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Saturday, Oct 25th

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Israel bans national service with human rights group B'Tselem in Gaza row

Israel bans service in human rights groupIsrael has banned young people from serving with one of its most prominent human rights groups because of its opposition to the war in Gaza. B'Tselem, which campaigns against Israeli settlements in the West Bank, was informed on Wednesday night that it has been blacklisted as a civilian alternative to military service.

The director of the body responsible for non-military options for Israelis who don't want to serve in the IDF, Sar-Shalom Jerbi, told Channel 2 TV that B'Tselem had "crossed the line in wartime [by] campaigning and inciting against the state of Israel and the Israel Defence Force, which is the most moral of armies".

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U.S. Avoided Threat to Act on Israel’s Civilian Targeting

Gaza bombingUnited Nations officials and human rights organisations have characterised Israeli attacks on civilian targets during the IDF war on Gaza as violations of the laws of war.

During the war, Israeli bombardment leveled whole urban neighbourhoods, leaving more than 10,000 houses destroyed and 30,000 damaged and killing 1,300 civilians, according to U.N. data. Israeli forces also struck six schools providing shelter to refugees under U.N. protection, killing at least 47 refugees and wounding more than 340.

But the Barack Obama administration’s public posture during the war signaled to Israel that it would not be held accountable for such violations.

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Egypt's Rabaa deaths 'crime against humanity

Rabaa deathsA new report has alleged that the Egyptian security forces' killings of at least 1,000 protesters at the Rabaa al-Adawiya Square sit-in last year in Cairo "most likely amount to crimes against humanity".

The 195-page Human Rights Watch (HRW) report released on Tuesday found that Egyptian security forces "gunned down hundreds of unarmed protesters" when they moved in to disperse the sit-in on August 14.

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Obama's Pentagon Covered Up War Crimes in Afghanistan, Says Amnesty International

US covered up war crimes in AfghanistanThe human-rights group reports the U.S. military systematically ignored evidence of torture and unlawful killings in Afghanistan as recently as last year.

The U.S. military has systematically covered up or disregarded “abundant and compelling evidence” of war crimes, torture, and unlawful killings in Afghanistan as recently as last year, according to a report by Amnesty International published today in Kabul.

The human rights organization alleges that the U.S. military has routinely failed to properly investigate reports of criminal behavior and, in some instances, tampered with evidence to conceal wrongdoing. On the rare occasions when servicemen are held to account, the report found that the compromised military justice system seldom secured justice for the victims of enforced disappearances, killings, and abuse that included torture.

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Beyond Torture: The CIA's Shameful Kidnapping of a 12-Year-Old Girl

CIA kidnapping of 12 year old girlPresident Obama is letting the CIA play a major part in censoring a report on brutal human-rights abuses perpetrated by CIA employees. This has always been self-evidently absurd: No possible arrangement would present a bigger conflict of interest.

What many Americans might not know is that the CIA isn't just intent on covering up torture. It's also averse to the public knowing more about renditions, a euphemism for kidnapping people and handing them over to violent thugs.

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Uganda holds first pride rally after 'abominable' anti-gay law overturned

Uganda gay prideUganda has hosted its first gay pride rally since a draconian anti-homosexuality law was overturned by the courts.

Sandra Ntebi, organiser of the rally held on Saturday in Entebbe, 35km from the capital Kampala, said police had granted permission for the invitation-only "Uganda Pride" event.

"This event is to bring us together. Everyone was in hiding before because of the anti-homosexuality law," she said. "It is a happy day for all of us, getting together."

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US drops new aid to Iraqis fleeing militant surge

US drops aid to IraqisThe U.S. launched a new airdrop Saturday to aid thousands of members of an Iraqi minority group who fled the advance of the Islamic State group, trying to stem a worsening humanitarian crisis in a country reeling from the extremist offensive.

The extremists have captured hundreds of women from the Yazidi religious minority, according to an Iraqi official, while thousands of other civilians fled in fear.

Many of America's allies backed the U.S. intervention, pledging urgent steps to assist the legions of refugees and displaced people. Those in jeopardy included thousands of members of the Yazidi whose plight — trapped on a mountaintop by the militants — prompted the U.S. to airdrop crates of food and water to them.

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