25 Guantanamo prisoners quit hunger strike

July 14, 2013
National Security
25 at Guantanamo end hunger strike

Twenty-five Guantanamo Bay prisoners have quit their hunger strike during Islam’s holy month of Ramadan, according to the U.S. military, which reported Sunday that Navy medical staff still considered 45 prisoners sufficiently malnourished to require force-feeding.

Prison spokesmen suggested that they had broken part of the protest by adopting a new policy: Captives had to abandon their
5-month-old hunger strike to live in communal detention — where they can pray and eat in groups — after months alone in maximum-security lockdown.

“Detainees in communal living must agree to not hunger strike for their health and safety,” Army Lt. Col. Samuel House, a deputy prison-camps spokesman, said in a statement Friday.

To test it, the military last week adopted a sliding scale of communal captivity to coincide with Ramadan, when Muslims abstain from food and drink between sunrise and sunset.

The best-behaved prisoners now get just six hours of lockdown a day. Others were getting released from their solitary cells for six or 12 hours, at prayer and mealtime. The military has described the ongoing experiment as involving about 80 captives inside the Pentagon’s communal prison, Camp 6.

Hunger strike figures had steadily risen to participation by 106 of the prisoners, according to Guantanamo’s Navy medical staff. On Thursday, the military reported two had quit the strike. More quit during the weekend.

— McClatchy-Tribune

Buffett to offer advice on money online

A free online course that starts Monday will offer students the chance to learn from Warren Buffett about giving and help decide how to spend more than $100,000 of his sister’s money.

More than 4,000 people have signed up for the course, which will also feature philanthropic advice from retired baseball star Cal Ripken Jr. and the founders of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield. The amount of money being given away could grow if more students sign up.

Buffett and his older sister, Doris Buffett, will be featured in the first class to talk about their motivation for philanthropy. Warren Buffett is gradually giving away his $58 billion in Berkshire Hathaway stock, while Doris Buffett has already given more than $150 million away en route to her goal of redistributing all her wealth before she dies.

“The trick is not to have her give it away faster than I make it,” Warren Buffett joked — his family’s wealth is tied to the Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate he runs.

— Associated Press

Attorney general will run for governor

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott (R) has formally kicked off his 2014 campaign for governor.

The well-known, well-
financed and fierce social conservative said Sunday in San Antonio that he wants to succeed Gov. Rick Perry, who announced that he will not seek a fourth term. Abbott has raised nearly $23 million.

Abbott has held office since 2002 and is popular among mainstream Republicans and tea party activists. Abbott has also sued the federal government on Texas’s behalf 27 times during the Obama administration.

The only other announced candidate from either party is former state Republican Party chairman Tom Pauken.

No Democratic candidate has emerged, though some have urged state Sen. Wendy Davis to run. She became famous for her 12-plus-hour filibuster over sweeping new abortion limits during the legislature’s special session last month.

— Associated Press

Indian magazine abandons print

A weekly magazine that is a leading source of Native American news is abandoning print in favor of an online-only presence. The cost-cutting move worries some readers, who fear they may lose access because of the switch.

This Week From Indian Country Today, a New York City-based publication owned by the Oneida Nation, will become an online newsletter starting with its July 17 issue. The magazine was started in 1981.

“In the age we live in, technology is really advanced to a point that we’re trying to make sure we’re serving what our audience really needs,” said Indian Country Today publisher Ray Halbritter. Converting to an online newsletter that is e-mailed to subscribers will eliminate some of the lag time between when news happens and when it appears in writing, he said.

For Native Americans on isolated reservations, access to broadband Internet is anything but guaranteed, and print media is a staple of life. According to the Federal Communications Commission, 43 percent of American Indians and Alaska Natives have access to broadband Internet at home, compared with 65 percent of the U.S. population as a whole.

Access on reservation and tribal lands is even scarcer, at less than 10 percent, although there are government efforts to expand such access.

— Associated Press

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