July 12, 2007
GOP SENATOR BLOCK REST MEASURES FOR RETURNING TROOPS
Senate Republicans killed 2 measures yesterday to extend troop rest and recovery time. One would have given returning soldiers a minimum rest time equal to the length of their tours of duty. Both measures fell short of the 60 vote threshold imposed by Senate Republicans to force debate on any legislation regarding the Iraq War and the Defense Authorization Bill.
HUNDREDS OF IRAQIS KILLED AT CHECKPOINTS IN THE LAST YEAR
Military statistics obtained by a McClatchy Newspaper reporter reveal that US soldiers wounded or killed nearly 430 Iraqi civilians at checkpoints or near patrols in the past year. The figure does not include the number of Iraqi civilians killed by US forces in raids, detentions, or in crossfire during fighting with insurgents.
FIGHTING ERUPTS AT NAHR EL BARED CAMP AGAIN
Fighting has flared up once again at the Palestinian refugee camp in Northern Lebanon. More than 150 civilians have fled the Nahr al-Bared camp since yesterday and at least 2 Lebanese soldiers have been killed. Simba Russeau has more from Beirut.
Large clouds of smoke billowed from the demolished buildings in the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp today. It was the most intense fighting since the Lebanese defense minister declared an end to all major operations at the camp late last month. Commemorating the one year anniversary of the start of the war between Israel and Hizbullah, Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora called for the army to “put a final end” to the conflict, which has killed at least 201 people. Caught in the middle are the 30,000 residents of Nahr al-Bared. The fighting forced 19 yr old Asmaa to flee to the nearby Beddoui refugee camp. “There are some people here that are crying and dying. We can go to the camp and see how many people are still under the damaged houses.”Aid workers continue to warn of a growing humanitarian crisis for those who remain trapped at Nahr al-Bared. Reporting for Free Speech Radio News in Beirut. I’m Simba Russeau.
JIHADI-STYLE ATTACKS IN PAKISTAN AFTER RED MOSQUE RAID
Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf addressed the nation today promising army support to law enforcement agencies fighting Muslim extremists in the country’s tribal regions. Masroor Hussain reports.
At least a dozen people are dead in Jihadi-style attacks in the wake of the storming of the Red Mosque in Islamabad. Six civilians and three policemen died today when a suicide bomber blew himself up outside a religious centre in the northern district of Swat. The area is a stronghold of Tehrik Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi, a banned Jihadi group with close ties to the clerics of Islamabad’s Red Mosque. Another a suicide bombing killed three people in Miranshah, the main town in the troubled North Waziristan province. An alliance of six religious political parties has announced protest rallies after Friday prayers. The exact number of deaths from the raid of the Red Mosque is stated to be 86, ten of whom are army commandos. However, independent verification of the death toll or the number of wounded in the operation has not happened. The neighborhood around the Red Mosque is under curfew and all hospitals in the city are off-limits. Although the Red Mosque raid is likely to assure the moderate majority of Musharraf’s commitment to fight extremism, it is bound to invite violent reaction from Jihadi groups. Al-Qaida’s second-in-command Aiman Al Zawahiry has called upon Pakistanis to carry out revenge attacks for the mosque raid. For Free Speech Radio News, this is Masroor Hussain in Karachi.
NUCLEAR REGULATORS LAX ON SECURITY
A congressional investigation has uncovered flawed security practices at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Investigators from the Government Accountability Office set up a fake company with only a post office box address. They obtained a license and, with in a month, were able to purchase enough radioactive material to construct a dirty bomb. The results of the sting operation were discussed in a senate hearing today.
KOSOVO INDEPENDENCE CONTENTIOUS ISSUE AT UN
Diplomats at the UN are locked in tough and cumbersome negotiations to decide the future of Kosovo, the breakaway Serbian province which has been administered by the UN for the past 8 years. Haider Rizvi reports from the United Nations.
A draft resolution is under discussion these days in the UN Security Council to allow Kosovo Albanians to achieve a relative independence from Serbia. But its sponsors, the United States and its European allies, have so far failed to convince Russia to go along with them. The Russians and Chinese say no resolution for Kosovo’s supervised independence would be acceptable unless both the Serbs and Kosovo Albanians reach an agreement with each other. For his part, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, has warned of negative consequences in the Balkan region and Europe if the Security Council fails to resolve this issue soon. Kosovo has been administered by the UN since 1999, when it took charge of the territory following a NATO bombing campaign targeting Serb forces. Kosovo, a province of the former Yugoslavia in the south of Serbia has a population of of over two million people, who are predominantly ethnic Albanians seeking separation from Serbia. Haider Rizvi at the United Nations.
House and Senate Consider Iraq Reports (4:00)
Two reports in as many days on Iraq and Al-Qaeda have riled up both sides of the debate on the Iraq war. President Bush’s interim report reveals mixed results on progress – and a classified intelligence reports shows Al-Qaeda has gained strength. The House and Senate are using these two reports as the basis to bolster their position on Iraq as they debate the future of the war. Washington Editor Leigh Ann Caldwell has more.
Contempt Charges in Motion Against Former Bush Aide Miers (:40)
A House subcommittee set contempt charges in motion against formers Bush aide Harriet Miers. Claiming executive privilege under President Bush, Miers refused to testify before a congressional subcommittee on the firing of federal prosecutors. According to Reuters news service, internal documents reveal that Miers was involved in a plan that led to the dismissal of nine US Attorneys. The committee voted seven to five for contempt.
One Year Anniversary of Israel-Lebanon War (4:00)
Today marks one year since Israel waged war against Hezbollah in Lebanon. Up to 163 Israelis were killed in the month-long war, including 43 civilians. More than 1,000 Lebanese lost their lives – according to UNICEF, 30 percent of them were children under the age of 13. But what effect did the war have on Israeli politics? The topic remains controversial: many Israelis feel it was a failure, and a commission of inquiry into the conduct of the war savagely criticized Israel’s Prime Minister, the Chief of Staff and the Defence Minister – two of whom have since resigned. In part one of a two part series, FSRN takes a look at the effects of the war one year later, with Irris Makler, reporting from Jerusalem.
Cities in Peru Gripped by General Strike and Massive Protests (3:00)
Despite rumors of military repression, a general strike continues into its second day countrywide today in Peru. Massive protests merging fair trade, education and cost-of-living interests together brought movement in the capital of Lima to close today. Tom Allan reports from the highland capital of Cusco, where teachers and university lecturers are once again blocking the roads into the city.
Brooklyn Residents Denounce Racial Profiling by NYPD (3:20)
Dozens of young men of color are appearing in court in New York this week after being arrested in mass last month while attending the funeral of a murdered friend. The police charged the youths with crimes related to gang activity. But as Christine Lewis reports from Brooklyn, community members are outraged over the arrests and are threatening a massive boycott to begin on September 11 to protest racial profiling by the NYPD.
Virginia County Passes Anti-Immigrant Resolution (2:00)
19 people were arrested at Swift meatpacking plants in Colorado, Nebraska and Iowa this week – part of a new round of immigration sweeps. Authorities appeared at the plants with warrants – in contrast to the massive raids conducted at half a dozen plants in December, when more than 1,200 workers were arrest. Meanwhile, the delay in immigration reform in Congress is prompting a growing number of state and local governments to pass their own laws targeting undocumented immigrants. The most recent is in Prince William County, Virginia where county supervisors unanimously approved a resolution that some say is more about racism, than immigration. From Richmond, FSRN’s Catherine Komp has more.
LGBT Community Faces Repression in Uganda (4:00)
In July 2005, Ugandan government officials raided the home of lesbian human rights activist Victor Juliet Mukasa in suburban Kampala searching for evidence incriminating her with the crime of practicing lesbianism. Another woman found staying at the house at the time of the raid was arbitrarily arrested, detained and subjected to humiliating treatment. The Ugandan constitution says all people shall be treated equally and no one shall be discriminated against. But Victor Juliet Mukasa and her Kenyan friend Yvonne Oyo say they have suffered persistent harassment at the hands of the Uganda police because of their sexual orientation. FSRN’S Joshua Kyalimpa files this report from Kampala.