November 5, 2008

    • Dolores Bernal Reports from Phoenix, Arizona
    • Chris Maxwell reports from Virginia
    • Zoe Sullivan reports from Harlem
    • Karen Miller reports from North Carolina
    • Tanya Snyder reports on House and Senate Races
    • Puck Lo Gay Marriage

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US-Led Air Strikes Hit Afghan Wedding Party

Air strikes in southern Afghanistan have hit a village and killed nearly 40 civilians, according to Afghan President Hamid Karzai.   The strike – made by US-led coalition forces – hit a wedding party.  Numerous relatives of the bride and groom are dead.  Karzai has once again asked US forces to avoid civilian casualties in their fight against the Taliban.  In a statement, the president said Afghan villages are not the place to fight terrorists.

Israeli/Palestinian Ceasefire Tested

Under a June ceasefire deal, Israel agreed to stop attacks against Gaza and lift its blockade of the region.  In return, Palestinian factions committed to halt rocket attacks onto Israel.  But that ceasefire may be history.  Last night, the Israeli army carried out a series of deadly attacks in different areas of the Gaza Strip.  FSRN’s Rami Almeghari has more.

AMBIENT SOUND (Funeral procession of one of those killed yesterday night)

That’s the sound of a funeral procession honoring one of the Palestinians killed in the Israeil raid.  The Israeli army attacks left six Hamas fighters dead and several others wounded, including one woman.  The army also demolished two homes.  An Israeli army spokesperson says the aim of the military action was to stop a Palestinian plot to abduct Israeli soldiers through an underground tunnel.   Armed factions in Gaza responded today by firing dozens of homemade rockets into nearby Israeli areas. The factions warn the five-month-long Israeli-Palestinian ceasefire is teetering on collapse.  Fawzi Barhounm is a spokesman of Hamas in Gaza

“This shape of programmed violence and programmed terrorism against the Palestinians gave us the right to reevaluate the calm by contacting with Egypt and all Palestinian parties in order to guide all of these Palestinian efforts towards the support of our rights and interests and toward giving us the right to continue our resistance against the occupation.”

An Israeli government spokesman said he hopes there is no further escalation and that the “quiet” of the ceasefire will continue.  But, other armed factions in Palestine assert Israel’s attack ended the ceasefire outright.  Mohammad Albaba is spokesperson of the Popular Resistance Committees in Gaza

(In Arabic) “Of course, this is something we can not keep silent about or be tolerant of…  At any rate, the view is that the truce, which was agreed upon by all, must go to hell now”.

According to Israeli media, the homemade rocket fire wounded three Israeli soldiers near a military base in southern Israel.  In addition, two other citizens were hit in Ashkelon 12 kilometers away from Gaza. For Free Speech Radio News, I am Rami Almeghari in Gaza

Mexican Interior Minister Killed in Plane Crash in Downtown Mexico City

Official condolences have been pouring in after a dramatic plane crash in Mexico City killed the Interior Secretary and other political figures last night. Shannon Young has more.

The Learjet carrying Mexico’s Interior Secretary, a former Assistant Attorney General, and 6 others crashed into rush hour traffic in Mexico City’s financial district just before 7pm last night. The plane exploded upon impact, incinerating more than a dozen cars and shooting flames onto surrounding buildings. The crash killed all on board and another 5 on the ground. Forty others suffered injuries from the explosion. Authorities evacuated an estimated 1800 people from the area.   Interior Secretary Juan Camilo Mouriño, was a close ally of President Felipe Calderon. Mouriño managed Calderon’s 2006 presidential campaign.  The other high profile figure killed in the crash was former Assistant Attorney General Jose Luis Santiago Vasconcelos.  HE built a Drug Warrior reputation for himself as the head of a special office to investigate and prosecute organized crime. The cause of the crash is under investigation. For FSRN, I’m Shannon Young in Oaxaca, Mexico.

Hundreds of Taiwanese Protest Chinese Visit

Angry Taiwanese protesters converged on a Taipei Hotel today, where Chinese officials attended a banquet.  Hundreds tossed eggs and attempted to block traffic in and out of the hotel.  The Chinese envoy arrived in Taiwan on Monday to sign a historic trade agreement that will tie the countries closer together.  Many of the protesters called for Taiwanese independence.

Violence Escalates in Iraq

The relative calm that had descended on Iraq in the past months may be lifting.  Iraqi police have confirmed, within the last 24 hours violent attacks have killed 24 people and injured 77 others in Baghdad and other cities. Hiba Dawood has more.

A suicide bomber drove his car into a police checkpoint near the Baghdad airport today, killing 6 and wounding 12.  This follows a series of attacks on Tuesday across the country, making the week one of the most deadly in Iraq since September.  Elsewhere in the country, unknown armed insurgents raided one of the Sadr Movement’s offices in Umara province, south of the Baghdad. The insurgents, according to Al-Sadr officials, locked employees in one room and burned the main office area. In separate attacks, two I-E-Ds exploded near a police station killing two policemen and wounding seven. A joint Iraqi-American force has arrested 4 suspects in Mosul, accused of carrying out Tuesday’s attacks.  For FSRN, this is Hiba Dawood.

FCC Approves White Spaces for Wireless Use

And it took six years, but the FCC has approved the use of white spaces for wireless signals.  White spaces are segments of the television broadcast spectrum currently not in use – some advocates have called it WI-FI on steroids.  Digital technology producers have been pushing hard for access to the spectrum – which would allow wireless signals to travel farther more easily through solid object.  And advocates say it would allow rural America to take a flying leap over the digital divide.  Broadcasters are concerned the use of white spaces for wireless applications could interfere with TV signals or wireless microphones.  But the FCC wrote into their decision that devices using the empty spectrum will be required to detect and avoid those signals.



Dolores Bernal Reports from Phoenix, Arizona
Though most of the US map was blue last night as Barack Obama became President elect, Arizona remained quite red. Dolores Bernal reports from Phoenix.

Chris Maxwell reports from Virginia
For the first time in 44 years, Virginians elected a Democratic President.  As results were announced and the state turned blue, thousands marched in the streets to the state capitol.  WRIR’s Christopher Maxwell was there and files this report.

Zoe Sullivan reports from Harlem
It was a historic night for the United States, and people in Harlem rejoiced in the streets over the election of the country’s first black President.  Several hundred people filled the plaza in front of the State Office Building on 125th Street. A jumbo television screen showed the results as they were tallied and cheers errupted each time a state went for Obama.  FSRN’s Zoe Sullivan was there and files this report.

Karen Miller reports from North Carolina
After a tough campaign which included being called Godless in an attack ad, little known Democratic State Senator Kay Hagen has upset Republican Elizabeth Dole to win the North Carolina Senate seat in Congress, FSRN’s Karen Miller has more.

Tanya Snyder reports on House and Senate Races
North Carolina’s Kay Hagen is one of five new Democratic Senators bringing the number of democratic senate seats to 56.  Four extremely tight races have yet to be finalized, including the race between Republican Norm Coleman and Al Franken in Minnesota.  As of airtime in the House Democrats picked up 20 seats giving them a solid majority.  Tanya Snyder reports from Washington.

Puck Lo on Same Sex Marriage

Bans on same-sex marriage have been voted into state constitutions in California and Florida with results in from 95 percent of polling stations.  Same sex marriage was already illegal in Florida before the measure, but in California, the legal status of some 18-thousand couples hangin the balance.  From San Francisco, Puck Lo has the story.

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