August 26, 2008

  • DNC: First Night Recap
  • Police Arrest 139 Demonstrators and Others
  • Denver’s Homeless and the DNC
  • Update on Massive Mississippi ICE Raid
  • Aafia Sidiqui Awaits Indictment

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Afghan and UN Investigators Say Airstrikes Killed 90 Civilians
The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan says that it has found what it calls “convincing evidence” that US-led airstrikes killed 90 civilians last Friday in the province of Herat. The investigative team says that 60 of the dead were children. The findings are consistent with those of a separate investigation ordered by Aghan president Hamid Karzai. US-led coalition forces have admitted to only 30 dead, saying that most were Taliban militants. If the conclusions of the UN and Afghan investigations are correct, the Friday airstrkes would have been one of the most deadly incidents for Afghan civilians since the start of the 2001 invasion.

Attack on US Consular Official in Peshawar
In Pakistan, unidentified gunmen opened fire this morning on a vehicle carrying a top US consular official in Peshawar. The diplomat, Lynne Tracy, was on her way to work when unidentified persons fired at the engine portion of the vehicle in an apparent effort to disable it. Tracy was traveling in a bullet-proof vehicle with two other consulate employees. The consulate staff were able to escape the scene unharmed, but an auto rickshaw driver was reportedly wounded in the incident.

Rice in Middle East to Continue Annapolis Talks
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was in the Middle East today to continue the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations that began last November that the Washington-sponsored Annapolis peace summit. FSRN’s Rami Almeghari has more.

In his meeting with Secretary Rice today, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he looked forward to the realization of a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, with occupied east Jerusalem as its capital. Israeli foreign minister, Tsibi Livni, downplayed Rice’s concerns about ongoing settlement activities in the occupied West Bank, claiming Israel does not aim to increase its settlements, but rather to reduce them. The Israeli official’s statements stand in stark constrast to data published this month by the Israeli NGO, Peace Now. The report shows that new Israeli settlement units in the West Bank have nearly doubled in the past year, with more than 55% of new units built on the Palestinian side of the separation barrier. Jeff Halper, an American-Israeli campaigner who recently arrived in Gaza as part of a humanitarian mission, comments on the Annapolis peace process.  [clip] “It is not a genuine peace process , there is no genuine negotiations. There is an idea that they can be together, but Israel is trying , with the help of America to get through an Apartheid regime”. Last November, U.S President George W. Bush set a goal for a two-state solution before the end of his term in office, although no concrete progress is evident. For Free Speech Radio News, I am Rami Almeghari in Gaza.

Russia Recognizes Independence of 2 Georgian Breakaway Regions
The government of Russia has officially recognized the independence of Georgia’s two breakaway regions; Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Russian president Dmitry Medvedev made the announcement on state television today. The United States and Britain have condemned the move, as has France, which currently holds the European Union presidency. In his televised address, the Russian president made references to the former Serbian province of Kosovo. Russia strongly opposed Kosovo’s declaration of independence in February, while several NATO countries, including the US, the UK, and France move quickly to recognize Kosovo’s independence.

12 States Sue EPA to Regulate Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Oil Refineries
12 states have filed a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency in federal Court to force the agency to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from oil refinaries. Africa Jones reports.

The lawsuit alleges that the EPA’s failure to regulate the greenhouse gas emissions of oil refineries is a violation of the Clean Air Act. The agency has yet to set limits for the emissions which are linked to climate change. Last year, the Supreme Court ruled that greenhouse gases are a pollutant that fall under the jurisdiction of the Clean Air Act. The decision required the EPA to establish New Source Performance Standards that could be used for regulating the emissions, but when the agency released new standards in June to regulate refineries, it failed to address greenhouse gases. The agency says that the Clean Air Act is not the appropriate vehicle to regulate greenhouse gas emissions and that new congressional legislation is needed. States have increasingly turned to the courts in an effort to force the EPA to establish clear pollution guidelines. Other lawsuits filed this year call on the agency to regulate car emissions and fine particulate matter deemed harmful to human health and the environment. For FSRN, I’m Africa Jones.

Bush Administration Proposes Shrinking Protection Zone for Whales
The Bush Administration is seeking to diminish protections for the endangered North Atlantic right whale. A proposal submitted on Monday calls for the government to reduce the size of protected areas off parts of the East Coast in which cargo ships must travel at speeds below 10 knots during certain times of the year. The reduced speeds are meant to prevent fatal ship collisions along the whales’ migratory path. The original proposal submitted in 2006 would have created a protective zone within 30 nautical miles of the coast, but an environmental impact statement published yesterday revised the guidelines to mandate reduced speeds within 20 nautical miles of the coast. Commercial shippers had criticized the original proposal, saying that it would cause cargo ships to burn more fuel and create delays. Ship collisions constitute one of the leading causes of death for the right whales. Scientists estimate that only about 300 North Atlantic right whales remain on the planet.



DNC: First Night Recap

An emotional first night of the Democratic convention which included a tribute to ailing Senator Ted Kennedy and a heart felt story from Michelle Obama.  But as the convention moves into the second day, the Democrats theme of unity might be challenged.

Police Arrest 139 Demonstrators and Others

Some 139 people were arrested just blocks from the convention center that’s housing the Democratic National Convention. Protestors, by-standers and legal observers were surrounded by police and then arrested. Charges against those arrested include loitering, begging, throwing stones, interference with lawful authority, failure to obey a police order, and obstruction of a public roadway. Sources say the Denver Sheriff’s Department admitted in court that some people were incorrectly charged due to a computer-generated database error. Leigh Ann Caldwell and Aura Bogado have the exclusive story.

Denver’s Homeless and the DNC

Rounding up the homeless and sending them on a one-way ticket out of town has been the norm for cities hosting a major event like the Democratic National Convention. However, the City of Denver seems to be breaking convention, and is going so far to involve them in the political process. Though, homeless advocacy groups are closing watching the Denver police to insure it stays that way. Reporter Blake Wesley is in Denver and files this report.

Update on Massive Mississippi ICE Raid

As we reported in a breaking story yesterday, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency conducted yet another raid.  Agents descended on the Howard Industries plant in Laurel, Mississippi to round up over 350 workers. FSRN’s News Karen Miller looks at how the raid has shaken up the town.

Aafia Sidiqui Awaits Indictment

Lawyers for a Pakistani woman with suspected ties to Al Qaida say her medical condition has worsened since she was arrested in Afghanistan, handed over to US officials, and shot in the chest by US interrogators. Dr. Aafia Sidiqui is being held in federal detention center in Brooklyn as she awaits her indictment. From New York, Renee Feltz reports:

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