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Saturday, Dec 20th

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Former al Qaida hostage recounts nightmare – of dealing with FBI

Matt SchrierThe only thing as bad as being tortured for months as a captive of jihadists in Syria was dealing with the U.S. government afterward, according to one former American hostage.

Matt Schrier, 36, a freelance photographer held by extremists for seven months in 2013 until he escaped, said that the bureaucracy he endured upon his return home was a second kind of nightmare after the months of abuse he experienced while a hostage.

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Marked for deportation, Iraq war resisters fight to stay in Canada

Iraq war resistersFor more than five years, former U.S. soldier Rodney Watson has lived as a prisoner, confined to a church that serves a poor neighborhood here.

Wanted on charges of desertion in the United States and marked for deportation from Canada, he’s invoked the protection of sanctuary. Following a tradition established in medieval times, the Canada Border Services Agency officers have refrained from entering the church. Watson is safe from arrest as long as he stays within its walls.

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Like Seafood? Enjoy It Now—Commercial Seafood Set to Disappear from Oceans in 2048

Seafood to disappearA prominent marine research ecologist says that commercial seafood from our oceans could disappear within the next three decades if humans don’t take action immediately.

Dr. Boris Worm of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada that the oceans are quickly losing biodiversity and that nearly 30% of seafood species that humans consume are already too small to harvest. If the long-term trend continues, there will be little or no seafood available for a sustainable harvest by 2048.

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The coming wave of anti-abortion laws

Pro choiceThe big Republican gains in the November elections strengthened and enlarged the anti-abortion forces in the House and the Senate. But it’s the GOP victories in the statehouses and governor’s mansions that are priming the ground for another round of legal restrictions on abortion.

Arkansas, for instance, already has strict anti-abortion laws. But with a Republican governor succeeding a Democrat who had vetoed two measures that would have banned most abortions beyond a certain stage of pregnancy, lawmakers plan to seek more restrictions — such as barring doctors from administering abortion drugs through telemedicine.

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Japanese newspaper retracts term ‘sex slaves’ from wartime coverage

Japanese newspaperJapan’s biggest-selling newspaper has apologised for its past use of the term “sex slaves” to describe tens of thousands of women who were forced to work in Japanese military brothels before and during the second world war.

The move by the Yomiuri Shimbun, a conservative broadsheet with a daily circulation of more than 10 million, has fuelled concern that sections of the country’s media have signed up to a government-led campaign to rewrite Japan’s wartime history and portray its actions on the Asian mainland in a more favourable light.

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UN torture report condemns sleep deprivation among US detainees

UN torture reportThe US military has retained the power to inflict prolonged sleep deprivation on detainees, despite moves by the Obama administration to eliminate interrogation techniques that amount to torture and ill-treatment, the United Nations warned on Friday.

In a review of the human rights record of the US, the first of its kind since 2006, the world body’s committee against torture has slammed the country for its ongoing violations of international treaties.

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Sony makes experimental e-paper watch

e-paper watchSony has developed a watch made from e-paper as part of an initiative to experiment with the use of the material for fashion products.

The Fes Watch has a minimalist, monochrome design but falls short of the features offered by smartwatches.  However, the battery of the e-paper watch could last far longer with an estimated 60 days of use.

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Nigeria unrest: Kano mosque attack kills dozens

Nigeria osque attackDozens have been killed in a gun and bomb attack during prayers at one of the biggest mosques in the northern Nigerian city of Kano, officials say.

Many more people have been hurt, with one rescue official putting casualty figures at almost 400. The Central Mosque is where the influential Muslim leader, the Emir of Kano, usually leads prayers.

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'Eye of Sauron' black hole helps astronomers measure cosmic distances

Eye od Sauron black holeThanks to the "Eye of Sauron" black hole, researchers have developed a new way to measure large cosmic distances. The supermassive black hole sits in the middle of an active galaxy known as NGC 4151 -- a galaxy that resembles the fiery red evil eye of Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings films.

An intimate understanding of how black holes behave is key to the new measurement technique. Astronomers know that nearby gas is constantly being sucked into active black holes. As it's pulled inward, the gas heats up and emits ultraviolet radiation. That heated gas transfers its heat to a ring of dust that orbits the black hole.

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