October 24, 2008

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Asian and European Leaders Call for Massive Overhaul to Global Economic Rules
The rules governing the global economy should be rewritten – that’s the verdict today laid out by European and Asian world leaders in a draft statement, following a meeting of the Asian/European Summit in Beijing.  Leaders also agreed the International Monetary Fund should take the lead in helping countries suffering most from the global economic meltdown.  If approved this would be one of the strongest calls yet for the IMF to step up.  Leaders of the G20 countries, which comprise the larges economies in the world, will meet in Washington next month.

Thailand and Cambodia Vow to Peacefully Resolve Border Dispute
At that same Summit today, Thai and Cambodian officials vowed to come to a peaceful agreement on a border dispute that recently sparked violent skirmishes between their military forces.  The 1.8 square miles of land in question is home to the Preah Vihear temple, a 900-year old structure recently listed as a UNESCO world heritage sight.

Divisions in ANC Deepen as South Africa’s Crime Fighting Unit is Disbanded
An African National Congress parliamentary vote has disbanded South Africa’s independent crime investigation unit, the Directorate of Special Operations. Today ANC leadership called on the citizens of South Africa to rally behind the decision.  Davison Makanga reports.
Commonly known as The Scorpions, the crime unit has become unpopular with African National Congress leadership. This follows the arrest and investigation of the party’s leader Jacob Zuma and other high-ranking officials on corruption charges.  The FBI-style unit will be replaced by what critics consider a watered-down appendage within the country’s police services. Opposition parties have lashed out at the move.  The Democratic Alliance described the move AS part of ANC’s season of madness. The party’s parliamentary speaker Sandra Botha says it is a blow to the fight against organized crime.
“We have had a long fight; ten months we have been trying to save the Scorpions but clearly there was a party instruction and the ANC voted according to party line. I know that there are several people in the ANC who are very unhappy themselves about getting rid of the Scorpions but they are tied and had no option.”
Meanwhile, divisions in the ANC will likely widen following the vote.  ANC members aligned to ousted President Thabo Mbeki called for the retention of the unit. The party is set officially split on the 2nd of November when dissident members hold a national convention. For FSRN this Davison Makanga in Cape, South Africa

Lawsuits Immediately Follow NYC Vote to Change Term Limits
New York’s City Council HAS voted to approve legislation to extend term limits.  The City’s Mayor, Billionaire Mike Bloomberg convinced the Council to rewrite the term limits law so he can run for a third term next Fall.  But court challenges are already in the works.   Rebecca Myles reports from New York City.
The 29-22 VOTE means officials, elected citywide and members of the council can now serve 12 years instead of 8.  Opponents argued such a change should be done by referendum and not by a vote of the council.  New York voters have approved two term limits twice through referendum, and opponents complain Bloomberg has used tactics of fear and cost to convince the council to support his bill.  Two lawsuits are now pending.  THEY claim the DECISION breached voters’ civil and due process rights, a point made by City Council member Letitia James.
The fact that this Bloomberg scheme was hatched out of a Republican handbook.  They are using fear and now individuals are using this crisis as an excuse.  My question really goes to the voting rights act and I believe part of the reason why the Bloomberg administration wants to put this legislation to vote by the city council is because of the burgeoning and growing strength of the Latino and African American vote in the City of New York.
For the change to go into effect, it must be approved by the Civil Rights Division of the federal Justice Department.  It decides if changes in election law affect ethnic minority groups.  For free speech radio news, I am Rebecca Myles reporting

Connection between McCain and Pinochet Unearthed
Presidential Candidate John McCain has blanketly criticized Barack Obama’s position that he would sit down with dictators unfriendly to the US without preconditions.  But the Huffington Post has uncovered a US Embassy Cable from 1985 where McCain described meeting with Chilean Military Dictator Augusto Pinochet.  Pinochet is considered one of the most ruthless dictators in history.  McCain was apparently meeting with Pinochet to negotiate the extradition of two of the dictator’s associates, suspected of a car bombing in Washington, DC in 1976.  According to the Huffington Post, at the time, McCain made no statements critical of the dictatorship.

Palin Gives Deposition in “Troopergate” Scandal
Today, for the first time, Vice Presidential Nominee Sarah Palin will testify about her involvement in firing an Alaskan public safety commissioner.  The commissioner says he was dismissed for refusing to fire Palin’s former brother-in-law.  Both Palin and her husband are scheduled to give depositions in Missouri.



Troy Davis Issued Stay of Execution as Supporters Gather in NYC
The Federal Appeals Court in Atlanta issued a stay of the execution
today for Troy Davis. Davis is an African American convicted by an
all-white jury in 1989 for the killing of a white police officer in
Savannah, Georgia. His supporters gathered in New York City yesterday.
Kristofer Rios was there.

Was Brandon McClelland’s Death Another Texas Lynching?
Civil rights activists are beginning to compare the bloody murder of
Brandon McClelland in Paris, Texas to the lynching of James Byrd in
another small town in the Lone Star state 10 years ago. Authorities
first told Brandon’s family that he was struck by a gravel truck; but
the family soon learned that he was dragged at least 40 feet by a
pick-up. Two white men have now been arrested – and the local DA says
Brandon’s death had nothing to do with race. But many disagree, and say
Brandon was lynched, and authorities are doing all they can to cover-up
a hate crime. FSRN spoke with Brandon’s mother, Jacqueline McClelland,
about his murder.

Third Party Debate in DC
Third Party candidates met in Washington DC last night for their first,
and possibly only, debate of the season. The event took place with
little fanfare – two of the third party candidates didn’t participate.
The two that did highlighted their differences with their major party
counterparts. Washington Editor Leigh Ann Caldwell reports.

Obama Campaign Hopes Virginia Will Turn Blue
Barack Obama spent a full day in Virginia Wednesday – and using a full
day in one state with less than two weeks until Election Day is a tall
tale sign that the state is in play. Virginia votes similar to the
conservative south, and it is one of several states that the Obama
Campaign hopes he turns blue. As Nathan Moore reports, all signs are
pointing in the Democratic direction.

Labor Leaders Want Worker Bail-Out
Labor and economic experts testified to the House Education and Labor
Committee today that the unemployment rate could top 8 percent this
year; and now that Wall Street has been bailed out, US workers need a
bail to. Those who testified are offering a variety of ideas to grapple
with the growing unemployment crisis: from updating sewage overflow
systems to revamping the internet. FSRN’s Karen Miller has more.

Chilean Election Preview
Voters in Chile will head to the ballot box Sunday for national
municipal elections. Although the race involves electing politicians to
some 300 municipal government posts, the election is seen as a
precursor to next year’s Presidential race. FSRN’s Jorge Garretón has

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