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Monday, Sep 01st

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Julian Assange suffers from heart condition after two years in Ecuadorian embassy: report

Julian AssangeJulian Assange has developed a potentially life-threatening heart condition and other health problems while living inside the Ecuadorian embassy, but cannot leave to be hospitalized, according to a report.

The WikiLeaks founder, who has been holed up in the embassy in London since June 2012, is suffering from arrhythmia, a potential fatal irregular heartbeat, as well as a chronic lung condition and high blood pressure, a source told the Mail on Sunday.

Vitamin D deficiency caused by lack of sunlight is also damaging his health and could lead to further problems down the road, including weakened bones and diabetes.

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Another Front In Mideast Conflict: Fishing Rights In The Mediterranean

Gaza fishermenDown at the Gaza city harbor, a little after dawn, merchants wait with horses and carts and scales to weigh the morning's catch of fish.

But when they come in, the fish are small and few. One man scoops his catch up by the handful, tiny fish slipping through his fingers. Even the cats look hungry.

One of the merchants, Mohammad Belah, tells me that a few years ago, it wasn't like this.
"A fisherman used to bring 100 or 200 boxes in the past, but now if he's lucky he brings 10 or 20 boxes," he says.

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Strikes on militants at Iraq dam after 'massacre'

Strikes on ISISAirstrikes pounded the area around Iraq's largest dam on Saturday in an effort to drive out militants who captured it earlier this month, as reports emerged of the massacre of some 80 members of the Yazidi religious minority by Islamic extremists.

Residents living near the Mosul Dam told The Associated Press that the area was being targeted in airstrikes, but it was not immediately clear whether they were being carried out by Iraq's air force or the U.S., which last week began launching air strikes aimed at halting the advance of the Islamic State group across the country's north.

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Activists plan port shutdowns to block Israeli ship in US and Canada

Activists plan to block Israeli shipsU.S. and Canadian activists are planning a series of actions beginning on Saturday to shut down West Coast ports to prevent a commercial Israeli cargo vessel from docking and unloading goods. The actions come in response to a call from Palestinian and South African unions to hold Israel accountable for what they allege are violations of Palestinians’ human rights — particularly during Israel’s latest offensive in the Gaza Strip, an operation that has killed more than 1,900 Palestinians.

“Palestine is calling us to action! Palestinian laborers [and the] Palestinian General Federation Trade Union have called on workers around the world to refuse to handle Israeli goods,” said a leaflet calling for the actions, collectively called “Block the Boat.”

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Boko Haram suspected of abducting more than 50 Nigerian villagers

Boca HaramResidents of a Nigerian village on the shore of Lake Chad say at least 50 residents are missing after a raid by suspected Boko Haram militants.

A witness told the BBC that 26 people were also killed during the raid on the village of Doron Baga on Sunday.  The remote region has poor communication links, meaning news of the raid took days to emerge.

Nigeria has been plagued by attacks by the Boko Haram Islamist group in recent years, particularly in the north-east.

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ISIS Baffling U.S. Intelligence Agencies

ISIS baffling US IntelIt’s been two months since ISIS took over Iraq’s second-largest city. But U.S. analysts are still trying to figure out how big the group is and the real identities of its leaders.

The U.S. intelligence community is still trying to answer basic questions about the jihadists who tried to wipe out Iraq’s remaining Yazidis and who now threaten to overrun the capital of the country’s Kurdish provinces.

In a briefing for reporters Thursday, U.S. intelligence officials said the government is re-evaluating an estimate from early this year that said the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) had only 10,000 members. These officials also said intelligence analysts were still trying to determine the real names of many of the group’s leaders from records of Iraqis who went in and out of American custody during the U.S. occupation of Iraq.

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France passes sweeping gender-equality law

France passes gender equality lawFrance passed a sweeping gender-equality law this week that eases current restrictions on abortion, encourages paternity leave and promotes gender parity at home and in the workplace.

Under the new law passed on Tuesday, women can obtain an abortion during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy without any need to cite a reason. This amends France’s previous law, passed in 1975, that gave women the legal right to terminate a pregnancy only if they were in a situation of “distress.” The new law also bans any attempt to prevent women from obtaining information about abortion services.

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