World briefs: Rights group targets Hamas
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GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip -- Human Rights Watch on Wednesday accused Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that governs the Gaza Strip, of running a criminal justice system rife with arbitrary arrests, torture and unfair trials.
The report detailed seven cases and called for an immediate moratorium on capital punishment as well as an end to prosecutions of civilians in military courts.
"Hamas should stop the kinds of abuses that Egyptians, Syrians and others in the region have risked their lives to bring to an end," Joe Stork, the deputy Middle East director of Human Rights Watch, said in a statement accompanying the report,
MANILA, Philippines -- An Internet law went into effect in the Philippines on Wednesday that critics say could lead to imprisonment for activities like sharing Facebook and Twitter posts.
The Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, signed by President Benigno S. Aquino III on Sept. 12, sets penalties for a range of computer-related crimes including child pornography, identity theft, online fraud and illegal access to computer networks.
Critics are concerned about provisions related to libel, which in the Philippines is a criminal offense. They said the law applied the existing legal definition of libel to online activities, meaning that if a comment on Facebook or Twitter were deemed libelous, the writer of the item and those who shared it could be prosecuted.
MEXICO CITY -- Mexico on Wednesday launched a massive program to vaccinate fifth-grade girls against human papillomavirus, making it one of the few nations in the world with a universal campaign against the sexually transmitted virus.
One million schoolgirls ages 11 or 12 will receive the HPV vaccination this week, Mexican President Felipe Calderon said. Another 200,000 girls who aren't in school also will be given the vaccine.
HPV is the world's most common sexually transmitted infection and causes cervical cancer, a disease that killed an estimated 4,000 Mexican women a year.
BELGRADE, Serbia -- Serbia's Interior Ministry on Wednesday banned a gay pride parade set to take place this weekend in Belgrade, organizers of the event said.
The decision came after right-wing extremists hinted at violent protests against lesbians and gay men and a call from the head of the Serbian Orthodox Church to stop the "shame parade."
In 2010, during the only pride parade held in Belgrade, more than 5,000 police clashed with an even larger number of extremists attempting to attack around 1,000 gay rights marchers and their supporters. Amid threats of violence, authorities banned the parade in 2009 and 2011.
Not every dinosaur grew up to be a mighty predator like Tyrannosaurus rex. A few stayed small, and some of the smallest that ever lived were among the first to spread across the planet more than 200 million years ago.
Fossils of these miniature, fanged plant-eaters known as heterodontosaurs, or "different toothed reptiles," have turned up as far apart as England and China. Now, in a discovery that has been at least 50 years in the making, a new species of these dwarf herbivores has been identified in a slab of red rock collected in the early 1960s by scientists working in South Africa.
In a report Wednesday in the online journal ZooKeys, Paul C. Sereno, a paleontologist at the University of Chicago and a dinosaur specialist, described the strange anatomy of the newfound member of the heterodontosaur family and gave the new species the name Pegomastax africanus, or "thick jaw from Africa."
First Published October 4, 2012 12:00 am