'Classic intimidation'—Black Lives Matter activists targeted by FBI ahead of RNC

Baton Rouge, Louisiana, July 10, 2016. REUTERS

The Republican National Convention kicks off this Sunday in Cleveland, Ohio. Most of the highest-profile activists associated with the Black Lives Matter movement are not planning to attend, but that didn't stop FBI agents from contacting them by phone, and showing up at their homes to interrogate them and their grandmothers.

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#BlackLivesMatter: 10 iconic photos from a week of protests throughout the U.S.

A man protesting the police shooting death of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, July 9. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman

Photographers covering the black human rights protests throughout the U.S. this weekend produced powerful and iconic images that are now spreading worldwide on social media, often without credit. Here are 10 photos from photograpers with the Reuters news agency over the past few days of demonstrations against the killing of people of color by police.

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Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, Nobel prize laureate and author, dead at 87

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Elie Wiesel was a Holocaust survivor, Nobel Peace Prize winner, a prolific author, and an outspoken activist for peace and human rights. He died Saturday, at 87 years old.

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U.S. military ends trans ban

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter addresses reporters at the Pentagon. REUTERS
The Pentagon today ended its ban on transgender people serving in the U.S. military. The historic announcement formally removes some of the risks faced by an estimated thousands of U.S. troops, who could have been expelled from the armed forces because of their gender identity. Trans people who serve in the armed forces still have harassment, sexual violence, physical assault, and prejudice to face, but the hatred and sickness no longer has a Pentagon directive to hid behind.

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Venezuela takes two of our own as political prisoners. Help us free them.

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro at a military parade.  June 24, 2016. REUTERS

This past Sunday, two opposition political activists in Venezuela were arrested and detained as political prisoners. They're politically active nerds who write about what they believe, who were helping to register voters when they were 'disappeared' by the military. They're people just like us who deserve to be free.

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US Customs and Border Protection wants to ask for your "online presence" at the border

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The week, the US CBP published a notice in the Federal Register proposing a change to the Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record paperwork that visitors to the US fill out when they cross the border, in which they announce plans to ask travellers to "please enter information associated with your online presence." Read the rest

Rio: your quadrennial reminder that the Olympics colonize host-states with Orwellian surveillance and human rights abuses

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Remember in 1988, when South Korea's military dictator created slave-labor camps and kidnapped thousands of homeless children to work in them? Read the rest

Rapist Brock Turner texted pals photos of victim's breasts

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Newly released court documents show that Brock Turner, the former Stanford student convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman outside of a frat house, behaved in an “aggressive” and predatory way towards other women just one week before the attack.

The 471 pages of documents released Friday by the Santa Clara County Superior Court show that Turner lied to investigators about having no experience with using drugs and alcohol before college.

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Philippines' new "dictator" will give a hero's burial to Ferdinand Marcos

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Rodrigo Duterte is the new president of the Philippines: he ran on a promise to be a "dictator" and endorsed execution by vigilante death-squad as a way of combating crime; now he's announced that he will give a hero's burial to the embalmed corpse of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos, who committed mass-scale human rights abuses and embezzled $10B from the national treasury. Read the rest

United Nations reminds members including U.S. to not bomb hospitals and kill doctors please

Burnt vehicles in front of a hospital hit by airstrikes in rebel-held Aleppo. Reuters

The United Nations Security Council recently passed a resolution reminding members that intentional attacks on medical facilities are war crimes.

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Edward Snowden on the accelerating pace of whistleblowing, and what it means for state secrecy

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After Daniel Ellsberg's astonishingly courageous release of the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times, he waited 40 years to meet someone like Edward Snowden or Chelsea Manning, someone else inside who risked everything to expose the wrongdoing they had sworn to oppose. Read the rest

Riot Control Robot Unveiled in China Looks Ominously Like a 'Doctor Who' Dalek, May In Fact Be One

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“China's first intelligent security robot debuts in Chongqing,” reads the headline in the Chinese Communist Party official newspaper People's Daily. The riot control robot has a name, “AnBot,” and it's freaking everyone out even more than your regular garden variety riot control robots because the damn thing looks like a Dalek from Doctor Who. And nothing good comes from a Dalek.

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Before 1988 Olympics, South Korea sent 'vagrants' to camps where rape and murder were routine

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In the runup to the 1988 Olympics, the South Korean government ordered Seoul's "vagrants" to be cleared from the street. Thousands of people, many of them small children, were sent to a "welfare facility" called "Brothers Home," where they were subject to vicious, often fatal beatings and routine rape. The order to round up the vagrants came from then-President Park Chung-hee (father of current President Park Geun-hye) whose successor, President Chun Doo-hwan, suppressed any investigation into the atrocities. Read the rest

Hacking Team supplied cyber-weapons to corrupt Latin American governments for human rights abuses

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In Hacking Team Malware Para La Vigilancia en América Latina, a new report from Derechos Digitales, we learn how Hacking Team, the hacked-and-disgraced cyber-arms dealer (previously) supplied weapons to corrupt state actors in latinamerica who used them to spy on political opposition, journalists and academics. Read the rest

Hong Kong's dissident publishing workers are disappearing, possibly kidnapped to mainland

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Five employees of the publisher Mighty Current and its retail arm, Causeway Bay Bookstore, have disappeared from Hong Kong, and pro-democracy leaders say that they were kidnapped to the mainland by PRC security forces in retaliation for publishing books critical of the Chinese government. Read the rest

As jury deliberates in Freddie Gray death trial, Baltimore schools warn students not to protest

Police clashed with protesters near Mondawmin Mall after Freddie Gray's funeral. [Reuters]

Jurors in Baltimore, Maryland are now deliberating whether a police officer is guilty of manslaughter and assault in the death of Freddie Gray, a black man who died from a spinal cord injury that took place while he was in police custody last April. We know about Gray's death in part because someone took video of his arrest. His family says the police killed him, and it's hard to imagine they're wrong.

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Syria secretly sentenced free software developer Bassel Khartabil to death

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Khartabil has been imprisoned in a Syria's Adra Prison since 2012, though as of October, he has been transferred to an undisclosed location. The free software/open culture activist was the lead for Creative Commons Syria and has contributed to Wikipedia, Firefox and many other projects. Read the rest

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