September 11, 2007

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Top House Democrats have opted to postpone the vote on a resolution to charge two White House figures with contempt of Congress. House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers has criticized the delay, insisting that congress must take swift action to show its commitment to holding the White House accountable. The contempt of congress resolution came after former White House counsel Harriet Miers and current presidential chief of staff Joshua Bolten failed to appear before Congress after subpoenaed to testify. President Bush claimed executive privilege to prevent the two from complying with the congressional investigation into the dismissals of 9 US attorneys.


An Israeli shell wounded four members of a Palestinian family in Northern Gaza today after rockets landed in an army base in southern Israel near the border with Gaza. Rami Al-Meghari has more.

The tank shell landed on a Palestinian house in the northern Gaza Strip, wounding a father and his three children. The Israeli army claimed the fire targeted a suspected launching site after two homemade rockets hit an army base earlier in the day. Israeli media reports say the Palestinian attack hurt 67 Israeli soldiers, an unprecedented number of injuries for a Gaza-based rocket strike. Islamic Jihad and the Popular Resistance Committees have claimed responsibility for the rocket fire and said it was in (quote) “retaliation for continued Israeli attacks on Gaza and the West Bank”. About sixty Palestinians have died in such attacks in the past 3 months. The Israeli inner security cabinet met today to discuss possible responses, but no decisions have been announced at this time. Israel has recently hinted at using collective punishment in retaliation for rocket attacks, including measures to cut off electricity or water supplies to Gaza’s civilian population. For Free Speech Radio News and , this is Rami Al-Meghari in Gaza.


Syria has imposed new visa restrictions on would-be refugees from Iraq. Most Iraqis must now apply for visas at the Syrian Embassy in Baghdad. Syria was the last country with open borders for Iraqis fleeing violence in their country. An estimated 1.4 million Iraqis have taken refuge there in the past 4 years.


The semi-autonomous regional government of Iraqi Kurdistan has sealed an agreement with two foreign energy companies: US-based Hunt Oil and Canada’s Impulse Energy Corporation. The Kurdish region passed its own oil law in August, but Iraq’s central government has questioned the legality of the contracts. The Iraqi Parliament has yet to pass an oil law at the national level.


A four month investigation by the Associated Press has turned up studies from the mid-1990’s showing that Radio Frequency ID microchip implants induced malignant tumors in some lab rats and mice. This comes as a chip manufacturer is touting human RFID implants for access to medical records. Kellia Ramares has more from KPFA.

The US Food and Drug Administration, which approved the microchips for implantation in humans in January 2005, says that a literature search failed to turn up “anything that would be of concern”. Privacy Advocate Dr. Katherine Albrecht, who brought the issue to the attention of the AP: (sound) Cancer specialists who reviewed the studies for the AP cautioned that animal test results do not always apply to humans, but also said that the animal studies should be disclosed to anyone considering an implant. The Verichip Corporation, which is eying a potential market of 45 million people in the U.S. alone, stands by the safety of its device. For FSRN, I’m Kellia Ramares.


Arctic ice continues to melt at unprecedented rates. In the last 6 days alone, the north pole lost 69,000 square miles of sea ice. That’s roughly equal in size to state of Florida. Arctic sea ice this year is already far below it’s previous low record set in 2005 and further melting is expected before the end of the summer. Scientists blame human-caused global warming for the record loss of ice. White sea ice helps to reflect some of the sun’s energy. Without it, ocean waters will absorb more heat, thereby accelerating the process of global warming.

Key Republicans Say Petraeus’s Drawdown Measure Doesn’t Go Far Enough(4:20)

General David Petreaus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker appeared on Capital Hill for the second day, this time before the Senate. Some key Republican lawmakers are saying General Petreaus’ drawdown of surge troops doesn’t go far enough. Washington Editor Leigh Ann Caldwell reports.

Securing West African Oil(3:09)

Security has been heightened in Nigeria on the sixth anniversary of the September 11 attacks in the US. The alert follows a statement by the US embassy in Nigeria that American and other western interests in the country are at risk of a terrorist attack, and just a month before the newly formed US African Command starts operations. But many feel the United States is using its war against terrorism as an excuse to expand its military influence and protect its business interests. Sam Olukoya reports from Lagos.

Chileans Remember Their 9/11 and Wonder About Their Rights Today(4:18)

On a Tuesday like today, 34 years ago the democratically-elected government of Chilean President Salvador Allende was overthrown by a violent military coup. September 11, 1973 ushered in a harsh dictatorship during which thousands were tortured, disappeared and killed. A 1989 plebiscite restored the country’s democracy, but as Chile remembers those killed and disappeared more than 30 years ago, a debate about the right to freely associate and march on the streets today is brewing. FSRN’s Jorge Garretón has more from Santiago.

Pakistan ‘s Former Prime Minister Says He Was Tricked into Deportation(3:56)

Pakistan ‘s former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif says that he was tricked into going back to Saudi Arabia, after landing at Pakistan’s Islamabad airport, where he was met by police armed with arrest warrants. Sharif’s laywers claim his deportation violates a Supreme Court order allowing his return after seven years in exile – and they’ve petitioned the court against the government’s move. That follows battles between the police and members of Sharif’s Muslim League yesterday. Tony Cross reports from Islamabad.

Sub Prime Lending Takes its Toll on Texas(3:19)

Home foreclosure rates in the United States hit a record high in the second quarter of 2007. In Texas the mortgage delinquency rate was nearly double the national average. Texas lawmakers are responding with new legislation against mortgage fraud, but as Katie Heim reports from Houston, they may be targeting the wrong people.

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