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In brief: Rights groups sue over drone killings

Thu., July 19, 2012

WASHINGTON – Civil rights groups have filed a lawsuit challenging the drone strike killings of three U.S. citizens in Yemen.

The Center for Constitutional Rights and the American Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuit in federal court in Washington on Wednesday on behalf of relatives of the victims. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, CIA Director David Petraeus and other high officials are named as defendants.

The U.S.-born Anwar al-Awlaki, an al-Qaida leader, and Samir Khan, an al-Qaida propagandist, were killed in a drone strike in September. Al-Awlaki’s son, Abdulrahman, was killed in October.

The lawsuit charges that senior CIA and military officials violated the Constitution and international law when they authorized strikes by the unmanned drones. The complaint also accuses the U.S. government of failing to take legally required measures to protect civilian bystanders.

Suu Kyi to receive highest civilian honor

WASHINGTON – Congress will present Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi its highest civilian honor, the Congressional Gold Medal.

Officials said the ceremony is scheduled to take place Sept. 19 during Suu Kyi’s visit to the United States.

Suu Kyi is a Nobel Peace laureate and former political prisoner who was unable to leave her home country for more than two decades.

The opposition parliament leader recently was greeted enthusiastically during trips to Thailand and Europe.

In addition to the congressional award, Suu Kyi will be presented with the Atlantic Council’s Global Citizen Award on Sept. 21 in New York.

The State Department said Suu Kyi would be invited for meetings with U.S. government officials during her visit.

Suu Kyi, elected in April, will be feted for her long struggle against military rule in her homeland and for championing democracy. She is revered by Republicans and Democrats, has been a guiding force in U.S. policy toward Myanmar over the past two decades, and has been supportive of the Obama administration’s engagement of the reformist Myanmar President Thein Sein.

U.S. company benefits from shipwreck

TAMPA, Fla. – A U.S. deep-sea exploration company says it has recovered about 48 tons of silver from a British cargo ship that was sunk by a torpedo during World War II.

Tampa, Fla.-based Odyssey Marine Exploration Inc. said Wednesday it’s the heaviest and deepest recovery of precious metals from a shipwreck.

The haul comes from the SS Gairsoppa, which was hit by a German U-boat about 300 miles off Ireland’s coast. It sits 15,420 feet deep.

So far, workers have brought up more than 1,200 silver bars or about 1.4 million troy ounces. As of midday Wednesday, it was worth about 23.7 million pounds (about $37 million).

The company is under contract by the British government and will get to keep 80 percent of the haul after expenses.


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