September 29, 2009

  • Michael Moore calls on Democrats to pass public option healthcare reform
  • Streetbeat: Texas health professionals discuss congressional healthcare plans
  • Unrest at Kraft Foods plant sparks street protests in Argentina
  • Tropical Storm Ketsana causes humanitarian crisis in the Philippines
  • Bakassi oil deal affects locals, fishermen on Cameroon Nigeria border

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France breaks ties with Guinea after forces kill more than 150 protestors
Hospital corridors in the capital of Guinea remain filled with wounded demonstrators today, after military forces open-fired Monday on a peaceful pro-democracy rally. More than 150 were killed, and some 1200 injured, according to local human rights observers. Some were stabbed with bayonets and knives, hundreds of women were sexually assaulted.  Some 50,000 people demonstrating against current leader Capt. Moussa Dadis Camara defied a ban on public protests and marched to a stadium in Conakry, and after being ordered to disperse, the military opened fire.  France severed its military ties with Guinea today and the African Union has threatened sanctions.

Micheletti suggests he may reverse constitutional rights roll back

In Honduras, De Facto President Micheletti back pedaled, saying he would consider reversing the Presidential decree that suspended some constitutional rights in the Central American nation. Tim Russo reports from Tegucigalpa.

Monday, members of the Honduran Congress argued that the Presidential decree suspending civil liberties would expire only two weeks before proposed November 29^th elections, making it impossible to campaign. After a request from congress to repeal the decree, that limits the freedom to gather or travel and gives the military and police authority to arrest people with no warrants, de facto president Micheletti apologized in a press conference for having implemented the decree and stated.

“We will determine the best possible thing for the interests of the country, but it will be in a meeting of the Council of Ministers and that is where the decree will be recalled if necessary.”

Deposed President Zelaya bashed the decree in a phone call from the Brazilian embassy to the United Nations. In an emergency meeting of the OAS, W. Lewis Amselem, the US ambassador to the OAS called Zelaya quote “irresponsible and foolish” for returning to Honduras. Widespread international condemnation of media censorship in Honduras has abounded after the closing of two stations with anti-coup stances. The committee for the Protection of Journalists, Reporters Without Borders, and the International Federation of Journalists were just three institutions that condemned the closures and the beatings of a Guatemalan, Mexican and Honduran journalist on Monday. Tim Russo, FSRN, Tegucigalpa.

Drones kill in Pakistan, civilians continue to flee Waziristan
Unpiloted aircraft dropped missiles in two separate attacks today in the Waziristan region of northwest Pakistan. Local officials claim that nine fighters were killed. Civilians in the region continue to flee after both the government – and the Taliban – urged them to seek safety elsewhere ahead of an anticipated major offensive in the area.

30 civilians die in roadside bomb attack in Afghanistan
And in Afghanistan, 30 civilians were killed and 39 wounded by a roadside bomb today. The bus was traveling from Nimrod to Kandahar when it was detoured by a NATO work group clearing the roadside and encountered the bomb. The explosion killed 10 children, 7 women and 13 men. Also, at a meeting with President Obama today, NATO head Anders Fogh Rasmussen promised that the NATO military alliance will accomplish its mission in Afghanistan.


FDIC proposes banks pony up next three years of payments now
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation – or FDIC – took unprecedented steps today to keep its cash flow positive, calling on banks to prepay assessments that were previously due over the next three years. The government run agency insures individual deposits in member banks in the event a bank fails. FDIC staff member Diane Ellis explains why the FDIC needs an infusion of cash:

“The problem we are facing is one of timing – losses occurring in the near term and revenue will be spread out into future years. Now the loss projections are subject to some uncertainty and actual losses could be higher or lower – this projection of failure cost is higher than our projection in May of 70 billion over the same time period due to the further deterioration and the condition of insured institutions as reflected primarily by the increasing number of problem institutions. Nevertheless, based on these projections, we estimate the fund balance will be negative as of September 30, 2009 due to an increase in provisions for anticipated failures.”

The fund balance is projected to be in the red tomorrow – but FDIC staff says that doesn’t mean they’ll be out of cash that soon. Chairperson Sheila Bair says that the agency has “tons of money” and assets to continue to protect depositors in the event of another bank failure in the near term. 95 banks have failed thus far in 2009. The idea behind requiring the prepayments is to make sure that the banking industry continues to shoulder the financial responsibility of funding its insurance company – and to prevent a misconception that the federal government is providing any more aid to banks. The requirement could become official after a 30 day public comment period.

Man accused of plotting terror attack pleads not guilty

Najibullah Zazi appeared in a Brooklyn court today and pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit terrorism today. Authorities claim that Mr. Zazi planned to detonate an explosive device in New York this past September 11th. Prosecutors said today that evidence collected against Mr Zazi was done so under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Zazi was ordered held without bail.


Michael Moore calls on Democrats to pass public option healthcare reform
In their fifth day of public deliberations, the Senate Finance Committee is debating the so-called public option. The provision is not included in their version of the bill, but some Democrats hope it is added. Meanwhile, filmmaker Michael Moore has descended on Washington and vowed to defeat any Democrat who does not support universal health care. FSRN’s Leigh Ann Caldwell reports.

Streetbeat: Texas health professionals discuss congressional healthcare plans
New census data shows that Texas has the largest uninsured population in the country, with one in four residents living without healthcare coverage. Texas is also home to the world’s largest medical center, a sprawling campus of 47 different health related institutions, from state-of-the-art hospitals and research institutes to nursing and medical schools. For this edition of Street Beat, reporter Shannon Young went to the Texas Medical Center in Houston to ask healthcare professionals and medical students their personal opinions about what lawmakers should prioritize in health care reform.

Unrest at Kraft Foods plant sparks street protests in Argentina
A Kraft Foods factory has reopened in Argentina after workers shut it down for more than a month to protest massive layoffs and anti-union measures.  The Illinois-based corporation denies it was trying to break up unions and last week it obtained a court order to dislodge more than 60 workers who were blocking operations at the factory.  The incident sparked street demonstrations yesterday and a response from the US embassy.  FSRN´s Marie Trigona has more from Buenos Aires.

Tropical Storm Ketsana causes humanitarian crisis in the Philippines
The death toll caused by Tropical Storm Ketsana in the Philippines has risen to more than 230 people, according to the the National Disaster Coordinating Council. The tropical storm, also known as Typhoon Ondoy, swept through the northern Philippines on Saturday, pouring more than a month´s worth of rain on Manila in less than 12 hours.

Flooding has forced people to sleep in schools and gyms across the capital city. During the day thousands line up for food at disaster relief centers, including one that was  set up on the grounds of the Presidential palace. FSRN´s Manuel Rueda spoke with Alex Mahoney, the disaster manager for Asia at the American Red Cross.

For more information on the American Red Cross relief efforts visit:

Bakassi oil deal affects locals, fishermen on Cameroon Nigeria border
FSRN recently visited the Bakassi Peninsula on the Cameroon Nigeria border.  Both countries have decided to share the regions oil resources, after settling a century-old border dispute that gave the land to Cameroon. But the deal has made life difficult for Nigerian fishermen who were recently relocated and for people still living in Bakassi.  FSRN´s Sam Olukoya has the story.

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