January 8, 2010
- Nigerian airline bomber pleads not guilty
- Attack on migrants in Southern Italy triggers riots
- British MP deported from Egypt while on Gaza aid mission
- Three arrested in Coptic Christian killings in Eqypt
- Severe cold weather has crippled parts of the US, left the UK rationing fuel supplies
- Portugal’s Parliament approves same-sex marriage
- Scientists recommend an end to mountain top removal mining
Nigerian airline bomber pleads not guilty
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian accused of attempting to blow up a plane bound for Detroit on Christmas Day, pleaded not guilty in Federal Court today. The 23-year-old claims to have ties to Al Qaeda. Yesterday the US government released the results of an internal investigation into the cause of security failings, giving recommendations for how to improve the system.
Attack on migrants in Southern Italy triggers riots
In southern Italy today, 2000 African immigrants protested after two were attacked on their way home from work. For FSRN, Diletta Varlese reports from Italy.
Rosarno is a small city in the Calabria Region of southern Italy. This area is known for having work available for undocumented immigrants as day laborers picking fruit and vegetables. The workers often live inhumane conditions in abandoned factories with no running water or electricity.
On Thursday, two workers returning home were injured by a group of Italian youth armed with air rifles. In response, thousands of African residents rioted in the city center, smashing car and shop windows. Local Italians answered with their own protests. Mamadu Diouf is a Senegalese worker.
“We cannot refuse this work, we have to earn something in order to send back money to our families in Africa.”
The immigrants are asking for better living conditions and protesting against the international mafia syndicate that manages their illegal work. Thirty-two people have been injured during the two days of riots and 8 arrested. Diletta Varlese, FSRN, Italy.
British MP deported from Egypt while on Gaza aid mission
More developments today in Egypt where international activists with Viva Palestina have been trying to deliver 200 trucks of humanitarian aid to the blockaded Gaza strip. Today the group says British MP George Galloway has been deported from Egypt. Galloway has been outspoken in his criticisms of the Egyptian government for more than a year. Viva Palestina says they were able to deliver some supplies to Gazan charities yesterday.
Three arrested in Coptic Christian killings in Eqypt
In other news form Egypt, police say they have arrested three gunmen, suspected in the drive-by shooting deaths of 7 people, most of them Coptic Christians. The incident happened in central Egypt in the small hours of Wednesday morning, and was followed by protests by members of the minority Christian community.
Severe cold weather has crippled parts of the US, left the UK rationing fuel supplies
Severe winter weather has been pounding the Midwest, the South and other parts of the US and even colder temperatures are expected to arrive this weekend. Homeless and emergency warming shelters are preparing for a huge influx of people. The death toll attributed to winter weather threatens top 20. At least two of those who died were homeless.
The UK is experiencing a similar situation, its most severe winter in more than twenty years. The country’s National Grid has been forced to start rationing supplies. From London, Naomi Fowler reports:
Some Members of Parliament and campaigners have been warning for years that the UK’s gas supplies couldn’t withstand a harsh winter, and they were right. Demand for gas soared yesterday as temperatures fell to -8 Fahrenheit.
National Grid, the UK’s gas pipeline network operator issued an alert that energy demands were greater than the available supply – the second such alert in three days. They turned off the gas to nearly 100 factories in order to protect domestic power supplies.
The government insists that gas will not run out for homes. But earlier this week campaigners claimed the UK only had the equivalent of eight days’ worth of gas left in storage. And there’s even more snow and extreme weather on the way. Naomi Fowler, FSRN, London.
Portugal’s Parliament approves same-sex marriage
Portugal’s Parliament has backed a measure to legalize same-sex marriage. The legislation still has to be approved by the country’s prime minister, who is not expected to oppose. If approved, same-sex couples in Portugal would be able to wed in April.
Same-sex marriage legislation in New Jersey did not garner enough support from the New Jersey Senate. In a vote late yesterday, the state Senate defeated the measure 20 to 14.
Scientists recommend an end to mountain top removal mining
A new study released today by a group of environmental scientists, led by the University of Maryland, has confirmed what opponents of Mountain Top Removal coal mining have been claiming for more than two decades: that environmental effects of the practice are significant and irreversible. This comes as the EPA just granted a permit for a new West Virginia mine. FSRN’s Evan Davis has more.
The study, published in the journal Science, details the findings from more than three dozen peer-reviewed reports and new water quality data from the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection. The conclusions? Mountain Top Removal coal mining causes irreversible and irreparable harm to both the ecosystem and water quality in the region. The paper recommends that the practice should be halted.
In the paper, lead author Margaret Palmer of the University of Maryland says, “The scientific evidence of the severe environmental and human impacts from mountaintop removal is strong and irrefutable.”
Coal advocates have long discounted scientific evidence pointing to Mountain Top Removal’s harmful effects. Today’s report, however, is perhaps the most comprehensive collection of research on the subject to date. Among other findings, it states that levels of the heavy metal, Selenium, exceeded toxic levels in nearly all of the 80 streams studied. Evan Davis, Free Speech Radio News.
Web Special: Federal report finds high rates of sexual victimization reports at juvenile detention facilities – 17:41 minutes (16.19 MB)
A federal study released on Thursday has documented – for the first time – direct complaints of sexual victimization of youths held in juvenile detention. The report is the result of a survey mandated by the Prison Rape Elimination Act. Shannon Young spoke with Allen Beck, senior statistical adviser of the Bureau of Justice Statics at the Department of Justice. He’s also the lead author of the report. This is the extended version of the interview.
Geithner in the hot seat – 4:47 minutes (4.38 MB)
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is back in the hot seat – this time over allegations that he helped broker secret deals while he was the head of the New York Federal Reserve. During the collapse of insurance giant AIG, Geithner’s former staff helped negotiate sweetheart deals for banks…and tried to keep it all secret. Tanya Snyder reports.
Federal report finds high rates of sexual victimization reports at juvenile detention facilities – 5:07 minutes (4.69 MB)
A federal study released on Thursday has documented – for the first time – direct complaints of sexual victimization of youths held in juvenile detention. The report is the result of a survey mandated by the Prison Rape Elimination Act. Shannon Young spoke with Allen Beck, senior statistical adviser of the Bureau of Justice Statics at the Department of Justice. He’s also the lead author of the report.
Labor Department releases data for December – 1:06 minutes (1.01 MB)
The officials US unemployment rate is holding steady at 10%, according to December employment numbers released today by the Labor Department. The country lost 85,000 jobs, despite some expectations that the New Year would bring better news for the economy. Lauren Applebaum, a labor researcher at UCLA, says the unemployment rate that includes people who are working part time but want full time jobs and those who have given up looking for employment remained unchanged at 17.3%.
“However, many people have left the labor force – 661,000 people altogher have left the labor force and it is possible that some of those people are not being accounted for. Even that number, the 17.3% only includes people who have looked for a job in the past 12 months. So it is possible there are people who gave up looking for work more than 12 months ago and aren’t being included.”
Applebaum says the only job growth came in unskilled sectors – where pay is low and benefits are scarce.
Some Texas Death Row inmates may be ineligible for execution under law – 5:19 minutes (4.87 MB)
Despite a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that banned execution of persons diagnosed with mental retardation, Texas continues to hold men with severe mental disabilities on Death Row. FSRN reporter Renee Feltz looks at a Texas psychologist who determines eligibility for execution based on estimates of prisoners’ IQ scores.
Support for the story was provided by the Nation Institute’s Investigative Fund. Read the Texas Observer version of the story, which includes an interactive graphic of the 29 Atkins cases Dr. Denkowski worked on in Texas. More on the story at the Huffington Post.
Farmers in Gaza link problems in their fields to white phosphorus contamination – 3:46 minutes (3.46 MB)
One year after the Israeli attack on the Gaza Strip, farmers in the region complain of strange symptoms that have recently appeared among their crops. Some are linking the problems to Israel’s use of white phosphorus during the military siege. FSRN’s Rami Almeghari has the story.