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Friday, Jul 25th

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Swedish court to rule on lifting Julian Assange arrest warrant

Julian AssaneA Swedish court will hold a public hearing to decide whether to lift the arrest warrant on Julian Assange that has kept the WikiLeaks founder holed up in Ecuador's embassy in London to avoid extradition over allegations of rape and sexual molestation.

Assange sought refuge in the embassy in Britain in June 2012 after exhausting all legal options in British courts to avoid being extradited to Sweden.

The legal challenge to the prosecutor was issued last month after a change to Swedish criminal procedures that brought them in line with an EU directive on the right to information in criminal proceedings. The challenge also coincided with the second anniversary of Assange seeking refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy.

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Revealed: hunger strikes at US's secret foreign prison

Hunger strikes at secret US prisonSometimes they stopped eating to protest unclean drinking water. Other times they stopped eating because their comrades were placed in segregated housing. Still other times they stopped eating out of dissatisfaction with their access to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), their only source of connection to their families and the outside world.

Without any visibility beyond the walls of their prison, non-Afghan detainees that the US holds in almost complete secrecy in Afghanistan have engaged in hunger strikes, the Guardian has confirmed. The hunger strikes are reminiscent, on smaller scale, of those at Guantánamo Bay that seized the world's attention last year.

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Court Finds Netherlands Liable For 300 Deaths In Srebrenica Massacre

Bosnia assacre familiesA court in the Netherlands ruled today that the country's government was partly liable for the deaths of 300 Bosnian Muslims whom Dutch peacekeepers failed to protect in in 1995.

But The Associated Press notes that the court decision clears the government of liability in the deaths of the thousands of others who were killed in Srebrenica.

"Relatives of the dead welcomed the limited finding of liability, but lamented that it did not go much further," The AP added.

The court did not specify how much compensation the families of the 300 victims should receive.

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Mexico restricts soft drink TV ads to fight obesity

Mexico bans soda adsMexico is restricting television advertising for high-calorie food and soft drinks, as part of its campaign against obesity, the government says.

Such ads will be banned with immediate effect on terrestrial and cable TV between 14:30 and 19:30 on weekdays and between 07:30 and 19:30 at weekends.

Restrictions will also be imposed on similar ads shown at the cinema.

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Report: More cities pass laws that hurt the homeless

Homeless in AmericaMore cities are passing laws that make it illegal to camp in public, sleep in vehicles on city streets, or sit or lie down in public, a new report shows.

The laws are meant to curb the problems associated with homelessness, such as public drunkenness and sleeping on the sidewalk. But the report, released Wednesday by the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, says the laws criminalize people just for being homeless.

Maria Foscarinis, the center's executive director, says there has been a striking increase in city laws prohibiting camping on any park, sidewalk or public space.

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NASA says it's very close to finding alien life

alien lifeAt a panel discussion on the search for alien life, held this week at NASA's headquarters in Washington, the agency's top scientists said they're getting close.

NASA scientists were joined by leading figures in the fields of astronomy, physics and planetary sciences.

"We believe we're very, very close in terms of technology and science to actually finding the other Earth and our chance to find signs of life on another world," Sara Seager, a physicist at MIT and recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship, told a packed audience on Monday.

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U.N. Human Rights Commissioner: Snowden should not face trial

Niva PillayThe top U.N. human rights official suggested on Wednesday the United States should abandon its efforts to prosecute Edward Snowden, saying his revelations of massive state surveillance had been in the public interest.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay credited Snowden, a former U.S. National Security Agency contractor, with opening a global debate which has led to calls for the curtailing of state powers to snoop on citizens online and store their data.

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GOP moderates revolt in Kansas

Sam BrownbackModerate Republicans have been kicked around by the tea party for years in Congress and the states  Here in Kansas, they’re fighting back.

A moderate GOP uprising is in full swing against Gov. Sam Brownback, the fierce fiscal and social conservative whose policies led to a purge of middle-of-the-road Republicans from the legislature early in his tenure.

In a rare and surprising act of political defiance on Tuesday, more than 100 Republicans, including current and former officeholders, endorsed Brownback’s opponent, statehouse Democratic leader Paul Davis. Polls show the challenger with a surprisingly strong shot at taking out Brownback in November.

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University of Texas may use race as a factor in admissions, court rules

U of Texas may use raceA federal appeals court panel ruled Tuesday that the University of Texas can continue using race in its undergraduate admissions, a year after the US supreme court sent the case back to a lower court.

A 5th US circuit court of appeals panel ruled 2-1 that barring the university from using race would hurt diversity on campus. The ruling came in a lawsuit filed in 2008 by Abigail Fisher, who is white and was denied admission.

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