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Friday, Feb 12th

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Report: More than 1M people besieged in Syria

Million besieged in SyriaMore than one million Syrians are trapped in besieged areas, a new report says in a challenge to the United Nations, which estimates just half that amount and has been accused by some aid groups of underplaying a crisis.

The fate of Syria's besieged is at the heart of peace talks that quickly fell apart last week in Geneva and are set to resume by Feb. 25. Negotiators for the opposition had insisted that the Syrian government stop besieging civilians before talks could truly begin.

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Syria 'exterminating detainees' - UN report

Syria exterminating detaineesThe Syrian government has carried out a state policy of extermination against thousands of detainees, UN human rights investigators say.

They accuse President Bashar al-Assad's regime of crimes against humanity, in a report for the UN Human Rights Council. The study says both loyalist and anti-government forces have committed possible war crimes.

Many detainees were tortured, some were beaten to death, and others died from lack of food, water, or medical care.

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At least 200 million girls and women have undergone FGM

200 million women endure fgmThere are at least 200 million girls and women around the world who have undergone female genital mutilation (FGM), with nearly a quarter of them being under the age of 14 when they were cut, according to a new report released by the U.N. children’s agency (UNICEF) on Wednesday.

Exact numbers are hard to come by, as few of the 30 countries where FGM is practiced keep reliable data on the procedure, relying primarily on household surveys. However, this is the strongest dataset to date, said Claudia Cappa, who led UNICEF’s statistics team on the report.

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New U.S. bill being drafted to reform human trafficking rankings

Trafficking ill rankings to changeA leading U.S. lawmaker on human rights has begun drafting legislation to seek major reforms in how the State Department ranks countries on human trafficking, in response to concerns that the latest annual report was watered down for political reasons.

U.S. Representative Chris Smith said the bill, which he expects to finalize in a month and introduce in the House of Representatives in six weeks, will call for some of the biggest changes in a decade in how Washington grades global efforts against modern slavery.

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Israel's unwanted African migrants

Sudanese immigrants in detention center in IsraelFor nearly a year Israel has been offering African migrants cash and the chance to go and live in what is supposed to be a safe haven in a third country - but the BBC has spoken to two men who say that they were abandoned as soon as they got off the plane. One was immediately trafficked, the other left to fend for himself without papers.

Adam was 18 when he arrived in Israel in 2011. Attackers had burned down his home in Darfur at the height of the genocide, and he had spent his teenage years in a UN refugee camp in another part of Sudan. With no prospects in the camp and no sign of an end to the conflict in Darfur, he made his way north through Egypt and the lawless Sinai peninsula to Israel.

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Palestinian families homeless as Israeli military demolishes West Bank houses

palestinian homes demolishedIsraeli military bulldozers have demolished 23 houses in two impoverished southern West Bank villages, including structures that were home to more than 100 people.

The demolitions, one of the most significant in recent memory, occurred in a controversial Israeli-designated military area known as Firing Zone 918, which comprises approximately 115 square miles (300 sq km) and was declared restricted by the Israelis in the 1970s.

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South Sudan troops killed 50 civilians by suffocation - report

South Sudan suffocated civiliansSouth Sudan's government troops killed about 50 civilians last October by stuffing them into a shipping container in baking heat, a report has said.

The document by the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC), which oversees the country's ceasefire, said the incident took place in Unity State.

The government has not commented on the claim - the latest reported atrocities in more than two years of war. Thousands of people have been killed and millions displaced since then.

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