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Monday, Oct 20th

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Robert Parry: Eyes Finally Open to Syrian Realities

AssadIn late summer 2013, Official Washington was rushing to the judgment that the “evil” Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had launched a barrage of missiles tipped with Sarin gas to slaughter hundreds of civilians in rebel-held neighborhoods near Damascus.

It was inconceivable to virtually every person who “mattered” in Washington that there was any other interpretation of the events on Aug. 21, 2013. Washington Post national security columnist David Ignatius even explained the “big picture” reason why President Barack Obama needed to launch punitive bomb strikes against Assad’s government for crossing Obama’s “red line” against using chemical weapons.

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British hostage David Bolam freed in Libya

David bolamBritish teacher David Bolam has been released after being held hostage by militants in Libya since May.

The Foreign Office said Mr Bolam, who teaches at the International School Benghazi, was "safe and well" and had been reunited with his family.

His kidnapping had not been reported at the request of the Foreign Office and his family.

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Jean-Claude ‘Baby Doc’ Duvalier dead at 63

baby Dic Ducalier diesJean-Claude-Duvalier, the self-proclaimed “president for life” of Haiti whose corrupt and brutal regime in the 1970s and 1980s sparked a popular uprising that sent him into a 25-year exile, died Saturday of a heart attack, his lawyer said.

Reynold George said the former leader died at his home. He was 63.

Duvalier, looking somewhat frail, made a surprise return to Haiti in 2011, allowing victims of his regime to pursue legal claims against him and prompting some old allies to rally around him. Neither side gained much support, and the once-feared dictator known as “Baby Doc” spent his late years in relative obscurity in the leafy hills above the Haitian capital.

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ISIS Appears to Behead British Captive Alan Henning

Alan HenningA video has surfaced online that appears to show the beheading of British captive Alan Henning by a purported member of the terror group ISIS, who then threatens the life of an American hostage.

“I am Alan Henning. Because of our Parliament’s decision to attack the Islamic State [ISIS], I, as a member of the British public, will now pay the price for that decision,” Henning says in the video, before his apparent executioner speaks.

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UK Drops Charges Against the War Critic It Jailed for Seven Months

Moazzam Begg freedFormer Guantanamo detainee and War on Terror critic Moazzam Begg, who was arrested on dubious terror charges in February, is once again free. Earlier today, British authorities announced that charges against Begg had been dropped in full, and that he would shortly be released from Belmarsh Prison in London.

In a press statement regarding his release, West Midlands police said that:

New material has recently been disclosed to police and CPS, which has a significant impact on key pieces of evidence that underpinned the prosecution’s case….I understand this is going to raise many questions. However, explaining what this newly revealed information is would mean discussing other aspects of the case which would be unfair and inappropriate as they are no longer going to be tested in court.

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Sweden To Recognize State Of Palestine

Palestinian flagSweden's new center-left government will recognize the state of Palestine in a move that will make it the first major European country to take the step, Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said on Friday.

The U.N. General Assembly approved the de facto recognition of the sovereign state of Palestine in 2012 but the European Union and most EU countries, have yet to give official recognition.

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Hong Kong clashes break out away from Central protest site

Hong KongViolent scuffles broke out in one of Hong Kong's most famous and congested shopping districts on Friday, as hundreds of supporters of Chinese rule stormed tents and ripped down banners belonging to pro-democracy protesters, forcing many to retreat.

As night fell and news of the confrontation spread, more protesters headed for the gritty, bustling district of Mong Kok, considered one of the most crowded places on Earth, to reinforce.

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