Headlines for Thursday, March 1, 2012
- Year: 2012
- Length: 5:28 minutes (5 MB)
- Format: MP3 Mono 44kHz 128Kbps (CBR)
Obama calls for an end to oil company tax breaks
In a speech today, President Obama once again urged Congress to end billions of dollars in tax breaks for oil companies. “Right now, four billion of your tax dollars, four billion, subsidize the oil industry every year. Four billion dollars. These companies are making record profits right now – tens of billions of dollars a year. Every time you go to the gas tank… or fill up your gas tank, they’re making money. ” In a part campaign, part policy speech, the President addressed high gas prices in the context of the election year, saying calls for drilling alone are short sighted and will not keep energy costs low. Obama also pointed out that since he’d been in office, US reliance on foreign oil has declined steadily. In 2006, the US imported 60% of its oil. In 2011, that had dropped to 45%.
Two controversial coal power plants in Chicago to close
Two of the nations oldest coal burning power plants will finally close after years of struggle and debate about their negative environmental and health effects. From Chicago, FSRN's Lisa Matuska has more.
A joint agreement between Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel and Midwest Generation means the Fisk and Crawford power plants will close. The coal plants are located in two predominantly-Latino neighborhoods in Chicago. The decision comes after more than 10 years of lobbying and direct action by neighbors, environmental groups and local politicians. In a city park directly across the street from the large smokestack of the Fisk plant, Chicago resident Leila Mendez said today the decision is a victory for her neighborhood’s health. “You see it on the cars. You can get your car washed and the next day you’ll have the particulate matter all over it. And I always think, oh my goodness that’s in my lungs that’s in my body. So it’s good to know that it will be closed down and we’ll get to breath a little cleaner air.” The Fisk plant will close at the end of this year and the Crawford plant by 2014. Lisa Matuska, FSRN, Chicago.
Protesters demand elections in Maldives, prevent Parliament from convening
Protesters blocked the new President of the Maldives, Mohammed Waheed, from opening Parliament today. They’re angry about the questionable transfer of power from ousted democratically-elected leader President Mohamed Nasheed. Many consider the take-over a coup. Video posted on YouTube shows hundreds of protesters sitting and standing in the street waving flags and signs, while a wall of police in riot gear block their path. Protesters are calling for immediate elections. Currently elections are scheduled for 2013.
Palestinians begin campaign against Israeli administrative detention
As Palestinian Hana Ash-Shalabi entered her 15th day of hunger strike in Israeli prison, Palestinians are gearing up to protest the detention of political prisoners being held without charges. FSRN’s Ghassan Bannoura reports.
The Palestinian Minister of Detainees, Issa Qaraqie, announced today that his ministry is organizing an international campaign against administrative detention and the ill-treatment of Palestinian political detainees in Israeli jails. “This campaign is an open invitation to all supporters of the Palestinian cause, governmental or non-governmental associations, to sign a petition that calls for pressuring the Israeli occupation to end its policy of administrative detention, since it’s illegal under international law and an inhuman practice.” Meanwhile Palestinian Political prisoners said they are going to boycott Israeli military courts in protest. Three hundred of the 4500 political prisoners currently being held by Israel are under administrative detention. The recent developments come as political detainee Hana Ash-Shalabi entered her 15th day of hunger strike. Last October, Israel released her as part of a prisoner swap deal, but then authorities arrested her again in February. Ghassan Bannoura, FSRN, Bethlehem.
No new Armenian genocide bill in France before Presidential elections
French President Nicolas Sarkozy's U-M-P party says it will be at least mid-summer before a new Armenian genocide law could be passed. Sarkozy had promised to draft a new bill immediately after France's high court struck down the recent law that made it a crime to deny Turkey's alleged 19-15 genocide of Armenians. From France, FSRN's Liam Moriarty explains.
Turkish officials reacted with fury in January when French lawmakers passed the bill. Turkey denies the mass-killings of Armenians during the break-up of the Ottoman Empire nearly a century ago constituted genocide. In fact, in Turkey, it's a crime to publicly call it that. In response to the French law, Turkey recalled its ambassador from Paris and threatened diplomatic and commercial retaliation. Now, the Turkish foreign minister says the sanctions will be cancelled. Meanwhile, Armenian groups in France are outraged the law was found to violate the constitutional right to freedom of speech. A similar law concerning the Holocaust is still on the books. Armenians are also upset that Sarkozy's center-right party now says it won't follow through on his vow to draft a new law until after the upcoming presidential election. Liam Moriarty, FSRN, Normandy, France.