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Human Rights Observatory
Underwater Search for MH370 Halted, With No Trace of Plane
Tuesday, January 17, 2017
The underwater search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 has been suspended, with crews completing their deep-sea search of the Indian Ocean without finding a trace of the airliner "Today the last search vessel has left the underwater search area.  Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has not been located in the 120,000 square-kilometer underwater search area in the southern Indian Ocean," said a statement from the the Joint Agency Coordination Center in Australia, which... (Full Story)
Mounting Frustration in Damascus Amid Widespread Water Cuts
Tuesday, January 17, 2017
Omar Tarshan had never visited any of Syria's famous public baths until three weeks ago, when a water shortage in his Damascus neighborhood forced him to look for an alternative place to shower.   On Monday night, the 25-year-old accountant came with a colleague, Safwat Hariri, to the 1,000-year-old bath house in the old quarter of Damascus — the Hammam al-Malik al Zahir — where each was given two towels, a loofah and a piece of traditional olive oil soap. Minutes later, they... (Full Story)
Saudi Arabia Quietly Spreads its Brand of Puritanical Islam in Indonesia
Tuesday, January 17, 2017
When Ulil Abshar-Abdalla was a teenager in Pati, Central Java, he placed first in an Arabic class held at his local madrasa. The prize was six months of tuition at the Institute for the Study of Islam and Arabic (LIPIA), a Jakarta university founded and funded by the Saudi Arabian government. At the end of six months, LIPIA offered him another six. He stayed on. After that, it offered him four more years of free tuition to obtain a bachelor’s degree in Islamic law, or shariah. He accepted... (Full Story)
Prospect of Warming US-Russia Ties Worries China
Tuesday, January 17, 2017
President-elect Donald Trump's hints ties with Moscow could improve after he assumes office has been a source of controversy and heated debate in the United States. And that is unlikely to go away after his inauguration later this week.   Across the Pacific, in China, it is an increasing source of hand-wringing and worry for Chinese officials because some believe if ties between Russia and the U.S. improve that could only be bad for Beijing.   “In the West, people have been... (Full Story)
Iraqi Forces Push Into IS-held Pocket in Mosul
Tuesday, January 17, 2017
Iraqi special forces pushed into a pocket of Islamic State-held territory in eastern Mosul on Tuesday, the military said, seeking to recapture the remaining districts under the group's control east of the Tigris river. The militants have been driven out of most eastern districts in their Iraqi stronghold in a 3-month-old U.S.-backed campaign. Iraqi troops have seized large areas along the river, which bisects Mosul from north to south. Capture of the entire east bank, which... (Full Story)
Poll: Unlike Trump, Americans Want Strong Environmental Regulator
Tuesday, January 17, 2017
More than 60 percent of Americans would like to see the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's powers preserved or strengthened under incoming President Donald Trump, and the drilling of oil on public lands to hold steady or drop, according to a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll released on Tuesday. The results could foretell stronger-than-expected public opposition to Trump's plans to boost energy development by slashing environmental regulations, an agenda shared by some of his... (Full Story)
Four Gambian Ministers Resign as Neighboring States Prepare to Step in
Tuesday, January 17, 2017
Gambia's ministers of finance, foreign affairs, trade and the environment have resigned from President Yahya Jammeh's government, state television said, as regional forces prepare to oust the veteran leader unless he steps down by Thursday. Jammeh, in power since a 1994 coup, has become increasingly isolated at home and abroad after he refused to accept his Dec. 1 defeat to opposition leader Adama Barrow. The surprise loss was seen as a boost to democracy in the former British... (Full Story)
Islamic Cleric Freed After 9 Months in Israel Prison
Tuesday, January 17, 2017
Israel has released an Islamic cleric from prison after he completed his nine-month prison term. Raed Salah heads the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, a group that Israel accuses of inciting Arabs to violence and outlawed in 2015. He was sentenced for "incitement to violence" and "incitement to racism" in a 2007 sermon and walked free Tuesday.   Salah has had repeated run-ins with Israel and was previously imprisoned for funneling money to... (Full Story)
Ivory Coast Begins Paying Bonuses to Mutinous Soldiers
Tuesday, January 17, 2017
Ivory Coast's government has begun paying bonuses to soldiers who staged a two-day mutiny earlier this month, leaders of the revolt said on Tuesday, in a move aimed at quelling unrest that could undermine the country's post-war success story. Soldiers poured out of their barracks and seized the top cocoa grower's second-largest city, Bouake, on Jan. 6 in an uprising that quickly spread across the West African nation, forcing the government to capitulate to the mutineers'... (Full Story)
Top German Court Refuses to Outlaw Far-right NPD Party
Tuesday, January 17, 2017
Germany's Constitutional Court on Tuesday said the far-right National Democratic Party (NPD) resembled Adolf Hitler's Nazi party, but ruled against banning it because it presented no threat to democracy. Germany's intelligence agency described the NPD as racist and anti-Semitic and the attempt by the country's 16 federal states to outlaw the party came amid rising support for right-wing groups stoked by popular resentment over the influx of migrants. While the court... (Full Story)
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