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Texas groups concerned refugee suspension violates religious freedom

Texas groups support refugeesAnother religious freedom battle is brewing in Texas. But this time, Syrian refugees — not same-sex couples or women seeking birth control coverage — are at the center of it.

Numerous faith groups that settle international refugees in the Lone Star State are upset about a recent directive from Texas officials to no longer help Syrians in the wake of the deadly Paris attacks, which killed 130 people and wounded hundreds more. Essentially, the groups’ concerns are divided into three parts: One is for the safety of the refugees themselves; another is for the future of their resettlement programs; and the third is for their religious freedom, which some might argue is being stifled by Texas’ instructions that they withhold help from certain people in need.


US activists to launch Guantánamo protest along camp's perimeter

Gitmo protestersFourteen peace activists from across the United States will begin a protest vigil and fast along the perimeter fence of the US military detention camp at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, on Wednesday in an attempt to draw attention to what they consider to be ongoing human rights abuses at the prison.

The protesters are all members of Witness Against Torture, a group which campaigns to have Guantánamo shut down. They plan to set up camp as close as they can to the 107 remaining detainees still being held at the facility. They will then begin a fast on Thanksgiving in symbolic solidarity with the 47 men inside the prison who have been cleared for release but are still trapped in legal limbo having never been charged with any crime, many of whom have been on hunger strike.


ACLU Sues Indiana Gov. Mike Pence Over Syrian Refugee Ban

ACLU sues Mike Pence of Indiana- The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit against Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R), challenging his efforts to block Syrian refugees from resettling within his state’s borders.

“This lawsuit is calling out Governor Pence on his unconstitutional bluff,” Judy Rabinovitz, the group’s deputy legal director for immigrants’ rights, said in a press release. “Singling out Syrian refugees for exclusion from Indiana is not only ethically wrong, it is unconstitutional. Period."


4-year-old Syrian migrant girl found dead off Turkey’s Bodrum coast

Four year old drowned off Turkish coastTurkish fishermen found the dead body of a 4-year-old Syrian migrant girl off Turkey’s Bodrum coast on Nov. 22, four days after a migrant dinghy capsized. The girl's fate was reminiscent of that of Syrian toddler Aylan Kurdi, whose lifeless body washed up on the shore of Bodrum in September, triggering worldwide outrage.

The girl, identified as Sena, was found squeezed in between rocks near the island of Çatalada by amateur fishermen while fishing. Upon their notice, Turkish coast guards arrived at the scene and took the dead body of Sena to Turgutreis Port.


Anthropologists vote overwhelmingly to boycott Israeli universities

Boycott Israel vote Colorado anthropologistsMembers of the American Anthropological Association voted in favor of a resolution calling on the group to boycott Israeli academic institutions by a 1,040 to 136 margin at the association’s annual business meeting on Friday evening.

The resolution will be put to a vote by the full AAA membership in the spring. A simple majority vote in favor of the resolution would make the academic boycott association policy. Unlike the Modern Language Association, the AAA does not require a minimum percentage of members to vote on a resolution for it to take effect.


Saudi court sentences poet to death for renouncing Islam

Ashraf FayadhA Palestinian poet and leading member of Saudi Arabia’s nascent contemporary art scene has been sentenced to death for renouncing Islam.

A Saudi court on Tuesday ordered the execution of Ashraf Fayadh, who has curated art shows in Jeddah and at the Venice Biennale. The poet, who said he did not have legal representation, was given 30 days to appeal against the ruling.

Fayadh, 35, a key member of the British-Saudi art organisation Edge of Arabia, was originally sentenced to four years in prison and 800 lashes by the general court in Abha, a city in the south-west of the ultraconservative kingdom, in May 2014.


Connecticut welcomes Syrian refugees after Indiana refuses them

Gov. Daniel MalloyA family that fled war-torn Syria in 2011 was welcomed Wednesday to its new home of Connecticut after Indiana officials objected to plans for the refugees to resettle in their state.

The married couple and their 5-year-old son had been living as refugees in Jordan and been waiting three years to resettle in the United States. They were scheduled to arrive in Indianapolis Thursday but were diverted when Gov. Mike Pence ordered state agencies to halt resettlement activities after the deadly attacks in Paris.


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