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Wednesday, Dec 12th

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US special forces 'tried to cover-up' botched Khataba raid in Afghanistan

Relatives at the graves of five people killed, including three women, during the night raid.US special forces soldiers dug bullets out of their victims’ bodies in the bloody aftermath of a botched night raid, then washed the wounds with alcohol before lying to their superiors about what happened, Afghan investigators have told The Times.

Two pregnant women, a teenage girl, a police officer and his brother were shot on February 12 when US and Afghan special forces stormed their home in Khataba village, outside Gardez in eastern Afghanistan. The precise composition of the force has never been made public.

The claims were made as Nato admitted responsibility for all the deaths for the first time last night. It had initially claimed that the women had been dead for several hours when the assault force discovered their bodies.

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Obama must end warrantless wiretapping

When the government failed to get a warrant to wiretap, it broke the law.The chief judge of the Federal District Court in San Francisco, Vaughn Walker, ruled last week that the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act was the law of the land for Mr. Bush and that when the government failed to get a warrant to wiretap, it broke the law. He also said that the government could not evade accountability with absurdly broad claims of state secrets.

This ruling does not end warrantless wiretapping. The particular program The Times uncovered has been suspended; there are still others, however, and the 2008 FISA amendments permit warrantless spying. Judge Walker’s ruling establishes that state secrecy claims do not trump the requirements of FISA. The next big case, filed by several human rights groups and still being appealed, challenges the 2008 amendments.

Judge Walker’s ruling also provides a chilling account of the relentless efforts by the Bush administration and then the Obama administration to kill the civil lawsuit filed by an Islamic charity in Oregon called Al Haramain. The group was subjected to warrantless surveillance and then declared a sponsor of terrorism in 2004.

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TVNL Reminder & Video: Pope 'led cover-up of child abuse by priests'

In 2001, while he was a cardinal, he issued a secret Vatican edict to Catholic bishops all over the world, instructing them to put the Church's interests ahead of child safety.

The document recommended that rather than reporting sexual abuse to the relevant legal authorities, bishops should encourage the victim, witnesses and perpetrator not to talk about it. And, to keep victims quiet, it threatened that if they repeat the allegations they would be excommunicated.

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More Evidence Emerges That Pope Benedict Helped Shield Pedophiles Before He Became Pope

Pope BenedictDocuments reviewed by The Associated Press show that as a Vatican cardinal, the future pope took over the abuse case of the Rev. Michael Teta of Tucson, Ariz., then let it languish at the Vatican for years despite repeated pleas from the bishop for the man to be removed from the priesthood.

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Missing link between man and apes found

The new species of hominid, the evolutionary branch of primates that includes humans, is to be revealed when the two-million-year-old skeleton of a child is unveiled this week.

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Journalist on the run from Israel is hiding in Britain

HaaretzAn Israeli journalist is in hiding in Britain, The Independent can reveal, over fears that he may face charges in the Jewish state in connection with his investigation into the killing of a Palestinian in the West Bank.

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Israeli journalist Anat Kam under secret house arrest since December

An Israeli journalist has been under secret house arrest since December on charges that she leaked highly sensitive, classified military documents that suggest the Israeli military breached a court order on assassinations in the occupied West Bank.

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Economist tallies swelling cost of Israel to US

Since 1973, Israel has cost the United States about $1.6 trillion. If divided by today's population, that is more than $5,700 per person.

For the first time in many years, Mr. Stauffer has tallied the total cost to the US of its backing of Israel in its drawn-out, violent dispute with the Palestinians. So far, he figures, the bill adds up to more than twice the cost of the Vietnam War.

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In Easter Mass, Vatican Defends Benedict

Cardinal Angelo Sodano dismissed the charges as 'petty gossip.'A senior Vatican cardinal defended Pope Benedict during an Easter Mass in St. Peter's Square attended by the pope, dismissing criticism of the pontiff's handling of the sexual-abuse crisis as "gossip."

The remarks, delivered by Cardinal Angelo Sodano on the holiest day of the Christian calendar, were a rare departure from protocol and a measure of how the sexual-abuse crisis has affected the highest ranks of Roman Catholicism.

"The people of God are with you, and they won't let themselves be influenced by the gossip of the moment, by the attempts being made to strike the community of the faithful," said Cardinal Sodano in apparent reference to the crisis that has kept the Vatican on the defensive for a month. The cardinal was addressing Benedict XVI before hundreds of faithful who packed the cobblestones of St. Peter's Square on a rainy Sunday.

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