AP: 13,000 abuse claims in juvie centers

 

COLUMBIA, Miss. – The Columbia Training School – pleasant on the outside, austere on the inside – has been home to 37 of the most troubled young women in Mississippi.
If some of those girls and their advocates are to be believed, it is also a cruel and frightening place.

The school has been sued twice in the past four years. One suit brought by the U.S. Justice Department, which the state settled in 2005, claimed detainees were thrown naked in to cells and forced to eat their own vomit. The second one, brought by eight girls last year, said they were subjected to “horrendous physical and sexual abuse.” Several of the detainees said they were shackled for 12 hours a day.

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Chavez warns of “war” if Colombia strikes Venezuela

(Reuters) – President Hugo Chavez warned Colombia on Saturday it would be a “cause for war” if its forces struck inside Venezuelan territory as they did in Ecuador killing a top Colombian rebel commander there.“Don’t be thinking that you can do that here … because it would be extremely serious and would be a causa belli, a cause for war, (if there is) a military incursion in Venezuelan territory. There’s no excuse,” Chavez said in his most belligerent comments to date in a diplomatic dispute with Bogota.

Colombia’s military said troops killed Raul Reyes, a leader of Marxist FARC rebels, during an attack on a jungle camp in Ecuador in a severe blow to Latin America’s oldest guerrilla insurgency. The operation included air strikes and fighting with rebels across the border.

Chavez has been at odds with U.S.-backed Colombian President Alvaro Uribe over the Venezuelan’s mediation with the FARC, or the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, over the release of hostages held by the rebels.

The outspoken, anti-U.S. Chavez has called Uribe a pawn of the United States in the superpower’s plans to attack Venezuela. Colombia and the United States deny the accusation from Chavez who regularly says without providing evidence that Washington is plotting his ouster.

Chavez has withdrawn his ambassador from Bogota and in recent weeks insulted Uribe during his speeches.

(Reporting by Patricia Rondon; Writing by Saul Hudson; Editing by Peter Cooney)

Source: Reuters

U.N. chief condemns Israel after Gaza clash

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GAZA (Reuters) – U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned Israel for using “excessive” force in the Gaza Strip and demanded a halt to its offensive after troops killed 61 people on the bloodiest day for Palestinians since the 1980s.

Addressing an emergency session of the Security Council in New York after four days of fighting in which 96 Palestinians have been killed, many of them civilians, Ban also called on Gaza’s Islamist militants to stop firing rockets.

The 1.5 million Palestinians crammed into the blockaded, 45 km (30-mile) sliver of coast, enjoyed a relative respite early on Sunday from Israeli air strikes and raids. Two Israeli soldiers died in a ground assault on Saturday. An Israeli civilian was killed by a rocket in a border town on Wednesday.

“While recognising Israel’s right to defend itself, I condemn the disproportionate and excessive use of force that has killed and injured so many civilians, including children … I call on Israel to cease such attacks,” said Ban.

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China considers changing one-child policy

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BEIJING (AP) — China may consider changing its one-child policy because it has succeeded in helping to slow population growth in the past three decades, a Chinese official said Sunday.

The policy, launched in the 1970s, has produced “very good results,” said Wu Jianmin spokesman for the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, an advisory body to parliament.

There would be an estimated 400 million more people in China without it, Wu said.

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Pentagon to test invisible gases in Crystal City

WASHINGTON (Map, News) – The Pentagon is scheduled to release an odorless, invisible, and yes, harmless, gases into the city Thursday to test how quickly they spread through buildings, officials said.The test is part of the military’s national security preparation for the capital area.

Over the past few years, the defense agency has worked with Arlington County to set up chemical sensors throughout the county, where thousands of defense employees work in leased office space.

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Armenia declares Marshal Law

Armenia declares emergency ruleA state of emergency has been declared in Armenia’s capital on the 11the consecutive day of protests against an allegedly rigged presidential election.

The measure, signed by President Robert Kocharian, bans public gatherings and imposes restrictions on media reports.

It came after police fired in the air to disperse demonstrators. Some reports suggest a number of casualties.

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Police in riot gear were out in large numbers

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Iraq war may cost US USD 7 trillion

Noble Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz estimates that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan may cost the US up to USD 7 trillion.When US troops invaded Iraq in March 2003, the Bush administration predicted that the war would be self-financing and that rebuilding the nation would cost less than USD 2b, but Stiglitz estimates that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are costing America more than USD 3 trillion.

That estimate from the Noble Prize-winning Sttiglitz also serves as the title of his new book, “The Three Trillion Dollar War”, which hits store shelves Friday.

The book, co-authored with Harvard University professor Linda Bilmes, builds on previous research that was published in January 2006. The two argued then and now that the cost to America of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is wildly underestimated.

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Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes

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Large Number of Beijing Falun Gong Practitioners Arrested Before Olympics

According to sources from Beijing, from the end of 2007 to early this year, at least 100 Falun Gong practitioners with confirmed names (oftentimes practitioners do not reveal their true identity to protect family, friends and colleagues) have been arrested in Beijing.Some were immediately sentenced to eight months in prison. It is believed to be a new round of suppression by the Chinese Communist Party before the next session of the National Congress in March and the Olympics in August 2008.

A Beijing Falun Gong practitioner, Li Qingyun (alias) said, in an interview with The Epoch Times that since the end of 2007 he has known of more than 10 Falun Gong practitioners being arrested.

According to data from the Falun Gong website Minghui.net, since the end of last year at least 100 Falun Gong practitioners have been secretly arrested in Beijing. According to the latest news from Beijing, there were over 40 arrests between Jan. 23 and 25.

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Chinese paramilitary policemen patrol near the Olympic countdown clock showing less than 6 months to go for the up coming Beijing Olympic Games at Tiananmen Square in Beijing on February 18, 2008. According to sources, a large numbers of Beijing Falun Gong practitioners have been arrested before the Olympics. (Teh Eng Koon/AFP/Getty Images)

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China speeds pace of military buildup

China is speeding up its military buildup and developing high-technology forces for waging wars beyond Taiwan, according to the Pentagon’s annual report on Chinese military power.“The pace and scope of China’s military transformation have increased in recent years, fueled by acquisition of advanced foreign weapons, continued high rates of investment in its domestic defense and science and technology industries, and far-reaching organizational and doctrinal reforms of the armed forces,” the report states.

The report also warned that China’s expanding military forces “are changing East Asian military balances; improvements in China’s strategic capabilities have implications beyond the Asia-Pacific region.”

Read moreChina speeds pace of military buildup