North America

Citing Health Risks, Cuomo Bans Fracking in New York State

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Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s administration announced on Wednesday that it would ban hydraulic fracturing in New York State because of concerns over health risks, ending years of debate over a method of extracting natural gas. The New York Times – THOMAS KAPLAN  Fracking, as it is known, was heavily promoted as a source of economic revival for depressed communities along New ... Read More »

New Documents Show the US Called Waterboarding Torture During World War II

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When Japanese soldiers did it to GIs, the United States prosecuted them for war crimes. Mother Jones – Luke Whelan * Decades before it started waterboarding terrorism suspects, the US government had dramatically different standards for what it considered torture, particularly when it was being done to our soldiers in World War II. Recently released documents detail how the the United States ... Read More »

Historic breakthrough in US-Cuba relations

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WASHINGTON – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet The United States and Cuba made a historic breakthrough in their Cold War stand-off Wednesday, moving to revive diplomatic ties and launch measures to ease a five-decade US trade embargo. In the wake of a prisoner exchange, President Barack Obama said the United States was ready to review trade ties and to re-open its embassy in ... Read More »

Judge throws out teen’s murder conviction 70 years after his execution

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When George Stinney Jr. was executed for the killings of two white girls in 1944, he was so small that the straps of South Carolina’s electric chairdidn’t fit him properly, and he had to sit on a book for his electrocution. The Washington Post – Sarah Larimer * Stinney was just 14 years old at the time and became the youngest person ... Read More »

Handwriting vs typing: is the pen still mightier than the keyboard?

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Computers may dominate our lives, but mastery of penmanship brings us important cognitive benefits, research suggests The Guardian – Anne Chemin In the past few days you may well have scribbled out a shopping list on the back of an envelope or stuck a Post-it on your desk. Perhaps you added a comment to your child’s report book or made a ... Read More »

The Council on Foreign Relations Honors Kissinger Critic

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CFR named Gary J. Bass’s The Blood Telegram the best book on international relations of 2014. The National Interest – Zachary Keck On November 4, Richard Haass, the president of the Council on Foreign Relations, hosted Henry Kissinger as the final speaker in a series of day-long panels looking at the history of the Cold War. Haass said that in havingKissinger as ... Read More »

Dick Cheney insists ‘rectal feeding’ was for medical reasons, not torture in defence of CIA

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Dick Cheney, the former US vice-president who was at the forefront of the post-9/11 push towards aggressive interrogation techniques since denounced as torture, has defended the use of “rectal feeding” of terror suspects, claiming it was done for “medical reasons”. The Guardian – Ed Pilkington in New York Dick Cheney Refuses to Call Forced Rectal Feeding Torture – ABC.News Former US vice-president ... Read More »

Now put Blair and Straw on trial for torture, says diplomat who was fired when he warned Labour Government of UK collusion with US abuse

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In the summer of 2004, I warned Tony Blair’s Foreign Office that Britain was using intelligence material which had been obtained by the CIA under torture. Daily Mail – By Craig Murray, Former British Ambassador To Uzbekistan Two months later I was sacked as the British Ambassador to Uzbekistan on the orders of Downing Street, bringing to an end my 20-year ... Read More »

Churchill’s point reinforced by release of torture report

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Torture, Sir Winston Churchill observed in The World Crisis,  is, like cannibalism, an expedient of “doubtful utility”. The Canberra Times – Editorial His point has been soundly reinforced by the release of, and subsequent debate over, a US Senate report on CIA interrogation and detention programs in the wake of the September 11 attacks. While the extent of the abuses, ... Read More »

The road from torture to shame

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Learned helplessness. The phrase has a benign harmlessness to it, yet it has come into focus this past week in the most depraved sense. That is, of torture. The Age – Editorial  Last Tuesday, the veil was lifted on a recent episode in American history that brings neither glory, honour nor vindication. The report – or more precisely the 500-page ... Read More »