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Pompeo says China ‘in a league of its own’ in human rights violations

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FILE PHOTO: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at a press conference at the Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom at the State Department in Washington, U.S., July 26, 2018. REUTERS/Alex Wroblewski

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo highlighted abuses in Iran, South Sudan, Nicaragua and China included in an annual State Department human rights report on Wednesday, saying Beijing was “in a league of its own” when it comes to violations.

Pompeo said the Iranian government had killed more than 20 people and arrested thousands without due process for protesting for their rights, “continuing a pattern of cruelty the regime has inflicted on the Iranian people for the last four decades.”

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He said in South Sudan, military forces inflicted sexual violence against civilians based on their political allegiances and ethnicity, while peaceful protesters in Nicaragua had been fired on by snipers and government critics had “faced a policy of exile, jail or death.”

“Then there’s China, which is in league of its own when it comes to human rights violations,” Pompeo told reporters.

The State Department report said the Chinese government had in the past year significantly intensified its campaign of mass detention of members of Muslim minority groups in the Xinjiang region.

It said authorities there were reported to have arbitrarily detained 800,000 to possibly more than 2 million Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs, and other Muslims in internment camps designed to erase religious and ethnic identities.

The report said government officials had claimed the camps were needed to combat terrorism, separatism, and extremism but international media, human rights organizations, and former detainees reported that security officials in the camps abused, tortured, and killed some detainees.

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The U.S. report also changed its usual description of the Golan Heights from “Israeli-occupied” to “Israeli-controlled.”

A separate section on the West Bank and Gaza Strip, areas that Israel captured along with the Golan Heights in a 1967 Middle East war, also did not refer to those territories as being “occupied” or under “occupation.”

Reporting by Lesley Wroughton and David Brunnstrom; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Paul Simao

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The Arab uprisings were weakened by online fakes

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The Arab uprisings a decade ago were supercharged by online calls to join the protests -- but the internet was soon flooded with misinformation, weakening the region's cyber-activists.

When Tunisian dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali fled the country in January 2011, rumours and uncertainty created "panic and hysteria", said ex-activist and entrepreneur Houeida Anouar.

"January 14 was a horrible night, so traumatic," she said. "We heard gunfire, and a neighbour shouted 'hide yourselves, they're raping women'."

As pro-regime media pumped out misinformation, the flood of bogus news also spread to the internet, a space activists had long seen as a refuge from censorship and propaganda.

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Dr. Fauci warns of post-Thanksgiving COVID-19 surge in US

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The United States is the worst-affected country, with 266,074 Covid-19 deaths, and President Donald Trump's administration has issued conflicting messages on mask-wearing, travel and the danger posed by the virus.

"There almost certainly is going to be an uptick because of what has happened with the travel," Fauci told CNN's "State of the Union."

Travel surrounding Thursday's Thanksgiving holiday made this the busiest week in US airports since the pandemic began.

"We may see a surge upon a surge" in two or three weeks, Fauci added. "We don't want to frighten people, but that's the reality."

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Sidney Powell’s new election lawsuit cites election experts she won’t even name: legal expert

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President Donald Trump's former election lawyer, Sidney Powell, has filed her lawsuit in Georgia suing Gov. Brian Kemp (R-GA) for what she says is a fraudulent election.

But lawyer Mike Dunford explained that it doesn't exactly work that way. Reading through Powell's court document "Emergency Motion for Declaratory, Emergency, and Permanent Injunctive Relief and Memorandum in Support Thereof."

"If you want emergency relief it is very helpful to be as clear and concise as humanly possible," he explained. "Pointing the court back to your 100+ page complaint with its 29 exhibits isn't how that is best done. To put it very mildly."

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