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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.

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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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Christian groups break with GOP over Syrian refugees

Christain groups support refugeesFaith-based groups, who play a key role in resettling refugees to the United States, say they are dismayed by the wave of anti-refugee fervor set off by the Paris terrorist attacks and are urging supporters to contact elected officials on behalf of victims of the Syrian civil war.

Evangelical Christians, as well as Christians more broadly, are a core group in the Republican electoral base and are among the most passionate advocates for aiding refugees.

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Israel outlaws Islamic group accused of inciting violence

Israel outlaws Islamic groupIsrael on Tuesday outlawed an Islamist group accused of inciting violence among Arab citizens amid a two-month wave of unrest, and in a separate development approved the construction of hundreds of homes in a Jewish settlement in east Jerusalem.

The decision to ban the group threatened to worsen already strained relations with the country's Arab minority and was condemned by Arab leaders. The granting of final approval for the construction of more than 400 homes in east Jerusalem was likely to anger the Palestinians.

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UAE takes 5 Yemeni detainees freed from Gitmo

Gitmo detaineesFive men who have been held for almost 14 years at the U.S. base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have been released and sent to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the Pentagon said Sunday.

The five Yemeni men were accepted for resettlement in the Persian Gulf nation after U.S. authorities determined they no longer posed a threat, the Defense Department said in a statement.

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Hebron hospital shooting: 'It was unnecessary killing'

Hebron hospital shootingA day after Israeli forces fatally shot 28-year-old Abdullah al-Shalaldeh inside a West Bank hospital, the victim's cousin has also died of wounds inflicted by Israeli forces.

Mahmoud al-Shalaldeh, 18, died on Friday after being shot by an Israeli soldier the previous day during clashes in Hebron, a relative told Al Jazeera.

"The Israelis have committed a crime against this family. It was unnecessary killing," Fatima al-Shalaldeh, a journalist who is distantly related to the victims, told Al Jazeera.

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US guards 'taunt hunger-striking asylum seekers'

Guards taunt hunger strikersA series of mass hunger strikes have rocked for-profit detention centres across the US, as rights groups call for asylum seekers to be released while their cases are pending.  

Hundreds of immigrants, including asylum seekers, have participated in the hunger strikes in California, Texas and Louisiana.  At least 26 asylum seekers are on hunger strike in the Adelanto facility, a for-profit detention centre in southern California.

They are all that remain of an original 90 hunger strikers who launched the collective fast on November 4.

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