November 5, 2007

  • Political Unrest in Pakistan Leads to Mass Arrests and the Suspension of the Constitution
  • Extreme Flooding Causes a Humanitarian Crisis in Mexico
  • Announcement of Final Media Ownership Hearing Date Calls the FCC’s Definition of “Public Process” into Question
  • Hundreds of Cities Mark the National Climate Day of Action
  • Chavez’s Constitutional Reform Proposal Faces Heated Public Protest

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2007 Set to Become Deadliest Year for US Forces in Iraq
Newly compiled data from the Associated Press indicates that 2007 is set to become the deadliest year so far for US troops in Iraq. 2004 continues to rank as the bloodiest year of the Iraq War for American forces, but this year’s death toll is running a very close 2nd with 847 fatalities. The same Associated Press report puts the death toll for Iraqi civilians at 875 for last month alone and on average, 56 Iraqis have died each day of 2007.

Turkish PM in DC
The Prime Minister of Turkey is in Washington DC to meet with President Bush this afternoon. The visit comes as Turkish troops have amassed along the border with Iraq and the Turkish Parliament has authorized the use of force to crush Kurdish rebels. The head of the regional government of Iraqi Kurdistan has proposed 4-way talks between his government, Turkey, the United States, and the central Iraqi government in Baghdad to seek a diplomatic solution to the crisis.

Mukasey Clinches Support of Key Senate Democrats

The US Senate Judiciary Committee will vote tomorrow on whether to confirm Michael Mukasey as Attorney General. He has refused to say that water boarding is torture, but key Democrats still say they will support him. Matt Laslo reports from Washington.

Democratic Senators Dianne Feinstein and Chuck Schumer say they will vote for Mukasey. Mukasey has said water boarding is quote – “repugnant” yet has stopped short of calling it an illegal method of torture. Protestors gathered outside the Department of Justice today to oppose Mukasey’s confirmation. Maboud Ebrahimzadeh, an Iranian-American actor, subjected himself to a demonstration of waterboarding. He says Democratic Senators are caving too easily to the president. (audio) “This is supposed to be a democracy; we are supposed to elect the people that represent us – that represent our beliefs, not what they believe. And I think that if the majority of people agree with one thing then that’s what they should be signing for, not what they think is good.” Feinstein and Schumer are the only two Democrats on the committee that have signaled they will support Mukasey. After the Judiciary Committee’s vote, Mukasey will still have to be confirmed by the whole Senate. For Free Speech Radio News, I’m Matt Laslo in Washington.

Colom Wins Guatemalan Presidential Runoff
Centrist businessman Alvaro Colom has declared victory in yesterday’s presidential runoff in Guatemala. The country’s Supreme Electoral Tribunal validated the election results today and Colom’s opponent, right-wing retired general Otto Perez Molina conceded defeat. Voter turnout was much lower than in the first round of voting when 14 candidates faced off for the presidency. Colom, who won with just under 53% of the vote, has promised to implement anti-poverty measures within his first 100 days in office.

Huge Riot in Argentine Jail
A prison riot erupted in Argentina last night, leaving at least 32 dead and a dozen injured. FSRN’s Marie Trigona reports.

At least 32 prisoners died in last night’s fire in a prison in the Northern Rural province of Santiago del Estero. Prison officials say a group of inmates attempting to escape the jail set fire to mattresses and that the flames quickly spread through a maximum security wing of the prison. No media has so far been able to interview the prisoners to get their version of the events, although a judge has been appointed to mediate a dialogue. Family members suggest the riot began when inmates realized they were trapped by a fire. The riot erupted shortly before the start of visiting hours yesterday. Police shot tear gas and rubber bullets at prisoners’ relatives who tried to break through a barricade blocking the entrance of the penitentiary. Some 480 prisoners are held at the Santiago del Estero Men’s prison. The situation at the prison is unstable with many inmates behind self-constructed barricades. Two-hundred national guardsmen and police have been deployed to take back control of the penitentiary. For Free Speech Radio News I’m Marie Trigona in Buenos Aires.

FARC Delegation Arrives in Venezuela
A delegation representing Colombia’s FARC guerrillas has arrived in Venezuela for prisoner exchange negotiations. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is acting as a mediator in the talks between the FARC and the Colombian government. The guerrillas are demanding the release of some 500 of their members in exchange for around 45 high-profile hostages.



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