March 21, 2008
- Weekly Political news Roundup
- Taiwan Election Preview
- Critics Say DNA Swapping Infringes on Civil Liberties
- Nation’s Largest Redevelopment Proposal Threatens to Displace 6,000 Residents
Nancy Pelosi Visits Dalai Lama in India
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was in northern India today to meet with the Dalai Lama and others in the Tibetan exile community. Pelosi called the ongoing situation in Tibet a “challenge to conscience of the world”. The Chinese ambassador to India described the visit as meddling in China’s internal affairs.
Tibetan Exiles Rush Chinese Embassy in New Delhi
Meanwhile, Indian police arrested at least 20 Tibetan protestors today after they barged onto the grounds of the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi. Some of the protestors scaled the compond walls and hung Tibetan flags and protest signs calling for a boycott of the Beijing Olympics.
White House Approves Military Aid to Kosovo
The White House has authorized military aid to Kosovo in a move that has angered Serbia and Russia. Amy Miller has more from Belgrade.
Russia today called for an urgent meeting of NATO members to discuss the Bush Administration’s approval of military aid to Kosovo. The American president signed the measure on Wednesday, stating that arms shipment to Kosovo would (quote) “strengthen the security of the United States and promote world peace”. Serbia and Russia argue that UN Security Council resolution 1244 prohibits any military aid to Kosovo other than to UN forces in the region. Serbia and Russia – both opponents of Kosovo’s declaration of independence – say that the supply of weapons to the region will further destabilize the situation and create the potential for violence. Russian envoy to NATO Dmitri Rogozin was quoted as saying “giving weapons to former Kosovo Liberation Army terrorists for the war against terrorism is, if nothing else, interesting”. Throughout the 1990s, the United States and the United Nations listed the KLA as a terrorist organization. The KLA’s former leader, Hassim Thaci, is currently Kosovo’s prime minister. For FSRN, I’m Amy Miller in Belgrade.
Leaders of Divided Cyprus Hold Talks
The leaders of the divided island of Cyprus met today to relaunch peace talks. The Mediterranean island has been partitioned between Greek and Turkish influenced areas since 1974, with the United Nations maintaining a peacekeeping force in the buffer zone. Negotiations between the two sides have been stalled for the past 4 years. The Greek Cypriot government is recognized internationally as the sovereign authority over the island, while only Turkey recognizes the authority of the Turkish Cypriot government in the north. The newly-seated president of the Republic of Cyprus ran on a platform of reunification. The two leaders have agreed to open a barrier in the capital city, Nicosia, as a gesture of goodwill. Many political analysts view today’s meeting as a first step towards reuniting the divided island.
Charlotte Teen Dies After Tasing
Back in the US, a North Carolina teenager is the latest person to die a taser. Seventeen-year-old Darryl Turner was reportedly arguing with his supervisor at a grocery store in Charlotte when police arrived on the scene. The police department released a statement saying that the officer used the taser after Turner threw an object at the supervisor. Charlotte police will conduct an internal investigation to determine if the officer followed procedure. Turner’s mother told local television that authorities did not notify her of her son’s death. She had to find out from his co-workers what had happened.
Starbuck’s Caught with Its Hand in the Tip Jar
And finally, a California court has ordered Starbuck’s to pay $105 million to its California coffee shop workers after the company was found in violation of the law for its policy of allowing shift supervisors to take a cut of the tip jar. Andrew Stelzer reports.
Under California law, owners, managers, or other so called “agents” of a business owner can not share tips. The court ruled that shift supervisors fall into this category and therefore shouldn’t be sharing pooled tips with regular employees. (clip1) “It is a way to compensate the supervisors out of a source other than Starbucks own pocket.” Laura Ho is an attorney who represented the Starbuck’s baristas. (clip2) “If Starbuck’s wanted to compensate shift supervisors at a higher level, there are lots of ways to do that. The one way they couldn’t do that is taking the money from the tip pool with the baristas…. we would hope that Starbuck’s responds by paying supervisors more for the supervising work that they do, instead of using tips to compensate supervisors.” Judge Patricia Cowett said she will also issue an injunction, immediately preventing Starbuck’s from continuing to pay supervisors out of the tip jar at its more than 2,000 coffee shops in California. Starbuck’s has vowed to appeal the ruling, and will seek to postpone the injunction during the appeals process. which may take up to 2 years. Reporting from Oakland, California, I’m Andrew Stelzer.
Weekly Political news Roundup
The State Department comes under fire as it reveals that passport records of Senators Barack Obama, John McCain and Hillary Clinton were all accessed without authorization within the past year. Although the investigation is ongoing, two of the persons involved have been fired. In more campaign news, New Mexico’s governor Bill Richardson formally endorsed Barack Obama at a rally in Oregon today. Richardson said Obama started a discussion on race within the nation that “was long overdue”. FSRN’s Katharine Jarmul has more in this week’s political news round-up.
Taiwan Election Preview
Presidential elections will be held in Taiwan Saturday. After eight years of ruling by the Democratic Progressive Party, the nationalist party was set to take up the lead. But the unrest in Tibet has marked the last days of campaigning, making the outcome uncertain. FSRN’s Severine Bardon reports from Taipei.
Critics Say DNA Swapping Infringes on Civil Liberties
In the latest wave of trans-Atlantic security measures, the United States and Germany have agreed to share data like fingerprints and DNA in what they say is a move to prevent terrorist attacks and to combat organized crime. In international criminal investigations, data is currently shared on a case-by-case basis by official legal request. Under the new system of data exchange, each country can send fingerprints to be cross-referenced with the other’s database. If there’s a match or “hit”, the querying country must then make a legal request for further identifying data. But this latest agreement has again provoked debate about personal privacy and infringement of civil liberties in the face of heightened surveillance. Cinnamon Nippard has more from Berlin.
Nation’s Largest Redevelopment Proposal Threatens to Displace 6,000 Residents
The private investment firm Fifteen Group’s proposal for the nation’s largest redevelopment project – which threatens to displace some 6,000 mostly Latino residents – is in the works in the Boyle Heights neighborhood, just east of downtown LA. Some 300 residents gathered this week in what they call “The Mall”, a large grassy field that is central to the complex, to inform themselves about the developer’s plans and to strategize how to move forward. Nico Aviña has the story.