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U.S. agrees to improve human rights record

GENEVA (AP) -- The United States says it will do more to respect human rights, as the U.N. adopted its first-ever report on how Washington can improve.

The report included 228 recommendations, but the U.S. brushed many of them aside -- raising heckles from adversaries such as Cuba, Iran and Venezuela.

State Department legal adviser Harold Koh outlined nine key improvement areas Friday -- ranging from civil rights to national security to immigration, including intolerance of torture and the humane treatment of suspects at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility.

The U.S. only joined the 47-nation council last year, and it is the first time the 5-year-old council has reviewed its human rights record.

Nations are held accountable for areas they agree to improve.


Army ruins monument linked to protests

MANAMA, Bahrain -- Bahrain's army on Friday demolished the 300-foot monument that had become a symbol of a monthlong Shiite uprising against the Sunni monarchy in the Gulf nation.

The destruction of the six white curved beams topped with a huge cement pearl underlined the resolve of the Sunni regime to root out any dissent in the kingdom, now under emergency rule.

The structure was built in Pearl Square as a monument to Bahrain's history as a pearl-diving center but became associated with the protests that have roiled the majority Shiite nation. Security forces overran a protest camp at the square on Wednesday, setting off clashes that killed at least five people, including two policemen.


Computer expert jailed for role in plane plot

LONDON -- A former British Airways computer expert was jailed Friday for 30 years for using his position at the airline to plot blowing up an aircraft, a court in London ruled.

Rajib Karim, 31, from Newcastle, in northeast Britain, had used his job to access information for Anwar al-Awlaki, the Yemeni-based radical preacher associated with al-Qaida, the court in London ruled.

Karim is a Bangladeshi national who had a British wife and a child. He worked at British Airways offices in Newcastle and at London's Heathrow starting in 2007.

-- McClatchy Newspapers

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