Headlines for Thursday, January 24, 2013
- Year: 2013
- Length: 5:12 minutes (4.75 MB)
- Format: MP3 Mono 44kHz 128Kbps (CBR)
Aboriginal Chief ends hunger strike in Canada
In Canada today, aboriginal Chief Theresa Spence is ending her hunger strike after more than 40 days of eating nothing but fish broth. Spence has been protesting policies of the Canadian government in the capital. FSRN's Aaron Lakoff has the story.
From her encampment on Victoria Island in Ottawa, Chief of the Cree Attawapiskat First Nation, Theresa Spence, announced Wednesday she would call off her hunger strike today. Spence decided to end her strike after many of her political demands were officially endorsed by the opposition parties in Parliament. Those demands include improving sub-standard housing in many First Nations communities, and continuing to push for a meeting between First Nations leaders, the Prime Minister, and the Governor General, the representative of the British Crown in Canada. However, the Aboriginal People's Television Network reported today that Spence would not attend the ceremony today marking the end of her strike because she is in an Ottawa hospital receiving medical attention. Aaron Lakoff, FSRN, Montreal.
Tuareg group splinters from Mali militants, calls for ceasefire
A newly-formed band of Tuareg rebels in northern Mali is distancing itself from Al Qaeda-linked militants and is requesting talks with the central government. According to the Guardian, leaders have rejected terrorism and extremism and are calling for a ceasefire. French, African and Malian troops are reportedly preparing to launch a major operation aimed at pushing the militants out of controlled territories in the Sahara. An international coalition of human rights groups today said it has been getting reports of summary executions and human rights abuses carried out by Malian government troops. The groups are calling for an investigation.
Indian commission blames government policies for epidemic of sexual assault
The trial of five men in India accused of gang raping and murdering a woman on a New Delhi bus continued today. A special court has been created to expedite the case that has caused outrage in India and around the world. It’s also pushed the Indian government to examine its own policies and official conduct that many say turns a blind eye to the issue of sexual assault. FSRN’s Prabhakar Mani Tewari reports.
A report released Wednesday night by a three-member committee slammed the government and senior officials’ response to the gang rape of a 23-year-old woman in the national capital on December 16th. The report says the root cause of crime against women is the government’s failure to implement existing laws. Former Chief Justice J.S. Verma, who headed the review panel, also strongly criticized police apathy and called for reforms. “I was shocked to see soon after the incident, the police commissioner being patted for prompt action by no less than the Home Secretary. I was so shocked to see that as a citizen.” The government formed the review committee to suggest changes to criminal law that would provide strict punishment for those involved in sex-related crimes. Since the attack, there have been calls across India for rape to be punishable by death. But the review panel instead advocated for life imprisonment to be the maximum sentence for these crimes. Meanwhile, the judge presiding over the gang rape case today barred lawyers from speaking to the press, and turned down requests that the media be briefed on progress. Prabhakar Mani Tewari, FSRN, Kolkata.
UN drone inquiry launched
The UN officially launched an inquiry into the growing international use of drones today. The head of the inquiry, UN Special Rapporteur Ben Emmerson, told reporters that investigators will examine 25 attacks in five places – including Pakistan, Yemen and the Palestinian territories. “To look at the evidence that drone strikes and other forms of remote targeted killing have caused disproportionate civilian casualties in some instances, and to make recommendations concerning the duty of states to conduct thorough, independent and impartial investigations.” Emmerson said the inquiry would not focus solely on the US, even though most drone launches are believed to come from or be supported by the US military.
US military to allow women in combat roles
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced today the Pentagon will ease its ban on women preforming in combat rolls. “Everyone - men and women alike - everyone is committed to doing the job. They're fighting and they're dying together. And the time has come for our policies to recognize that reality.” Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Martin Dempsey signed a memo removing the direct ground combat exclusion rule for women put in place in 1994. They also pledged to “eliminate all unnecessary gender-based barriers to service.” Some have argued that lifting the ban on women in combat positions will help decrease sexual assault in the military by creating a more equality in the ranks.