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Tuesday, Sep 23rd

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Gambia passes bill imposing life sentences for some homosexual acts

Gambia gay death penaltyGambia has passed a bill imposing life imprisonment for some homosexual acts, potentially worsening the climate for sexual minorities in a country with one of Africa's most vocal anti-gay leaders.

The bill amending the criminal code was passed last month and brings life sentences for "aggravated homosexuality", minority leader Samba Jallow said. The charge is levelled at repeat offenders and people living with HIV/Aids.

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World leaders urge decriminalization of drug use, regulation of markets

Decriminalize drugsOtto Pérez Molina, the president of Guatemala, floated an audacious idea last December. His government was considering legalizing the production of opium poppy — heroin’s main ingredient — as an alternative to combating drug-fueled bloodshed in Central America, where the number of violent deaths today mirror those of the 1980s, when the region was entangled in civil wars.

That seemingly fanciful proposal gained steam on Monday with the release of a pioneering report titled “Take Control: Pathways to Drug Policies that Work.” In the report, a group of global luminaries calls for the decriminalization of all drug use and the legal regulation of psychoactive substances. The Global Commission on Drugs — headed by the likes of former U.N. secretary general Kofi Anan, Reagan-era U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz, and former presidents of Latin America — represents the most distinguished group of leaders to call for drastic drug policy alternatives.

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Missing radioactive material reignites debate on dirty bomb threat

radioactive materialLast week authorities in Kazakhstan announced that a container holding cesium-137, a radioactive material, disappeared, possibly after falling off a truck.

Details of the incident are sparse. The Kazakh government says it is searching for the container, which weighs over 100 pounds, but would not or could not say where it came from or where it might be headed.

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Islamic State beheads 2nd captive Lebanese soldier

Islamic sdtate beheadsThe mother of a Lebanese soldier held captive by the militant Islamic State group said photographs posted online Saturday purporting to show his beheading appeared to be real.

Zeinab Noun said her 20-year-old son, Abbas Medlej, was "sacrificed" after supporters of the militant Sunni group posted images appearing to show a captured Lebanese soldier before and after he was beheaded.

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U.S. confirms al-Shabaab leader Ahmed Godane killed in drone strike

AlShabaab leader killedThe White House confirmed Friday that al-Shabaab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane was killed in a drone strike launched in Somalia last weekend.

The confirmation came after a week of uncertainty whether the targeted strike had been successful.

Somali officials recovered three bodies from the drone strike site in the remote Shabelle region in what Somali intelligence officer Ahmed Farah described as a "very tough operation." Two bulletproof ambulances transporting the corpses arrived in Mogadishu on Friday to undergo forensic DNA testing.

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France halts warship delivery to Russia

France halts Russian warship deliveryFrance has said conditions are "not right" for delivery of the first of two Mistral navy assault ships to Russia.

President Francois Hollande's office blamed Moscow's recent actions in Ukraine.

France had until now resisted pressure to halt the delivery, saying it had to respect an existing contract.

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U.S. condemns Israeli expropriation of West Bank land

US condemns israeli land grabThe United States levied unusually harsh criticism at Israel on Tuesday, denouncing plans to seize a large tract of West Bank land for Israeli homes.

The State Department called on Israel to reverse its announced plan to appropriate nearly 1,000 acres in the occupied West Bank.

“We are deeply concerned about the declaration of a large area as ‘state land’ to be used for expanded settlement building,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement. “We call on the Government of Israel to reverse this decision.”

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