Newscast for Friday, July 15, 2011

  • The Pentagon prepares for cyberspace war
  • Protests continue for the 7th day in Cairo’s Tahrir Square
  • Human rights groups push to overturn Israel’s so-called “anti-boycott law”
  • The challenges facing Thailand’s new Prime Minister
  • The philosophy and music of Argentine folksinger Facundo Cabral

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US formally recognizes Libyan Rebels

Today US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recognized the Libyan Rebel leaders as the legitimate government of the country.  Clinton made the announcement at a meeting of the Libya Contact Group in Istanbul, Turkey.  The US joins dozens of other nations that have already backed the Transitional National Council.  Clinton stated the decision to formally recognize was based on assurances given by TNC leadership, such as the promise to pursue democratic reform and “to disburse funds in a transparent manner to address the humanitarian and other needs of the Libyan people.” The BBC reports that now, Gaddafi regime assets frozen in US banks could be transferred to the rebels.

Uruguayans protest massive mining proposal

Protests have erupted in Uruguay over a controversial open-pit mining operation planned near a small village.  Many worry the project could open the door for others like it, putting the environment at risk.  FSRN’s Manuela Aldabe reports from Montevideo.

Demonstrators crowded outside Parliament in Montevideo Thursday, as government ministers announced the iron mining project in the village of Cerro Chato. The Aratirí project plans to invest millions of dollars into the operation.  Much of the resulting iron ore will be shipped to China. Aratiri General Manager Fernando Puntigliano, described the projects as “the biggest investment in the country’s history, and involves construction of a plant, a pipeline, pumping stations and Uruguay’s first deep-water port terminal.”

Under Uruguayan law, the state owns any sub-surface minerals.  Consequently the state can allow companies to mine on private property.  The Aratiri project is expected to affect more than 400 dairy farms in the Cerro Chato area.  One farmer, Martin Echeverrya spoke to FSRN:

”The consequences? The consequences are horrible.  I will talk you about my personal situation.  A worker on my land ask me some days ago if I will keep my cows, and I had to answer: I don’t know, there’s not an alternative when they ask for your land.  When the land taken for mining, there’s no other possibility but to sit and wait.”

The mining proposal has divided Uruguayans.  While some see it as an opportunity for employment and economic development, others are worried about the environmental impacts.  They question whether the country will actually benefit from the mine’s profits.  Manuela Aldabe, FSRN, Montevideo.

Colombian Colonel sentenced in civilian murder case

A Colombian court has sentenced an Army Colonel to 21 years in jail for his involvement in civilian murders.  Colonel Luis Fernando Borja led a military unit that killed civilians, then dressed them in rebel uniforms.  The Army would reward soldiers based on how many rebels they are able to kill.  These kinds of murders have been dubbed “false positives.”  Borja admitted to the deaths of 57 people, but currently the Colombian government is investigating 1400 similar murders.

Another Honduran journalist murdered

A 26-year-old manager of a rural radio station in Honduras has been shot and killed by unknown gunmen.  Nery Jeremías Orellana was head of Radio Joconguera in the town of Candelaria. According to Reporters Without Borders, the station often covered human rights issues. Orellana was also considered a supporter of ousted President Manuel Zelaya. The press freedom group says this is the 3rd reporter killed this year, and the 12th since the beginning of 2010.  None of the murders have been solved.

LGBT history coming to California public schools

In California, LGBT history and accomplishments, along with those of Americans with disabilities, will be required reading in public schools starting January 2012.  Yesterday Governor Jerry Brown signed the legislation into law.  FSRN’s Kelly Barnes has more.

Changing the social sciences curriculum to overtly include LGBT history puts California ahead of the nation.  Teaching materials will be updated starting January, but the budget crisis will likely delay new textbooks until 2015.

The nation-wide context for the new California law is a 13% rise in hate crimes against the LGBT community in 2010, according to a report by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Organizations.

Tomorrow in San Diego, Gay Pride will be celebrated.  Mark Gabrish Conlan, Editor and Publisher Zenger’s newsmagazine reflects on the impact of the new law:

“One of the featured speakers at the rally this evening is going to be the gay man who helped save the life of Gabrielle Giffords when she was shot at her rally in Arizona.  That is going to be one of the stories that future school children will learn.”

Critics say the new law, called the Fair, Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful, or (FAIR) Education Act, will divert class time from science, math, reading and writing.  They are also upset that the law does not allow parents to pull students out of particular lesson plans.  Gay rights advocates have pledged to be vigilant in monitoring statewide compliance.  Kelly Barnes, FSRN, San Diego.



The Pentagon prepares for cyberspace war

The Pentagon has revealed the theft of 24,000 sensitive files in March by an unnamed foreign intelligence service. The news comes as the agency releases its first ever strategy for operating in cyberspace, declaring the Internet a domain of war. Michael Lawson reports.

Protests continue for the 7th day in Cairo’s Tahrir Square

Across Egypt today, thousands rallied in a protest called the ‘Friday of the Final Warning’.  The demonstrators want the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which took power after the end of regime of Hosni Mubarak, to speed up the pace of reform.  In Cairo’s Tahrir Square, hundreds of people have been camping since last Friday.  We spoke to one of the protesters who asked to remain anonymous for her safety.

Human rights groups push to overturn Israel’s so-called “anti-boycott law”

Human rights groups are appealing to the Israeli Supreme Court, asking it to overturn the so-called “anti-boycott law.” The controversial law was passed on Monday, making Israeli citizens and organizations susceptible to civil lawsuits if they advocate in favor of the boycott of Israel and its institutions. Jillian Kestler-D’Amours has more from Jerusalem.

The challenges facing Thailand’s new Prime Minister

Thai Prime Minister-elect Yingluck Shinawatra is still to be cleared by the Thai election commission amid investigations into breaches during the recent election campaign. While the investigations are seen as routine, analysts say Yingluck is facing a range of challenges as she moves to form her new government including dealing with her influential brother, Thaksin Shinawatra, who remains in exile. Ron Corben has more from Bangkok.

The philosophy and music of Argentine folksinger Facundo Cabral

Today, FSRN takes a deeper look at musician Facundo Cabral, one of Latin America’s most popular folksingers, who was murdered on Saturday in Guatemala by gunmen who surrounded his vehicle as he was travelling to the airport.  Authorities say the gunmen were intending to kill a Nicaraguan businessman who was driving the car and was seriously wounded in the attack. On Tuesday, police in Guatemala arrested two men over the killing.  Memorials have been taking place across Latin America, and here in the US a peace vigil is planned on Sunday. For more on why Facundo Cabral is such an important figure in Latin America we spoke with Tanya Torres, host of Canto Sin Fronteras, or Song Without Borders, for KPFK in Los Angeles, a program specializing in music from Latin America that airs on the Pacifica Network on Saturday evenings.  Tanya is organizing Sunday’s vigil in memory Cabral.

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