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Amnesty International: ‘Alarming’ increase in Iraq executions

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Amnesty International on Friday condemned the “alarming” increase in executions in Iraq, which has put at least 70 people to death this year, and urged Baghdad to stop using the death penalty.

“The killing of Abd Hmoud is part of an alarming escalation in executions in Iraq and we fear others may soon face the same fate,” Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty’s Middle East and North Africa deputy director, said in a statement.

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Sahraoui was referring to Thursday’s execution of Saddam Hussein’s presidential secretary and chief bodyguard Abid Hamid Mahmud, who was known as Abd Hmoud.

“The Iraqi authorities should refrain from using the death penalty, commute the sentences of all those on death row, believed to number several hundred, and declare a moratorium on executions.”

Mahmud’s execution brought the number of people put to death in Iraq this year to at least 70. At least 69 people had been executed as of February 21 — more than in all of 2011.

Iraq has carried out several mass executions in 2012, including one in which 14 people were put to death on February 7, and another in which 17 were executed on January 31.

[AFP Photo/Sabah Arar]


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Trump is a vampire who feeds off his own followers — and no one deserved to be drained more than Jeff Sessions

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Former senator and disgraced former Attorney General Jeff Sessions has finally come, at age 73, to what is almost certainly the end of the road for his villainous political career. On Tuesday night, the right-wing Republican who served as a U.S. senator from 1997 to 2017 lost in his comeback attempt, defeated in the Republican primary for his old seat by Tommy Tuberville, a man whose cartoonish name better suited his previous career as head football coach at Auburn. The runoff election between the two wasn't even close, with the Riverboat Gambler (a silly and self-serious nickname for Tuberville, especially when "The Tubz" was right there for the taking) taking more than 60% of the vote.

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‘Top Gun’ helmet and ‘Alien’ spaceship in Hollywood props auction

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Maverick's fighter jet helmet, Obi-Wan Kenobi's lightsaber, Rocky's boxing gloves and an 11-foot "Alien" spaceship tipped to fetch half a million dollars will go up for auction in Los Angeles next month.

The sale of hundreds of legendary Hollywood movie props will be live-streamed on August 26-27, including items wielded by Indiana Jones and Clint Eastwood's Western outlaw Josey Wales.

A giant model of "Nostromo," the interstellar tug-ship on which Ridley Scott's classic "Alien" takes place, tops the pre-sale estimates at $300,000-500,000.

Constructed mainly of wood and steel, it was personally filmed for the movie's exterior shots by Scott, who had it "repainted dark gray and weathered extensively to imply decades of deep-space travel," said event organizers Prop Store.

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Aides scramble to satisfy Trump’s need for adulation from big crowds during a pandemic: report

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In the wake of President Trump's less-than-stellar campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, campaign aides scrambled to reschedule another one in order to redeem themselves, setting their sights in the state of New Hampshire for their next event.

But the event was abruptly called off, thanks to an incoming tropical storm that never materialized. But according to inside sources speaking to POLITICO, the cancelation was more due to concerns about attendance -- a concern that underscores a challenge for the Trump campaign: how to satiate Trump's need for big crowds in the midst of a pandemic.

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