Headlines for Friday, October 2, 2009
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2016 Olympics to be held in Rio – first ever in South America
The International Olympic Committee today announced the host city for the 2016 summer Olympics. Brazil becomes the first South American country to host the Olympic games. Following the announcement, an exuberant Brazilian president Lula de Silva spoke through a translator, saying the government will have to invest in the country’s infrastructure to make the Soccer World Cup in 2014 and the summer Olympics a success.
“It means we’re definitely are going to have to sleep less, think more and work much harder. Our slogan now will be “Work and work and work” so that we can do more and better than any other moment in the history of our country”
Chicago made a high-profile bid to get the games, with both Barack and Michelle Obama traveling to Copenhagen to make a pitch. But Chicago was the first city eliminated from the running in IOC member voting. Chicago was an early favorite, but not everyone in the city wanted the games. Many cite the huge financial burden levied on host cities, and the disproportionate effect this has on low-income residents.
Somali residents flee fighting in coastal city
In Somalia, hundreds of families who fled from the port city of Kismayo Thursday are still unable to return to their homes. They fear another outbreak in fighting between rival Islamist factions Al-Shabab and Hezbal Islam. At midday on Thursday Al-Shabab took control of the city in fighting that killed more than 25 people and wounded nearly 60 others, according to hospital sources. The UN Refugee agency’s Andrej Mahecic.
“The rate of displacement of civilians within Somalia had diminished over the past two months, as compared to the months of May and June 2009, but it is still high, with 17,000 people displaced within Somalia during September alone, including 11,000 from the capital."
In other news from the region, residents in the Somali regional state of Puntland have been banned from listening to Voice of America Radio, according to the Ministry of Security. In a statement, the Ministry said VOA news and programs created insecurity and a political crisis in Puntland and anyone caught listening would be punished.
Residents from different cities in Puntland told FSRN that people were switching off Voice of America Radio for of fear of being arrested. FSRN reporter Shafi'i Mohyaddin Abokar assisted in reporting this story from Somalia.
After years of waiting, Lt Ehren Watada discharged from military
Lt. Ehren Watada, the first US Army officer to refuse to serve in the war in Iraq, will finally be allowed to resign from the US Army today at Fort Lewis in Washington. Mark Taylor-Canfield has more from Seattle.
Spokespersons at Fort Lewis have confirmed that First Lt. Ehren Watada will be allowed to resign from the US Army. In 2003, Lt. Watada was the first US military officer to refuse to serve in Iraq, which he claims is an illegal war. In 2007 his court marshal was declared a mistrial by a civilian judge. Watada’s enlistment was supposed to be up two years ago but he has not been allowed to leave the service.
According to Watada’s attorney, Kenneth Kagan, he will receive a “less than honorable discharge.” Watada took a leading role in the anti-war movement, speaking out publicly against the war, and criticizing President George W. Bush at the Veterans For Peace national convention in Seattle in 2006. Watada has been under a military imposed gag order since his original court marshal proceedings. Mark Taylor-Canfield, FSRN, Seattle.
CA climate summit urges action by local jurisdictions
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger wraps up his second annual Governors’ Global Climate Summit in Los Angeles today. The three-day conference comes ahead of the December 6 UN climate change summit in Copenhagen. For FSRN, Dan Fritz reports.
In a keynote speech at the Governors’ Summit, EPA administer Lisa Jackson announced a new way she plans to use the Clean Air Act on the federal level.
“For the first time ever, the nation’s largest sources of greenhouse gases will be required to report their emissions. That new rule will allow us and you to track approximately 85% of total US emissions, while only requiring a small percentage of facilities, 10,000 facilities out of tens of millions of American business, to record.”
But organizers of the Governors’ Summit are stressing the importance local and regional government leaders - in cities, states and provinces across the world - taking a stronger lead. Experts at the summit estimate that 50 to 80 percent of actions needed to reach the UN climate goals will be implemented at the state and local levels. Some credit California's greenhouse gas reduction initiatives for keeping pressure on the federal government. Dan Fritz, FSRN, Los Angeles.
Aung San Suu Kyi appeal denied by Myanmar
A Myanmar court has dismissed an appeal by pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Her lawyers argued her recent sentence for violating the terms of her house arrest was not valid because the law was founded on an invalid constitution. Despite the rejection, the lawyers say they will bring the case to the higher court.