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Saturday, Feb 13th

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More than 20 dead refugees discovered in truck in Austria

dead refugees found in Austrian truckAs many as 50 refugees were found dead in a parked truck in eastern Austria on Thursday, police said, marking what one Austrian official called a “dark day” in Europe’s escalating refugee crisis.

The vehicle, which contained between 20 and 50 bodies, was found on a parking strip off the highway in Burgenland state, police spokesman Hans Peter Doskozil said at a press conference with Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner. "This tragedy affects us all deeply," Mikl-Leitner said.

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IS affiliate in Egypt releases image of slain Croat captive

Croatian captive beheadedIslamic State sympathizers circulated an image Wednesday that appears to show the grisly aftermath of the beheading of a Croatian hostage abducted in Egypt, which if confirmed would mark the first such killing of a foreign captive in the country since the extremist group established a branch here last year.

The killing of the 30-year-old oil and gas sector surveyor likely will rattle companies with expatriate workers in Egypt and cast a cloud over President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi's attempts to boost international investment and tourism following years of unrest.

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The Pentagon Is Keeping Half of Gitmo Locked Up—Against The White House’s Wishes

Gitmo prisoners still not released by PentagonThe White House wants to quickly cut the number of detainees at Guantánamo Bay. One man is standing in the way: President Obama’s Defense Secretary, Ash Carter.

Carter and the White House are increasingly at odds about how to whittle down the number of detainees held in Guantánamo Bay, hampering the administration’s push to close the detention center by the end of its term.

The White House believes that Carter is unwilling to be accountable for the transfer of Guantánamo detainees and their conduct post-release, even to the point of defying the president’s policy on the detention facility, a White House source told The Daily Beast.

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Psychologists vote not to participate in US torture

APA votes against tortureThe American Psychological Association (APA) voted overwhelmingly on Friday to prohibit members from participating in interrogations conducted by United States intelligence agencies at locations deemed illegal under international law.

The decision follows a scathing independent report that found APA members were complicit in torturing detainees at the U.S. detention camp at Guantanamo Bay and secret CIA “black sites.”

Released in July, the report detailed specific instances in which psychologists directed and advised U.S. interrogators on how to instill fear and distress in detainees. APA voted at an association meeting in Toronto on Friday that participating in such activities violates the profession’s ethical code.

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Report: US-led strikes in Iraq, Syria killed 459 civilians

Civilan casualties of US attacksU.S.-led airstrikes targeting the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria have likely killed at least 459 civilians over the past year, a report by an independent monitoring group said Monday. The coalition had no immediate comment.

The report by Airwars, a project aimed at tracking the international airstrikes targeting the extremists, said it believed 57 specific strikes killed civilians and caused 48 suspected "friendly fire" deaths. It said the strikes have killed more than 15,000 Islamic State militants.

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Anti-torture reforms opposed within psychology group after damning report

Anti-torture reforms opposedOpposition is building to intended anti-torture reforms within the largest professional organization of psychologists in the US, which faces a crossroads over what a recent report described as its past support for brutal military and CIA interrogations.

Before the American Psychological Association (APA) meets in Toronto next Thursday for what all expect will be a fraught convention that reckons with an independent review that last month found the APA complicit in torture, former military voices within the profession are urging the organization not to participate in what they describe as a witch hunt.

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Israel authorizes force-feeding of prisoners

Israel forcefeeds prisonersIsrael's parliament has passed into law the ability to force-feed prisoners on hunger strike, a move that had met vehement opposition from the country's medical association.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's rightist coalition weathered a lengthy parliamentary debate on Thursday, with 46 politicians in favour and 40 opposed in the 120-seat Knesset.

Israel says it is concerned that hunger strikes by Palestinians in its jails could end in death and trigger waves of protests in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

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