October 26, 2009

  • Senate releases health care proposal that includes limited public option
  • Vice President Joe Biden meets with Eastern European leaders
  • Worst bombings in two years hit Baghdad
  • Uruguay’s leftist coalition wins elections, but still faces runoff
  • In Beijing, people push for climate change awareness

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52 children rescued from human trafficking via prostitution around the US
During the past three days, fifty-two children were rescued in raids on domestic human trafficking operations around the United States – the youngest is just ten years old. Today, the FBI announced the arrests of nearly 700 people involved in the prostitution of children in 36 cities around the country.

Former Serb leader Karadzic boycotts opening day of his genocide trial at the Hague
Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic boycotted the opening day of his own trial at the United Nations tribunal in The Hague today but the proceedings went on without him. UN Radio’s Bissera Kostova reports.

Mr. Karadzic is charged with two counts of genocide and other crimes committed against Bosnian Muslims, Bosnian Croats and other non-Serb civilians during the 1992 to 1995 war. The indictment alleges that he committed genocide when forces under his command killed non-Serbs during the war. When Mr. Karadzic failed to appear in court, the Prosecutor noted that the accused has tried by all means to stop the beginning of the trial. Judge O-Gon Kwon said the Registrar will convey the transcript and audio recording of Monday’s proceeding to the accused.

“By this method, the Chamber wishes to again encourage Mr. Karadzic to attend these proceedings and reiterates that there are measures that may be taken should he continue to obstruct the progress of the trial.”

The court is expected to reconvene on Tuesday to restart the trial of Radovan Karadzic. Bissera Kostova, UN Radio.

Afghanistan: Political posturing ahead of run-off; protests continue
Afghanistan’s top election official said today he will not resign before the upcoming presidential run-offs. Lead opposition member Adbullah Abdullah called for Azizullah Ludin’s resignation as one of a number of preconditions he put forth before he will agree to participate in the run-off. Adbullah also wants an unspecified number of provincial police chiefs to quit and the 500 unmonitored so-called “ghost” polling stations to close. Meanwhile, in Kabul, protests sparked by last week’s alleged burning of the Quran by American soldiers continued today – thousands took to the streets around the country over the weekend. FSRN’S Mujahid Jawad has more from Kabul.

Hundreds of Kabul residents and university students protested today in reaction to reports that American soldiers desecrated the holy book during search of a house in central Maidan-Wardak province last week.  Coalition forces deny the allegation. The protesters demanded respect for afghan culture and religion and called on the Islamic world to cut political, economic and trade ties with the United States. Abdul Rahman, the police commander in Kabul, said today’s protest turned violent when demonstrators threw stones injuring more than a dozen officers. Officials claim no demonstrators were injured, but reports from the area of the incident indicate that dozens were beaten by police. Some 30 were arrested.  The afghan parliament took action today and assigned the religious committee of the lower house to investigate the matter.  Mujahid Jawad, FSRN, Kabul.

14 deaths in 3 helicopter incidents in Afghanistan today

Eleven US soldiers died in two separate helicopter crashes in Afghanistan today. In the west, a chopper went down, seven soldiers and three civilian contractors died. And in the south, two helicopters collided mid-air – four service personnel died.

Hamas and Fatah: still no conciliation

The Israeli government today ruled out a civilian investigation of its military actions in Gaza. A recent report by the UN accused both Israel and Hamas of war crimes — possibly even crimes against humanity — and called on each to conduct independent investigations. And over the weekend, rival Palestinian parties Fatah and Hamas traded accusations over the blocking of a Cairo-mediated national unity deal. FSRN’s Rami al Meghari has more.



Senate releases health care proposal that includes limited public option
The crux of the health care reform bill in the Senate has been unveiled.  Even with its passage uncertain, the two bills have become one and it will include a government-run public option. But compromises were made.  We speak with FSRN’s Washington, D.C. Editor, Leigh Ann Caldwell.


Vice President Joe Biden meets with Eastern European leaders
Vice President Joe Biden returned to Washington over the weekend after a four-day trip to Eastern Europe last week. He stopped in Poland, Romania and the Czech Republic. Barack Obama’s second-in command officially met with leaders of these countries in order to strengthen the United States’ “security partnership” with the three NATO members. FSRN’s Miles Ashdown has more from Bucharest, Romania.


Worst bombings in two years hit Baghdad
This weekend, two car bombs hit Baghdad killing more than 150 people and injuring 500. Reports of injuries are still coming in. The violence is the worst in the city since the summer of 2007 and follows a bombing in August that killed at least 122 at the Foreign and Finance Ministries. Many are now starting to question the security in Iraq, where violence had appeared to be decreasing. All of this is just ahead of a January election in which Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki is seeking a second term in office. We’re joined by Wail Al-Hafoth. He’s an Iraqi journalist based in Baghdad.


Uruguay’s leftist coalition wins elections, but still faces runoff
Uruguay’s ruling party, the leftist coalition, Frente Amplio, took a bittersweet victory in Uruguay’s Presidential elections yesterday.  They acquired nearly 47 percent of the total votes, but fell short of the 50 percent needed to avoid a runoff.  Meanwhile, two closely watched referendums, which look to address the wrongs of Uruguay’s former dictatorship were also voted down.  FSRN’S Mike Fox has more from Montevideo.


In Beijing, people push for climate change awareness
Over the weekend, people across the globe participated in an International Day of Climate Action. In 180 countries, people organized some 5,200 events centered around the number 350 – the target that scientists say is the safe limit for carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. In Beijing, masses of people gathered for a bike ride across town to push the 350 message. FSRN’s Shuk-Wah Chung was there and hopped on her bike to find out what people were asking for.


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