India activists seek justice for wrongful convictions

India activists seek justiceSyed Wasif Haider says he was arrested by plainclothes policemen on July 31, 2001, from Kanpur, an industrial city in northern Uttar Pradesh state.

He was told he faced a dozen charges ranging from sedition, that is waging war against the nation, to rioting and murder, and was accused of being a member of Hizbul Mujahideen, which is designated as a terrorist organisation by India, the European Union and the United States.

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Former Child Soldier Denies War Crimes In Trial At International Criminal Court

Former child soldier on trial at ICCThe Lord's Resistance Army committed horrifying crimes against civilians for almost three decades, killing thousands in northern Uganda and beyond its borders.

Now, the first-ever trial of an LRA commander has opened at the International Criminal Court. Dominic Ongwen, who was kidnapped when he was a boy and forced to become a child soldier, "pleaded not guilty to 70 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity — including murder and enslavement," as NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reports.

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Hundreds Of Immigrant Moms And Kids Freed From Detention After Texas Court Ruling

Hundreds freed from Texas detention centesHundreds of women and children were released from two family detention centers over the weekend, after a Texas state judge sided with critics who say the facilities more closely resemble jails than child care centers.

The mass releases were a victory for immigrant rights advocates, who argue that it’s unnecessary and inhumane to lock up undocumented mothers and kids seeking asylum in the U.S.

The state lawsuit focused narrowly on emergency rules designed to allow the detention facilities to meet Texas’ child care licensing standards. But the state case arises out of ongoing federal litigation, which has put Immigration and Customs Enforcement on notice that these facilities are not acceptable places to house kids.

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Knesset okays controversial West Bank outpost bill in preliminary vote

Knesset okays Palestinian land grabThe Knesset plenum on Monday approved a new draft of a bill to recognize West Bank outposts built on private Palestinian land, a controversial measure derided as an illegal land grab that paves the way for Israel to recognize some 4,000 settler homes built on private Palestinian land.

After a raucous plenary session that saw opposition lawmakers screaming and ripping up copies of the proposed legislation, the revised, so-called Regulation Bill — which received ministerial approval just hours before — sailed through Israel’s parliament, bounding its first legislative hurdle by a court of 60 MKs for and 49 against.

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Israel's Lehava stirs 'anarchy' in Jerusalem

Lahava hate groupFour youths in black T-shirts, bearing a distinctive yellow-flame insignia, approached "A" in July as he got out of a taxi in central Jerusalem to meet friends. They asked him the time. Suspicious of his accent, they confronted him directly: "Are you an Arab?"

"The moment I said, 'yes,' one of them punched me in the eye. The others jumped on me and started hitting me all over my body. There were many people in the area, but no one took any notice or tried to help."

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