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Thursday, Apr 24th

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UN reports North Korea torture camps, calls for criminal probe

N Korea torture campsA United Nations panel released a report Monday saying that "unspeakable atrocities" and crimes against humanity have been committed in North Korea and that the U.N. will call for an international criminal investigation, the most serious attempt yet to probe evidence of grave and systematic rights violations in the authoritarian state.

"The gravity, scale and nature of these violations reveal a state that does not have any parallel in the contemporary world," the U.N. Commission of Inquiry (COI) said in a statement.

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Guantánamo hunger strikers able to challenge force-feeding, court rules

Guantanamo hunger strike rulingHunger-striking detainees in Guantánamo Bay will be able to challenge in federal court the force-feeding to which many are being subjected, a Washington appeals court ruled on Tuesday, though the judges declined to put an immediate end to the practice.

In a split judgment from the US court of appeals for the DC circuit that deals with Guantánamo, the judges ruled by 2-1 to allow detainees to challenge the conditions of their confinement, specifically force-feeding, in habeas corpus petitions to the federal courts. The decision overturns two earlier rulings by separate district judges who had suggested the military commissions in Guantánamo effectively stripped the federal courts of jurisdiction over detainees and their custodial conditions.

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U.N. aid convoy struck in Syria's besieged Homs

Aid convoy hit An aid convoy came under fire in a besieged rebel district of Homs on Saturday, threatening a United Nations-led operation to bring food and medicine to 2,500 people and evacuate civilians trapped by months of fighting in the Syrian city.

The Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) said mortar fire landed close to its convoy and shots were fired at its trucks, wounding one of its drivers.

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Rwanda genocide trial opens in Paris, French first

ruanda genocide trialThe first trial in France over Rwanda's genocide has opened in a Paris court.

Pascal Simbikangwa, a 54-year-old former intelligence chief, faces charges of complicity in genocide and complicity in war crimes. He could face a life sentence if convicted after the seven-week trial.

The case has highlighted criticism of France's own reaction to the genocide a generation ago, and its slow exercise of justice after the slaughter of at least 500,000 people over 100 days.

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PHOTOS: Palestinians establish new protest village in Jordan Valley

Palestinians in Jordan valleySome 300 Palestinian activists descended on a cluster of palm trees and long-abandoned houses north of the Dead Sea on Friday to establish the protest village of ‘Ein Hijleh.’ The aim of the action was to protest demands made by the Israeli government to retain control of the Jordan Valley and other settlements in the midst of current peace negotiations. The action is the first in a campaign of protest villages activists termed ‘Melh Al-Ard’ (Salt of the Earth).

Haaretz reported earlier this month that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he “did not intend to uproot any Israeli citizen” from the West Bank and doubled down on his insistence to hold onto the Jordan Valley amid peace talks brokered by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

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Defense lawyers granted access to Fisa surveillance documents in terror case

Adel DaoudA representative of a criminal defendant has for the first time been granted permission to view evidence gathered against him under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, one of the wellsprings of authority for terrorism surveillance.

Judge Sharon Coleman, a federal district judge in Illinois, issued an order on Wednesday permitting a lawyer for Adel Daoud, who is accused of attempting to detonate a car bomb near a Chicago bar, to learn the origins of the information the FBI or other US authorities collected about him under an order from a secret court that permits surveillance on terrorists or “agents of a foreign power”.

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Nearly 50,000 detainees missing in Damascus

Damascus detainees missingIt was three in the afternoon when Lulu's phone stopped working somewhere in east Damascus near the Air Force Intelligence building, one of Syria's most feared security agencies.

That was last November. The 30-year-old had been shopping in Hamra, a 15-minute drive away. She has yet to come home.

Lulu's disappearance was one of many believed to have occurred in the weeks leading up to the peace talks in Geneva between President Bashar al-Assad's government and members of Syria's political opposition in exile.

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