February 27, 2012

  • In Syria, deadly attacks on civilians continue as break-off opposition group endorses armed resistance
  • Private intel company monitored activists for corporations, Wikileaks documents show
  • Palestinian hunger striker moved to solitary confinement by Israel
  • Workers at Indian quartz factories seek health care as unsafe conditions continue
  • Occupy protesters in Florida highlight income inequality during NBA All-Star weekend

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Afghan anger continues after Koran burning; nine more dead today

Violence sparked by US troops who burned the Koran continues in Afghanistan. Nine people died today when a suicide bomber detonated at the gates of an airport and NATO base in Jalalabad. Dozens have died in the last six days. The United Nations moved all staff out of its office in Kunduz after an attack Saturday. They say they will continue to provide services in the region. And NATO, France, the US and the UK have all recalled their staff from Afghan ministries citing security concerns. The US has extended apologies for the desecration of the Koran – calling it an accident.


Presidency formally transferred in Yemen; pro-democracy protesters wary

In Yemen today, outgoing President Ali Abdullah Saleh formally handed over power to Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi today. Hadi was elected by a landslide – he was the only candidate on the ballot. Other protesters took to the streets outside. Deposed President Saleh returned to the country for the ceremony – it’s unclear where he will settle. Hadi will serve a transitional term of just two years, will new elections will be held.


East Haven residents call for Mayor to step down

Several hundred people — Latino, African American, and white — marched down Main Street in East Haven, Connecticut Saturday calling for the Mayor to resign in the wake of a racial profiling scandal. Melinda Tuhus reports from East Haven.

Marchers carried signs against racial profiling and huge banners made of many nations’ flags. Last month east haven’s long-time police chief retired after being named an unindicted co-conspirator in the racial profiling case in which four officers were arrested. During the years-long justice department probe, former chief Leonard Gallo was placed on leave. When MAyor Joe Maturo took office, he reinstated Gallo and staunchly defended the chief. In recent weeks he’s been widely criticized for making derogatory remarks about Latinos. Herman Zuniga led the new group of east haven immigrants who organized the march. He cooperation was excellent with the interim police chief, who came from outside the department. “the police department is changing; but we need more change than that.” Some East Haveners along the route were supportive, while others said they wished the immigrants would just go away. After the march, Mayor Maturo released a statement praising all involved and pledging to rebuild trust with all segments of the community. Melinda Tuhus, FSRN, East Haven.


Last soldier in alleged hazing of Lance Cpl. Henry Lew acquitted on all charges

In a military court in Hawaii last Friday, a jury found Lance Corporal Carlos Orozco III not guilty of all charges related to the suicide in Afghanistan of Lance Cpl. Henry Lew. Orozco was charged for allegedly hazing Lew before his death. He was the last of three soldiers charged. The first settled for 30 days and a one rank demotion. The second was also fully acquitted.


India lodges complaint about Dow sponsoring 2012 Summer Olympics

The Indian government today lodged a formal complaint with the International Olympic Committee demanding cancellation of sponsorship deal with Dow Chemicals. Bismillah Geelani reports.

The complaint follows last weeks’ announcement by the International Olympic Committee, or IOC, that they would not drop Dow Chemical as one of the main sponsors of the 2012 London Olympics. The sports ministry said the IOC’s decision goes against the very ideals of the Olympic movement. Dow is the current owner of union Carbide Corporation, the firm responsible for Bhopal gas disaster which caused the deaths of as many as 20,000 people. In New Delhi today, hundreds of victims of Bhopal disaster held a demonstration urging the government to boycott the summer games. Bismillah Geelani, FSRN, New Delhi.


Google privacy changes take effect this week

Changes to Google’s privacy policies will take effect this week. Beginning Thursday, Google will share information about who you are and where you go on the internet with other Google services. Last Friday, a federal judge dropped a law suit brought by the Electronic Privacy Information Center that sought to force the FTC to block the Google changes. Judge Amy Berman Jackson did not address the merits of the privacy changes, only said that it wasn’t up to the court to force the FTC to take action. FTC Chair John Leibowitz said Sunday that if a given company is explicit about how they use data, then consumers can make informed choices and market competition over privacy policies may emerge. But he would say much about the specific Google privacy changes.

“Other than saying that they have been clear, and that its a fairly binary and somewhat brutal choice that they are giving consumers, I think I can’t say much more, and I’ll just leave it at that. But we are aware.”

Last year the Federal Trade Commission and Google reached a settlement on privacy after the internet giant tried to force users onto Google Buzz and publicized private information.



In Syria, deadly attacks on civilians continue as break-off opposition group endorses armed resistance

In Syria, military attacks continued in cities throughout the country today as residents and activist groups reported heavy shelling of civilian centers and raids and arrests by government forces. At least 185 people have been killed since Saturday, according to the Local Coordination Committees, a coalition of activist groups. The group also revised the total death toll to more than 8,000, including more than 5,800 civilians, since pro-democracy protests began under the regime of Bashar Al Assad nearly a year ago. The Red Cross delivered food and other goods to the central city of Hama today. According to the aid group it was the first time staff reached residents since mid-January. Also today, the European Union imposed new sanctions against Syria’s regime, including freezing the assets of the country’s central bank. The increasing pressure and ongoing violence takes place as the Assad regime announced the approval of a constitutional referendum today. Assad and Syria’s ally, Russia, pointed to the referendum as a sign of reform, but media reports showed light turnout at polls on Sunday and activists criticized the legitimacy of a vote during ongoing attacks and violence. For more, we go to Hivin Kako, spokesperson for the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. She joins us from Oxford, England.

Private intel company monitored activists for corporations, Wikileaks documents show

More than five million e-mails from the private intelligence corporation Stratfor will be released to the public in the latest document dump from Wikileaks. The leaked e-mails span from 2004 to 2011, and paint a picture of a new breed of corporation—one which relies on inside informants and paid sources, and sells the information it gathers to its military, government, and corporate clients. Some of the communications from the Texas-based company—which Wikileaks calls a “private spy” and a “shadow CIA”—reveal its role in monitoring activists from Canada to India. FSRN’s Alice Ollstein reports.

Palestinian hunger striker moved to solitary confinement by Israel

In Israel, hunger strikes continue by Palestinian prisoners being held without charge. One of those is Hana Ash-Shalabi who today entered her 12th day of an open-ended hunger strike. Two weeks ago, Israeli officials ordered Ash-Shalabi to be put under administrative detention for six months. Yesterday, they moved her to solitary confinement. FSRN’s Ghassan Bannoura has the story.

Workers at Indian quartz factories seek health care as unsafe conditions continue

In Gujarat, India, hundreds of workers are struggling with severe health problems due to unsafe conditions in quartz factories. Many have acquired the life-threatening disease Silicosis, which is caused by exposure to silica dust released during the mining of slate, sandstone and quartz. With inadequate anti-pollution systems in place, workers continue to get sick and many are still waiting for compensation in order to get treatment. FSRN’s Shuriah Niazi has more.

Occupy protesters in Florida highlight income inequality during NBA All-Star weekend

Across the country Occupy movements are continuing diverse campaigns and actions. Events are taking place today in dozens of cities under the theme, Occupy our Food Supply. Organizers said events are planned in Brazil, Hungary, Ireland, Argentina and dozens of US states. Some of the actions include reclaiming unused bank-owned lots to create community gardens, protesting food corporations Monsanto and Cargill and conducting seed exchanges outside stock exchanges. In Washington DC, Occupy protesters are drawing attention to predatory banks and foreclosures by highlighting the case of Bertina Jones, a resident who faces foreclosure from a loan sold from Bank of America to Freddie Mac. In Florida, Occupy Orlando took advantage of the national attention on the NBA All-Star Game. Activists held a celebration they called All Share Weekend, to shine a light on income inequality. Seán Kinane from WMNF Community Radio reports.

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