News (handpicked)

Life after death row

In 1992 Ray Krone, a former sergeant in the US Air Force, was sentenced to death row for the murder of Kimberly Ancona, a bar manager found stabbed to death in a restaurant near his home in Arizona. Ten years later, after running newly developed DNA tests on the victim's clothes, he was found innocent and freed. Krone was the 100th prisoner in the US to be exonerated from death row. Now a campaigner against the death penalty, he describes the long fight to clear his name

Being arrested was quite a surprise. On the day they found the body, they brought me in to the police station and questioned me for three hours. I told them everything I knew and thought that would be the end of it.

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La UE confirma la salida de las tropas rusas de Georgia



Los observadores se despliegan cerca de Osetia y Abjazia. Los observadores de la Unión Europea han sustituido a los soldados rusos alrededor de Osetia del Sur. Ya no hay carros blindados ni puestos de control con la bandera tricolor de la Federación Rusa en las carreteras semidesiertas sobre las que parecen desplomarse los árboles sobrecargados de fruta olvidada. Por ellas circulan ahora las camionetas acorazadas con la matrícula EUMM (European Union Monitoring Mission) en las que patrullan policías, gendarmes y guardias de diversos países que se comunican entre ellos en inglés y van sin armas para cumplir la misión estrictamente civil de mirar e informar si se verifican las condiciones del acuerdo que a principios de septiembre orquestara el presidente francés Nicolas Sarkozy.

El objetivo del líder de turno de la UE era dar una salida al conflicto que el presidente georgiano, Mijaíl Saakashvili provocó en la noche del siete al ocho agosto al lanzar una ofensiva armada sobre Tsjinvali, la capital de Osetia del Sur, con el objetivo de conquistar por las armas aquella región independentista.

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IRAQ: U.S. Urged to Share More of Refugee Burden

WASHINGTON, Oct 6 (IPS) - Despite a marked increase in the number of Iraqi refugees admitted into the United States, experts on Iraq and human rights and refugee organisations are calling on Washington to open the door wider amid fears that returning home remains dangerous for many displaced Iraqis.

The U.S. government has met its target of admitting 12,000 Iraqi refugees for the 2008 fiscal year, which ended on Sep. 30, and promises to admit more than 17,000 for the next year, in addition to 5,000 under a special visa programme.

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Peruvians defy land grab laws

Riots by indigenous groups in Peru have led to the repeal of controversial land laws, supported by President Alan Garcia, that sought to ease corporate access to the Amazonian jungle. According to two new legal decrees, foreign oil, logging and mining companies could be sold whole swathes of aboriginal territory without first consulting the inhabitants. Saul Puerta Peña, of the Peruvian indigenous association AIDESEP, helped to organise the 14-day protest, which took place in August. He says that while the menace has been driven back there is still a long way to go before the rights of native Peruvians are recognised.

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Robert Fisk: Six years in Guantanamo

Sami al-Haj, an Al Jazeera cameraman, was beaten, abused and humiliated in the name of the war on terror. He tells our correspondent about his struggle to rebuild a shattered life

Sami al-Haj walks with pain on his steel crutch; almost six years in the nightmare of Guantanamo have taken their toll on the Al Jazeera journalist and, now in the safety of a hotel in the small Norwegian town of Lillehammer, he is a figure of both dignity and shame. The mericans told him they were sorry when they eventually freed him this year ­ after the beatings he says he suffered, and the force-feeding, the humiliations and interrogations by British, American and Canadian intelligence officers ­ and now he hopes one day he'll be able to walk without his stick.

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Citing rising terrorism, UN extends Afghan security force for another year

The United Nations Security Council today unanimously extended the mission of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan for another year and called for it to be strengthened in the face of increased violence and terrorism from the Taliban, Al-Qaida and drug smugglers.

ISAF, which now has 47,600 personnel on the ground, was established after United States-led forces ousted the Taliban regime in late 2001 to help the then-interim authorities maintain security across the impoverished nation.

In today’s resolution the 15-member body recognized “the need to further strengthen ISAF to meet all its operational requirements, and in this regard calls upon Member States to contribute personnel, equipment and other resources.”

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At high-level UN forum, leaders pledge to address Africa’s development needs

World leaders meeting at the United Nations today have underscored the urgency of finding solutions to the major challenges facing Africa, and have recommitted themselves to a global partnership to help the continent halve poverty, illiteracy and other socio-economic ills by 2015.

Member States participating in the high-level meeting of the General Assembly on Africa’s development needs also stressed that poverty eradication, particularly in Africa, is the “greatest global challenge facing the world today,” according to a political declaration adopted at the end of the day-long event.

They noted that, despite recent considerable improvements, the full and timely achievement of the global anti-poverty targets that make up the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) “remains elusive.”

While welcoming the commitments made by Africa and its partners so far, participants recommitted themselves to “reinvigorate and strengthen a global partnership of equals… with the explicit objective of turning existing commitments into concrete actions.”

In doing so, they committed to strengthen support for the implementation of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) – the continent’s overarching framework for socio-economic sustainable development.

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Mr. Spagnoli in collaboration with Human Rights Defence

Hand ShakeHuman Rights Defence (HRD) and Filip Spagnoli announced today that they have entered into a broad collaboration agreement in an attempt to further increase publicity and raise further awareness to political and human rights issues worldwide. 

HRD was established in 2005 and went online February 2008; since February the site has received over 7,000 visits and we hope Mr. Spagnolis presence will assist in highlighting human rights issues. Mr. Spagnoli, author of three books, numerous OpEd articles in leading Belgian newspapers and is running both and P.A.P. blog.




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