November 6, 2008

  • Pro Business Democrat to be Obama Top Aide
  • Campaign Dollars Key in Election Victory
  • Kenya Parties on Obama’s Behalf
  • Cuba and Brazil React to Obama
  • Colombia Mixed on Obama Win
  • Mexico Reacts to Obama
  • Bush Attempts to Relax Environmental Protection, Worker Protections
  • 40th Anniversary of SF Protests That Brought Validity to Ethnic Studies

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Key Senate Races Still Up in Air
Three of four outstanding US senate races are still in limbo.  Convicted Felon Ted Stevens holds a 3500-vote lead over his democratic challenger Mark Begich. But 55-thousand absentee and 9,000 early ballots still remain to be counted.  The results won’t be known until mid- to late November.  In Minnesota, Republican incumbent Norm Coleman maintains a 500-vote lead over Al Franken, but by state law, that’s headed to a recount.  The results of which will likely not be known until December.  In Georgia, because neither candid received 50 percent of the vote, Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss and Democrat Jim Martin are preparing for a December 2nd run off.

Democrat Merkley Wins Oregon Senate Race
But in Oregon, the Senate Race is over.  As of 11:30am Pacific Time, Democratic challenger Jeff Merkley has taken a commanding 40-thousand vote lead over Senator Gordon Smith.  Marc Dadigan has more.

Smith had been ahead in the polls since late Tuesday evening.  He took the lead as numerous rural Republican-leaning counties reported their results much earlier than their urban democratic counterparts.  But as votes continued to come in from Portland and Eugene, Merkley slowly inched ahead.  And this morning, Smith called Jeff Merkley to concede the race.  Anti-Bush sentiment in Oregon is very high, and despite great effort by his campaign, Gordon Smith was not able to shake the association.  The Constitution party also played a roll in Merkley’s win.  Their candidate Dave Brownlow received nearly 100-thousand votes, likely from the conservative end of the spectrum.  In Eugene, Oregon I’m Marc Dadigan for Free Speech Radio News.

Republican House Leadership Shakes Up
In the wake of the Democratic take-over of government, Republican leadership in the US House of Representatives is getting a shake-up.  On Election Day, the third ranking Republican in the House, Florida’s Adam Putnam, announced he would not seek a leadership role in the coming year.  And today Republican Whip Roy Blunt of Missouri announced he’s stepping down from his leadership as well as well.

Air Strikes Kill More Civilians Afghanistan
Following a plea from Afghan president Hamid Karzai to stop civilian deaths, US-led air strikes today killed more.  According to Afghan officials, seven villagers, including women and children, and fifteen Talibani fighters were killed a northwestern province.  An attack yesterday killed dozens of civilians at a wedding party.  The US military says it is investigating both incidents.  In neighboring Pakistan, two suicide bombings took dozens of lives in the semi-autonomous border region of Bajaur.  One attack was aimed at tribal militia members who have been resisting the ruling Taliban.

Young Democracy Crowns New Young Monarch
The small land-locked Asian country of Bhutan crowned a new king today.  Now the world’s youngest democracy has the world’s youngest monarch.  FSRN’s PC Dubey reports.

Today 28-year-old  Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck was crowned  as the fourth monarch of Bhutan.  With a degree from Oxford, he is the most educated king Bhutan HAS ever had.  Wangchuck’s father, although young and very popular among Bhutan’s 600,000 citizens, abdicated two years back.  But he took steps to usher in parliamentary democracy in the Himalayan Buddhist state.  The first elections were held last March.  Consequently, the new Bhutanese monarch will have only symbolic and ritual authority over the country. However, Political observer Ruben Lama believes Wangchuck will become the rallying point for both pro-royal and pro-democracy parties.

“The new monarch is charismatic plus a total democrat.”

Political observers say the deeply religious populations still consider the royal family the ultimate trustees of the country. From Darjeeling in India I am PC Dubey.

China Once Again Denies Tibet Wriggle Room
Talks between Chinese officials and a visiting Tibetan envoy were unsuccessful today as the representatives of the Dalai Lama left the country.  The envoy was calling on China to grant Tibet the same level of independence held by Hong Kong.  But China said Tibet should face the reality that it would never budge on this issue.  The Dalai Lama is expected at a mid November meeting in Dharmsala, India where a new independence strategy is expected to emerge.

Omar Osama bin Laden Continues to Seek Asylum in Spain
Omar Osama bin Laden is appealing a Spanish Government decision to deny him asylum.  Omar is the son of Osama bin Laden and a self-proclaimed pacifist.  The UN Refugee Commission has recommended that Spain grant him asylum.  But the country refused.  Officials did not give any reason for the denial.  Spain is required to rule on the appeal within 48 hours.



Pro Business Democrat to be Obama Top Aide
President-elect Barack Obama is moving forward with his transition to the White House.  He and Michelle will meet with President and Laura Bush Monday to discuss the transition. Tomorrow Obama will meet, in Chicago, with an economic team. They include former Progressive Congressman David Bonior, former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, Warren Buffet, and former Clinton Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin. Obama has named his Chief of Staff. Rahm Emanuel, former aid to President Clinton and current US Representative of Illinois. He is the fourth highest-ranking member of the Congress. Emmanuel is also a member of the New Democratic Coalition which tends to be moderate in ideology and friendly to business. shows that Emmanuel is one of the top recipients of campaign contributions from the financial industry.

Campaign Dollars Key in Election Victory
Now we take a close look at who else, other than the financial industry, that donated political money… This was the most expensive campaign season in US political history.  According to the Center for Responsive Politics,  Presidential and congressional campaigns spent 5.3 billion dollars.  The non-partisan group that tracks money in politics found that, in most cases, the candidates with the most money won. FSRN’s Karen Miller takes a look at the money behind the victories.

Kenya Parties on Obama’s Behalf
After Obama’s victory, in Kenya, where Obama’s father is from, President Kibaki immediately announced that today, November 6, will be Obama day.  Many Kenyans, however, began celebrating long before the national holiday, especially around Obama’s family hometown of Kogelo in the Western part of the country. FSRN’s Arusha Topazzini was in Nairobi. She brings us this report.

Cuba and Brazil React to Obama
FSRN continues our coverage of this week’s historic presidential election by examining the reaction throughout Latin American. Today we’ll go to five counties, and we’ll start with a country that has tense relations with the US for many decades, Cuba and then go to Brazil, where the atmosphere is of great optimism and sympathy for the new president-elect of the United States, Barack Obama. Juan Jacobson reports from Havana; followed by Natalia Viana from Sao Paulo.

Colombia Mixed on Obama Win
From Brazil, we’ll now travel to Colombia where reaction to Obama’s win was mixed.  Colombia is the largest recipient of US military aid in the western hemisphere and its government is currently seeking a free trade agreement with the US, which Obama has been critical of. Manuel Rueda 9Ru-a-da) reports

Mexico Reacts to Obama
And we’ll end our look at Latin America’s react to the election of Barack Obama as President by going just south of the US border to Mexico.  Mexicans in general appeared pleased with an Obama victory. Tim Russo brings us more from Mexico City.

Bush Attempts to Relax Environmental Protection, Worker Protections
While the country is looking forward to an Obama Administration, 75 days remain in the Bush Presidency.  In the waning days, the current Administration is looking to relax regulations and alter rules at the FBI, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Labor Department and more.  I spoke with Jeff Ruch, Executive Director at PEER, Public Employees for Environmental Reform.

40th Anniversary of SF Protests That Brought Validity to Ethnic Studies
Today is the 40th Anniversary of student led strikes at San Francisco State University – strikes that led to the creation of the first College of Ethnic studies in the world. Africa Jones reports.

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