10 Stories

'I Almost Lost My Mind': Guantanamo Prisoner's Diary

Sexual abuse, beatings, force-feedings: 12-year inmate's book describes torture

(Newser) - For 12 years, Mauritania native Mohamedou Ould Slahi has been Prisoner No. 760 at Guantanamo, accused of aiding and abetting the 9/11 terrorists and involvement in a halted attack at LAX, der Spiegel reports. He's since confessed to multiple crimes, but he now says those admissions were only because... More »

Global Slavery at All-Time High

There are nearly 36m slaves worldwide, rights group says

(Newser) - The latest report from a rights group drives home the disturbing fact that the peak of slavery in human history wasn't during the Roman Empire or some other distant time—it's happening right now. Nearly 36 million people around the world (more than ever before) are slaves, according... More »

Number of Slaves on the Planet: 30M

Victims in 162 countries; half are in India

(Newser) - Slavery continues to afflict almost 30 million people across the planet—in every one of 162 countries surveyed in a new report. India is home to 13.9 million slaves, by far the largest number; relative to population, however, Mauritania has the highest rate, with 4% of the population enslaved... More »

Soldiers Shoot Mauritania's President 'by Mistake'

Islamists, however, had vowed revenge against him

(Newser) - Soldiers in Mauritania have shot and wounded the nation's president, but he assures people the incident was all a mistake, Reuters reports. The government flew President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz to France yesterday for medical treatment, where he issued a televised message: "I want to reassure everyone about... More »

North Africa Sees Wave of Fiery Copycat Suicides

Egypt, Algeria and Mauritania all see self-immolations as in Tunisia

(Newser) - A restaurant owner screaming anti-government slogans set himself on fire outside the Egyptian parliament in Cairo today, in the latest of several attempted self-immolations mimicking the one that set off Tunisia’s uprising last month. But security officials, with the help of passing motorists, doused the blaze with fire-extinguishers, thwarting... More »

Mauritanian Girls Force-Fed for Marriage

'Torture' returns as ideal of large women makes a comeback

(Newser) - A military coup in Mauritania has erased years of advances in women's rights, bringing a resurgence of the practice of force-fattening young girls to prepare them for marriage, the Guardian reports. "A woman's size indicates the amount of space she occupies in her husband's heart," explains an activist,... More »

Coup Leader Takes Over Mauritania

New law confers presidential powers to head of military junta

(Newser) - The military junta that overthrew Mauritania's government last week adopted a law today transferring the power of the presidency to the head of the junta. A statement by the junta blames the deteriorating condition of daily life in Mauritania, the president's stonewalling of various government institutions, and his firing of... More »

Army Seizes Power in Mauritania

African nation's first democratically elected president captive

(Newser) - Soldiers in the West African nation of Mauritania mounted a coup d'etat today, arresting the president and prime minister and shutting down state radio and television, the Guardian reports. Troops entered the capital and apprehended Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi, the country’s first democratically elected president, after he began taking... More »

Gunmen Attack Israeli Embassy in Mauritania

Five wounded as building is peppered with machine-gun fire

(Newser) - Six gunmen armed with automatic weapons opened fire on the Israeli embassy in the Mauritanian capital of Nouakchott today, wounding five people. The attackers shouted "God is great" before the shooting, reports AFP. Although the gunmen fled and remain unidentified, an American terrorist monitor noted that an al-Qaeda leader... More »

Bush Hooked On FON-iks at UN

UN speech draft included phonetic pronunciations

(Newser) - A draft of President Bush's speech to the United Nations included phonetic spellings to help him pronounce difficult names like sar-KOzee, according to a copy of the speech accidentally posted for a time on the UN website. It was up long enough for reporters to see it, much to the... More »

10 Stories