October 2, 2008
- House Takes Its Turn With Bail-out Package
- Congress Works on Bail-out for the Unemployed and the Un-Insured
- New Report Looks at Voter Purges
- ACLU Files Public Information Suit in MD to Uncover Scope of Police Spying
- Maine Development Gets Green Light
- South Korean Government Seeking Media Crackdown
Double Suicide Bombing Kills More than 20 Baghdad Shiites Celebrating the End of Ramadan
Suicide bombings struck two Shiite mosques in Baghdad today, killing at least 20 people and wounding more than 50 others. Hiba Dawood has more.
The two explosions targeted worshipers observing the Eid Al-Fitir, a celebration to mark the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Both mosques targeted in the attacks are Shiite, fueling suspicion that the bombings may have been motivated by sectarianism. The first explosion involved a suicide car bomber. The second was carried out by a teenage boy in a separate district of the Iraqi capital. The boy detonated his concealed explosives as mosque security guards tried to detain him. Elsewhere in Iraq, 6 people, including 2 children, were killed near the city of Baquba today when unidentified gunmen opened fire on a minivan. All six victims were members of the same family. Although the US presidential election and the financial crisis has been eclipsing reports from the ground in Iraq, daily violence continues to kill upwards of 400 people a month, according to government figures. For FSRN, I’m Hiba Dawood.
Senate Passes US/Nuclear Deal
The US/India Nuclear Deal is on its way to President Bush’s desk. The Senate passed the bill Wednesday night by a margin of 86 to 13. India’s coalition government welcomed the news. Earlier this summer, the Indian government nearly collapsed after leftist parties pulled out of the ruling coalition in opposition to the deal. India is not a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. US-based companies, including General Electric and Westinghouse Electric, expect to gain billions of dollars in contracts to build new nuclear reactors in India. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will travel to New Delhi tomorrow to celebrate the deal’s approval.
Bank of the South Leaders Meet on Financial Crisis
Wall Street’s problems have spread across the Atlantic to Europe, where leaders are grappling with ways to contain recent bank failures there. Meanwhile, four South American presidents met in Brazil to discuss the current world economic crisis and how it would impact the region. Monitoring the meeting from Santiago, Chile is FSRN’s Jorge Garretón.
Brazil’s Lula da Silva hosted Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez, Evo Morales of Bolivia and the president of Ecuador, Rafael Correa in the in the Amazon city of Manaus to discuss the current world economic crisis and the region’s economic preparedness. The four leaders are members of the Bank of the South, a regional lending institution created as an alternative to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Although formally launched last December, the Bank of the South is just a paper agreement. Prior to the meeting, Venezuela’s President Chávez called on the U.S. Congress to approve the banking rescue bill soon, and warned that credit crisis could slow Latin America’s economic development. No one really knows how deeply the Wall Street crisis will affect South America, but for the moment, the region’s markets have remained relatively jittery but steady. Financial analysts say South America is well insulated with solid banking liquidity. Brazilian president, Lula da Silva said that the region has done its economic homework; keeping its financial house in order, unlike the US. For FSRN, this is Jorge Garretón in Santiago.
Fewer Undocumented Immigrants Coming to the US: Pew Researchers
Researchers with the Pew Hispanic Center say undocumented immigration into the US appears to be on the decline. The center’s new report estimates that the influx of undocumented immigrants fell to an average of 500,000 a year between 2005 and 2008. That’s down from 800,000 a year in the first half of the decade. The Pew Hispanic Center estimates the size of the undocumented population by subtracting the number of documented immigrants from the US Census Bureau’s annual data on foreign born residents in the US. The Census Bureau does not inquire about immigration status when gathering data. Overall, just under 12 million undocumented immigrants are thought to live in the US, amounting to roughly 4% of the national population.
New Orleans Ranks Among World’s Most Murderous Cities
New Orleans, Louisiana has made the short list of the world’s most dangerous cities. According to a survey conducted by Foreign Policy magazine, New Orleans and four other murder capitals are in a class of their own with regards to “brutal, homicidal violence”. FBI statistics put the New Orleans murder rate at 95 per 100,000 residents. That’s more than double the murder rate of Detroit, the country’s second deadliest city. Other murder capitals named in the Foreign Policy magazine report are Caracas, Venezuela, Cape Town, South Africa, Moscow, Russia, and the organized crime haven of Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea.
House Takes Its Turn With Bail-out Package
The Senate easily passed an updated version of the Wall Street bail out last night that includes more than 100 billion dollars of tax cuts. The point of focus once again turns to the House of Representatives where passage is not guaranteed. FSRN’s Leigh Ann Caldwell reports.
Congress Works on Bail-out for the Unemployed and the Uninsured
Before the urgency of the wall street bail out, Congress was working on a 61 billion dollar economic stimulus package for unemployment and health care. It has since been sidelined. But some in Congress are still trying to resurrect it. FSRN’s Karen Miller reports.
New Report Looks at Voter Purges
With the elections just a few weeks away, many are concerned about the disenfranchisement of millions of voters. According to a new report, dozens of states removed at least 13 million people from the voter registration rolls between 2004 and 2006. It’s a tactic called voter purging. People’s names are removed, often for illegitimate reasons, in an effort to update voter rolls. For example, in 2000 and 2004, Florida wrongly removed thousands of eligible voters in an effort to remove felons from the voting list. The Brennan Center for Justice published the report. Myrna Perez co-authored the study. She gives an example of a purging error.
Perez says voters states are failing to notify people of purges. According to the report, in Muscogee, Georgia 700 people were removed for criminal convictions – but an analysis of those purged showed people who’s records were completely clean. An election official in Mississippi wrongly purged 10,000 voters from her home computer right before the presidential primary. The Brennan Center says it’s impossible to know how many voters were taken off the lists in error because of the secret and inconsistent manner in which states does the purges. The report calls for more transparency and accountability when states conduct purges; strict criteria for creating purge lists, and “Fail-Safe” provisions to protect voters.
ACLU Files Public Information Suit in MD to Uncover Scope of Police Spying
Peace, Justice and Anti-death penalty groups may be plotting violent demonstrations in the near future. That’s the reason the Maryland State Police gave for spying on these groups for over a year, and now, the ACLU of Maryland is filing Public Information Requests in an effort to determine exactly how widespread the surveillance has been. Last July, the ACLU received 43 pages of documents that had been withheld for two years in response to public information lawsuit. This most recent suit was filed on behalf of 32 organizations and more than 250 individuals associated with those organizations. FSRN spoke with David Roca, a staff attorney with the ACLU of Maryland: David Roca is a staff Attorney with the ACLU of Maryland
Maine Development Gets Green Light
Despite widespread public opposition, the largest development in the State of Maine received the green light this week from the agency responsible for overseeing Maine’s Unorganized Territories. Amy Browne from WERU reports:
And now this correction:. In Monday’s newscast we reported that the Supreme Court’s stay of death row inmate Troy Davis’ execution expired the next day. FSRN has learned that the stay is actually in effect until the Supreme Court decides whether or not to take up the case, which they are expected to do October 6. Troy Davis was arrested 19 years ago for the murder of a white police officer – a murder he and his supporters maintain he didn’t commit.”
South Korean Government Seeking Media Crackdown
In South Korea, the anti- government protests that erupted this summer following a deal to re-import American beef were born on the Internet. Rumors that Koreans were going to be served meat tainted with mad cow disease spread across chat rooms and message boards, adding fuel to the fire. And now President Lee Myung Bak is hoping to reign in what he sees as irresponsible online media. FSRN’s Jason Strother has the story from Seoul.