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UPI NewsTrack TopNews

Nov. 29, 2012 at 10:00 PM   |   Comments

Report: Gitmo could be closed safely

WASHINGTON, Nov. 29 (UPI) -- A report released by U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein suggests it is possible to move Guantanamo detainees to U.S. facilities "without imperiling" national security.

Feinstein, D-Calif., interpreted the findings by the Government Accountability Office as supporting the contention Guantanamo can be closed, CNN reported.

"This report demonstrates that if the political will exists, we could finally close Guantanamo without imperiling our national security," Feinstein said Wednesday.

The GAO, however, suggested closing the facility would be complicated.

Most of the Defense Department facilities identified as possible prisons for the Guantanamo detainees are on busy military bases and could be accessible to people wanting to harm the detainees or their keepers.


U.N. votes to upgrade Palestine status

UNITED NATIONS, Nov. 29 (UPI) -- The United Nations Thursday voted to upgrade Palestine to non-member observer status, with 138 countries voting in favor, nine against and 41 abstaining.

The upgrade will help the Palestinian Authority and President Mahmoud Abbas challenge Israel in international judicial forums, but its effect on achieving a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was not immediately clear, The New York Times said.

The vote came despite intense lobbying by the United States and Israel to reject upgraded status for Palestine.

During a speech prior to the vote, Abbas called on the General Assembly to "issue a birth certificate of the reality of the state of Palestine."

He accused Israel of short-changing the peace process and said Palestinians instead "have witnessed, and continue to witness, an unprecedented intensification of military assaults, the blockade, settlement activities and ethnic cleansing, particularly in occupied East Jerusalem, and mass arrests, attacks by settlers and other practices by which this Israeli occupation is becoming synonymous with an apartheid system of colonial occupation, which institutionalizes the plague of racism and entrenches hatred and incitement."

The office of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said in a statement Abbas' speech was "defamatory and venomous" and was "full of mendacious propaganda."


IAEA chief: No progress on Iran nukes

VIENNA, Nov. 29 (UPI) -- Sanctions aimed at getting Iran to stop nuclear development appear to be having no impact, the head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency said Thursday.

At a meeting of the board of governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, Yukiya Amano said there is no progress in negotiations with Iran, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported. He said the next meeting with Iran is scheduled for Dec. 13 in Tehran.

In a quarterly report released this month, the IAEA said Iran is expected to double the number of centrifuges at its Fordow site to 1,400. The facility is believed to be close to enriching uranium to weapons grade levels.

Amano said that Iran has made IAEA investigation of its Parchin site more difficult.

Iran says its nuclear program is only for power production.


Nevada to issue Dreamers driver's licenses

CARSON CITY, Nev., Nov. 29 (UPI) -- Illegal immigrants brought to the country as children who were granted a reprieve by President Barack Obama are eligible to get a driver's license in Nevada.

Obama signed an executive order earlier this year barring deportations and granted a pathway to citizenship for children brought to America illegally by their parents, but who have since graduated high school, stayed out of legal trouble and gotten a job or joined the military. Now, Nevada officials said those same individuals, numbering as many as 20,000 people in The Silver State alone, can legally drive, The Las Vegas Sun reported Thursday.

Gov. Brian Sandoval, a Republican, said he supports the measure though at least one Republican state legislator said he wants lawmakers to revisit the issue when they return next year.

For the so-called "dreamers" the ability to drive themselves without fear of being stopped, identified as illegal and deported is potentially life changing. Many illegal immigrants rely on help from friends with valid driver's licenses, pay to have documents forged on their behalf or rely solely on public transportation and walking long distances in the desert sun.

Astrid Silva, 24, one of the many young people who qualify under Obama's proclamation, said the thought of driving herself is overwhelming.

"I'll be learning to drive soon," she said. "It's a huge deal."

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