June 29, 2009

  • Coup ousts Honduras President Manuel Zelaya
  • Colombia’s Uribe visits President Obama
  • “Special Report” Pro-government militias conduct nighttime raids against Iranian dissidents
  • US Supreme Court backs reverse discrimination case
  • Crucial ruling on banks’ lending practices

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Bernie Madoff sentenced to 150 years in prison
After hearing emotional testimony this morning from a scant few of the thousands of people bilked by Bernie Maddoff, a judged sentenced the architect of the largest fraud in US history to 150 years in prison. Spectators in the courtroom erupted in cheers when the sentence was read. Federal law requires an inmate to serve at least 80 percent of a sentence before becoming eligible for parole. The Ponzi-scheme administered by Maddoff robbed investors of at least $65 million dollars.

Argentina’s ruling party suffers unanticipated blow at polls
Argentina’s ruling party was stunned by the results in this weekend’s mid-term elections – Marcos Federman reports from Buenos Aires.

Beirut quiets down after weekend clashes in reaction to PM appointment
Clashes between Shiite and Sunni Muslims continued today in the streets of Beirut. The violence erupted yesterday after Sunni leader Saad Hariri was appointed Lebanon’s next Prime Minister. Don Duncan reports.

Afghanistan: 41 private Afghan guards in US employ accused of  killing police chief
In Afghanistan today, President Hamid Karzai said Afghan guards employed by  US forces of killing a police chief, along with at least four others this morning. The governor of Khandahar said that the 41 private guards surrendered their weapons and were arrested. The US military said it was not involved – and called the attack an “Afghan-on-Afghan incident.

Student loan repayments eased under new program
On Wednesday, the Department of Education will launch a program that makes it easier to repay federal college loans.  The program includes a provision that allows loan payments to be put on hold for people making less than 150% of the national poverty level. FSRN’s Matt Pearson reports.



Coup ousts Honduras President Manuel Zelaya
The Central American country of Honduras changed its President yesterday, not with elections but through the use of force.
On Sunday morning President Manuel Zelaya was kidnapped and detained by the military which put him on a plane to Costa Rica. President Zelaya was promoting a controversial referendum that was supposed to take place Sunday.
The non-binding referendum would have asked Hondurans if another vote on a new Constitutional Assembly should be included in the country’s November elections. Roberto Michelleti, who was president of the national Congress was named Interim President amidst international condemnation to the coup. FSRN´s Luz Ruiz reports.

Colombia´s Uribe visits President Obama
Colombian President Alvaro Uribe is in Washington today to speak with President Obama. Uribe will be pushing for the Colombia Free Trade Agreement, and he´ll be talking with US leaders about US military aid to Colombia and joint anti-narcotics programs. Peace activists responded to his visit with a demonstration outside the White House. FSRN reporter Tanya Snyder has more.

“Special Report” Pro-government militias conduct nighttime raids against Iranian dissidents
Iran´s Guardian Council, confirmed the reelection of President Mahmoud Ahmadijenad today, after a partial recount of 10 percent of the votes.  Opposition candidates refused to participate in the recount, with two of them describing it as a ploy.

Protests over election results continued in Tehran´s streets this weekend, although violence against protesters has discouraged large demonstrations. However, on Sunday riot police clashed with some 3,000 demonstrators near a mosque in northern Tehran, dispersing the protesters with tear gas and batons.
The security crackdown has made street demonstrations increasingly difficult to stage and dissidents are now shouting slogans against the government from the rooftops of their homes.
Human Rights Watch reports that this resulted in several night time raids against protester´s homes over the weekend.  FSRN spoke with Peter Bouckaert, the Emergencies Director at Human Rights Watch.

US Supreme Court backs reverse discrimination case
The U.S. Supreme Court today ruled in a reverse discrimination case involving 20 firefighters – 19 white and one Latino – in New Haven Connecticut, that may have wide-ranging impacts on discrimination in employment law. The case might also help fuel conservatives´ opposition to supreme court nominee Sonia Sotomayor, as today’s decision in Ricci v. DeStefano ruled against an earlier ruling Sotomayor upheld as an appellate judge. FSRN’s Melinda Tuhus reports.

Crucial ruling on banks’ lending practices
The Supreme Court also handed down a crucial decision on lending practices of national banks.  In a rare coalition, conservative Justice Antonin Scalia sided with the four liberal justices on the court to uphold states’ laws protecting against discriminatory lending practices.  FSRN’s Leigh Ann Caldwell reports.

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