Newscast for Friday, October 14, 2011

  • New York mayor backs down from removal of protesters as other cities make arrests
  • Lawmakers turn to currency bill with concern on jobs and trade with China
  • FBI complaint raises questions over alleged Iran assassination plot
  • Tensions rise in Iraqi town as pilgrimage nears
  • Murder case in Kashmir opens window to legacy of disappearances, police corruption

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Amnesty accuses Libya’s NTC of detainee abuse as fighting continues

Fighting broke out in Tripoli today between supporters of Moammar Ghaddafi and members of National Transitional Council or NTC. It’s the first serious gun battle in nearly two months, and sent at least nine people to the hospital, according to the BBC. In Sirte, pro-Ghaddifi forces are holding out despite near continuous attacks from NATO and Libyan forces that have largely blocked humanitarian aid to civilians.

Meanwhile, Amnesty International is calling on the NTC to end the arbitrary detentions and widespread abuse of detainees they say threatens their credibility. After interviewing nearly 300 detainees during August and September, Amnesty reports mass arrests without warrants or charges, discrimination against black Libyans and sub-Saharan Africans, and some instances of torture, both to extract confessions and as punishment.

Marches celebrate Syrian regime defectors as death toll tops 3000

Thousands marched across Syria Friday in support of soldiers who have defected from the country’s military to the recently formed Syrian Free Army. This follows clashes between the military and its defectors Thursday that the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says left soldiers and civilians dead.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay released a written statement Friday condemning the indiscriminate use of force against peaceful protesters and the shelling of residential neighborhoods in Syria. Her office says the death toll now tops 3,000, including at least 187 children.

US to send troops to Uganda to fight LRA

The US will send around 100 troops to Uganda, President Obama announced in a letter to Congress today. Some already deployed, on Wednesday, and the rest will follow later this month. The “combat-equipped” forces will advise Ugandan soldiers in fighting the Lord’s Resistance Army, but won’t engage in any combat themselves, except in self-defense.

Police brutality settlement in New Haven encourages advocates

Dozens of people stood on the steps of the state courthouse in New Haven, Connecticut this morning to celebrate an important victory in their fight against police brutality. But other speakers made it clear just how big the problem is. Melinda Tuhus reports.

Without admitting fault, the city of New Haven just awarded Abel Sanchez 50,000 dollars in a settlement for the beating he received from Officer Dennis O’Connell several years ago. O’Connell has been the subject of nine complaints of brutality in the past six years, but has been cleared in every case by an internal affairs investigation. Sanchez said the money doesn’t make up for his suffering and called for O’Connell to be fired.

The settlement is an important step for the African Americans and Latinos who say they’ve been targeted by rogue members of the New Haven Police Department. The lawyer for Sanchez plans to file another brutality case against O’Connell today on behalf of another Latino man who says he was beaten by the officer.

Community activist Jewu Richardson said he was shot in the chest by a New Haven cop while sitting in his car with his hands in the air. He’s been charged with assault on a police officer and was due in court today.

“This is an epidemic. I know countless people that have been victimized by the police. They get arrested, they come to jail, they get charged with interfering or what not, and they’re forced to cop out, or they have to have money to fight their cases.”

Today’s rally also honored those killed by police officers. Melinda Tuhus, FSRN, New Haven.

Federal court blocks part of Alabama’s immigration law

A federal appeals court issued a ruling today that blocks parts of Alabama’s new immigration law, including a provision that public schools check the citizenship of their students, and another that makes it crime for immigrants to be without proper documentation. However, police will still be able to detain individuals they suspect are in the country illegally. A final ruling on the constitutionality of the law is still many months away.

Pelican Bay Inmates Suspend 3-Week Hunger Strike

Inmates at California’s Pelican Bay prison temporarily stopped their hunger strike today as their lawyers went into renewed negotiations with the state Department of Corrections. The prisoners are protesting a policy of prolonged solitary confinement among other conditions they deem inhumane. They first began the hunger strike in July, and resumed it in late September when the promised reforms failed to materialize.

‘People pedal power’ fuels Occupy San Francisco

Demonstrators in San Francisco continue their weeks long encampment in the city’s financial district to protest home foreclosures, bank bailouts, and general inequality. Like other occupations around the country, participants have a need for electricity and the San Francisco group has found a sustainable way to keep their operation going. Susan Galleymore reports.

At the Occupy San Francisco encampment on Market Street, demonstrators take turns pedaling a stationary bicycle. San Francisco native Kames Cox Geraghty explains the technology behind “people pedal power”

“So, what we have, essentially, is a bike donated from Rock the Bike. It stands about 6 inches from the ground and there’s a little motor behind it. So, when the wheel spins, the motor spins. We have it directly connected to a battery. Right now it’s definitely basic but we’re getting there and we have people coming down who really want to help build the system.”

Since the group has no backup generator, when one people power pedaler finishes cycling, a call goes up through the crowd for someone else to take over.

“We literally have somebody on the bike almost 24/7. It’s quite an intense system; you know, we go for maybe 5 minutes without it, them we do a big shout out, ‘I’m done. Who wants to go next?’ ”

The activists hope their system will inspire other occupations around the country to consider a similar system of harnessing the power of the people. Susan Galleymore, FSRN, San Francisco.



New York mayor backs down from removal of protesters as other cities make arrests

As the occupy movement continues in cities across the US, tension has risen as police and local governments attempt to remove protesters from encampments. Some of the actions have led to arrests.

Early this morning in Denver, police in riot gear dismantled tents at the site by the Capitol building, arresting 23 people. In Iowa, the state has denied an extension to a permit for the protest site, located on Iowa Capitol grounds, setting up a possible confrontation when the permit expires tonight at 11pm.

But in Manhattan, Occupy Wall Street is declaring victory after New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg backed down on his pledge to clear protesters from Zuccatti Park. Community News Production Institute reporter Jaisal Noor was at the park and brings us the story.

Lawmakers turn to currency bill with concern on jobs and trade with China

In Washington today, House Democrats urged Republican leaders to take up legislation aimed at pressuring China on its undervalued currency. Complementary legislation passed in the Senate Tuesday on a bipartisan vote but House Speaker John Boehner said the bill could sour relations with China. Democrats and some economists say the legislation is essential for job creation. FSRN’s Michael Lawson reports.

FBI complaint raises questions over alleged Iran assassination plot

On Thursday President Obama pledged to push for tough sanctions against Iran after American officials released details of what they say outline a plot by two men, including an Iranian-American, to assassinate the Saudi Arabian ambassador. The Iranian government has denied involvement in the charges.But questions have arisen over the details of the alleged plot. Today we take a look at the 20 page legal document outlining the charges – it’s an amended criminal complaint filed before the southern district of New York on October 11 and signed by a special agent of the FBI.Independent journalist Gareth Porter has reported on the document and joins us now.

Click for entire article: Gareth Porter’s article at Inter Press Service

To read a copy of the federal complaint:…

Tensions rise in Iraqi town as pilgrimage nears

As Iraqis prepare to travel to Mecca for the annual pilgrimage, a small village on the road to Saudi Arabia has become a major source of tension. The town is contested by rival provinces and the area has been the scene of violence in recent years. David Enders reports from Nakhib, in western Iraq.

Murder case in Kashmir opens window to legacy of disappearances, police corruption

In Indian-administered Kashmir, a 15-year-old triple murder case has resurfaced underscoring ongoing issues of forced disappearances and corruption. Families of the three murder victims are demanding a new investigation, accusing the police of complicity FSRN’s Shahnawaz Khan has more.

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