November 28, 2007

  • Palestinians Protest Middle East Peace Conference as Olmert and Abbas Meet with Bush at the White House
  • United Nation’s Framework Convention on Climate Change
  • Violence in Sri Lanka
  • Violence in Paris Apparently Under Control
  • DNA Collection in Britain Comes Under Fire
  • Commentary from Mumia Abu-Jamal

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Musharraf Steps Down as Military Chief
Pakistan’s General Pervez Musharraf retired from his position as head of the Pakistani army today. Masror Hussein has the story.

In a pompous military ceremony in Rawalpindi city, General Musharraf handed over the charge of the half-a-million strong army to his close confidante General Ashfaq Kiyani. Mr Musharraf will take the oath of office for another presidential term tomorrow morning. US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice was quick to comment on Musharraf’s retirement. She hailed the development as a good first step and called for lifting the emergency rule. Musharraf will address the nation Thursday after his swearing-in ceremony. Pakistan’s Attorney-General has indicated that Musharraf may lift emergency rule in his address. The state of emergency, which took effect on the 3rd of November, has forced the closure of private media, prohibited demonstrations, and resulted in the detention of thousands of political opponents and lawyers. For FSRN, Masror Hussein, Karachi.

14 Afghan Civilians Killed in NATO Airstrike
NATO airstrikes have killed 14 Afghan civil engineers and construction workers as they slept in roadside tents. The men had been working on a project contracted by the US military to construct a road in the eastern Nuristan province. The director of the Kabul-based contracting company which employed the workers told the Associated Press that the airstrike killed the entire construction team and that the company has requested NATO to investigate the source of the faulty intelligence that prompted the attack.

Oscar Wyatt Sentenced for Oil-for-Food Corruption
Texas oilman Oscar Wyatt has been sentenced to one year and a day in prison for corruption and conspiracy charges linked to kickbacks paid to the Saddam Hussein regime under the United Nations-administered Food for Oil program. Under the conditions of the program, all payments made for Iraqi oil were to go directly to the United Nations account set up for that purpose, but Wyatt admitted to having arranged for the payment of illegal surcharges to a bank account controlled by the government of Saddam Hussein. The case’s presiding judge has raised some eyebrows in legal circles, as the sentence imposed falls below the minimum sentence for the crimes. Wyatt has also been granted the possibility of early release for good behavior.

SCOTUS Dismisses Welfare Inspection Challenge
In other legal news, The US Supreme Court has refused to hear an appeal of a ruling that allows county authorities to search the homes of welfare applicants without a warrant. Kellia Ramares has the story.

San Diego County’s Project 100% makes unannounced, warrantless searches of a welfare applicant’s home a condition for receiving benefits. No part of the home is exempt from search, including closets, medicine cabinets, and garbage cans. The program is allegedly designed to root out welfare fraud, but no suspicion of fraud is required to trigger a search. A 3-judge panel of the 9th circuit court of appeals held 2-1 that there is no constitutional violation because the applicants have the right to deny social workers entry to their homes. But a denial of entry would mean disqualification from the social welfare program. Other recipients of government benefits, such as farmers receiving subsidies, are not subject to searches. The Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the case upholds the lower court’s ruling. For FSRN I’m Kellia Ramares.

Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool to be Revised
Researchers from the National Cancer Institute will make adjustments to a tool used to calculate the risk for breast cancer. A reassessment of the tool showed that the risk calculator underestimated the breast cancer risk for American American women over the age of 45. Doctors originally designed the risk calculator predominately with data from white women. In addition to providing a more accurate risk assessment, the new model will be able to better identity African American women eligible for clinical breast cancer prevention trials.

Indian Disability Rights Activists Win Promise from Government After Mass Suicide Threat
And finally, a state government in India has agreed to look into raising the disability pension after hundreds of disability rights activists staged a 2-day sit-in and threatened to commit mass suicide. Bismillah Geelani reports.

The breakthrough came last night after the third round of talks between the protesters and ministers from the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. The protesters living with physical, visual, and hearing disabilities spent Monday night in an open ground in the state capital Hyderabad to call on the state government to increase monthly disability pensions to 38 dollars and to expand budgetary allocations for job placement and welfare programs. Current disability pensions equal only 5 dollars a month. Many of the protesters carried bottles of kerosene and had threatened to set themselves on fire if the police attempted to arrest them or disrupt the protest. The government has agreed to call an all-party meeting on Dec 2nd to look into their demands. For FSRN, this is Bismillah Geelani from New Delhi.



Palestinians Protest Middle East Peace Conference as Olmert and Abbas Meet with Bush at the White House

To kick off the new round of peace talks, one day after it was agreed that negotiations would formally begin, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas met with U.S. President George Bush at the White House. Bush pledged a more active role this time around.


The parties agreed to spend the next year working on cores issues and a peace deal

Now we head to Palestine, where thousands of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank took to the streets to voice their objection to what they’re calling a ‘ renunciation’ of their rights. FSRN’s Rami aL-Meghari reports from Gaza City.

United Nation’s Framework Convention on Climate Change

Next week, countries around the world will be sending delegates to Bali, Indonesia to take part in the United Nation’s Framework Convention on Climate Change conference. Attendees will have to determine their next steps in reducing global-warming emissions after the UN’s last climate change initiative, the Kyoto protocol, expires in 2012. One lingering question is what the U.S.’s role should be. FSRN’s Karen Miller has more.

Violence in Sri Lanka

Tensions between the Sri Lankan government and the Tamil Tiger rebels stoke fears of an all out war in the country. A series of deadly incidents in the past two days, including a suicide bombing and the flattening of a rebel radio station, has killed at least two-dozen people. FSRN’s Ponniah Manikavasagam reports from Sri Lanka.

Violence in Paris Apparently Under Control

After three nights of violence, which left serious damages and injured over one hundred police officers, the situation seems to be under control, as thousands of law enforcement were massed in the northern suburb of Paris. Khaled Sid Mohand reports from Paris.

DNA Collection in Britain Comes Under Fire

British police now hold the highest number per capita of DNA than any other police force in the world. But the rapid growth and the disproportionate inclusion of certain groups in the database is coming under fire. From London, Naomi Fowler reports.

Commentary from Mumia Abu-Jamal

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