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Human Rights Observatory
Saturday, December 15, 2018
Analysts are warning that the jihadi group Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP) in northwestern Syria could pose a danger to Syria’s volatile Idlib province, where efforts continue to keep a fragile Turkey-Russia-brokered cease-fire between Syrian regime forces and the various rebel groups. The TIP declared an Islamic emirate in Idlib in late November and has largely remained off the radar of authorities and the media thanks to its low profile. Founded in 2008 in the northwestern Chinese region... (Full Story)
Saturday, December 15, 2018
Alarmed by the growing popularity of rap among Russian youth, President Vladimir Putin wants cultural leaders to devise a means of controlling, rather than banning, the popular music. Putin says “if it is impossible to stop, then we must lead it and direct it.’’ But Putin said at a St. Petersburg meeting with cultural advisers Saturday that attempts to ban artists from performing will only bolster their popularity. Putin noted that “rap is based on three pillars: sex, drugs and... (Full Story)
Saturday, December 15, 2018
Ukrainian Orthodox leaders on Saturday approved the creation of a unified church independent of the Moscow Patriarchate and elected a leader to head the new church, officials said.    The leader of the new autocephalous Ukrainian Orthodox Church will be Metropolitan Epiphanius, a 39-year-old bishop from the Kyiv Patriarchate.      The vote, which was held Saturday at a closed-door synod in Kiev's St. Sophia Cathedral, is certain to anger... (Full Story)
Saturday, December 15, 2018
The U.S. military said it conducted an airstrike Saturday in Somalia, killing at least eight al-Shabab militants. No civilians were involved in the airstrike near Gandarhse, a coastal area south of Mogadishu, according to the U.S. Africa Command. The military said the strike was conducted in close coordination with the Somalia government to degrade al-Shabab's freedom of movement. So far this year, the U.S. military has conducted at least 40 airstrikes against... (Full Story)
Saturday, December 15, 2018
After two weeks of bruising negotiations, officials from almost 200 countries agreed Saturday on universal, transparent rules that will govern efforts to cut emissions and curb global warming. Fierce disagreements on two other climate issues were kicked down the road for a year to help bridge a chasm of opinions on the best solutions.    The deal agreed upon at U.N. climate talks in Poland enables countries to put into action the principles in the 2015 Paris climate... (Full Story)
Saturday, December 15, 2018
U.S. lawmakers will travel to New Mexico in the coming week as they search for answers about how a 7-year-old Guatemalan girl died while in federal custody.  The Congressional Hispanic Caucus said Friday that it would lead a delegation on Dec. 18 to Lordsburg Station in Lordsburg, N.M., the detention center Jakelin Caal Maquin was en route to, along with her father and scores of other migrants detained with them on the night of Dec. 6, after being taken into custody by U.S.... (Full Story)
Saturday, December 15, 2018
Republican lawmakers have been mostly silent on Friday’s court ruling that the Affordable Care Act, known commonly as Obamacare, is unconstitutional. Democrats, however, have said they’ll hold the GOP to its commitment to retain popular provisions of the law, such as guaranteed coverage for those with pre-existing health conditions.  "The GOP spent all last year pretending to support people with pre-existing conditions while quietly trying to remove that... (Full Story)
Saturday, December 15, 2018
Canada on Friday defended as lawful its detention of a Chinese tech executive that has placed Ottawa at the center of a trade dispute between the U.S. and China. As VOA's Bill Gallo reports, the comments came as China defended its own detention of two Canadian citizens that was widely seen as retaliation. (Full Story)
Saturday, December 15, 2018
Thousands of volunteers braved the rain Saturday for the annual holiday tradition of placing wreaths at the more than quarter-million headstones at Arlington National Cemetery outside Washington.    The event, to honor soldiers who served and died for the country, is planned and coordinated by a group called Wreaths Across America. The organization provides wreaths for individuals and groups to place on graves in more than 1,400 locations in the U.S., including the Arlington... (Full Story)
Saturday, December 15, 2018
U.S. President Donald Trump announced Saturday his scandal-plagued Interior Department secretary, Ryan Zinke, will leave his administration at the end of the year. Zinke's departure was Trump's second high-level personnel announcement in less than a day and the latest in a series of officials to leave the Trump administration under a cloud of controversy. "Ryan has accomplished much during his tenure and I want to thank him for his service to our Nation," Trump wrote... (Full Story)
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