April 22, 2009


  • Chinese Communist regime methods used on detainees in U.S. custody
  • South Africans vote in provincial, national elections
  • Israel’s internal investigation says it did not violate international law
  • Patient Referral Crisis in Gaza
  • Latin American analysts respond to recent summit
  • Electric hybrid Salamandra soon hits South American roads


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SCOTUS hears reverse discrimination case
The Supreme Court today began its evaluation of a case that could redefine civil rights law in the workplace.  The case brings up questions of race and employment testing in a Connecticut fire department.  FSRN’s Matt Pearson reports.

In 2003, the New Haven Fire Department gave a test to its fire fighters for promotions to captain and lieutenant positions.  When the results came back, only one Hispanic and no black candidates were found to be eligible for promotion.  Under attacks that the test was racially biased, the city of New Haven held a series 5 hearings.  They decided that the exam was flawed, and scrapped the results.  Karen Torre, the lawyer for the white fire fighters, says there was nothing wrong with the test, and that the city’s decision amounted to reverse discrimination.  Meanwhile, spokespeople in support of the decision say testing often reduces diversity in the workplace.  They advocate improving tests to make them fairer and more applicable to the job’s particular skill set.  The Supreme Court will determine if the city was legally correct in throwing out the original test results. This is the second of four cases on race that the Court will hear in the coming weeks.  It will likely reach a decision by this summer.  Matt Pearson.  FSRN.  Washington.

Animal rights activist added to FBI “Most Wanted” terrorists list
The FBI has continued its implication of US-based activists as terrorists.   The Bureau’s newest “Most Wanted” terror suspects list includes Daniel Andreas San Diego, an animal rights activist accused of setting off pipe bombs at two corporations connected to animal testing.  He’s been on the run for six years.  The California man is the first non-Islamist suspect to be added to the list.

NC town becomes second in US to adopt “Universal Declaration of Human Rights”

Carrboro, North Carolina has become the second community in the country to adopt the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights as Guiding Principles.”  From the Tri-cities area, FSRN’s Lynda-Marie Taurasi has the story.

With a population just over 16-thousand, Carrboro, North Carolina is known as one of the most progressive communities in the South.  Now Carrboro, second to Washington D.C., became one of the first communities to take a stand for Human Rights. Judith Blau, the director of the Human Rights Center of Chapel Hill and Carrboro, was responsible for petitioning Carrboro’s Board of Aldermen to adopt the declaration commonly referred to as U-D-H-R.

“The Universal Declaration was proclaimed by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1948. The committee that drafted it was chaired by Eleanor Roosevelt. She said that these international agreements are essential for peace in the world, but it needs to be embodied in local communities and cities. That’s where they take hold.”

The declaration includes 30 articles that address everything from torture, religion, marriage and voting and is said to be the most translated document in the world.  Lynda-Marie Taurasi. FSRN.

Contaminated fish caught at MI festival to go to food banks
The Tittabawassee and Saginaw rivers in Michigan have signs posted along their banks saying, “Fish consumption and soil and river contamination advisories in effect.”  The rivers are known to be contaminated with toxic substances, including dioxin.  But according to the Michigan Messenger, Organizers of the Walleye Fishing Festival plan to donate fish caught in those rivers during this weekend’s event to a local food bank.    Many environmentalists want the region classified as a superfund site.

Taliban gaining ground in Pakistan
Taliban forces controlling Pakistan’s Swat valley are pushing out into the surrounding regions – and they are pushing in towards the country’s capitol Islamabad.  These emboldened territory claims come on the heels of peace deal between the Taliban and the Pakistani government.   Today Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Pakistan was a “mortal threat” to US and world security.

West Bank update: infighting, demolitions and nonviolent resistance conference
Bids for unified Palestinian leadership were further strained today by arrests in the West Bank.  According to Israel’s Y-Net News, Hamas claims Fatah have been detaining their operatives and shaving off their beards.  Unity talks are scheduled to resume in two weeks.  Also today Israeli authorities demolished another Palestinian home in East Jerusalem.  And a group of Norweigian Lawyers has accused 10 Israelis of war crimes for their actions during the conflict in Gaza.  A recent law in Norway allows non-Norwegians to face charges associated with genocide and war crimes.  Much of the top Israeli leadership has been implicated in the complaint.  In other news from the region, the fourth Bil’in conference of nonviolent resistance opened – less than a week after an Israeli tear gas canister killed a protester in the town.  FSRN’s Ghassan Bannoura reports.

Local and international protesters in the small west bank village of Bil’in have been conducting weekly nonviolent demonstrations against the Israeli wall FOR four years.  Eyad Burnat is an organizer of the conference and the head of the village committee against the Wall and settlements:

“150 people from different parts of the world took part in the conference today; our objective is to support and expand nonviolent popular resistance everywhere.”

Delegates will discuss ways to promote nonviolent resistance in the region and to formulate a network of support worldwide.  The conference will end on Friday with the weekly nonviolent protest against the wall.  Ghassan Bannoura, FSRN, Bethlehem.



Chinese Communist regime methods used on detainees in U.S. custody
A Congressional report details wide spread, coordinated, and deliberate approval of harsh interrogation techniques used on detainees in U.S. custody from the highest ranks of the Bush Administration. The inquiry reveals that some of the techniques were based on methods the Chinese Communist regime used during the Korean War. As FSRN’s Leigh Ann Caldwell reports, the Department of Justice has been asked to investigate.

South Africans vote in provincial, national elections
South African voters headed to the polls today to elect local and national leaders. Jacob Zuma, the controversial but popular presidential candidate from the ruling African National Congress Party will likely take the ticket – the biggest question now remains whether the party will hold on to its absolute majority in Parliament. FSRN’s Davison Makanga reports from Cape Town.

Israel’s internal investigation says it did not violate international law
An internal investigation by the Israeli military indicates Israel did not violate international law during its recent war on Gaza. The report admits that mistakes took place, including the killing of 21 people when a home was erroneously targeted – but it adds that such mistakes are not avoidable, particularly because Hamas chose to fight from within the civilian population. Israel’s investigation also yielded that it used white phosphorus in a legal manner, despite evidence that indicates the military used the chemical in areas with dense civilian populations.  Between 1,100 and 1,400 Palestinians were killed as a result of Israel’s attack – and between 33 to 66 percent of those killed were civilians. Ten Israeli soldiers also died, and three Israeli civilians were killed from rocket assaults. Israel’s internal investigation contradicts the United Nations, Human Rights Watch and other groups that say that Israel violated international law during its incursion.

Patient Referral Crisis in Gaza
In the Gaza Strip, people with advanced health problems who need treatment from specialists outside of the territory can’t leave without first getting permission. The Hamas-run health ministry has now taken over the coordination office for these referrals. As FSRN’s Rami Almeghari reports, hundreds of patients who are awaiting treatment at hospitals outside of Gaza could be affected.

Latin American analysts respond to recent summit
The Fifth Summit of the Americas held last weekend in Trinidad and Tobago marked the beginning of a new relationship between the U.S. and Latin America. Obama charmed regional leaders and appears to have listened to long-standing demands – including the call to end the 47-year old U.S. trade embargo on Cuba. Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez announced his country will send back its ambassador to Washington. FSRN’s Jorge Garretón is in Chile, where some South American analysts are weighing in on how things might move forward in the hemisphere.

Electric hybrid Salamandra soon hits South American roads
Today marks the 39th annual Earth Day in the United States and President Obama is using the occasion to tell people that renewable energy is vital to the nation’s prosperity. The President presented an Earth Day speech at a factory that produces wind energy towers – connecting clean energy to the economy. Meanwhile, other nations around the world are already moving forward on new and green technologies, and Colombia is now the latest to enter the green car market. The Salamandra – or Salamander – is expected to hit South America’s roads in the middle of this year. FSRN’s Manuel Rueda reports from Bogotá.

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