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Wednesday, Dec 07th

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Former Child Soldier Denies War Crimes In Trial At International Criminal Court

Former child soldier on trial at ICCThe Lord's Resistance Army committed horrifying crimes against civilians for almost three decades, killing thousands in northern Uganda and beyond its borders.

Now, the first-ever trial of an LRA commander has opened at the International Criminal Court. Dominic Ongwen, who was kidnapped when he was a boy and forced to become a child soldier, "pleaded not guilty to 70 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity — including murder and enslavement," as NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reports.

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Hundreds Of Immigrant Moms And Kids Freed From Detention After Texas Court Ruling

Hundreds freed from Texas detention centesHundreds of women and children were released from two family detention centers over the weekend, after a Texas state judge sided with critics who say the facilities more closely resemble jails than child care centers.

The mass releases were a victory for immigrant rights advocates, who argue that it’s unnecessary and inhumane to lock up undocumented mothers and kids seeking asylum in the U.S.

The state lawsuit focused narrowly on emergency rules designed to allow the detention facilities to meet Texas’ child care licensing standards. But the state case arises out of ongoing federal litigation, which has put Immigration and Customs Enforcement on notice that these facilities are not acceptable places to house kids.

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Knesset okays controversial West Bank outpost bill in preliminary vote

Knesset okays Palestinian land grabThe Knesset plenum on Monday approved a new draft of a bill to recognize West Bank outposts built on private Palestinian land, a controversial measure derided as an illegal land grab that paves the way for Israel to recognize some 4,000 settler homes built on private Palestinian land.

After a raucous plenary session that saw opposition lawmakers screaming and ripping up copies of the proposed legislation, the revised, so-called Regulation Bill — which received ministerial approval just hours before — sailed through Israel’s parliament, bounding its first legislative hurdle by a court of 60 MKs for and 49 against.

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Israel's Lehava stirs 'anarchy' in Jerusalem

Lahava hate groupFour youths in black T-shirts, bearing a distinctive yellow-flame insignia, approached "A" in July as he got out of a taxi in central Jerusalem to meet friends. They asked him the time. Suspicious of his accent, they confronted him directly: "Are you an Arab?"

"The moment I said, 'yes,' one of them punched me in the eye. The others jumped on me and started hitting me all over my body. There were many people in the area, but no one took any notice or tried to help."

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How Indigenous Activists in Norway Got the First Bank to Pull Out of the Dakota Access Pipeline

Norway bank divests of Dakota pipelineOn November 8, 2016, Beaska Niillas, chairman of the Norwegian Sámi Association (NSA) walked into a conference room in Oslo, Norway, with his wife, Sara Marielle Gaup Beaska, who had spent time in Standing Rock. Both are members of the Sámi Parliament and Beaska is a member of the Norwegian Society for the Conservation of Nature. Niillas and Beaska flew over 1,000 miles from their home in Finmark, the homelands of the Indigenous Sámi people and the most northern province of Norway located above the Artic circle.

Niillas set up a meeting with executives at DNB, Norway's largest bank, to demand that they withdraw their investment in the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL).

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U.S. Lawsuit Aims to Hold 2 Contractors Accountable for C.I.A. Torture

Suleil Abdullah SalimNearly 15 years after the United States adopted a program to interrogate terrorism suspects using techniques now widely considered to be torture, no one involved in helping craft it has been held legally accountable. Even as President Obama acknowledged that the United States “tortured some folks,” his administration declined to prosecute any government officials.

But now, one lawsuit has gone further than any other in American courts to fix blame. The suit, filed in October 2015 in Federal District Court in Spokane, Wash., by two former detainees in C.I.A. secret prisons and the representative of a third who died in custody, centers on two contractors, psychologists who were hired by the agency to help devise and run the program.

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Brutality and Courage at Standing Rock

Standing Rock ruber buletsThe dangerous Dakota Access Pipeline, and the brutal repression unleashed on its behalf, is countered by a greater force.

To me, among a multitude of outstanding positive qualities I was lucky enough to observe continually while camping at Oceti Sakowin camp for one week, the most inspiring aspect of the indigenous-led Water Protectors’ struggle at Standing Rock is courage.

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