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Charity auctions off Elton John's platform boots

Elton John may be better known for his Tantrums & Tiaras, but it is a pair of the pop legend's platform boots that are up for auction.

The platforms are signed by Elton John. Credit: Amnesty International

The six-inch-high boots, complete with gold keyboard motif platforms and signed by the man himself, are among a number of pop memorabilia items being auctioned off on eBay to raise money for Amnesty International.

Calls for UN inquiry into North Korean 'prison camps'

Amnesty International has called for the UN to establish an inquiry into human rights violations in North Korea after satellite images uncovered evidence of an expansion of an area thought to be a prison camp, north of Pyongyang.

Amnesty researchers found that between 2006 and 2013 North Korea has constructed a new 20km perimeter around the Ch’oma-Bongvalley, located 70km north of Pyongyang. The new perimeter is said to include civilian villages and encloses inhabitants within it.

Amnesty analysts also identified the construction of new buildings that appear to house workers, which they say is likely to be associated with an expansion of mining activity in the region. Amnesty's Frank Jannuzi said the images are worse than expected:

We expected to find a new prison camp. What we found is in some ways even more worrisome.

The creation of a security perimeter with controlled access points and guard towers beyond what appears to be the formal boundaries of Camp 14 blurs the line between more than 100,000 people who suffer in North Korea’s Kwan-li-so system and the neighbouring civilian population.

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Images show 'prison camp expansion' in North Korea

The prison camp in 2011 Credit: Amnesty International

New satellite images show the North Korean government is expanding the perimeters of a prison camp north of Pyongyang, according to Amnesty International.

North Korea continues to deny the existence of such camps. Amnesty International says the new images show the camp is extending into the nearby area, thereby blurring the lines between the camps and the surrounding population.

The prison camp in 2013. Credit: Amnesty International

The satellite images were specially commissioned after reports of a possible construction of a new political prison camp.

Amnesty International condemns child beheading

Amnesty International has condemned reports that a 12-year-old boy and a six-year-old girl were beheaded in separate incidents in Afghanistan.

These two acts of despicable killings of children in Kandahar and Kapisa provinces must be subject to prompt, independent and thorough investigations – those responsible must be held to account in trials that meet international standards of fairness, without use of the death penalty.

Reports that the young boy was killed by the Taliban to avenge his brother’s service with the Afghan Local Police highlight the challenges in establishing rule of law in Afghanistan. The Taliban have denied responsibility. In the past, Afghan insurgent groups have targeted civilians – including children – for their perceived allegiance to the government.

– Amnesty International’s deputy director for Asia Polly Truscott

Around 130 people died in Syrian violence today, group says

Around 130 people, including 62 civilians, have been killed in violence across Syria today, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claimed.

Some 200 people were killed throughout the country on Wednesday, according to the Observatory.

Troops loyal to President Bashar al Assad hammered the town of Daraya - located on the outskirts of Damascus - today and yesterday, killing at least 25 people and wounding another 200, opposition sources told the Reuters news agency.

Locals said soldiers raided houses and used mortar bombs in the streets as artillery and helicopters continued the assault on the town, meeting little resistance.

In Aleppo, tank shells crashed into buildings as civilians returned to check their houses and grab their belongings.

Latest images from Syria as violence continues

A Syrian Air Force helicopter prepares to fire a rocket in Aleppo city today Credit: Reuters/Youssef Boudlal
Free Syrian Army fighters inside an Aleppo building where they are squatting Credit: Reuters/Youssef Boudlal
Smoke clears after rubbish is burned on Aleppo's streets Credit: Reuters/Youssef Boudlal
Syrians queue to buy bread at a local bakery in Aleppo Credit: Reuters/Youssef Boudlal
UN observers being transported out of Damascus as they leave Syria Credit: Reuters/Khaled Al Hariri

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Late Chechen warlord's son reportedly killed in Syria

The son of late Chechen warlord Ruslan Gelayev has been killed in Syria by regime forces, according to Russian news reports.

However, the details of how and where Rustam Gelayev, 24, died differ.

Chechenews.com claims Mr Gelayev was killed earlier this month during the shelling of an Aleppo mosque after he joined a unit of volunteers fighting alongside the insurgents.

Kavkazcenter.com reported Mr Gelayev died when his unit "entered into a battle with superior forces of the Alawite regime".

However, Russian newspaper Kommersant, citing a relative, said Mr Gelayev had been studying in Syria when he decided to leave because of the violence. He was on his to Turkey when he was killed, according to the report.

Around 100 reportedly killed in Syrian violence today

Around 100 people, including 59 civilians, have been killed in violence across Syria today, according to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The deaths include 15 people killed in Daraya - located on the outskirts of Damascus - during a bombardment by Syrian troops backed by tanks, opposition sources told the Reuters news agency.

Some 200 people were killed on Wednesday, the Observatory added.

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