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Friday, Apr 25th

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Israeli troops 'using excessive force' in West Bank

israel using excessive forceIsraeli forces are using excessive and reckless force in the occupied West Bank, Amnesty International says.

More than 40 Palestinians were killed in the past three years and the rate of killings rose significantly in 2013, a report by the human rights group says.

It alleges that Israel is allowing its soldiers to act with virtual impunity. Israel said Amnesty had ignored an increase in Palestinian violence and showed a complete lack of understanding of its operational challenges.

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Another Cuban 5 spy released from US prison

Cuban fiveA second member of the "Cuban Five" spy ring was released Thursday from a U.S. prison after spending more than 15 years behind bars.

Fifty-year-old Fernando Gonzalez - known to U.S. authorities by his alias, Ruben Campa - completed his sentence at 4 a.m. local time a prison in Safford, Ariz., Bureau of Prisons spokesman Chris Burke said.

Gonzalez was turned over immediately to immigration officials. He will be deported to Cuba as soon as possible, said Michelle Alvarez, spokeswoman for the Miami U.S. Attorney's Office. The timing of his departure wasn't immediately clear.

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Uganda's anti-gay bill refocuses attention on US evangelical influence

Uganda anti gay lawsA day after Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni signed into law a punitive bill that criminalizes homosexuality with life sentences and punishes efforts to raise or discuss gay issues, the influence of American evangelicals on the law is being raised.

Human rights groups in East Africa for many years have pointed fingers at US evangelicals, some of whom have visited African states and advocated against homosexual behavior and rights, something that is often not a difficult sell given traditional values and views across Africa.

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Uganda's president to sign anti-gay bill Monday

Uganda presidentUganda's president is expected on Monday to sign into law a controversial anti-gay bill that has harsh penalties for homosexual offenses.

The Uganda Media Center invited journalists Monday to witness the signing ceremony at the president's official residence in Entebbe, about 40 kilometers (24.86 miles) from the capital, Kampala.

The bill is popular in Uganda, but international rights groups have condemned it as draconian in a country where homosexuality is already criminalized.  U.S. President Barack Obama has urged Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni not to sign the bill, saying it would "complicate" the east African country's relationship with Washington.

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Lawyers, judge hold secret Guantánamo hearing on CIA black sites

GitmoThe military judge held a secret war court session Saturday on defense lawyers’ efforts to uncover evidence of what the CIA did to the alleged USS Cole bomber across years in the agency’s clandestine overseas prison network.

Both the public and the alleged terrorist were excluded from the 9 a.m. hearing in the case that seeks the execution of Abd al Rahim al Nashiri as mastermind of the Oct. 12, 2000 terror attack that killed 17 U.S. sailors off Aden, Yemen.

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US psychologists' association rejects ban on aiding military interrogations

US psychologists/ associationA longshot push to get the professional association of US psychologists to consider banning its members from providing aid to military interrogations failed on Friday, but gathered enough support to make supporters optimistic about a follow-on effort in August.

A resolution brought by University of Dallas psychologist Scott Churchill to add the interrogations ban to the agenda of the American Psychological Association’s (APA) legislative body received the support of 53% of representatives to the group’s biannual convention.

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Africa’s Gays Await Nighttime Door Knock as Crackdown Widens

Africa's gays live in fearWhen Ayo answered a knock at his door one evening last month, four Nigerian secret service officers barged in and found gay pornography on one of the phones and laptops he and six friends had in the apartment.

The officers announced they were taking everyone to jail for being gay. Ayo, 27, and four of his friends gained their freedom by bribing the police the equivalent of $600. Two others had no cash and spent three nights in detention.

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