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Tuesday, Jun 30th

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US law enforcement accused of using entrapment to ensnare ‘terrorists’

entrapmentThe recent arrests on terrorism-related charges of six young Somali-Americans from Minneapolis and others throughout the United States have prompted renewed questions over the issue of entrapment, and over the degree of real security achieved by disrupting plots that law-enforcement had helped shape.

The six, ages 19 to 21, were charged with conspiracy to aid and support a terrorist organization, and are accused of trying to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also called ISIS).

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In El Salvador, pregnancy issues can lead to prison sentences

El Salvador jails women for miscarriages“I couldn’t believe I was in ​prison,” Mirna Isabel Ramírez, a mother from the poor San Salvador neighborhood of Mariona, said of the ordeal that began almost 13 years ago. “That first night I slept on the floor. On the way ​there, the police told me, ‘They’ll kill you in there for what you’ve done.’” ​​​

Not long before then, Ramírez, 34 and pregnant at the time, felt ill one morning and rushed to the bathroom. ​​“I had no idea she was coming,” she said. “I didn’t understand. I gave birth to my baby in the toilet.” She said that she and her husband were in shock, so he called neighbors to go to their home. But when they arrived and saw the scene, they immediately alerted the police. “To this day, I don’t know why,” she said. “They called me a murderer and had no sympathy for me.”

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US lets in Thai fish caught by slaves despite law

Thai slave fishermenIn its first report on trafficking around the world, the U.S. criticized Thailand as a hub for labor abuse. Yet 14 years later, seafood caught by slaves on Thai boats is still slipping into the supply chains of major American stores and supermarkets.

The U.S. has not enforced a law banning the import of goods made with forced labor since 2000 because of significant loopholes, The Associated Press has found. It has also spared Thailand from sanctions slapped on other countries with weak records in human trafficking because of a complex political relationship that includes cooperation against terrorism.

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China frees five women activists on bail after outcry

China frees 5 activistsChina has unexpectedly released five women activists on bail, two lawyers said on Monday, after a vocal campaign against their detention by the West and Chinese rights campaigners.

The women were taken into custody on the weekend of March 8, International Women's Day, and detained on suspicion of "picking quarrels and provoking trouble". They had planned to demonstrate against sexual harassment on public transport.

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Rights group blasts Israeli settlements for Palestinian child labor

Israeli child labor blasstedA leading international human rights group on Monday accused Israeli settlements in the West Bank of using Palestinian child labor in farming, calling it a violation of international law.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) said the settlement farms, most of them in the Jordan Valley, employ children as young as 11, pay them low wages – around $19 per day – and subject them to dangerous working conditions. In a 74-page report, the New York-based group said hundreds of children work in the settlements, often in high temperatures, carrying heavy loads and exposed to hazardous pesticides.

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Palestinians won’t regain West Bank planning rights, court indicates

Palestinian rightsPalestinians will not regain planning rights for their communities in parts of the West Bank fully held by Israel, but may become more involved in the planning process, a panel of three Supreme Court judges said on Sunday.

Rabbis for Human Rights, an Israeli watchdog, had submitted a petition to the High Court in August 2011 on behalf of nine Palestinian villages in area C, demanding that residents be given the right to form regional planning councils, as was the situation across the West Bank prior to 1971, when a military decree transferred planning prerogatives to the Civil Administration in Judea and Samaria, an arm of the IDF responsible for civil and security coordination with the Palestinians.

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Caught Between ISIS And Assad, A Palestinian Refugee Camp Is Starving To Death

Yarmouk refugee campThe Islamic State militant group moved into Yarmouk, a refugee camp for Palestinians on the outskirts of the Syrian capital city of Damascus, last week. Since then, hundreds of the group's fighters have been battling rival armed groups for control of the camp. IS militants currently appear to hold most of Yarmouk, resisting bombardments by the Syrian army as well as attacks from militias.

The fighting has reduced Yarmouk into a ghost town, with its civilians trapped inside by constant sniper fire and bombardments. Video footage purportedly from Yarmouk residents, collected by Reuters and other media outlets this week, showed the streets near-deserted and bombed to pieces.

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