Friday, Nov 27th

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Federal court programs aim to keep defendants out of prison

Leavenworth prisonAngelique Chacon had emotionally girded herself to spend six years behind bars for selling methamphetamine when her attorney gave her a way out — a new rehabilitation program in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles that might allow her to avoid prison.

Chacon, 31, a former methamphetamine user herself, accepted the pre-trial offer, got a part-time job, took classes at a technical school and graduated from the rehab program last year with a sentence of probation instead of prison.

"I'm a totally different person," she said. "I'm sober. I'm more involved with my family. I'm really there mentally."


US urges Turkey to uphold due process in journalist case

TUrkey holding journalists' aideIn August, Mohammed Rasool was helping two Western journalists with a dangerous assignment along Turkey's border with Iraq. Cities in the area had turned into urban warzones amid clashes between supporters of the militant Kurdish Workers Party, or PKK, and government authorities.

As a peace process to end decades of violence was breaking down, the area was at the center of a historic moment that few Western reporters were covering on the ground.


Snowden and Ellsberg hail leak of drone documents from new whistleblower

Drones exposed by whistleblowerAmerican whistleblowers hailed the release on Thursday of a collection of classified documents about US drone warfare as a blow on behalf of transparency and human rights.

The documents anchored a multi-part report by the Intercept on the Defense Department assassination program in Yemen and Somalia. Amnesty International, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and other rights groups said the report raised significant concerns about human rights violations by the US government, and called for an investigation.


Canadian envoy who hid Americans during hostage crisis dies

Ken Taylor Ken Taylor, Canada’s ambassador to Iran who sheltered Americans at his residence during the 1979 hostage crisis, has died. He was 81.

Taylor’s wife, Pat, said Ken died today after a two-month battle with colon cancer.

Taylor kept the Americans hidden at his residence and at the home of his deputy, John Sheardown, in Tehran for three months. Taylor facilitated their escape by arranging plane tickets and persuading the Ottawa government to issue fake passports.


Ex-Member: Church Where Teen Was Beaten to Death Had History of Emotional Abuse

Secret world Life ChurchOn Sunday night, an ultra-secretive New York church turned into a living hell. Two teenage brothers were brutally beaten—one of them to death—by their own family members and fellow church-goers who wanted them to “confess” to their sins, authorities say.

Police charged the boys’ parents with manslaughter and four other participants with assault in the chilling incident that killed Lucas Leonard, 19, and left his 17-year-old brother, Christopher Leonard, in serious condition.


Family of El Faro ship victim sues for $100 million

El FaroThe family of a crew member presumed drowned in the sinking of the El Faro cargo ship have sued the owners of the vessel for $100 million.

The family believes the ship should not have been sent from Jacksonville, Fla. on Sept. 29 to San Juan, Puerto Rico, into the path of Hurricane Joaquin, a Category 4 storm.

The ship disappeared two days into the voyage. The U.S. Coast Guard concluded it likely sank after the captain radioed tat the ship had lost power near Crooked Island, Bahamas. A five-day search of the area, yielded debris and one victim who was aboard the El Faro. The search was suspended Oct. 7.


Iran: Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian convicted

Jason ResaianJason Rezaian, the Washington Post journalist who has been detained in Iran for more than a year on charges including espionage, has been convicted, according to Iran's judiciary spokesman in a ruling the newspaper blasted Monday as "an outrageous injustice."

Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejehi confirmed the verdict in comments aired on state TV late Sunday night but gave no indication of what punishment the 39-year-old Iranian-American journalist could face. The ruling is eligible for appeal within 20 days, Ejehi said.


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