April 15, 2009
- Georgians still demanding President Saakashvili step down
- Prominent Kashmiri separatist runs for seat in India’s Parliament
- ICE deports legal residents for petty crimes
- The military is still getting the biggest chunk of your tax dollar
- Activists target their representative on Tax Day
- Gazan women hit particularly hard by Israel’s recent attack
Taliban militant attack again despite declaration of Sharia law in parts of Pakistan
Today the governor of North West Province proclaimed Sharia law for the Swat region of Pakistan. But this did not deter militants in the area, who say they will not abandon their weapons. Gabe Matthews has the latest.
Acting on a tip that militants planned to enter the city of Peshawar from Swat, local police created a checkpoint along the road. And during one of the subsequent stops, a car filled with explosives detonated, killing 22 policemen and 4 civilians. Ghayur Akhtar, the region’s Deputy Inspector General, said the policemen sacrificed their lives to save others.
“We will be getting an update from hospital as they arrive. We do know that these are the bodies of shaheed civilians and shaheed policemen who have been evacuated.”
The Northwest Frontier Province’s information minister says the government will deal with militants who do not lay down their arms. Gabe Mathews. Free Speech Radio News.
Afghan women attacked for protesting controversial marriage bill
In Afghanistan today, mob of nearly 1000 people attacked a group of 300 women who were protesting a new marriage law. The controversial measure legalizes rape within marriage by making it illegal for women to refuse the sexual advances of their husbands. At one point the 300 women were barraged with stones.
London Police crowd control policies examine after G20 problems
In London, a second police officer has been suspended after being caught on film hitting a female protester across the face and with a baton. The woman was attending a vigil in memory of Ian Tomlinson, the passer-by who collapsed and died shortly after another police officer shoved him to the ground. From London, Naomi Fowler reports:
One MP described this latest footage as “ore totally unacceptable behavior” by a police officer. Concern and complaints over the way police handled the G20 protests have been mounting and today police commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson ordered a review of police policies for managing crowds. In particular he wants to examine the tactic of ‘containment’ where police trap thousands of protesters in a designated area for a number of hours. Stephenson said he wanted to be “eassured that the use of this tactic remains appropriate and proportionate.” Questions are also being raised about bias on the part of the Independent Police Complaints Commission – or IPCC, which is looking into the death of Ian Tomlinson. Critics say the investigative body was slow to decide to appoint non-police investigators. The IPCC will now also investigate the latest filmed incident at the vigil. The government has said it will not comment until the investigations conclude. Naomi Fowler. FSRN. London
Germany bans all GMO corn
Germany is the latest of five other countries in the European Union to ban Monsanto’s strain of pest-resistant genetically modified corn called MON 810. Germany’s agriculture minister outlawed the sale and cultivation of the GM crop saying it poses a danger to the environment. Cinnamon Nippard has more from Germany.
Until now MON 810 was the only GM crop allowed to be grown in Germany. IT was due to be planted on 9,000 acres of farmland this year – that accounts for less than one percent of the country’s total maize producing land. Environmental organizations welcomed agriculture minister, Isle Aigner’s decision, saying that 70 percent of German consumers oppose the use of GM crops. France, Austria, Hungary, Luxembourg and Greece have also banned MON 810. The European Commission tried to force Austria and Hungary to reverse their decisions, but last month Germany and 20 other EU member states voted that the ban should be upheld. While Biotech giant Monsanto today considers legal action against the country, there are also concerns that this latest decision against GM crops could provoke trade tensions between the United States and Germany. Cinnamon Nippard, Free Speech Radio News.
Student protesters disrupt anti-immigrant talk at UNC
Student protesters at the University of North Carolina shut down an anti-immigration speech by former Republican Presidential candidate Tom Tancredo. According to the AP, police escorted students holding a large banner reading “No Dialogue with Hate” out of the meeting hall. Officials called the event off when a brick was thrown through a window in the room from outside. Chapel Hill’s Independent Weekly reports police cleared students from the hall with pepper spray, while waving tasers.
Consumer goods prices fill for first time in 50 years
For the first time since 1955, the overall price of consumer goods in the United States is on the decline. New numbers released by the US Department of Labor show a nearly half percent drop from March of last year. These figures raise fears that deflation could become an issue with the US economy. The cost of energy took the greatest hit.
Obama names “Border Czar”
And finally Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced today, former US attorney Alan Bersin will be the country’s new “border czar.” Bersin will quickly be called upon to deal with immigration and drug cartel issues.
Georgians still demanding President Saakashvili step down
Thousands of Georgians have taken to the streets of Tbilisi, demanding the resignation of their president, Mikheil Saakashvili. Numbers have dwindled since more than 50,000 demonstrated last Thursday, but Jacob Resneck reports that protesters and the political opposition insist they are in it for the long haul.
Prominent Kashmiri separatist runs for seat in India’s Parliament
More than 700 million registered voters are preparing to head to the polls in India tomorrow – and self-determination groups are still debating whether to participate in an election which will appoint a new prime minister and parliamentarians. In the past, Kashmir separatist groups have issued election boycotts because representation in India’s Parliament could be interpreted as acknowledging New Delhi’s supremacy over Kashmir. But in a shake-up this year, a prominent Kashmiri separatist is running for a seat in parliament, to represent his home town of Baramulla, which borders Pakistan-controlled Kashmir. As Shahnawaz Khak reports, the candidate, Sajjad Ghani Lone says his decision to run isn’t a change in ideology, rather a change in strategy.
ICE deports legal residents for petty crimes
The United States deports most immigrants for minor offences, and one in five of those deported were in the country legally – either as lawful permanent residents, or in some cases as refugees. That’s according to a new report issued by Human Rights Watch, the group that was finally given access to the numbers after a two-and-a-half year-long battle with the federal government to release information under the Freedom of Information Act. HRW also found some egregious deficiencies in the data that the government keeps on people who are deported. Aura Bogado speaks with David Fathi, Director of the U.S. Program at Human Rights Watch about the report.
The military is still getting the biggest chunk of your tax dollar
The last-minute tradition of people around the country rushing to file their taxes before tonight’s midnight deadline hasn’t changed this year. What is a little different includes people taking to the streets in what they bill “Tea Parties”, which they compare to the Boston Tea Parties’ opposition to British rule. Today’s tea partiers are mostly conservatives and libertarians, protesting Wall Street’s bail out. But there is also another group of protesters out today, much smaller in numbers, and with a diminished profile, who are boycotting Tax Day because of military spending. As FSRN’s Leigh Ann Caldwell reports, the military still gets the largest chunk of your tax dollar.
Activists target their representative on Tax Day
As we just heard, some people are using Tax Day as a means of protest or to send a message. FSRN’s Chuck Rosina is in Medford, Massachusetts, where one group of activists is targeting their representative’s office today.
Gazan women hit particularly hard by Israel’s recent attack
U.S Middle East peace envoy George Mitchell arrives in the region today, marking his first visit after the installment of a new Israeli cabinet. Mitchell wants to re-spark peace talks in the region, and will push for a two-state solution. His trip come on the heels of Israel’s refusal to coordinate with a likely UN-led probe that would examine the consequences of Israel’s recent attack on Gaza, which has had unique consequences for Gazan women. Rami Almeghari reports.