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Gaza struggles to rebuild under blockade

Gaza rebuildingA U.N. representative urged Israel to lift a blockade around Gaza so humanitarian aid and construction materials can reach the region.

Robert Turner, United Nations Relief and Works Agency director of operations in Gaza, visited the region Thursday and said the strip has been left destitute by Israeli shelling over the course of a two-month conflict.

"We need resources. We need funding to rebuild for both the refugees and the non-refugee families in Gaza," he told Voice of America.


US rendition survivors urge Obama to declassify torture report

Rendition survivorsAbou Elkassim Britel can’t sleep, or he sleeps too much; it varies. He backs out of commitments. The Islamic website he wants to publish from his Italian home remains unfinished.

“I would add,” he said through translation, “that I cannot think of the future.”

The doctors tell Britel that he has post-traumatic stress disorder, after a decade-long ordeal of imprisonment without charge or transfer and abuse. It began in 2002, when the United States packed him onto a contractor’s Gulfstream V in Pakistan and flew him to Morocco.


Seattle protesters aim to block Israeli cargo ship over Gaza siege

Seattle protesters aim to stop Israeli shipPalestinian rights activists in the Seattle area picketed the Port of Tacoma on Monday in an attempt to block a commercial Israeli cargo ship from unloading its merchandise.

The action follows a similar protest last week that managed to prevent the delivery of goods for days from a vessel seeking to dock in Oakland, California.

Block the Boat organizers said the ship, which is owned by Israel's Zim Shipping Services Ltd., one of the world’s largest container shipping companies, was schedule to arrive in the Port of Tacoma on Monday afternoon.


Saudi Arabia beheaded 19 in seven days

Saudis behead 19 Saudi Arabia has executed at least 19 people since August 4, 2014. Local news reports indicate that eight of those executed were convicted of nonviolent offenses, seven for drug smuggling and one for sorcery.

Family members of another man, Hajras bin Saleh al-Qurey, told Human Rights Watch on August 17 that they fear his execution is imminent. The Public Court of Najran, in southern Saudi Arabia, sentenced al-Qurey to death by beheading on January 16, 2013 for allegedly smuggling drugs and attacking a police officer during his arrest.


U.S. Avoided Threat to Act on Israel’s Civilian Targeting

Gaza bombingUnited Nations officials and human rights organisations have characterised Israeli attacks on civilian targets during the IDF war on Gaza as violations of the laws of war.

During the war, Israeli bombardment leveled whole urban neighbourhoods, leaving more than 10,000 houses destroyed and 30,000 damaged and killing 1,300 civilians, according to U.N. data. Israeli forces also struck six schools providing shelter to refugees under U.N. protection, killing at least 47 refugees and wounding more than 340.

But the Barack Obama administration’s public posture during the war signaled to Israel that it would not be held accountable for such violations.


Obama's Pentagon Covered Up War Crimes in Afghanistan, Says Amnesty International

US covered up war crimes in AfghanistanThe human-rights group reports the U.S. military systematically ignored evidence of torture and unlawful killings in Afghanistan as recently as last year.

The U.S. military has systematically covered up or disregarded “abundant and compelling evidence” of war crimes, torture, and unlawful killings in Afghanistan as recently as last year, according to a report by Amnesty International published today in Kabul.

The human rights organization alleges that the U.S. military has routinely failed to properly investigate reports of criminal behavior and, in some instances, tampered with evidence to conceal wrongdoing. On the rare occasions when servicemen are held to account, the report found that the compromised military justice system seldom secured justice for the victims of enforced disappearances, killings, and abuse that included torture.


These Undocumented Teens Outsmarted MIT—and Still Can't Get Real Jobs in America

Beat MIT and get deportedThe film tells the story of four undocumented Mexican teenagers who are members of a robotics club at Carl Hayden High School in the barrio of Phoenix; their parents speak no English, and their own horizons are limited.

With the help of dedicated teachers, they build an underwater robot and enter a grueling collegiate competition held at the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2004. The boys figure they might learn something from the older college-age engineers showing off their robots.


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