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ISIL releases 37 captured Syrian Christians, mostly women

Christian captives releasedIslamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) fighters on Saturday released 37 Syrian Christians, mostly women, who were among more than 200 people from the Assyrian minority group abducted in February, activists said.

Also Saturday, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the death toll from an airstrike on an ISIL-controlled eastern city near the border with Iraq rose to 71. The group initially reported that the Thursday attack killed 25 people.


US urged to free immigrant hunger strikers

Hunger strikers in Texas prisonA rights group has urged US immigration authorities to end "retaliatory" measures against detainees as an estimated 500 female undocumented immigrants hold a hunger strike in a Texas for-profit detention centre, in protest against the facility's harsh conditions.

Texas United For Families (TUFF), an umbrella organisation of rights groups, called on US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to halt "retaliation against women on hunger strike and that all women on hunger strike are immediately released".


Pentagon plan to close Guantanamo expected in coming week

Gitmo closing plansThe Pentagon's plan outlining the long-stalled effort to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center, expected in the coming week, includes details suggesting that the Centennial Correctional Facility in Colorado is one suitable site to send detainees whom officials believe should never be released, administration officials said.

The plan represents a last-gasp effort by the Obama administration to convince staunch opponents in Congress that dangerous detainees who can't be transferred safely to other countries should be housed in a U.S.-based prison.


Jewish Reform Movement Passes Groundbreaking Transgender Resolution by Acclamation

Reform Jews embrace transgendersTemples and synagogues affiliated with the nation’s largest Jewish movement should take specific steps to embrace transgender people, a U.S. conference of Reform Jews urged on Thursday in approving a groundbreaking resolution.

In a resounding voice vote, Reform Judaism embraced some of the most far-reaching policies for transgender men and women seen among any of the nation’s mainstream religious organizations, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) right advocates said.


Hub of human trafficking: underground sex trade thrives in Milwaukee

Milwaukee sex traffickingMilwaukee has become “the Harvard of pimp school” and Wisconsin is a hub of human trafficking, an expert has said in the wake of an FBI sting last month in which nine adolescents were rescued from commercial sexual exploitation, meaning Milwaukee is tied with Las Vegas for the third highest number of young people rescued during the FBI raids across the US.

Denver topped the list, with 20 young people rescued, and Detroit was next with 19. Over the past four years, however, Milwaukee has consistently ranked among the top five cities in the nation for the recovery of trafficked adolescents, the FBI said. In 2011, it reported the highest number.


Police ready to interview Shaker Aamer over claims British agent complicit in torture

Shaker AamedScotland Yard detectives are ready to interview the last British resident released from Guantanamo Bay over claims he was subjected to human rights abuses with the complicity of UK officials.

The Metropolitan Police are understood to be prepared to speak to Shaker Aamer following his release from the US detention camp and his return to Britain on Friday.  At the same time Mr Aamer is to be monitored by the security services to assess whether his release poses any threat to national security.


Former Romanian president prosecuted for crimes against humanity

Ielescu to be tried for crimesFormer President Ion Iliescu appeared on Wednesday before Romania's top court, which is prosecuting him for crimes against humanity during a bloody anti-government protest 25 years ago in which six people died and hundreds of others were injured.

Iliescu, 85, went to the High Court of Cassation and Justice on Wednesday to hear charges connected to the violent repression of the protest. He denies wrongdoing but made no statements during the session.


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