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Thursday, Dec 18th

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Untrained CIA Agents Were Just Making Up Torture Methods As They Went Along

Untrained CIA agents made up torturesOn Tuesday morning, the Senate intelligence committee released an executive summary of its five-year investigation into the CIA's interrogation and detention program. (Read the executive summary here.)

Among the report's most striking revelations is that CIA interrogators were often untrained and in some instances made up torturous techniques as they went along.

The CIA was "unprepared" to begin the enhanced interrogation program, the Senate report concluded. The agency sent untrained, inexperienced people into the field to interrogate Abu Zubaydah, the first important Al Qaeda suspect the US captured.

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These robots are ready to serve you

Robots in retailA hardware store in San Jose has a new star employee. It can speak English and Spanish, recognise any part at sight, and knows what the shop has in stock on a second by second basis.

And it's also a robot.  OSHbot, as it is called, measures roughly 5ft, and boasts a 3D scanner and touchscreen.  "It's not just robots for robots' sake, or a marketing gimmick," insists Kyl Nel, executive director of Lowe's Innovation Labs.

Lowe's is an American DIY chain, and the robot's ultimate employer.

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Freezing cells and sleep deprivation: the brutal conditions migrants still face after capture

abuse of migrantsJosefina Peralta made the gruelling journey from her home in Honduras to Texas in May, venturing a perilous crossing of the Rio Grande River and passing across the US border at night in search of safety, opportunity and a new life. Within hours of making the crossing, she was picked up along with her infant daughter and four other women by officers of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and taken to a temporary holding station in a rural area outside McAllen.

Peralta (not her real name) was put into a 15ft by 45ft concrete cell with about 30 other migrants from Central America who had made the similar dangerous and traumatic journey. Her clothes were still wet from crossing the river, but according to the account she gave human rights researchers, CBP officers wouldn’t let her change into the dry clothes she had ready in her backpack.

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FBI to investigate death of North Carolina teen found hanging from swing set

FBI to investigat NC teen hangingThe FBI will investigate the case of Lennon Lacy, the black teenager found hanging in August from a swing set in North Carolina, whose parents have disputed the official ruling that he killed himself and asked whether his death amounted to a modern-day lynching.

It was confirmed on Friday that a federal agent has been assigned to investigate what happened to Lacy, 17, a budding high-school football prospect found hanging in the middle of a predominantly white trailer park in Bladenboro, North Carolina, on 29 August. The move follows a formal request from the Lacy family and from the North Carolina branch of the NAACP to the US attorney asking for the federal authorities to throw their weight behind the investigation.

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Cleveland medical examiners rule death of Tamir Rice a homicide

Rice death a homicideMedical examiners in Cleveland ruled the death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice a homicide on Friday.

The Cuyahoga County medical examiner ruled the boy died as a result of a gunshot wound to the torso, after he was shot by a Cleveland police officer on a playground while holding a handgun replica.

Rice’s case is one of several recent deaths of black men and boys to fuel anti-police violence protests across the country.

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Justice Department: Tribal reservations can grow and sell pot

Reservations may grow and sell potTribal reservations in the United States can grow and sell marijuana, even in states where it is still illegal, the Justice Department says.

In a memorandum released Thursday, Timothy Purdon, the U.S. attorney for North Dakota and chairman of a committee on Native American issues, said reservations must follow the same guidelines the department laid down last year for Colorado and Washington when they legalized marijuana sales.

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Oregon GMO labeling proponents concede defeat

Oregon defeats GO labelingProponents of an Oregon ballot measure requiring labels on genetically modified foods conceded defeat Thursday after a judge ruled against them and an automatic recount appeared unlikely to sway the outcome.

The Yes on 92 campaign said there are no legal options remaining that could lead them to victory.

"The labeling movement will continue to grow," the campaign said in a statement. "We draw strength from the fact that we came so achingly close to winning this vote, despite being outspent by more than $12 million."

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Fatal shooting flags concerns of discriminatory policing in Arizona

Police abuseHundreds of activists chanting "I can't breathe" and "No justice, no peace" marched through Phoenix this week to urge justice for black father of four Rumain Brisbon, who was shot dead by a white city police officer in a disputed incident that flagged concerns over what critics say is a history of discriminatory policing in the Arizona capital.

"He was a good friend, a devoted father, a loyal community member … and did not deserve to be killed like he was in front of his family," Brisbon's friend Jenee Polk said as protesters carrying placards reading "Justice for Rumain" and "What happened to peace officers?" gathered in the parking lot of an Elks Lodge in central Phoenix before a recent protest rally.

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House votes to avoid govt shutdown, passes $1 trillion spending bill

House of RepresentativesThe House of Representatives voted to pass a massive spending bill that will keep the government running into next year, narrowly avoiding a shutdown as Republicans and Democrats spent the night at odds over various provisions.

Next, the Senate will vote on the bill – the so-called “cromnibus,” which is part continuing resolution and part omnibus spending bill. If the chamber approves, it will head to President Barack Obama’s desk for his signature. Obama previously said he would support the bill’s passage.

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