Newscast for Tuesday, April 19, 2011

  • Syria’s government lifts state of emergency after shooting and killing peaceful protestors
  • The Gulf Cooperation Council and the crackdown in Bahrain
  • The Gulf Coast resident who’s walked to Washington DC to raise awareness about the Deepwater Horizon oil spill
  • Farmers and Environmentalists in Southern Virginia fight to keep 30 year old uranium mining ban

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More protesters killed by security forces in Yemen
In Yemen today, riot police killed three more protesters, two in Sanaa and one in Taiz. The United Nations is set to discuss Yemen for the first time today, and talks are ongoing between both sides and the Gulf Co-operation Council.

Emergency rations begin to reach western Libya
In Libya, a UN World Food Program convoy made it through a humanitarian corridor today to deliver a month’s supply of food aid for 50,000 people. But the ruling government said today that they will attack any foreign forces on Libyan land – even those dispatched to secure aid deliveries. The EU is considering sending in 1000 troops to protect relief efforts.

Protests continue in Kurdistan after government forces attack demonstrates
More than a hundred people were wounded by government forces during demonstrations across Kurdistan today. George Lavender reports.

In Sulimaniyah, militia from the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan attacked students trying to join demonstrations. Several students were injured. The repression follows an attack on demonstrators last night which forced them from ‘Freedom Square’ in the city center. Demonstrators reported that militia forces fired into the crowd, and used tear gas, stones, knives and batons against the people before burning demonstrators’ tents. Some of those injured are believed to be in a critical condition. For more than 60 days, demonstrators have demanded freedom, dignity, justice and basic services and an end to political corruption. 9 people have been killed and hundreds injured since the uprising began. Yesterday in the capital, Erbil, militia from the Kurdistan Democratic Party attacked demonstrators many of those injured have been unable to receive medical attention without risking arrest. In recent days, several journalists and opposition activists involved in the protests, have been arrested, kidnapped and beaten. Demonstrators have criticized Western governments and companies for continuing to support the regional government.

Protests against huge nuclear facility in India turns violent in India
Protests against a proposed nuclear power project in India turned violent today, one day after police shot at protesters. One died, several others are injured. Bismillah Geelani reports.

Hundreds of protesters took to the streets in the western state of Maharashtrathis morning throwing stones at police, setting government vehicles on fire and vandalizing a hospital. The police responded with A baton charge wounding at least 20. The protesters are demanding accountability for Monday’s police firing on demonstrators opposing the construction of a nuclear power plant in the district. The government has cleared the project which is touted to be among the world’s largest nuclear power projects. But many locals are against it, saying it poses a threat to their life and livelihood. The opposition has grown stronger following the nuclear disaster in Japan’s Fukushima city last month. Bismillah Geelani, FSRN, New Delhi.

SCOTUS hears climate change case
The US Supreme Court heard a case about greenhouse gasses today. Salim Rizvi has more.

The case is American Electric Power Company v. Connecticut. Six states, New York City and three land trusts have sued four private utilities and the government-owned Tennessee Valley Authority over carbon emissions in 20 states, based on the common law of “public nuisance.” They say these five companies produce 10 percent of the total carbon dioxide emissions in the US and that Environmental Protection Agency or the EPA has still not taken action to curb emissions from these plants. But the Obama administration says that the EPA is working on regulatory mechanisms to curb emissions and that the courts should not set environmental policy. The Supreme Court will decide, among other things, whether states and private parties may seek emissions caps on utilities for their alleged contribution to global climate change. They want to force power plants in 20 states to reduce emissions. Judge Sonia Sotomayor has recused herself from the case. In a 2007 decision, the court established that greenhouse gasses are air pollutants and gave the EPA regulatory authority over auto emissions. This case seeks to extend that thinking to power plants. Salim Rizvi, FSRN, New York City.

Arizona’s Governor vetoes birther bill
Arizona’s Governor vetoed two bills Monday. One would’ve allowed handguns on college campuses. The other, a so-called “birther bill.” However, Governor Brewer did sign several other controversial measures. David Brooksher has more.

In a surprising turn of events yesterday, Governor Brewer vetoed two contentious republican sponsored bills, while signing several others into law. Senate bill 1188 gives preferential status to married couples in the adoption process. Current state law allows single people to adopt, however this new provision is expected to make adoption more difficult for gay and lesbian couples who can’t get married. SB 1169 overturns state regulations allowing qualified, specially trained nurse practitioners to perform early term surgical abortions. This will, in effect, limit the number of qualified providers and reduce the public’s access to abortion services. SB 1282 will enable religious organizations to advocate on political issues without having to register as political action campaigns. Proponents call it free-speech legislation that will prevent government intrusion into the practices and messages of Arizona Churches. Governor Brewer’s office did not return calls for comment before deadline. Dave Brooksher, FSRN, Phoenix.



Syria’s government lifts state of emergency after shooting and killing peaceful protestors
Syrian security forces opened fire on thousands of people gathered in a public square in Homs today. The number of those killed is unclear, with reports ranging from 3 to 6. A witness described what happened:

“Can you hear the shooting? It’s hammering down on us like rain.  Listen to the shooting!”

Translation courtesy of the BBC. During the government’s crackdown, hundreds have been arrested – including freelance journalist and FSRN contributor Khaled Sid Mohand. After weeks of demonstrations across the country, Syrian authorities announced today they have approved legislation that will lift the five-decade old state of emergency law, establish a right to protest, and dissolve the Supreme State Security Court, which critics say was used to criminalize dissent.  But according to Al Jazeera, another law was passed that requires people to get permission to demonstrate. Protesters are calling for democratic reforms, and for President Bashar al Assad to step down.


The Gulf Cooperation Council and the crackdown in Bahrain
In Bahrain, security forces continue a crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators. Dozens have been killed, several have died in detention, and hundreds have been arrested in raids in on villages. Human rights advocates, lawyers and doctors have been detained, many of them violently, and photos of some show signs of torture. The repression has been assisted by troops from Saudi Arabia, called in at the request of Bahrain’s government last month. The Real News Network’s Paul Jay spoke to author and political economist Adam Hanieh about the role of the political and economic alliance of Gulf states known as the Gulf Cooperation Council is and US interests in the region. To access the full interview, go to


The Gulf Coast resident who’s walked to Washington DC to raise awareness about the Deepwater Horizon oil spill
Tomorrow is the first anniversary of the worst oil disaster in US history.  On April 20th last year, an explosion on BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico killed 11 men and over a period of three months released nearly 5 million barrels worth of oil into the sea. The impact on the environment, economy and health of the people living in the Gulf was and still is devastating.

Cherri Foytlin is a journalist and mother of six from Scott, Louisiana. To raise awareness about the ongoing health and environmental effects of the spill, she decided to walk more than 1200 miles to Washington DC, visiting cities and towns on the way.  After spending four weeks on the road walking up to 40 miles a day her Road to Washington team – that includes a musician and documentary film crew – arrived in Washington DC on Thursday.  Cherri’s been in meetings with politicians ever since and she joins us now from outside the headquarters of the Environmental Protection Agency.


Farmers and Environmentalists in Southern Virginia fight to keep 30 year old uranium mining ban
Almost 30 years ago the State of Virginia banned uranium mining. Environmentalists and local residents have long opposed uranium mining because of concerns about the impact of toxic and radioactive waste on water quality, public health and the environment. Now, corporate stakeholders want the ban repealed and are lobbying to exploit one of the 10 largest uranium deposits in the world. Brad Kutner has the story, which was funded by the community at For more information about community funded journalism go to

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