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UN’s Ban Ki-Moon decries Balkan refugee restrictions

UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon has spoken out against filtering asylum-seekers by nationality, claiming that the procedure "infringes" on their rights. Several Balkan states are only accepting migrants from war-zones. EU member Slovenia recently decided to allow entry only to migrants from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, prompting Serbia and Macedonia to do the same. Croatia, another EU country on the so-called Balkan route, is also allowing in refugees from Palestine. The UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon "expresses his serious concerns on the recent border restrictions imposed by a number of states in the Balkans," the UN said in a statement on Tuesday. "Profiling asylum seekers on the basis of their alleged nationality infringes the human right of all people to seek asylum, irrespective of their nationality and to have their individual cases heard," it added. Respond with 'compassion' The measures introduced last week come after months of Europe-wide bickering on the response to the refugee crisis, with thousands of refugees entering the EU every day. Refugees from Iran, Bangladesh, Pakistanis and various African countries have been among those influenced by the recent decision. The UN head also urged European governments to boost their capacities to receive and relocate refugees. Ban called on authorities "to respond with compassion, solidarity and shared responsibility," and to ensure that their policies on screening refugees adhere to international regulations, his spokesman Stephane Dujarric said. The head of the global organization also stressed that collective expulsion and return of asylum seekers were strictly prohibited under international law.

UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon has spoken out against filtering asylum-seekers by nationality, claiming that the procedure “infringes” on their rights. Several Balkan states are only accepting migrants from war-zones. EU member Slovenia recently decided to allow entry only to migrants from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, prompting Serbia and Macedonia to do the same. Croatia, another EU country on the ... Read More »

Yahoo shuts out email users who block ads

Tech giant Yahoo has elicited ire from some of its American users after they found they could not access their email accounts. The company was reportedly testing a new feature barring users who have 'ad block' software. Yahoo had the internet in an outrage on Monday following the revelation that while implementing a "test," users who have ad block software installed in their browsers had been unable to access their email accounts for several days. Angry users took to Twitter to vent their frustration: According to an article on Yahoo's own finance news site, the tech company was "taking a stand" against some of its US users who employ ad blockers on the ad-supported site by testing a feature that prevents these users from accessing their account until they turn the software off. In a statement to the technology news platform Endgadget, a spokesman for Yahoo offered only this in response: "At Yahoo, we are continually developing and testing new product experiences. This is a test we're running for a small number of Yahoo Mail users in the US." Endgadget also reported the somewhat ironic tweet from Andrei Herasimchuk, who as Yahoo's one-time Senior Director of Product Design was instrumental in retooling the company's email service: Complaints about the ad block lock-out seemed to pertain only to those using Chrome and Firefox, with Yahoo mail users saying they could access their accounts on other browsers. Yahoo joins a growing list of websites fighting back against ad block software as they depend on revenue from advertisements to finance their operations. Internet users attempting to acess the Washington Post's website while using the software in September discovered that they were barred from viewing the site and redirected to a subscription page or told to enter their email address to unlock the article they wanted to read.

Tech giant Yahoo has elicited ire from some of its American users after they found they could not access their email accounts. The company was reportedly testing a new feature barring users who have ‘ad block’ software. Yahoo had the internet in an outrage on Monday following the revelation that while implementing a “test,” users who have ad block software ... Read More »

Scores killed in Myanmar jade mine landslide

A landslide near a jade mine in Myanmar has killed at least 100 people. More than 100 are still missing. Victims were thought to have been scavenging through mining waste to make a modest living. Most of the missing after a landslide in Myanmar are villagers who were sifting through a mountain of tailings and waste, a local community leader said on Sunday. At least 100 people died in the landslide, according to officials. Lamai Gum Ja, a community leader and businessman, said the slide occurred Saturday afternoon in Hpakant in Kachin state. It crushed dozens of huts clustered on the barren landscape, where an unknown number of itinerant workers had made their homes. Informal miners put themselves at risk and often lose their lives digging through scraps from the giant mines. "Large companies, many of them owned by families of former generals, army companies, cronies and drug lords are making tens or hundreds of millions of dollars a year through their plunder of Hpakant," said Mike Davis of Global Witness, a group that investigates the misuse of revenue from natural resources. He said "scores of people at a time are buried alive in landslides." Parts of Myanmar and the surrounding region are home to some of the world's highest quality jade, sales of which brings in billions of dollars a year. Hpakant, which is the epicenter of the country's jade boom, remains desperately poor. Local people complain of various abuses associated with the mining industry, including the frequency of accidents and land confiscations. Industrial-scale mining by big companies made Hpakant "a dystopian wasteland where locals are literally having the ground cut from under their feet," said Mike Davis. He called on firms to be held accountable for accidents.

A landslide near a jade mine in Myanmar has killed at least 100 people. More than 100 are still missing. Victims were thought to have been scavenging through mining waste to make a modest living. Most of the missing after a landslide in Myanmar are villagers who were sifting through a mountain of tailings and waste, a local community leader ... Read More »

Indian court overturns Greenpeace operating ban

A court in India has temporarily suspended an order cancelling Greenpeace India's operating license. The environmental organization is now not obliged to close in 30 days. The Madras High Court in Chennai on Friday saved Greenpeace from losing its right to operate in the country by suspending a government order, said the environmental organization. The Indian government had revoked the NGO's license to operate in the country by claiming it had massaged its accounts. The government's allegations were "ridiculous," said Greenpeace activist Priya Pillai in a statement. All donations were published on the NGO's website for everyone to see. According to Pillai, the Interior Ministry in New Delhi was trying to limit freedom of speech. In a leaked secret service report, the Indian government believed that NGOs like Greenpeace were harming the country's economic development as they were opposed to industrial and infrastructure projects. Over the past year and a half, courts in India have decided six times in favor of Greenpeace. The organization had never stopped working in India, according to Greenpeace activist Hozefa Merchant.

A court in India has temporarily suspended an order cancelling Greenpeace India’s operating license. The environmental organization is now not obliged to close in 30 days. The Madras High Court in Chennai on Friday saved Greenpeace from losing its right to operate in the country by suspending a government order, said the environmental organization. The Indian government had revoked the ... Read More »

Sieren’s China: Terrorism is the ‘enemy of humanity’

"Islamic State" militants have killed a Chinese national for the first time. Beijing has reacted - but not with military force in Syria, writes DW's Frank Sieren. On Thursday, the noon edition of China's state CCTV channel announced the death of Chinese national Fan Jinghui and Norway's Ole Johan Grimsgaard-Ofstad. Both fell into the hands of "Islamic State" (IS) terrorists in as-yet unknown circumstances and were killed with shots to the head. In the latest issue of the English-language online propaganda magazine "Dabiq," IS published images of the two hostages and said they had been killed "after being abandoned by kafir [infidel] nations and organizations." The messages of Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang were as clear as those of French President Francois Hollande: "Terrorism is the public enemy of humanity" and "We must bring these criminals to justice." Held hostage for several months Fan, a 50-year-old resident of Beijing, was taken hostage by IS extremists at the beginning of September. The terrorists demanded ransom money for him and his 48-year-old Norwegian co-hostage. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said that Beijing had done everything to rescue them. Prime Minister Li has said that Beijing wants to boost protection of Chinese nationals and organizations abroad, as the terror threat continues to mount. Even though no Chinese citizen died in Paris last week, the latest issue of "Dabiq" legitimized the attacks with the headline "Just terror." Anyone who happened to be in Paris could have died. The murder of Fan Jinghui, however, must be seen as a clear, specific message. The government in Beijing is aware that Chinese citizens are increasingly likely to fall victim to terrorism in crisis-ridden regions. In 2013, 18 Chinese citizens were taken hostage. The figure rose to at least 47 last year, and there could well be more as-yet unknown cases. The Chinese government has denounced the attacks in Paris just like other states in the world, but it does not want to use military force in Syria, as opposed to Russia, France and the US. Instead, like Germany, it favors negotiations in the UN. Beijing has always been in favor of involving Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the talks. Berlin has now come around on this point: When she was in Beijing earlier this month, Chancellor Angela Merkel did not contradict Prime Minister when he said it was important to "seize the opportunity to implement a political resolution and to set up an equal, inclusive and open political dialogue." On the other hand, since 2011 China and Russia have vetoed a resolution against Syria four times in the UN Security Council on the grounds that the West was interfering too much. As opposed to Moscow, Beijing has stopped providing arms to Syria. China supplied anti-aircraft systems and missile technology until 2011, but since then no arms deliveries can be proven. It must be said, however, that Tehran has supplied arms developed in China but produced in Iran. Focus on Uighur minority Now that a Chinese national has been murdered, Beijing is calling for attacks by Muslim Uighurs in China's conflict-ridden northwestern province of Xinjiang to be categorized as international terrorism. For years, the Chinese government has been fighting against radical elements of the Muslim Uighur minority, who train as terrorists in neighboring Afghanistan and Pakistan and also cooperate with the "Islamic State." Last year, China's state media announced that more than 300 Chinese nationals had travelled to Syria and Iraq to join the ranks of IS. On the other hand, exiled Uighurs have complained that their freedom of religion is becoming more and more restricted and that suspects are not given adequate means of legal defense. One thing is certain: The life of Uighurs in China will get tougher because of IS terrorism. Frank Sieren is considered to be one of Germany's leading experts on China. He has lived in Beijing for 20 years.

“Islamic State” militants have killed a Chinese national for the first time. Beijing has reacted – but not with military force in Syria, writes DW’s Frank Sieren. On Thursday, the noon edition of China’s state CCTV channel announced the death of Chinese national Fan Jinghui and Norway’s Ole Johan Grimsgaard-Ofstad. Both fell into the hands of “Islamic State” (IS) terrorists ... Read More »

Gunman commits suicide in Bosnia after killing two soliders

A man armed with an assault rifle has killed two Bosnian soldiers near the capital, Sarajevo. While the government held an emergency session, the gunman committed suicide in his home under police siege. Local media reported late on Wednesday that the unknown attacker killed the soldiers in a betting parlor in Rajloviac on the outskirts of the capital, before opening fire at a bus. At least one person was also reportedly injured. Bosnian Security Minister Dragan Mektic confirmed that the gunman committed suicide after police identified the suspect and followed him to his home. The online edition of Bosnian daily "Dnevni Avaz," reported that the gunman blew himself up with explosives at around midnight local time (2300 UTC) on Wednesday using a hand grenade. Islamist speculation Sarajevo police commissioner Vahid Cosic dismissed initial speculation that the attack was carried out by a member of Bosnia's radical Islamist community and that the shooting was possibly related to terrorism. "Those are rumors and insinuations. It is too soon and we cannot say things like that," Cosic said, according to "Dnevni Avaz." Islamic extremists carried out at least two previous attacks in Bosnia. An assault on the US US embassy in 2011 resulted in no casualties. In April, however, an officer was killed during an attack on a police station. Since the 1992-95 war, Bosnia has been home to several Islamic fundamentalist communities.

A man armed with an assault rifle has killed two Bosnian soldiers near the capital, Sarajevo. While the government held an emergency session, the gunman committed suicide in his home under police siege. Local media reported late on Wednesday that the unknown attacker killed the soldiers in a betting parlor in Rajloviac on the outskirts of the capital, before opening ... Read More »

Mixed response from Africa to Paris terror

Europe is reeling from its worst terrorist attack in more than 10 years. Comments on social media in Africa - in languages apart from English or French - range from sympathy to barely concealed hostility. "Our condolences go to the people of France" wrote one Facebook user, Usman, in the Hausa language, in Abuja, Nigeria over the weekend. Hausa is spoken in Niger, northern Nigeria and Chad. DW journalists monitoring social media in Hausa said users were showing much more sympathy for the victims of the Paris raids than they did after January's attacks on "Charlie Hebdo" and a kosher supermarket in the French capital. Many users also spoke of the need to intensify the battle against terrorism. Murtala, writing in Hausa from the northern Nigerian city of Kano, often the target of killings blamed on militant group Boko Haram, said the Paris attacks "showed that terrorism has spread all the over the world and the time has come for all nations to combat it effectively." Comr from Kontagora wrote "I condemn the terror attacks in Paris, but the French have themselves to blame. They are involved in almost all crises in Africa and the Arabian countries. I pray for the end to terror across the whole world." Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said his country "stood in full solidarity with the people of France" and called intensified multilateral cooperation to bring "the scourge of international terrorism" to a speedy end. Surprise over Paris attacks DW's correspondent in northern Nigeria, Mohammad Al-Amin, said most Nigerians condemn the attacks and "some are even surprised that they could happen in a country like France, in Paris with all the security, Grade A security, that is considered to be there." Facebook is allowing users to show their solidarity with the French by including the colors of the French flag on their profiles. Godwill, a Facebook user writing in Kiswahili, said this was discrimination in favor of big countries, especially by Germany, which was flying its flags at half mast in mourning for the Paris dead. "Syria has suffered attacks which killed thousands, go to Gaza, thousands of people have been killed there. Look at al Shabaab in Somalia, they are killing thousands there. Why didn't Germany have the flag at half mast in favor of Syria, Somalia or Gaza?" Kiswahili is spoken in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and other African countries. Mohammed, a Kenyan Somali told Alfred Kiti, a DW correspondent in Nairobi, said the attacks in Paris were "cowardly." Referring to the attackers, he said "we are not in agreement with those guys and who ever is claiming that is just a hooligan." Salum said "my worry is the lives of Muslims in France after these attacks." "Strong security measures need to be put in place. "Islamic State" is destroying innocent lives," wrote Kulwa in Kiwahili. Samia Othman, Yusra Buwayhid and Mohammad Awal contributed to this report.

Europe is reeling from its worst terrorist attack in more than 10 years. Comments on social media in Africa – in languages apart from English or French – range from sympathy to barely concealed hostility. “Our condolences go to the people of France” wrote one Facebook user, Usman, in the Hausa language, in Abuja, Nigeria over the weekend. Hausa is ... Read More »

A terrible case of deja-vu in Paris

After the January attacks on "Charlie Hebdo," Paris has become the target of terrorist attacks for the second time this year. The cold-bloodedness of the assailants has shocked the French. Barbara Wesel reports. Standing at the corner of Rue Oberkampf and Boulevard Richard Lenoir in Paris on Saturday is like having a deja-vu experience. Barriers, police cars, armed anti-terrorism units on one side, and on the other, an assortment of television production trucks, cameras and journalists looking for people to talk to. The situation at the beginning of January has repeated itself, and not all that far from the site of the attacks on the satirical magazine "Charlie Hebdo." For the bloodiest and most brutal episode of Friday evening's series of coordinated terrorist attacks took place behind the nearest block of houses: at the Bataclan concert hall on Boulevard Voltaire. It is expected that the number of victims will continue to rise, as many severely injured people are still in critical condition in Paris hospitals. And no one knows whether the terrorist group might strike again in the course of the day or the evening - as was the case in January. Between sympathy and everyday life Around noon, the first Parisians arrive with flowers that they place beside the barriers. The popular Club Bataclan, site of last night's bloodbath, can be seen only in the distance. In front, the police have set up a huge mobile laboratory where the remains of dead victims will be identified. People are still missing. Crisis hotlines are overloaded, and hotline staff are unable to answer many of the questions they receive. Desperate parents are still searching hospitals for their children. Traffic continues to flow on the lane of the boulevard that has remained open. Headlines such as "Shock and Horror" can be seen on the front pages of the morning papers. For residents in the neighborhood, however, it's business as usual. The young butcher in his shop carves the veal into pieces, shrugs his shoulders and asks, "What can you do about this insanity?" He is not more concerned than he was before; if someone stormed into his shop with firearms, he wouldn't be able to do anything about it anyhow, he says. Does he hate Muslims? "No, that is nonsense; it's just a few crazy people." And butcher Oliver also does not believe that the government is to blame. "What are they supposed to do about it? Put a cop behind every tree? Life goes on," he says, summarizing the situation. He is calm, and rather fatalistic. It could have happened to anyone The owner of the wine shop next door on Rue Oberkampf also does not blame Hollande's government. "They have taken sensible measures," he says. Like his neighbor, the butcher, Cyril says that the police cannot shadow everyone. He lives in the neighborhood, just around the corner from the restaurant "Le Petit Cambodge," where gunmen shot over a dozen people in the first stage of the killing spree. "Friends of mine had just come over for dinner yesterday, and we heard this "pop-pop-pop" sound. And I even said, 'Who are those idiots? It's not July 14, the national holiday.' But we quickly realized that those were real shots fired from an automatic firearm and not fireworks. And then I thought, 'My friends – if they had come a half an hour later, they could be dead now, too.'" The wine merchant Cyril has a philosophical view of the events. "Under such circumstances, people reflect on life and how quickly it can be over, for no reason. In television, we see images of dead children in the Mediterranean Sea. It happens to them, just like it can happen to us," he says. Politically, he believes that the new terrorist attacks are related to an erroneous policy towards Iraq and to the horrors of the civil war in Syria. But he does not point an accusing finger at the French government for bombing "Islamic State" in Syria, because he thinks that for reasons of foreign policy, it is not possible for the country to stay out. President Francois Hollande has already blamed IS for the attacks. Last night, sympathizers of the terrorist organization celebrated the attacks on Twitter. Not giving in to terrorism There are long line-ups in front of the upscale bakery across the street. Although the government has asked Parisians to stay home as much as possible, no one seems to care. It is almost unfathomable that people here are quite relaxed and hardly upset. A young father waiting in line feels sorry for his children. "Everything is closed: schools, swimming pools, museums. You cannot go anywhere with them," he says. He also thinks people should go on living a normal life, as the terrorists should not rejoice in having forced people to change their lifestyles. He, too, cannot imagine what more the government can do after already implementing comprehensive anti-terrorist measures and new wire-tap laws in the spring of this year. After all, not every suspicious-looking person can be jailed - something a conservative commentator had suggested on a TV breakfast show. "They should resign; Hollande's government has failed, and the minister of the interior should be let go right away," complains a neighbor in the line. But none of the people standing around him agree. "Then we would be giving in to the terrorists and destabilizing ourselves," murmurs a women holding a package of cake. Despite their abhorrence in the face of the attacks on the previous evening, the middle-class customers in this stylish, posh bakery seem to be united by a collective acceptance of fate. "We must not hate Muslims now. That's life and no one can prevent or foresee what happens. Life goes on," is how most people have expressed themselves. And of course, everyone sympathizes with the parents of the young people who lost their lives at Bataclan. "It is so awful; why must they massacre young people?" laments one elderly woman. That question will remain unanswered today.

After the January attacks on “Charlie Hebdo,” Paris has become the target of terrorist attacks for the second time this year. The cold-bloodedness of the assailants has shocked the French. Barbara Wesel reports. Standing at the corner of Rue Oberkampf and Boulevard Richard Lenoir in Paris on Saturday is like having a deja-vu experience. Barriers, police cars, armed anti-terrorism units ... Read More »

South Korea police clash with 70,000 protesters at anti-government Seoul rally

Some 70,000 people have taken to the streets of Seoul for the largest South Korean anti-government rally in years. The protesters spoke out against conservative labor reform and state-issued history books. The security forces fired tear gas and water cannons, while protesters smashed police-vehicle windows and hit officers on top of buses with poles during Saturday's rally. Authorities mobilized 20,000 riot police for fear of violence at the march against the conservative president, Park Geun-hye, and her government. Demonstrators, many of them masked, chanted "Park Geun-hye, step down" and "No to layoffs" as they occupied a major downtown street. At least 12 people were arrested for violent behavior, according to a police official in the South Korean capital. KCTU stops police The rally united the supporters of various labor, agricultural and civil organizations protesting the government's drive to change labor laws, open protected markets for some agricultural goods and impose state-issued school textbooks in 2017. The proposed labor laws would allow companies to keep wages low and fire workers and activists, according to the militant Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU). Earlier on Saturday, KCTU activists scuffled with scores of plainclothes policemen who tried to arrest the confederation's president, Han Sang-goon, during a news conference. "If lawmakers try to pass the (government's) bill that will make labor conditions worse, we will respond with a general strike, and that will probably be in early December," said Han, minutes before fleeing, while his colleagues prevented the police from getting to him. Seoul authorities had issued an arrest warrant for Han after he failed to appear in court in connection with his role in organizing a May protest that turned violent. Fear of distorting history The government's bid to issue history textbooks for middle and high schools also sparked strong criticism in the Asian nation. South Korea was ruled by Park Geun-hye's father, military dictator Park Chung-hee, in the 1960s and 1970s. Although the books have not yet been written, activists fear that the Park administration would attempt to whitewash the transgressions of her father's rule. Saturday's demonstration was the biggest since 2008, when about 100,000 people marched in Seoul against resuming the import of beef from the US, while the public was still worried over mad cow disease.

Some 70,000 people have taken to the streets of Seoul for the largest South Korean anti-government rally in years. The protesters spoke out against conservative labor reform and state-issued history books. The security forces fired tear gas and water cannons, while protesters smashed police-vehicle windows and hit officers on top of buses with poles during Saturday’s rally. Authorities mobilized 20,000 ... Read More »

US Congress, White House square off over Guantanamo

President Barack Obama has launched a renewed push to close Guantanamo, but opposition in Congress is strong. Will the president act unilaterally and take executive action to close the prison before he leaves office? The US Congress has voted overwhelmingly in favor of legislation that extends the ban on transferring detainees from Guantanamo Bay to facilities in America, challenging President Barack Obama's renewed push to close the prison before he leaves office in January of 2017. Only three senators voted against the legislation, with 91 casting their ballots in favor. Last week, the House of Representatives passed the bill 370-58. The measure extending the ban on detainee transfers to the US is embedded in the annual National Defense Authorization Act, which appropriates $607 billion (567 million euros). The annual defense bill also includes measures to increase pay for the US military, green light lethal military assistance to pro-government forces in Ukraine, and approve President Obama's request for $715 million to help Iraqi forces fight the "Islamic State" terrorist group. "If Congress keeps in place legislation restricting detainee transfers from Guantanamo, the White House has signaled that the president might resort to unilateral action to override those restrictions," Matthew Waxman, who served as the deputy assistant secretary of defense for detainee affairs from 2004 until 2005, told DW. "It is difficult to tell whether this is political posturing, or if the president really intends to do so," said Waxman, now a law professor at Columbia University in New York City. Presidential veto Congress first voted to prohibit transferring Guantanamo detainees to the United States as part of the 2010 National Defense Authorization Act. The president has signed the legislation every year due to other less controversial provisions included in it. In October, President Obama changed course and vetoed an earlier draft of the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act, the first time he's done so since assuming office in 2009. Among other criticisms, he cited provisions that make it difficult to transfer detainees out of Guantanamo. The president could veto the legislation again, but it would likely fail. "At this point, the president would have a difficult time sustaining a veto over the Guantanamo issue," Waxman said. "Unless the president presents a plan for closing Guantanamo that wins the support of some Republicans, it doesn't appear that even most Democrats in Congress are willing to put up a big fight to support the president on this." Push to close Guantanamo As he nears the end of his second and final term in office, President Obama has launched a renewed effort to close Guantanamo, one of his original campaign promises dating back to 2008. In May, the president appointed Lee Wolosky as his new envoy for closing Guantanamo. The position had been vacant for six months. "Lee Wolosky has experience inside Washington with counterterrorism on the White House staff and ought to be able - if anyone can - to persuade a very skeptical Republican Congress that he and the president have a plan to close Guantanamo," John Bellinger, who served on President George W. Bush's National Security Council, told DW in May. The Defense Department is expected to present a plan this week for closing the prison, which may include a list of alternative detention sites in the continental United States. The Pentagon has identified prisons in the states of Colorado, South Carolina and Kansas, according to the Associated Press. "Instead of blocking President Obama's efforts to close the costly Guantanamo Bay detention facility, Congress should be working with him to finally shut it down," Senator Dianne Feinstein wrote in a November 4 editorial in the New York Times, calling on Congress to lift the ban on detainees transfers. In a press conference on the same day as Feinstein's editorial, White House spokesman Josh Earnest would not rule out the president using executive action to close the detention facility. "At this point, I would not take anything off the table in terms of the president doing everything that he can to achieve this critically important national security objective," Earnest told journalists. Public opposition Fifty-three percent of Americans oppose closing Guantanamo, while just 29 percent of the public are in favor, according to a Rasmussen poll from January. On Tuesday, 41 sheriffs in Colorado signed a letter to President Obama opposing the transfer of Guantanamo detainees to prisons in the state, citing security concerns. "We do not question the ability of Bureau of Prisons to detain these prisoners," the sheriffs said. "But we recognize that there is a more significant public safety concern - the danger posed by sympathizers who would mount an attack on these facilities or commit other acts of terror in our state to draw further attention to their causes." There are 112 detainees still held at Guantanamo, 53 of whom have been cleared for transfer to other countries. Those who haven't been cleared would presumably be imprisoned in the US if the president succeeds in closing the detention facility. A total of 779 prisoners have been detained at Guantanamo since the military prison opened in 2002. "The president may feel he has no other choice but to act unilaterally if he wants to keep his pledge to close Guantanamo," Waxman said. "But this would be very legally controversial and would provoke a backlash from some quarters in Congress."

President Barack Obama has launched a renewed push to close Guantanamo, but opposition in Congress is strong. Will the president act unilaterally and take executive action to close the prison before he leaves office? The US Congress has voted overwhelmingly in favor of legislation that extends the ban on transferring detainees from Guantanamo Bay to facilities in America, challenging President ... Read More »

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