"Beyond Imagining" in Syria's Eastern Ghouta: Daily Brief

Plus: Bahrain's Nabeel Rajab gets 5 years' jail for tweeting; Burma reporters appear in court; fears for Rohingya trapped in no man's land; Afghan special forces accused of summary executions; PTSD problems in Afghanistan; Philippines bans reporter; & Mozambique woman whipped for political insults


  1. Hate groups are on the rise in the US, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center's latest findings. While there has been a 20% increase in hate groups since 2014, more than 950 groups were recorded in Donald Trump's first year in office, emboldened by hateful rhetoric and a shameful response to a white supremacist march in Charlottesville.
  2. Bahraini activist Nabeel Rajab has been sentenced to five more years in prison for tweeting against torture in a Bahrain prison and Saudi airstrikes in Yemen. This sentence is in addition to the one he is already serving on charges related to peaceful expression.
  3. Over the last decade the Islamist armed group Al-Shabab has recruited, often forcibly, thousands of Somali children, using many as fighters on the front line. But now Somali security forces are arresting suspected Al-Shabab sympathizers – including children – and subjecting them to awful conditions.
  4. Bermuda is the first jurisdiction in the world to reverse a law allowing same-sex marriage after legalizing it just last year. Following a period marked by a number of successes in countries allowing same-sex marriage, Bermuda's reversal has many LGBT rights advocates worried that it could lead to more.
  5. From earlier today: A doctor working in the Syrian rebel enclave of Eastern Ghouta says the situation is "catastrophic" - and he believes the international community has abandoned the people living there. Three days of bombing in the area have reportedly killed at least 250 people, with at least 50 children among the dead.
  6. The prominent Bahraini human rights activist, Nabeel Rajab, has been sentenced to five years in prison over tweets alleging prison torture in his country and misconduct in Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen, despite wide international criticism of his trial.