News (handpicked)

Chávez Decree Tightens Hold on Intelligence

CARACAS, Venezuela — President Hugo Chávez has used his decree powers to carry out a major overhaul of this country’s intelligence agencies, provoking a fierce backlash here from human rights groups and legal scholars who say the measures will force citizens to inform on one another to avoid prison terms.

Under the new intelligence law, which took effect last week, Venezuela’s two main intelligence services, the DISIP secret police and the DIM military intelligence agency, will be replaced with new agencies, the General Intelligence Office and General Counterintelligence Office, under the control of Mr. Chávez.

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Afghan children paying family debts

Al Jazeera has discovered that thousands of children, some as young as aged four, are being forced to work in brick factories in Afghanistan.

In the Sokhrod district in the east of the country, which is well known for producing bricks, there are about 38 factories and about 2,200 children are believed to be working in them

"I don't want to do this with my life. I want to go to school, but I cannot because I am poor," 10-year-old Shafiq Ola told Al Jazeera.

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Burundi: Release Civilians Detained Without Charge

Burundian police and judicial officials should immediately release the scores of persons still detained solely as suspected members of a movement long opposed to the government, Human Rights Watch said today. They should also instruct security forces to cease such arrests.

More than 300 alleged members of the Party for the Liberation of the Hutu People-National Liberation Forces (Parti pour la Libération du Peuple Hutu-Forces Nationales pour la Libération, Palipehutu-FNL), many of them civilians, have been arrested throughout Burundi since mid-April. Police released 102 detainees on May 29, 2008, in what they called a “gesture of good faith from the government” and said that they may release others soon.

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Food crisis talks set to begin

Envoys from 26 Latin American and Caribbean countries meet on Friday to discuss the rising cost of food and draw up a united policy for the region.

The talks in Caracas, Venezuela, mark the beginning of a week of meetings on the issue, leading up to a three-day UN food crisis summit in Rome on Tuesday.

According to the World Bank, global food prices have risen by 83% over the past three years.

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El debate sobre la inmigración

Francia propone endurecer el control de fronteras y seleccionar extranjeros

El Gobierno francés de Nicolas Sarkozy y el español de José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero llevan cuatro meses estudiando una propuesta común para un pacto europeo sobre inmigración: el borrador es un texto de apenas cinco folios que Francia envió a España en enero y en el que se apuesta por el control estricto de las fronteras y la "selección" de los inmigrantes. También por imponer a los extranjeros un contrato de integración -estarían obligados a aprender el idioma y las costumbres del país- similar al que el PP defendió en España durante la pasada campaña electoral. El PSOE lo rechazó entonces y lo rechaza ahora, según fuentes del Gobierno, que no se pronunciaron sobre el resto del plan Sarkozy.

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US courts 'should try terror cases'

Civilian courts in the US, not military tribunals, should be used to try those facing terrorism charges, according to a report by former federal prosecutors.

In the report released on Wednesday, two former assistant district attorneys said civilian courts would produce reliable, fair results and still protect US national security.

 

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Cluster bomb ban treaty approved

More than 100 nations have reached an agreement on a treaty which would ban current designs of cluster bombs.

Diplomats meeting in Dublin agreed to back an international ban on the use of the controversial weapons following 10 days of talks.

But some of the world's main producers and stockpilers - including the US, Russia and China - oppose the move.

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Amnistía denuncia 60 años de "fracaso" en derechos humanos

El informe de la organización destaca que en 81 países se infligen torturas

Amnistía Internacional denunció ayer "el fracaso de 60 años en derechos humanos". En la presentación del informe anual de este organismo, que controla y denuncia los abusos de países grandes y pequeños, su presidenta, Irene Khan, afirmó que "la injusticia, la desigualdad y la impunidad son hoy las marcas distintivas de nuestro mundo". "Los Gobiernos tienen que actuar ya para acabar con el abismo que separa lo que dicen de lo que hacen", añadió.

El informe destaca que en 81 países se infligen torturas o malos tratos, en 54 hay juicios sin las garantías debidas y en 77 no hay libertad de expresión. Amnistía reprocha a España torturas y malos tratos policiales, abusos en la expulsión de inmigrantes y en especial de menores no acompañados, violencia contra las mujeres, participación en interrogatorios en Guantánamo entre 2002 y 2005 y el corto alcance, pese a "algunas características positivas", de la Ley de Memoria Histórica. Y explica que "tras anunciar el fin del alto el fuego permanente, ETA reanudó los atentados".

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