Newscast for Friday, February 15, 2013
- Year: 2013
- Length: 29:02 minutes (26.59 MB)
- Format: MP3 Mono 44kHz 128Kbps (CBR)
The Senate Intelligence Committee is delaying a vote on the confirmation of CIA Director-nominee John Brennan. The move comes, in part, after rising concerns about his role in the agency’s targeted killing and drone program abroad. But the controversial use of drones in domestic airspace is also drawing attention. As the Federal Aviation Administration opens domestic airspace to potentially tens of thousands of drones, lawmakers and privacy advocates say strict regulation and oversight is needed to ensure safety and protect civil liberties. A bill introduced this week would ban armed drones in US skies and make police get a search warrant before deploying a spy drone, but some are calling for further restrictions. On Capitol Hill, FSRN’s Alice Ollstein reports.
Democratic lawmakers announced the creation of a Safe Climate Caucus today, and urged other lawmakers to take legislative action soon. In announcing the caucus Representative Henry Waxman said President Obama shouldn’t wait for Congress and could take action through executive orders, such as regulating emissions from new power plants via the EPA.Environmental activists are also urging President Obama to make good on his pledge to address climate change. This weekend, thousands are expected to gather at the national mall for the “Forward on Climate” rally. One of the issues at the center is TransCanada's proposed Keystone XL Pipeline. FSRN's Peter Rugh has more.
As the calls for action on climate change increase, lawmakers will have a new bill to consider. Legislation introduced this week by Senators Bernie Sanders and Barbara Boxer seeks an 80 percent reduction in emissions by 2050. The bill also includes safeguards for hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The controversial practice of gas and oil extraction has prompted debate at locations across the country. But in one upstate New York town, officials have banned debate of fracking at public meetings. Officials in Sanford, near the Pennsylvania border, say the discussions were contentious and taking up too much time at meetings. But critics have called the order an abridgment of freedom of speech that stifles public debate. This week the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Catskills Citizens for Safe Energy filed a suit against the town seeking to have the ban lifted. One Sanford resident, Melissa Bishop, told the NRDC that the board’s restriction went beyond the issue of fracking. “That someone could just come in and say, ‘OK, no more discussion at all,’ really galled a lot of people. And they knew even if there wasn’t a right or a wrong to the fracking discussion, they certainly knew there was a right or wrong as to the issue of free speech, and this was definitely wrong.” Sanford sits atop the Marcellus Shale, an area rich with gas deposits. For more we speak with Tom Wilinsky of Catskills Citizens for Safe Energy, and Sanford town attorney, Herb Kline.
Thousands of women, men and children rallied outside the state capitol building in Hartford, Connecticut on Thursday to demand what they called common sense gun laws. It was exactly two months after the Newtown shooting, which killed 27 people, including 20 first graders. Following the shooting, lawmakers have introduced more than 70 gun-related bills in the state legislature. FSRN’s Melinda Tuhus reports.
This weekend, voters in Ecuador head to polls for parliamentary and presidential elections, in which current President Rafael Correa is seeking another term in office. Six years ago, Correa won the presidential elections with the promise of a political and social revolution, much like other leftist candidates in South America. That revolution culminated in the drafting of a new rights-based Constitution that focused on a participatory democracy built from the ground up. Women, indigenous peoples, environmentalists, labor unions, and other social groups participated in writing that Constitution. However today, the Left in Ecuador is no longer a cohesive movement. And this time, Correa is running with opposition from multiple sides. FSRN's Sofia Jarrin reports.