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Showing posts from November 30, 2014

Marked for deportation, Iraq war resisters fight to stay in Canada

When Rodney Watson was called up by the U.S. army for a second deployment to Iraq in 2006, he made the decision to desert. He now lives in a small room in a church in Vancouver, which immigration officials refrain from entering due to a tradition of sanctuary that dates back to medieval times. Yolande Cole


VANCOUVER, British Columbia — For more than five years, former U.S. soldier Rodney Watson has lived as a prisoner, confined to a church that serves a poor neighborhood here.

Wanted on charges of desertion in the United States and marked for deportation from Canada, he’s invoked the protection of sanctuary. Following a tradition established in medieval times, the Canada Border Services Agency officers have refrained from entering the church. Watson is safe from arrest as long as he stays within its walls.

There are as many as two dozen men and women like Watson living in Canada today. Self-described conscientious objectors or resisters to the 2003 Iraq war, they have applied to Canadian…

Mubarak verdict fuels protests, mockery in Egypt

(Reuters) - Protests erupted at universities across Egypt on Sunday, condemning a court decision to drop criminal charges against Hosni Mubarak, the president whose ouster in the 2011 uprising raised hopes of a new era of political openness.

Hundreds of demonstrators gathered at Cairo University, waving pictures of Mubarak behind bars and demanding the "fall of the regime", the rallying cry of the Arab Spring uprisings that shook governments from Tunisia to the Gulf in 2011.

Police stood ready at the gates to bar students that sought to take their demonstration into the streets.

An Egyptian court on Saturday dropped its case against Mubarak over the killing of protesters in the 2011 uprising that ended his 30-year rule.

The ruling was seen by activists as the latest sign that the rights won during the revolt are being eroded.

Two people were killed and nine were wounded on Saturday evening, when security forces fired tear gas and birdshot to disperse about 1,000 protesters who at…

Qatar runs covert desert training camp for Syrian rebels

(Reuters) - At a desert base, Gulf state Qatar is covertly training moderate Syrian rebels with U.S. help to fight both President Bashar al-Assad and Islamic State and may include more overtly Islamist insurgent groups, sources close to the matter say.

The camp, south of the capital between Saudi Arabia's border and Al Udeid, the largest U.S. air base in the Middle East, is being used to train the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and other moderate rebels, the sources said.

Reuters could not independently identify the participants in the program or witness activity inside the base, which lies in a military zone guarded by Qatari special forces and marked on signposts as a restricted area.

But Syrian rebel sources said training in Qatar has included rebels affiliated to the “Free Syrian Army” from northern Syria.

The sources said the effort had been running for nearly a year, although it was too small to have a significant impact on the battlefield, and some rebels complained of not being taught…