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Army Takes Control in Zimbabwe: Daily Brief

Plus: LGBT people forced into "conversion" therapy in China; Australia votes yes to gay marriage; Palestinian kids in West Bank tried in military courts; first hijab-wearing Barbie arrives; "catastrophic" Iraq law would legalise marriage for young girls; & reports of migrant slave markets in Libya

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  1. A Trump administration official for the Bureau of Indian Affairs has resigned following a scathing report on the program he oversaw that gave loans to tribal businesses in the US. But it's a wonder Gary Clarkson was hired in the first place. Clarkson, who served as deputy assistant secretary for policy and economic development, ran a program that guarantees loans for tribal businesses. But those dealings are now the subject of a multi-million dollar lawsuit. A 2015 HRW report exposed that millions of dollars in public funds went missing in the impoverished Lower Brule Sioux reservation.
  2. Thousands have taken to the streets in Brazil to protest a controversial abortion bill being debated in Congress. The draconian bill would ban abortions in all cases, including in cases of rape or when the woman's life is in danger. It's a dangerous proposition that could lead to a spike in unsafe abortions, which are currently a problem due to Brazil's already-harsh abortion laws. As Congress prepares to vote on banning abortion, it should instead focus on making abortions more accessible.
  3. Great news! At least 180 tobacco companies across 50 countries are pledging to prohibit children from handling dangerous tobacco plants. Children under 18 are used on farms in the US, Indonesia, and elsewhere, where their work in producing tobacco products seriously damages their health. This is a great step to protecting children and ending hazardous child labor.
  4. The United Nations Security Council has voted to send an addition 900 peacekeeping troops to the Central African Republic, where renewed violence threatens thousands of trapped civilians.
  5. The US Senate has confirmed a Trump administration appointment who had written memos authorizing the use of torture and other coercive methods of terrorism suspects as a top government lawyer under then-President George W. Bush. More than anything, this is yet another failure to confront torture committed by the US.
  6. From earlier today: A military coup appears to be underway in Zimbabwe, with the army there seizing control of state TV and armoured vehicles deployed near parliament and government buildings. President Robert Mugabe, whose government has intensified repression against those who peacefully protest human rights violations and the country's deteriorating economic situation, is reportedly under house arrest.
  7. There's bad news for LGBT people in China who, a new HRW report has found, are still being subjected to "conversion therapies" - including electroshock treatment - to try and change their sexuality.
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