February 23, 2009

  • Some Governors refuse stimulus money
  • Pakistan ceasefire may depend on education for girls
  • New Yorkers condemn rape simulation video game
  • Senate considers D.C. voting rights
  • Berkeley residents demonstrate against local steel plant
  • Bomber hits busy Cairo market

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GITMO Detainee Released and Back in London
After nearly 7 years in detention, Binyam Mohammed returned to London today and became the first Guantanamo Bay detainee authorized for release by the Obama administration. Mohammed says that he was initially held – and tortured – in Morocco before being transferred to Afghanistan and then Guantanamo Bay.  The US denies torturing Mohammed and has declined to comment on whether or not he was held in Morocco. Mohammed was originally accused of conspiracy to explode a dirty bomb on American soil – but all charges against him were dismissed.


Sri Lanka Rejects Ceasefire Offer
The Sri Lankan Government rejected a cease fire proposal from the Tamil Tiger’s today. FSRN’s Ponniah Manikavasagam reports from Sri Lanka.


US v. Navajo Nation Back at Supreme Court
The US Supreme Court heard arguments in the matter of the US v. the Navajo Nation today. The case concerns 600 million dollars in royalties on coal leases that the Navajo – who are one of a number of coal producing tribes – had with Peabody Energy. When the leases were up for renewal – the Navajo claim that then US Interior Secretary Donald Hodel undercut their negotiations. The tribe sued in 1993, claiming Hodel held secret meetings and that his actions were counter to the interests of the tribe, which as a trustee he was obligated to protect.  The Supreme Court ruled for the government in 2003, saying that the Department of Interior had protected the tribe’s interests under the Indian Mineral Leasing Act. But a later ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals said the Navajos had the right to present their argument because the Supreme Court had not considered  a ”network” of laws including the Navajo-Hopi Rehabilitation Act and the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act.


Residents of India’s Slums Protest Film
People living in India’s slums are protesting the Oscar winning film Slumdog Millionaire calling the film derogatory. Bismillah Geelani reports.


Actors Reject Contract
Just one day before the Academy Awards, the Screen Actors Guild rejected what studios called a “last, best and final offer” in contract negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. The latest offer on the table had what SAG calls a “surprise demand.” The studios altered the timing of the contract to prevent the SAG from joining forces with other unions when the contracts are next negotiated in 2011.


Nationwide Saves 45 Children from Illegal Sex Trade
Over the weekend, the FBI rescued more than 45 children — some as young as 13 – during a nationwide effort to save kids from the illegal sex trade. According to the FBI, Operation Cross Country III took action in 29 cities where 571 people were arrested and charged under a combination of state and federal laws on domestic trafficking of children for prostitution and solicitation. The coordinated effort was part of the Innocence Lost National Initiative launched in 2003 to address the issue of children forced into prostitution. Since then, 670 children have been found.



Some Governors refuse stimulus money
One of the aims of the economic stimulus package is to help states recover from their budget deficits, including making $15 billion available as early as Wednesday for state’s Medicaid budgets. Some Republican governors are rejecting some of the money, citing that they don’t want a temporary solution that their states will have to permanently pay for in the future – but some Republican governors are welcoming the stimulus as a good step towards solving their state’s economic woes. As FSRN’s Tanya Snyder reports, the differences became evident at this weekend’s National Governor’s Association meeting.

Pakistan ceasefire may depend on education for girls
Residents in Pakistan’s Swat Valley are cautiously welcoming a days-old truce between the Taliban and government forces. A Pakistani official and six security guards were kidnapped Sunday, but released within hours – a sign of the still volatile ceasefire. As FSRN’s Gabe Matthews reports, negotiations between the government and the Taliban may hinge on education for girls.

New Yorkers condemn rape simulation video game
A videogame that features rape has activists and politicians in New York up in arms. As Rebecca Myles reports, they are demanding companies not distribute the game, first marketed in Japan, in the United States.

Senate considers D.C. voting rights
As Congress returns from their week of recess, their first order of business in the Senate: voting rights for the District of Columbia.  Advocates say the timing is right to finally, for the first time since the designation of the nation’s capital, grant D.C. residents representation in Congress. FSRN’s Leigh Ann Caldwell reports.

Berkeley residents demonstrate against local steel plant
Residents in Berkeley California took to the streets this weekend to demand cleaner air, after a recent report illustrated that the city’s schools have some of the worst air quality in the nation. Some community members blame a local manufacturing plant, Pacific Steel Casting, for toxic pollution which they say is not adequately regulated. Africa Jones reports.

Bomber hits busy Cairo market
A French teenage tourist was killed and 23 people were injured when a bomb blew off in a bustling bazaar popular with tourists in the heart of Cairo Sunday night. Three people have been arrested and are being interrogated in connection with the attack – the first of its kind since 2006. Egypt’s tourist industry employs 13 percent of the country’s workforce – and the attack may deal a serious blow to that country’s multi-billion dollar tourism industry. The attack also signals fury in the Arab world’s most populated country. FSRN’s Aya Batrawy has more from Cairo.

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