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It speaks volumes that Syrian President Bashar Assad feels emboldened to respond with humor when asked on television about a deadly weapon – barrels bombs – that is responsible for the deaths and maiming of thousands of his citizens.
Human rights in Malaysia suffered a major setback today, after opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim was sentenced to five years in prison under an abusive and archaic sodomy law. The conviction strips Anwar of his seat in the federal Parliament.
Workers’ rights remain a serious concern for a high-profile building project in United Arab Emirates that will host branches of the Louvre and Guggenheim museums and a campus of New York University. Workers’ employers are withholding workers’ wages and benefits, failing to reimburse them for recruiting fees, confiscating workers’ passports, and housing them in substandard accommodations.
Indonesia has backed away from a proposal to require high school girls in Jember, East Java, to undergo a “virginity test” to receive their high school diplomas. Boys would be exempt. Indonesia's National Police have also imposed these abusive and degrading tests on female applicants.
The US-led campaign against Islamic State, also known as ISIS, isn’t working. It won’t unless it also addresses Shia sectarian violence in Iraq and President Assad’s atrocities in Syria, which have enabled ISIS to grow.
The UK’s Prince Charles met with Saudi Arabia’s new king on the same day that the country carried out its 28th execution of year – against a Syrian man convicted of smuggling drugs. Prince Charles should pressure King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud to halt the unprecedented wave of executions.
From earlier today: Some of the migrant workers building a multi-billion dollar cultural hub in the United Arab Emirates are subjected to serious abuses and face summary arrest and deportation if they dare to complain, a new report by Human Rights Watch has found.

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