What’s New October 2006

This page lists changes to this site for October 2006.

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The US Senate recently voted in favor of the US Military Commissions Act of 2006 which has alarmed rights groups for being a serious step backwards in human rights. For example, the act strips the right of detainees to habeas corpus (the traditional right of detainees to challenge their detention); gives the US President the power to detain indefinitely anyone—US or foreign nationals, from within the US, and from abroad—it deems to have provided material support to anti-US hostilities, and even use secret and coerced evidence (i.e. through use of torture) to try detainees who will be held in secret US military prisons; gives US officials immunity from prosecution for torturing detainees that were captured before the end of 2005 by US military and CIA. A lot of other power is ceded to the executive branch of the US government, thus eroding fundamental checks and balances to ensure power is not abused.

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A new report by the International Campaign to Ban Landmines shows that the Mine Ban Treaty and the mine ban movement continued to make good progress toward eradicating antipersonnel landmines and saving lives around the world. However, despite an overall reduction in landmine use, there are a number of concerns, such as the reduced funding for mine action, hampering the ability of some poorer nations to tackle the issue effectively. The landmines page has been updated to show a summary of the main findings of the report, together with maps of affected areas, global stockpiles, and production.

Approximately half of all immigrants—some 95 million—are women. 75% of immigrants live in just 28 countries. These and other statistics as well as some background and issues have been added to this immigration section.

A number of articles on the war on terror were reposted on this site. They include some articles looking at the anniversary of September 11 (for it was also the 100th anniversary of Gandhi’s non-violence movement). A few look at the issue of torture and secret prisons: President George Bush claims the US does not do torture, but many say otherwise. Another looks at a controversial “docu-drama” about the 9-11 attacks which included a revised version of what happened, acknowledged by the producers as not being accurate, but was still aired by the likes of ABC and the BBC. Another two look comment on a classified report from the US main intelligence agencies describing the Iraq situation as worsening the war on terror, although the Bush Administration maintains the opposite.

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