January 23, 2012

  • Egypt’s parliament opens first session amid divided public
  • Anti-abortion activists, women’s advocacy groups converge in DC for rallies
  • Supreme Court rules police use of GPS surveillance violates constitution
  • Florida Republicans react to GOP penalties for moving up primary date
  • Democrats in Indiana return to legislature to debate right to work bill

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ICC to charge 4 Kenyans with crimes against humanity in 2007 post-electoral violence

The International Criminal Court said today that there IS sufficient evidence for the Court to charge four high profile Kenyans with crimes against humanity.  Those charged for inciting post-electoral violence in 2007.include three government officials and a radio announcer; two were supporters of then-incumbent President Mwai Kibaki, the other two backed then opposition-candidate Raila Odinga – who is now Kenya’s Prime Minister. More than 1000 people died and as many as 600,000 were displaced from their homes when tribal factions rioted, burning homes and hacking ethnic rivals to death.  Two of them men charged today are expected to run in Kenya’s next Presidential race – Deputy Prime Minister  Uhuru Kenyatta and former Education Minister William Ruto.

Nigerians remember victims of Friday’s Boko Haram attacks

Services were held today  in Nigeria’s northern city of Kano after  attacks Friday that relief workers say killed more than 250 people. Sam Olukoya reports from Lagos.

EU approves embargo on Iranian oil

The European Union has agreed to stop buying oil from Iran in an effort to force the Islamic Republic to abandon its nuclear program. More from F-S-R-N’s Liam Moriarty.

Pakistan rejects US report on airstrikes that killed 24 border troops

Pakistan’s military has rejected the US report on the border strike in which US forces  killed  24 soldiers. In a press release issued today, Pakistan said that the US version of the November events is factually incorrect and cites  lack of communication by US and international forces as the root cause of the mistake.  After the airstrikes, US drone attack in Pakistan  paused for some weeks, but recently resumed. As many as four people were killed by drone fire in North Waziristan today.

Somalia – hundreds of young boys forcibly inducted into al Shabaab

During the weekend in Somalia, drone fire killed al Shabaab senior member and foreign recruit Bilal al-Barjawi, who was a UK citizen until 2006 when his citizenship was revoked. And in a small town near Mogadishu, al Shabaab forced villagers into a stadium, abducted hundreds of young boys from the group and forced half of them to join the fighting in Mogadishu. According to Somaliareport.com, the other half were sent to a training camp.

US allows Yemen’s President Saleh to enter country for medical treatment

The US has cleared the way for Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh to enter the country for a limited period of time to coincide with medical treatment. But Saleh’s departure from Yemen just after receiving broad immunity clears the way for a temporary  power hand off  to Vice President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.  Saleh says he plans to go back before that transfer becomes permanent.

Rep. Gabby Giffords to resign from Congress

US Representative Gabby Giffords announced yesterday that she will officially resign from the  House of Representatives. In a video message, Representative Giffords strongly suggested that she would return to politics. Giffords was was among 19 people shot a year ago at a political event in Tuscon. Six people died. Giffords suffered a critical brain injury.


Egypt’s parliament opens first session amid divided public

In Egypt, the first parliament elected since the removal of dictator Hosni Mubarak held it’s opening session today. Most seats are filled by the two most powerful Islamist parties and the parliament will be charged with selecting the 100 member assembly that will draft the country’s new constitution. But Egyptians remain divided as to whether the newly-elected parliament will ultimately serve or undermine the goals of the revolution. FSRN’s David Enders reports from Cairo.

Anti-abortion activists, women’s advocacy groups converge in DC for rallies

At the nation’s capitol, both supporters and opponents of abortion rights rallied today to mark the 39th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade. With states across the country enacting restrictions on reproductive services, and some Republican presidential candidates publicly taking positions against both abortion and contraception, women’s advocacy groups are concerned about the future of reproductive rights. FSRN’s Alice Ollstein reports.

Supreme Court rules police use of GPS surveillance violates Constitution

Today, the US Supreme Court ruled that police violated the fourth amendment right to privacy when officers attached a GPS tracking device to a suspect’s car without a warrant. The case, US versus Jones, brings up the issue of how far  government surveillance can go as technology quickly advances and gives law enforcement more tools to monitor the public. For more on the ruling, we’re joined by Catherine Crump, staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU filed an amicus brief in the case.

Florida Republicans react to GOP penalties for moving up primary date

After former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich’s victory in the South Carolina primary on Saturday, national attention is turning to Florida where the next primary will be held on Tuesday, January 31. This evening, some presidential candidates will have a chance to make their case to voters in a debate hosted by Tampa’s University of South Florida. But it comes after the National Republican party penalized the state for moving its primary election to an earlier date. FSRN’s Kelly Benjamin has more.

Democrats in Indiana return to legislature to debate right to work bill

Today in Indiana union members rallied outside the home of House Speaker Brian Bosma to protest right to work legislation currently under consideration by state lawmakers. Kevin Roach, of the Laborer’s International Union of North America’s Munster local 41 told the Indianapolis Star why they were there.

“We’re out here in front of Speaker Bosma’s house this morning in opposition of right to work, the legislation that is currently before of Indiana state legislature. We have some real heartburn with it, primarily because it affects us most importantly at our dinner table. It affects our ability to provide a decent living wage, fringes, healthcare and pensions plans for our members and their families  and consequently because it affects us at home we’re at Bosma’s house to let him know that that’s where we hope something affects him.”

Democratic lawmakers ended a boycott of the legislature and joined Republicans on the House floor today to debate the controversial measure. Last week, Republicans, who have majorities in both the House and the Senate, voted to begin fining Democratic representative for not attending the sessions. At today’s session, Democrats introduced a procedural motion to attempt to kill the bill. Representative Scott Pelath introduced the motion and made a case to bring the legislation before the public for a vote:

“Right now it’s been in the hands of few that have been able to bring and force this issue forward. Today is the first opportunity we will have to set this issue aside to allow both sides to campaign on it in the next election, to allow even the people to have a direct say over the issue at the ballot box.”

One by one, Democratic lawmakers rose to support the motion. Representative Shelli VanDenburgh urged the debate to move forward.

“Now is the time to talk about the legislation before us…why do want to take that away from the people that we represent?”

But supporters of the right to work bill say it would bring more jobs to the state. Republican House leader Brian Bosma spoke in a video message posted to his website.

“The moving, the real moving factor for me has nothing to do with unions. It has to do with the testimony of local economic development officers at our summer study committee that said someplace between a third up to to a half of folks looking to create jobs in the nation by locating a new facility someplace in the country take Indiana off the table because it’s not a right to work state.”

Critics of the bill point to a study by the economic policy institute that looked at right to work states and economic growth. It found that average annual pay is higher in non-right-to-work states, while income inequality is higher in right-to-work states. The House rejected the Democrats’ motion in a 59-39 vote, according to AP. Lawmakers are expected to continue the debate tomorrow.

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