November 7, 2008

  • Obama Adresses Nation in First Press Conference Since Election
  • New Administration to Tackle Education
  • Unemployment Hits 14-Year High
  • How Free Trade May be Affecting Jobs
  • Vandana Shiva Weighs in on Obama’s Election
  • FSRN Continues International Reaction to Obama’s Election
  • Indonesians Pleased with Election
  • Commentary

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Protesters Call for Georgian President’s Resignation
On the first anniversary of heavy anti-government crackdowns in the former Soviet republic of Georgia, today more than 10-thousand protesters rallied in the country’s capitol of Tbilisi.  This is the first large protest aimed at President Mikhail Saakashvili since the end of the conflict with Russia.  The protesters called for the President’s resignation, early elections and greater press freedom.

World Leaders Meet to Find Congo Solution

World and African Leaders are hoping to find a solution to the recent outbreak of violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  Officials, including UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, met at a summit in Kenya today calling for an end to the violence.  Hundreds of thousands in Congo have fled their homes as violence between Tutsi rebels, led by Laurent Nkunda, battle other militia groups and government forces.  Nkunda was not present at today’s meeting.

US Immigrant Deportations on the Rise – Texas Hit Hard
The number of immigrants deported from the United States rose dramatically this year.  According to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, OR ICE, nearly 350-thousand undocumented immigrants were removed from the US – that’s a nearly 70 percent increase in two years.  As FSRN’s Ann Raber reports from Austin, about a quarter of those removed lived in Texas.
Over 85,000 residents were deported this year from Texas.  And the increase was the sharpest the south and central region of the state, including San Antonio and Austin, where deportations more than doubled last year’s rates.  Over 53,300 foreign nationals were repatriated or deported to their country of origin.  ICE officials say that Americans have asked for increased enforcement of illegal immigration, and that these increases are the result of ICE answering that request. Marcelo Tafoya is the Austin area director of LULAC, the League of United Latin American Citizens.
“The president elect in his speech mentioned the fact that it would be impossible to deport 14 million people. Of course, the president won’t take office until January, so I think they’re trying to take office before that happens.”
In the last year, some of the 350,000 foreign nationals deported were caught during workplace raids.  ICE deported many others who were being detained in connection with a crime.  In these cases, local law enforcement checked immigration status and referred the cases to ICE.  In response to this practice, immigrants rights groups say that federal immigration laws should not be enforced by county or city police, but by federal agents alone.  For FSRN in Austin, I’m Ann Raber

Gay Activists Protest Mormon Churches over Prop 8
In the aftermath of California’s ban on gay marriage, some protest groups are targeting the source of much of the anti-gay funding –The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Yesterday thousands of protesters rallied in front of the Mormon Church in Los Angeles – hundreds demonstrated in West Hollywood the day before. And tonight a similar protest is scheduled in Temple Square in Salt Lake City.  The Utah based church provided millions of dollars in out-of-state funding to promote California’s Proposition 8.

Muslim Voters Turn Out in Record Numbers
Muslim Voters in the United States made a strong showing in Tuesday’s election.  According to poll data released today by the American Muslim Taskforce, nearly 89 percent of Muslim voters cast their ballots for Barack Obama – and only 2 percent voted for John McCain.  Although a swing in favor of Obama could have been predicted, Amina Rubin, of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said the overall Muslim voter turn out was a surprise.
“The biggest number for us is that 95% of Muslim voters voted in this election, which was the highest number for Muslim voter turnout that we’ve ever recorded.  I think people were very excited about this election, and they felt strongly about these issues.”
Like the rest of the country, the most important issue for Muslims in this election was the economy.  But the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were also on the minds of many Muslim voters.  Rubin credits the high numbers to the numerous organizations doing get-out-the-vote drives in the months leading up to the election.
“We were setting up voter registration tables at mosques all across the country for the past few months.  At Friday prayers.  Encouraging people to vote and getting them registered, and making sure they knew how to vote… That it’s their right to vote, and just getting everybody to the polls.”
Pro-Obama Muslim voters likely had an impact in several swing states – like Florida, Virginia and Pennsylvania – where a large percentage of the US Muslim population resides.

Another Hurricane on Track to Hit Cuba

Hurricane Paloma in the Caribbean is on course to pass over the Cayman Islands this evening.  Then the late-season category 1 storm is expected to gain strength as it heads towards Cuba.  This would be the third significant storm this season to hit Cuba. Hurricanes Gustav and Ike caused billions of dollars in damage to the island.   Paloma is expected to make landfall there as a category 2 or 3 storm on Sunday.

School in Haiti Collapses Trapping Dozens
And dozens students are trapped today in a Haitian school that collapsed near the capitol city of Port-au-Prince. Local rescue workers are frantically digging through the rubble attempting to find those still buried.  The concrete building collapsed for unknown reasons – as many as 500 students and teachers were thought to be inside.  So far, seven are confirmed dead, but that number is expected to grow.


Obama Adresses Nation in First Press Conference Since Election

President Elect Barak Obama held his first press conference today, motivating confidence in a failing economy. He was joined by Vice President elect Joe Biden, Democrats, Republicans and several corporate financial leaders at the Cicago Hilton. Obama said he will confront the financial crisis head on immediately after he becomes president.

New Administration to Tackle Education

As President-elect Obama makes his transition toward the White House, he could soon be moving away from some of Bush’s policies concerning education. Karen Miller looks at how education may change for children from preschool through 12th grade, and on to college.

Unemployment Hits 14-Year High

As layoffs continue for the 10th month in a row, the unemployment rate has hit 6.5 – that’s a 14-year high. That means nearly 1.2 million people have lost their jobs since the start of the year. Unemployment rates in the US are measured by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the 6.5 figure does not include everyone who is truly out of a job: if we add up people who have given up looking for work, those who are working part-time because they cannot find full time work, those who have left the workforce entirely, along with the so-called “total unemployed”, then the figure is much bleaker, at 11.8 percent.

How Free Trade May be Affecting Jobs

And while the economy, the war and health care may have been foremost on voters’ minds, many areas of the country most affected by industrial job losses are also deeply concerned about trade policies. Evan Davis reports from Ohio, where many workers say they’ve been hit hard by trade agreements such as NAFTA.

Vandana Shiva Weighs in on Obama’s Election

Physicist and international biodiversity activist Vandana Shiva spoke before about 1,000 people at Washington State University in Pullman, Washington the day after the election. She views Obama’s election as an opportunity to reverse the hegemony of the industrialized corporate agriculture system that is doing so much damage to small farmers around the globe. Shiva congratulated voters who overcame fear and helplessness.

FSRN Continues International Reaction to Obama’s Election

We continue our coverage of the international reaction to President-elect Barack Obama, today traveling across three continents: Europe, Africa and Asia. We’ll start with Cinnamon Nippard in Germany, where more than 200,000 people turned out for Obama’s speech in Berlin earlier this year… From there, we’ll move to Egypt, where people hope Obama’s administration will bring change to the Middle East.

Indonesians Please with Election

From Egypt we take you to the world’s largest Muslim populated country, Indonesia, where people have reacted with excitement and pride at Obama’s win. The President-elect moved to that country when he was six, after his divorced-mother remarried an Indonesian; Obama went to school in Jakarta in the late 1960s. As Rebecca Henschke reports, many in Jakarta are hoping that he will not forget this country.


Commentary from Mumia Abu Jamal on Obama’s election.

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