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10 dead, 7 hurt in Oregon community college shooting

10 dead, 7 hurt in Oregon community college shooting


A gunman opened fire at an Oregon community college Thursday. The rampage left ten dead, including the shooter, and seven people hurt. The gunman died during a shootout with police, authorities said. The shooting happened at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, about 180 miles south of Portland.

Officials have identified the shooter as 26-year-old Chris Harper Mercer.   

Authorities offered no immediate word on the gunman's motive and said they were investigating.

Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin said the gunman was killed in an exchange of gunfire with officers. The sheriff did not say whether the shooter was killed by officers or took his own life.

"We locked our door, and I went out to lock up the restrooms and could hear four shots from the front of campus," UCC Foundation Executive Director Dennis O'Neill told the Roseburg News-Review.

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Gandhi’s dedication to non-violence still remains example for all – UN chief

Gandhi’s dedication to non-violence still remains example for all – UN chief

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called for a renewal of the commitment to non-violence and lives of dignity for all, noting that the example set by Indian independence leader Mahatma Gandhi is relevant now as it has ever been. “Today, at a time of escalating conflicts, rising extremism, massive displacement and rapidly growing humanitarian need, Mahatma Gandhi’s dedication to non-violence remains an example for us all,” Mr. Ban said at a special event held at UN Headquarters to mark the International Day of Non-Violence.

“The Day is observed annually on 2 October, the birthday of Mr. Gandhi, who pioneered the philosophy and strategy of non-violence.

"Gandhi proved that non-violence – the principle and the practice – can change history,” Mr. Ban noted. “His mass campaigns of non-violent civil disobedience helped pave the way for the independence of India, and have inspired countless movements for change across the world.”

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Georgia executes a woman for the first time in 70 years

Georgia executes a woman for the first time in 70 years

The first woman executed in Georgia in 70 years cried and sang "Amazing Grace" before she died early Wednesday, according to a witness, following pleas by the pope and her children for her life to be spared. Kelly Gissendaner, 47, died by injection at 12:21 a.m. EDT at Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson, a prison spokeswoman said.

Gissendaner had been the lone woman on Georgia's death row after being sentenced for plotting the killing of her husband, Douglas, in 1997.

In the execution chamber, Gissendaner prayed and called her former husband an "amazing man who died because of me," according to television reporter Jeff Hullinger, who witnessed the injection.

Gissendaner was the 16th woman executed in the United States since the Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976.

Pope Francis, who concluded a six-day U.S. trip on Sunday and is an outspoken opponent of the death penalty, had urged officials to commute Gissendaner's death sentence.

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Saudi Arabia Accused Of Neglect Over Deadly Disaster At Hajj

Saudi Arabia faced new accusations of neglect Friday in the hajj disaster that killed over 700 people, the second tragedy at this year’s pilgrimage overseen by the kingdom’s rulers who base their legitimacy in part on protecting Islam’s holiest sites. Leading the criticism was regional Shiite powerhouse Iran, which always seeks an opportunity to undermine its Sunni adversary.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said in New York that at least 140 Iranians were killed. He suggested that “ineptitude” by the Saudi authorities involved in organizing the hajj was to blame for the two accidents this month that have resulted in at least 830 deaths.

In Tehran, the Iranian Foreign Ministry summoned a Saudi envoy for the second time in as many days to hear protests over the incident, a vice president blamed Saudi “mismanagement,” and thousands marched in the streets and denounced the Saudi royal family.

Saudi Arabia has spent billions of dollars and undertaken massive construction projects to make the annual hajj safer for the world’s Muslims, and the last serious loss of life had occurred nine years ago.

In the worst hajj disaster in a quarter century, two huge waves of pilgrims converged Thursday on a street near a religious site in Mina, and 719 people were crushed or trampled to death, while 863 were injured. That followed an accident Sept. 11 in which a storm toppled a crane at the Grand Mosque in Mecca that killed 111 people.

While Saudi authorities are still investigating Thursday’s accident, Health Minister Khalid al-Falih has blamed it on the masses themselves, telling a Saudi broadcaster that “some pilgrims had moved in the wrong direction amid the crowds.”

But a survivor who spoke to The Associated Press said some Saudi guards only exacerbated the stampede at Mina by refusing to open nearby gates that could have relieved the crush.

The street where the incident took place is about 12 meters (36 feet) wide and lined with barricades, behind which are tents of hajj tour groups. Pilgrims move in one direction to and from a religious complex, where they throw stones at pillars representing the devil. On Thursday, the crowds apparently collided with each other at an intersection, the Interior Ministry said.

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Dispatches: US Gives Brushoff to Women and Girls Raped in War

Dispatches: US Gives Brushoff to Women and Girls Raped in War

The United States plays a critical role in protecting the human rights of women and girls affected by war by raising concerns internationally and funding programs that aid sexual violence survivors. But – and it’s a very big but – the 1973 Helms amendment to the US Foreign Assistance Act undermines much of this important work. Yesterday, instead of choosing to reinterpret the amendment in a manner protective of women’s rights, the US government said it will stand by the law, as is.

It’s a reality that some women and girls subjected to rape in conflict become pregnant by their perpetrators. Healthcare providers funded by the US are limited in how they can help these rape survivors because the Helms amendment prohibits the use of US funding for abortion “as a method of family planning.” This has been interpreted to prohibit abortion even in the case of rape.

Concerns about the detrimental impact of the Helms amendment on rape in conflict are regularly raised by humanitarian organizations, including by the service providers who struggle to give rape survivors the care they need.

Governments at the United Nations Human Rights Council recently raised this concern during the review of the US human rights record. The Netherlands, United Kingdom, and Belgium, among others, encouraged the US to clarify that the Helms amendment, in its implementation, should recognize that women and girls raped in conflict are not seeking to use abortions as family planning. This would allow US funding to support a comprehensive package of health care for women and girls in the aftermath of wartime rape, including abortions for those who need or choose this option.

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Israel nuclear arsenal poses threat to entire world

Israel nuclear arsenal poses threat to entire world

Press TV has conducted an interview with Richard Silverstein, journalist and political commentator from Seattle, for his take on the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) failure to adopt a resolution against Israel's nuclear activities.The following is a rough transcription of the interview.

- Why is Israel's nuclear arsenal never the subject of investigation?

Silverstein: Well I think that the arsenal is well known to many people around the world and to scholars and analysts so it is only a secret to people who do not want to know about it. But I was aghast that this vote at the IAEA added support for the opposition to the resolution by the European Union nations and the United States and many Western countries, it seems to me to be the height of hypocrisy to be claiming that Iran is a violator of nuclear safeguards when Israel is actually the one who has at least 200 nuclear warheads and is a real concrete danger to peace and stability in the region.

When Iran is a member of NPT and is agreeing to the nuclear deal that has just been approved by the US Senate, so that seems to me the height of hypocrisy.

- Of course the fact that Israel’s nuclear arsenal upsets the military balance in the Middle East calls into question of the very fact that: Will Israel ever use its nuclear weapons?

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UNHCR urges Europe to change course on refugee crisis

UNHCR urges Europe to change course on refugee crisis

UNHCR reiterates its deep conviction that only a united European emergency response can address the present refugee and migration crisis. Individual measures by individual countries will not solve the problem but will make an already chaotic situation worse, further the suffering of people and increase tension amongst states at a time when Europe needs more solidarity and trust.

UNHCR is particularly concerned about a series of restrictive measures recently introduced by Hungary and the way they are being implemented, resulting in extremely limited access for refugees at the border. New legislation includes deterrence measures, some contrary to international law and European jurisprudence when applied to asylum-seekers and refugees.

"UNHCR reiterates its call on the the Hungarian authorities to ensure unimpeded access for people in need of protection in line with its legal and moral obligations,"the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, said today. "States should manage their borders in a way that is consistent with International and EU Law, including guaranteeing the right to seek asylum," Guterres added.

Reports indicate that only a few asylum-seekers have been allowed to enter Hungary through the official border crossing point. UNHCR was especially shocked and saddened to witness Syrian refugees, including families with children who have already suffered so much, being prevented from entering the EU with water cannons and tear gas.

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American Police Have Killed 700 People So Far in 2015

American Police Have Killed 700 People So Far in 2015

Over the summer, the Guardian predicted that American police will kill 1,100 people this year. So far, officers have killed 700 and are on pace to reach that abysmal prediction. In 2015, police officers in America have killed 703 citizens, 26 of which were black and unarmed. Although the majority of the 703 people killed were armed or posed a legitimate threat, the more alarming number is 65. That’s the total number of unarmed people that police have killed this year.

These numbers are likely skewed, however. Federal law doesn’t require police departments to deliver reports of shooting incidents involving police officers. They are submitted voluntarily, and the departments likely cherry-pick which incidents they submit to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Since 1976, the FBI hasn’t recorded more than 460 per year.

News outlets like the Washington Post and the Guardian have been keeping track of police shootings via public documents, local news reports, and original reporting. This method has proven to be more accurate. Just within the first six months of 2015, 463 people were killed, already meeting the highest number the FBI has reported since the 70s.

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Refugees scramble for ways into Europe as Hungary seals borders

Refugees scramble for ways into Europe as Hungary seals borders

For a few fleeting minutes, there was some humanity in the darkness. It had turned midnight on the Serbian side of the Hungarian border, the time that Hungary had said it would close its borders for the final time to refugees. A fortified border fence had finally been finished. At the fence’s weakest point, where refugees had for weeks walked into Hungary along a set of disused railway tracks, police had blocked the way with the carriage of a freight train.

Yet even after the clock struck 12, Hungary seemed to soften, letting a few hundred stragglers enter its territory via a legal foot-crossing that lies in Horgoš, a mile to the west of those train tracks. At 10 minutes past midnight, there were still families running, limping and panting up the road that leads to the border gate. More than 160,000 people had crossed this line so far this year and no one wanted to be the first to be turned away.

“I’m hoping, hoping, hoping,” said Badr, a 47-year-old Syrian engineer, as he neared the final stretch. “We lost everything in Syria – homes, friends, and family. We need to pass through this border.”

So began a day in which Fortress Europe began to pull up the few drawbridges still open. First Hungary blocked its southern border with Serbia, putting into action its much-heralded fence, declaring a state of emergency in two southern counties, and arresting dozens of people for attempting to cross the border under new laws unveiled last week by the prime minister, Viktor Orbán.

Next Hungary announced plans to seal its border with Romania, a move denounced as “not a fair gesture” by the foreign ministry in Bucharest. Then Serbia warned it could not become the dumping ground for Europe’s refugees – or, as its foreign minister put it, “a collection centre”. And finally Austria introduced security checks along its border with Hungary, a measure it said could be extended to those with Slovenia, Italy and Slovakia if needed.

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Government invites regimes with ‘appalling’ human rights records to London arms fair

Government invites regimes with 'appalling' human rights records to London arms fair

Regimes criticised for “appalling” human rights records have been extended official invitations by the Government to attend the world’s largest arms and security fair in London, The Independent can reveal. The list of countries invited by UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) to attend the Defence and Security Equipment International Exhibition (DSEI) exhibition next includes countries criticised by campaigners for gross infringements of civil liberties, including Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Egypt and Thailand.

The invitation to Azerbaijan has been made despite a rebuke from a Government minister over its draconian imprisonment of a journalist for “questionable allegations”. Foreign Office minister David Lidington said Britain “will take every opportunity to raise concerns over human rights” in the country.

Three countries asked to send a high-level delegation to DSEI - Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Colombia - also feature on the Foreign Office’s own list of “countries of concern” in the implementation of human rights for their citizens.

DSEI, which is held every two years in London’s Docklands, is billed as the largest event of its type in the world. Some 150 foreign government delegations are due to attend the exhibition next week in the ExCel centre, including some 2,800 VIPs ranging from senior generals to defence ministers.

Defence manufacturers from around the world attend the event but it is also a global showcase for British-made military and security hardware with the aiming of boosting exports for the UK’s burgeoning defence sector.

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