Headlines for Thursday, April 4, 2013
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Connecticut passes gun control bill
Almost four months after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elemntary Schoo in Newtown, Connecticut, State Governor Dannel signed a agun control bill into law today. It's being called the strictest legislation in the nation, but some activists focused on reducing gun violence say it falls short. For FSRN Melinda Tuhus reports from New Haven, Connecticut.
The law, which goes into effect immediately, strengthens the existing assault weapons ban by outlawing an additional 100 models, bans new sales of ammunition clips holding more than ten bullets, and requires universal background checks for gun purchases. Connecticut lawmakers hailed the bi-partisan effort. The Bill had supporters and critics on both sides. In the House vote early this morning, 20 Republicans voted for the bill, while 13 Democrats voted against it. But not all anti-violence campaigners are happy with the new law. Barbara Fair, of My Brother’s Keeper in New Haven, says any gun laws should address this problem.
“These kids are not going into the store buying these guns. These guns are being trafficked to these kids, and nobody's addressing that. “
Critics say that legislators bowed to the gun lobby by dropping a proposal to require annual registration of hand guns to determine which were still in the hands of their legal owners. Most gun murders in the inner cities are committed with illegally trafficked guns. Melilnda Tuhus, FSRN, Hartford, Connecticut.
Seattle police criticized
Seattle’s city council questioned the police chief on Wednesday, about his handling of last year’s May Day protests, in which eight people were arrested. An independent review of the protests found that the Seattle Police Department failed to practice adequate crowd control and officers were confused by conflicting orders. FSRN’S Mark Taylor-Canfield has more.
Authored by former Los Angeles Police Deputy Chief Michael Hillmann, the review focuses on the policing of a small independent march. On May Day 2012 demonstrators broke off from the main march and damaged property in downtown Seattle. Officers reported that they were given conflicting orders on how to engage protesters and make arrests. Hillman claims that police activity on May Day "significantly damaged the credibility of the Police Department”. In particular Hillman found that fellow officers criticized Assistant Police Chief Mike Sanford’s decision to enter a crowd of protesters alone to make an arrest. They told how Sanford then had to be rescued by other police officers. The review also points out that Seattle Police officers have not received any new training on crowd control since demonstrations against the World Trade Organization took place in Seattle in 1999. The department’s handling of those protests was also widely criticized. At the time of the May Day protest the Seattle Police Department was under a US Dept of Justice investigation for use of excessive force. A federal grand jury is also currently investigating the protests. Mark Taylor-Canfield, FSRN, Seattle.
NATO airstrike kills six Afghans
A NATO airstrike has left four Afghan police officers and two civilians dead. Local officials say NATO hit the wrong target after Taliban fighters attacked a police station in Eastern Ghazni province early on Thursday morning. Civilian deaths have deteriorated the relationship between the Afghan government and NATO forces In February, the killing of ten civilians in an airstrike led President Hamid Karzai to ban Afghan security forces from calling-in NATO for assistance, but joint operations have continued. Early next year, NATO is expected to withdraw 100,000 foreign troops from the country.
Hong Kong port strike continues
A week-long strike by dockworkers in Hong Kong shows no sign of ending. Hundreds of workers walked off the job last week to demand increased pay and better working conditions. Strikers want Hutchison International Terminals to negotiate directly with their union. But the company has distanced itself from the strike, saying the dockworkers are employed by contractors and are not it’s employees. The company estimates the strike is costing more than $640 000 each day, and is resulting in major delays at the world’s third busiest container port.
IMF announces terms of Cyprus deal
Cyprus will have to implement widespread cuts to public spending and privatize state-owned assets if it wants to receive a bailout from the International Monetary Fund. The IMF announced the terms of its 3-year loan to the country yesterday. The billion dollar deal, agreed to in principal by the Cypriot government, requires cut backs to the country’s pension fund and welfaresystem. Cyprus requested the bailout to help bring down government debts and refinance its financial sector, after the country was brought to the brink of economic collapse. But the agreement is already facing opposition both inside and outside parliament. Bank workers in Nicosia announced they would walk out on Thursday in protest of the plan. $10 billion in additional bailout money will come from other European governments.
Offshore assets revealed
The President of Azerbaijain, the former Mongolian Finance Minister, the wife of the Russian Deputy Prime Minister, and the campaign treasurer for the French President. These are just some of the hundreds of individuals revealed to be keeping their wealth in offshore tax havens, according to documents leaked to the Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. Some two million leaked documents have shed light on the normally secretive world of offshore accounts. Tax havens, like the British Virgin Islands, are where individuals and businesses register their assets to avoid taxation in their home countries and the identity of the account holder is normally protected. It’s estimated that more than $20 trillion dollars could be stashed in offshore accounts around the world.