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Boko Haram agrees to truce, will free kidnapped Nigerian girls

Boko HaramBoko Haram has agreed to a cease-fire with Nigeria and will release more than 200 girls who were abducted more than six months ago, reports say.

"A cease-fire agreement has been concluded between the federal government of Nigeria and the Njama'atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda'awati wal-Jihad (Boko Haram)," Chief of Defense Staff Air Marshal Alex Badeh said in a statement Friday.

All chiefs are "to comply with the cease-fire agreement between Nigeria and Boko Haram in all theaters of operations," he said.

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U.S. asks to suspend Guantanamo video order

Gitmo tapesThe United States has asked a federal judge to suspend an order releasing videotapes of force-feeding of Guantanamo Bay inmates.

The U.S. Justice Dept. filed the brief Wednesday, requesting Judge Gladys Kessler of the District of Columbia Circuit Court halt plans to release the allegedly graphic tapes, currently under seal, of Abu Wa'el Dhiab, a hunger striker being force-fed his meals. Release of the information would disclose, for the first time, classified information involving Guantanamo Bay prisoners.

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Orphaned by deportation: the crisis of American children left behind

deportation orphansTen-year-old Andrés Jiménez was looking forward to the end of summer. Not because he was particularly eager to return to school, but because the end of summer was meant to be the president’s deadline for taking action on immigration.

But Obama’s deadline came and went, and with it Andrés’s hopes of reuniting his family after his father was wrenched from his life three years ago.

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A Murder Mystery at Guantanamo Bay

GitmoThere’s more of a mystery to how three Guantanamo detainees died on June 10, 2006, than I realized when I described their deaths as suicides in a recent article about force-feeding methods at the notorious US prison. Some very experienced investigators who have examined the evidence suspect the three were victims of homicides amid the torture regime employed by President George W. Bush’s underlings.

Scott Horton, whose upcoming book Lords of Secrecy contains new insights into the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/Tenet go-ahead on torture and other abuses, has supplied me with additional detail highly suggestive of foul play by CIA interrogators.

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Catholic bishops show new tolerance toward gays

Catholic bishopsCatholic bishops expressed unprecedented tolerance toward homosexuality and divorce in a document released Monday, a remarkable shift led by Pope Francis that could end the church's rigid stance on those issues.

The new openness to gay unions, though not gay marriage, is considered groundbreaking by supporters and critics alike. It expands on the tolerant tone Francis struck last year when he said, "Who am I to judge?" whether gay and lesbians could be good Christians.

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UNC legal team, rights advocates take up cause of tortured ex-prisoner

Abou ELKAssim BritelNorth Carolina human rights advocates and a legal team from the University of North Carolina School of Law are pressing for an apology on behalf of a man who was tortured in Pakistani and Moroccan prisons over nine years, and, according to documents, secretly transported by the CIA on a North Carolina-based plane.

“I would like recognition of the injustice I went through,” Abou Elkassim Britel, an Italian of Moroccan descent who lives in Italy, said in an email Friday to McClatchy, written with his wife, Anna. “My honor and my dignity have been violated. I was deprived of family and freedom, or a future and career. I returned home after a 10-year exile with my health and mental state ruined, with no work and with much suffering.”

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U.S. criticized by observer groups for Syrian civilian casualties

syrian civilian casualtiesAir strikes conducted by the U.S. late last month against extremist militant positions in Syria killed several civilians, two observer groups said.

Human Rights Watch reported that American strikes on Sept. 23 in the village of Kafr Deryan in northern Idlib killed seven civilians.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which gathers information from sources on the ground in the war-torn country, said that air strikes by the U.S. against an Islamic State logistics hub in Manbij early last week actually hit a grain silo, killing several civilians.

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