Headines for Monday, April 22, 2013
- Length: 6:04 minutes (5.55 MB)
- Format: MP3 Mono 44kHz 128Kbps (CBR)
Rescuers in China's Sichuan province still trying to reach remote areas struck by 7.0 quake
Rescue efforts are ongoing in China today after a 7.0 earthquake Saturday in Sichuan Province. Survivors in outlying areas are still awaiting emergency shelter and rations, and anger is rising as help is slow to arrive. The death toll is up to almost 200, 11000 people were hurt. Many rural roads remain blocked after nearly 2000 aftershocks triggered landslides. Local officials say that about 17,000 families lost their homes, and many others are also sleeping outside, afraid that ongoing tremors may cause damaged structures to collapse.
Syrian activists say pro-government forces massacred hundreds of civilians near Damascus
In Syria, opposition activists say they discovered hundreds of dead bodies after fierce fighting in recent days near Damascus. Reports of the death toll range from at least 250 to more than 500. A statement from the Local Coordination Committees of Syria claims forces loyal to President Bashar al Assad killed 450 people in and around Damascus during the past six days. The group claims hundreds were civilians, massacred and burned after opposition fighters retreated. Syrian state media reports that government forces “inflicted heavy losses among terrorists.” At a meeting of the Syrian opposition leadership in Istanbul yesterday, the Syrian National Coalition named a new leader after Ahmed Moaz al Khatib stepped down. Longtime dissident and prominent member of the Syrian Democratic People's party George Sabra will now serve as caretaker. Following the meeting, Secretary of State John Kerry announced that the US will double its support of non-lethal aid to $250 million dollars.
Researchers say chemicals used on marijuana crops has environmental and health consequences
While Earth Day celebrations were held around the world over the weekend, experts gathered in Northern California to examine the growing marijuana industry and the increased use of chemicals by growers. Many are pushing for increased research into the environmental and health consequences of using a product cultivated without regulation. FSRN’s Eric Black reports.
In 2012, University of California Davis scientists did chemical tests on dead fishers, marmot-like animals whose habitat includes land often used for marijuana cultivation. Researchers found anti-coagulant rodenticides in 79% of the animals. Their report blamed the exposure on contaminated soil and irrigation lines resulting from illegal pot grows on California public lands.
But Pure Analytics Chief Scientist Samantha Miller sees another potential problem:
“In the cannabis laboratory world, they’re not testing to see if rodenticides...things like that...mammalian poisons...are being pulled up into the plants. And so I think, as an industry, that’s another interesting area that we need to start to look at with the widespread use of these things.”
Growers feel compelled to use the dangerous substances, according to Miller, because marijuana prohibition prevents them from buying conventional crop insurance. An April Pew Research Poll showed 52% of Americans now support marijuana legalization. Six US Representatives introduced a bill last week that would require the federal government to respect state marijuana laws. Eric Black, FSRN, Arcata, California.
Protests in India following rape of 5 year-old continues; more rapes of children reported
Massive protests against police continue in India’s capital New Delhi following the rape of a five-year- old girl last week. Bismillah Geelani reports.
The rape victim is just five, and according to the parents had gone out to play when she was abducted. The child's parents sought help from police, who did not file a missing persons report. Her family found her two days later, locked up in a neighbor's house. A medical examination confirmed rape and severe injuries to her genitals. The victim’s parents say that police later offered them a bribe to stay silent after they discovered what happened to the child.
Protests over the incident continued across the capital for the 4th day today. The anger is directed at the police.
Ranjana Kumari is one of the protesters demanding immediate removal of the Delhi Police Commissioner.
“There’s no fear, it’s not stopping somehow we are seeing insensitivity of the police, they have just closed their minds and this is not going to be acceptable at all.”
India recently introduced a harsh law to deal with the rising cases of sexual crimes against women. The government has also taken several other measures for women’s safety following public outcry over the last year’s gang rape of a young woman in Delhi. But the incidents of sexual assaults have dramatically increased since. Nearly 400 hundred such cases have been reported since January this year in Delhi alone. Bismillah Geelani, FSRN, New Delhi
Nearly 200 dead in fighting between Nigerian militants and military; many are civilians
Nearly 200 people are dead in northeast Nigeria after fighting between the military and Boko Haram militants. Samuel Okocha reports from Lagos.
On Sunday, more than 185 people were found dead, many of them civilians, killed in fighting between the military and Boko Haram. The fighting began on Friday in Baga, a fishing community in the north east Nigerian state of Borno. Soldiers surrounded a mosque where they suspected members of the radical Islamic extremist sect Boko Haram were housed.
Military authorities say the extremists fired heavy machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades, and used civilians as human shields. During the hours-long assault that followed, fires destroyed whole swaths of the town.
The latest incident comes as the Nigerian government considers offering an amnesty deal to extremist fighters. Boko Haram, which means "Western education is sinful" wants its imprisoned members freed and a strict application of Shariah law in Nigeria. Samuel Okocha , FSRN, Lagos.