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Wednesday, Jul 27th

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Gaza war report co-authors reject Goldstone's retraction

Richard GoldstoneThe three co-authors of the damning United Nations report on the 2008-2009 Gaza war rejected on Thursday an op-ed by the fourth member and chairman Richard Goldstone in which he retracted key conclusions of the report – in particular saying that Israel had not intentionally targeted civilians during the war.

In an article in the British daily The Guardian, the three members – the Pakistani human rights lawyer Hina Jilani; Christine Chinkin, professor of international law at the London School of Economics; and former Irish peace-keeper Desmond Travers maintained that the conclusions of the report remain valid despite Goldstone's shift and subsequent calls to retract the report in the UN.

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Aborigines to block uranium mining after Japan disaster

Aborigines to block uranium miningSince Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant began leaking radiation after last month's earthquake and tsunami, those watching with consternation have included the Mirarr Aboriginal people of Australia's Northern Territory, who are determined to limit uranium mining on their land despite the promise of vast riches.

The Mirarr are the traditional owners of land where uranium has been mined for more than 30 years and exported all over the world. Tepco, which operates the Fukushima plant, is a long-standing customer of Ranger, the principal mine.

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UN says Palestinians able to govern own state

UN says Palestinians able to govern own stateThe Palestinian Authority (PA) is ready to run an independent state but will struggle to make further institutional progress due to the restrictions of the Israeli occupation, the UN has said.

Tuesday's report followed equally upbeat assessments of the PA's nation-building achievements released over the past week by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. The postive statements come ahead of a meeting in Brussels on Wednesday of aid donor countries which will review Salam Fayyad's, the Palestinian prime minister, drive to construct the framework of a state by mid-2011.

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WikiLeaks: Great power rivalry at the UN

Lula da SilvaFew would argue that the United Nations Security Council, which has long been dominated by five powers including the United States, China, France, the United Kingdom and Russia, would not benefit from some degree of democratic reform.

Indeed, it can hardly be said that the United Nations, which was originally set up in 1945, truly reflects a more diverse 21st century world. Though ten other nations besides the big five currently serve on the council, they only stay for two years and are relegated to inferior "non-permanent" member status.

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Israeli troops mysteriously get cancer

High occurrence of cancer has been detected in Israel's elite naval commando unit, apparently due to the waste disposal by Israeli firms in Kishon River.

The river, which flows into the Mediterranean Sea in the northern city of Haifa, has been used for training the unit, known as Shayetet 13.

Carmel Olefins Ltd., Israel's sole manufacturer of petrochemical products used in the plastics industry, as well as other firms have been accused of directing their waste into the river, which is notorious for being the most polluted stream in Israel.

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UN Chief: Israel occupation 'morally and politically unsustainable, must end'

UN Chief: Israel occupation 'morally and politically unsustainable, must end'

The UN secretary general called on Israel Wednesday to halt settlement building in occupied territory, and put a stop to all forms of violence and incitement, the UN News Center reported.

Secretary General Ban Ki-moon spoke at the UN Latin American and Caribbean Meeting in Support of Israeli-Palestinian Peace, convened by the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People that opened in Uruguay Wednesday. According to the report, Ban saying said it was a "crucial time" for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

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Pakistan's secret dirty war

Pakistan's secret dirty war

The bodies surface quietly, like corks bobbing up in the dark. They come in twos and threes, a few times a week, dumped on desolate mountains or empty city roads, bearing the scars of great cruelty. Arms and legs are snapped; faces are bruised and swollen.

Flesh is sliced with knives or punctured with drills; genitals are singed with electric prods. In some cases the bodies are unrecognisable, sprinkled with lime or chewed by wild animals. All have a gunshot wound in the head.

This gruesome parade of corpses has been surfacing in Balochistan, Pakistan's largest province, since last July. Several human rights groups, including Amnesty International, have accounted for more than 100 bodies – lawyers, students, taxi drivers, farm workers. Most have been tortured. The last three were discovered on Sunday.

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