May 4, 2010

  • Gulf of Mexico oil disaster could influence climate change legislation
  • British Petroleum’s past violations come under scrutiny
  • Lawmakers consider stiff penalties for Wall Street execs
  • School district near Philadephia says secret monitoring of students unintentional*
  • Conflict around Mexican town at center of shooting goes back decades
  • 40th anniversary of Kent State shootings, key moment in anti-war effort

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Times Square suspect charged, admits training in Pakistan
A suspect in the botched car bomb attack in Times Square was charged with numerous terrorism charges this afternoon including an act of terrorism transcending national borders and attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction. According to the complaint, Faisal Shahzad also admitted receiving explosives training in Waziristan, Pakistan. Shahzad was arrested at John F Kennedy airport aboard a plane taxiing to the runway, bound for Dubai. At a joint press conference this afternoon, FBI Deputy Director John Pistole explained the circumstances of Shahzad’s interrogations:

“Joint terrorism task force agents and agents from NYP interviewed Mr. Shahzad under the public safety exception to the Miranda rule. He was, as the Attorney General noted, cooperative and provided valuable intelligence and evidence. He was eventually transferred to another location, Mirandized, and continued talking.”

Born in Pakistan, Shazad became a US citizen in 2009.  He traveled to Pakistan for some months recently, returning to the US in February. Director of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano acknowledged today that Shahzad was, in fact, identified upon his return, but she declined to elaborate.

Napolitano: “Without getting into a lot of detail – he was screened when he came back because some of the targeting rules applied. He was subjected to secondary screening – he is a naturalized US citizen –I’m just going to leave it at that.”

There are reports today that a number of people have been detained in Pakistan in connection to the Times Square attempt. US Attorney General Eric Holder declined to comment on those reports. Over the weekend a video was released in which Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud claimed responsibility for the attempted attack.  Both the US and Pakistan had claimed that Mehsud was killed in a January missile attack.


UK Court says secret evidence antithetical to fair trial
A British Court of Appeals took a strong stand against the use of secret evidence today — Naomi Fowler reports from London.


Southern US reels from floods
As flood waters begin to wane across the south this afternoon – residents and rescuers start to see the true toll of massive weekend rains. At least 29 people are dead in Mississippi, Kentucky and Tennessee. In Nashville, power is out and water service is interrupted for thousands, and raw sewage is contaminating the Cumberland River. Primary elections due today have been rescheduled – banks have waived ATM fees, deferred loan payments and upped credit limits. Flash flood warnings are in effect Southeast Alabama., Southwest and South Central Georgia and the Florida panhandle.


Doctors group threatens members who aid executions
The American Board of Anesthesiologists says it will rescind certification of any member who assists in executions – saying the practice violates a basic ethical foundation of medicine – that is: first do no harm. Many of the 35 states that execute prisoners use lethal injection to do so – anesthesiologists are frequently consulted, and even administer the lethal drugs.


Municipalities react to AZ immigration law, NY Governor creates immigration pardon panel
On Monday, the West Hollywood City Council voted to boycott Arizona, while the San Diego City Council passed of a resolution urging Arizona lawmakers to repeal the law. And in Carson City, California officials are poised to pass a measure today that prevents the city from conducting any business in the state. In New York, the Governor is speaking out against what he calls harsh and rigid federal laws that deport immigrants for minor criminal offenses. FSRN’s Renee Feltz reports.


Global warming melts ice cap on African peak
Wildlife authorities in Uganda say that global warming has caused a crack in the ice cap atop the second highest peak in Africa. Mount Margherita has melted considerably – in 1950 it was four square miles, now it’s less than one. The UNESCO World Heritage site now sports a 20 feet wide crevasse, forcing the closure of the trail to the top.


Gay Evangelical Lutheran clergy re-frocked
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America will reinstate two gay clergy men after they were kicked out in 2007 for being in a relationship with one another.  Rev. Bradley Schmeling and the Rev. Darin Easler will return to the clergy roster after the church changed its policies – it now officially allows “eligible Lutherans in publicly accountable, lifelong, monogamous, same-gender relationships” to serve as clergy.


DC passes medical marijuana
The DC City Council legalized medical marijuana today. The bill approves between 5 and 8 dispensaries, which will sell marijuana grown at registered greenhouses. Patients will be limited to no more than 2 ounces per month. The bill now moves to the Mayor’s desk, and if signed must then go before Congress for 30 days before becoming law.



Gulf of Mexico oil disaster could influence climate change legislation
Plans for oil drilling across the country are being put on hold after the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has withdrawn support for oil drilling off Santa Barbara’s coast and Governor Charlie Crist has reversed support for oil drilling off Florida.

In Washington, some lawmakers on Capitol Hill say the disaster will change the name of the game when it comes to climate change legislation. These opponents of oil drilling say the practice should be off the table. FSRN’s Leigh Ann Caldwell reports.


British Petroleum’s past violations come under scrutiny
British Petroleum says it has made modest progress in efforts to contain the oil spill in the Gulf coast. The oil giant says it has completed the construction of a containment chamber to block one of the leaks. It’s also drilling relief wells and dropping chemical dispersants to keep the oil from rising to the surface. Yet despite these efforts, officials estimate that 210,000 gallons of oil continue to flow into the ocean every day and questions remain over BP’s environmental and workers safety record.

To discuss these issues, we’re joined by Tyson Slocum Director of the Energy Program with Public Citizen, a non profit consumer advocacy group based in Washington DC.


Lawmakers consider stiff penalties for Wall Street execs
On Capitol Hill, lawmakers considered stiffer penalties for Wall Street executives involved in the financial crisis. As FSRN’s Karen Miller reports, some consumer advocates say current laws aren’t strong enough.


School district near Philadephia says secret monitoring of students unintentional*
Last night, the Lower Merion School District, near Philadephia, released a 69-page report on the so-called Webcamgate, concluding the district never intentionally spied on anyone. This follows a recent lawsuit filed by parents of a high school student who was secretly photographed and monitored through a school-issued computer. From Philadelphia, FSRN’s Matthew Petrillo reports.

*5/5/2010 A correction was made to this story after broadcast. Originally, we said the school district featured in this story was in Philadelphia. In fact, the Merion School District is in a neighboring suburb.


Conflict around Mexican town at center of shooting goes back decades
Worldwide attention is shifting away from Oaxaca, Mexico after the rescue of the last remaining survivors from a deadly paramilitary attack on a humanitarian caravan. But the situation that spurred that caravan to enter the region continues. The remote indigenous town that declared autonomy in January 2007 remains surrounded by a paramilitary blockade. But the context of bitter and violent conflict in the Triqui region stretches back decades. Reporter Shannon Young takes a look at the historical context of the current crisis.


40th anniversary of Kent State shootings, key moment in anti-war effort
Today is the 40th anniversary of the shootings at Kent State University. On May 4, 1970 the Ohio National Guard fired on a group of college students, killing four and wounding nine others.

Some of the students who gathered had been protesting the US invasion of Cambodia, but other students shot had been merely walking across campus or were onlookers.

The event was a key catalyst in the anti-war movement throughout the nation. In 1974, a district judge dismissed charges against eight Guardsmen who fired on the unarmed crowd.