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Sudan activists freed after torture alleged

"Thanks be to God," said mother Sabah Osman Mohammed, whose son Tajalsir Jaafar, 28, was among those freed. She told AFP that Jaafar had just contacted her by telephone to say that he, Mohammed Salah and Moamer Musa Mohammed had been released. The National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) confirmed to local journalists that the trio had been freed. They were detained outside the University of Khartoum on May 12, according to Girifna, a non-violent movement seeking an end to President Omar al-Bashir's government.

Commanders: Benghazi rescue hampered by info lack

WASHINGTON (AP) — Two of the four U.S. deaths in Benghazi might have been prevented, military leaders say, if commanders had known more about the intensity of the sporadic gunfire directed at the CIA facility where Americans had taken refuge and had pressed to get a rescue team there faster.

Homeland secretary visits immigrant holding center

ARTESIA, N.M. (AP) — U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson visited a New Mexico detention facility housing 400 Central American women and children Friday and warned immigrants that "we will send you back" if they try crossing into the country.

Billionaire trio unite for US immigration reform

Three of the world's richest men -- Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and Sheldon Adelson -- put aside their political differences to unite in scathing condemnation of US lawmakers' failure to implement immigration reform. In an opinion column in Friday's New York Times, the trio, who have a net worth of about $160 billion between them, said that a Congress paralyzed by partisanship is failing US citizens by refusing to make the compromises necessary to overhaul a system that Democrats, Republicans and President Barack Obama all say is broken. "Americans deserve better than this," the men wrote, adding that despite their political differences they would be able to draft a bill acceptable to each of them. They took particular aim at the Republican-led House of Representatives, which has stonewalled several attempts to craft legislation.

House chairman: $3.7 billion request 'too much'

WASHINGTON (AP) — A key Republican said Friday that President Barack Obama's multibillion-dollar emergency request for the border is too big to get through the House, as a growing number of Democrats rejected policy changes Republicans are demanding as their price for approving any money.

US hints at displeasure with Germany over spying row

The United States on Friday hinted at clear displeasure with Germany over its handling of a spying row, which saw the CIA chief in Berlin thrown out of the country. The White House also rejected suggestions the showdown over apparent US recruiting of double agents could damage broader ties with the Berlin government and cooperation on issues like Ukraine. White House spokesman Josh Earnest, who has all week declined to go into detail about the row because it touches on intelligence matters, did offer a window into US thinking. "Allies with sophisticated intelligence agencies like the United States and Germany understand with some degree of detail exactly what those intelligence relationships and activities entail," Earnest said.

Bombings kill 13 in Iraq's Kirkuk: health official

Kirkuk (Iraq) (AFP) - A suicide car bombing and a roadside bomb killed 13 people and wounded 21 others in the disputed northern city of Kirkuk on Friday, an Iraqi health official said.

Republicans wage uphill battle to win over black voters

By John Whitesides CHARLOTTE N.C. (Reuters) - After losing the 2012 presidential election, Republicans vowed to expand their appeal beyond their shrinking base of white males. Since opening an African-American engagement office in North Carolina last fall, Republicans have courted black business leaders, visited barber shops and churches and gone door-to-door in black neighborhoods to sell the Republican message. The swing state, one of 11 where the Republican National Committee has hired staff to reach black voters, hosts one of the country's most important Senate races in November's midterm elections.

Body of Guatemala teen sent home after failed attempt to enter US

The body of a 15-year-old who died while trying to migrate illegally into the United States was repatriated to Guatemala Friday, amid a raging US debate over how to stem a flood of similar cases. The remains of Gilberto Francisco Ramos Juarez, who perished in the Texas desert, were claimed in Guatemala City by his father, Francisco Ramos. "I am sad," the somber and black-clad Ramos told reporters at the airport, after traveling six hours from the western department of Huehuetenango, near Guatemala's border with Mexico. The teen, who was found dead in June, was one of a recent surge of unaccompanied children trying reach the United States, many to rejoin family members already in the country illegally.

Sudan activists freed after torture alleged

"Thanks be to God," said Sabah Osman Mohammed, whose son Tajalsir Jaafar, 28, was among those freed. She said Jaafar had just contacted her by telephone to say that he, Mohammed Salah and Moamer Musa Mohammed had been released. The three were detained outside the University of Khartoum on May 12, according to Girifna, a non-violent movement seeking an end to President Omar al-Bashir's government. Mashood Adebayo Baderin, the United Nations independent expert on human rights in the Sudan, told reporters in late June that he was concerned about the cases of all three youths.

UN tells Europe it must do more to help Syria refugees

Europe has taken in only a "minuscule" number of refugees from Syria and must do more to help the war-torn country's neighbours shoulder the burden, the UN's refugee agency said Friday. "We're calling on European countries to strengthen their response to the Syrian crisis," said Melissa Fleming, spokeswoman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Since the conflict began in March 2011, around 123,600 Syrians have sought asylum in Europe, crossing land borders or making risky trips across the Mediterranean. Under a UN programme, 17 countries have also offered almost 32,000 resettlement places for the most vulnerable refugees, but the UNHCR wants the number to be raised to 100,000 by 2016.

Netanyahu balancing on Gaza tightrope, for now

Benjamin Netanyahu, initially accused by Israel's most ardent hawks of dithering over Hamas rocket fire, appears to have found at least a temporary political balance with his punishing air campaign against Gaza. Netanyahu blamed Hamas and embarked on a punishing campaign against the Islamist group, arresting hundreds of its members in the West Bank and attacking its infrastructure there. During the arrest campaign, six Palestinians were killed, further raising tensions as militants in Gaza stepped up their rocket fire.

Iraq forces executed 250 Sunni prisoners: watchdog

Iraq's security forces and allied Shiite militias executed at least 255 Sunni prisoners as they fled a lightning jihadist-led advance last month, Human Rights Watch said on Friday. "Iraqi security forces and militias affiliated with the government appear to have unlawfully executed at least 255 prisoners... since June 9," the watchdog said in a statement. "The mass extrajudicial killings may be evidence of war crimes or crimes against humanity," the New York-based HRW said. It said the killings appeared to have been carried out in revenge for the onslaught led by what was still known last month as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

LeBron Trolls the World

An Instagram post from King James’s wife three weeks ago, as well as an SI piece, seem to indicate that The Decision 2.0 was made quite some time ago. Why troll the world?

Military movements break Mali truce before talks

Armed groups in northern Mali were on the move Friday in violation of a truce ahead of peace talks next week, the government said, amid reports of renewed fighting. "Corroborating information details military gatherings and even advances by troops from armed groups in certain locations in the north," a government statement released by Mali's state-owned news agency said, without giving details. The truce was brokered after fighting in the northeastern desert town of Kidal between the army and militants, who have for decades laid claim to the Saharan desert territory they know as "Azawad". Ethnic Tuareg rebels who claim the Azawad region for their home launched an armed campaign against Mali's government in January 2012.

Uganda army says calm restored to mountain region

Uganda's army said Friday it had restored order to a mountain region in the west of the country after tribal clashes claimed close to 100 lives. Army spokesman Paddy Ankunda told AFP that a heavily-armed alpine force had been deployed to area area and was sweeping the Rwenzori Mountains, home to Africa's third highest peak, for the remnants of the attackers. "The whole Rwenzori region is now peaceful. It's calm but the Alpine Brigade is on the heels of the attackers who have not surrendered," Ankunda said, adding that several guns stolen from police had so far been recovered.

Two killed in Egypt at Morsi protest

Two people were shot dead in clashes in Cairo on Friday as supporters of deposed Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi staged protests after weekly Muslim prayers, officials told AFP. Since the army ousted Morsi in July last year, a government crackdown on his supporters has killed more than 1,400 people and jailed upwards of 15,000, and about 200 have been sentenced to death in speedy mass trials. The two were killed when hit by birdshot in the city's northern district of Matariya, senior health official Mohamed Soltan told AFP, adding that three others were wounded by birdshot. Since Morsi's ouster, his supporters have staged regular protests against Egypt's new authorities.

Salafists protest at reopening of Algiers synagogues

Salafists protested on Friday against government plans to reopen synagogues which were closed for security reasons during Algeria's civil war of the 1990s. After weekly Friday prayers at Al-Mouminine mosque in the poor Belcourt district of Algiers, dozens of worshippers tried to march in the streets but were blocked by police, an AFP journalist reported. "No to the Judaisation of Algeria!" and "Muslim Algeria!" were among slogans chanted by the demonstrators, who also condemned Israel's military offensive in Gaza. They were responding to a call by Salafist leader Abdelfatah Hamadash to oppose the mooted reopening of synagogues, which he said would pave the way for "a normalisation of relations between Algeria and Israel."