Newscast for Friday, January 18, 2013
- Year: 2013
- Length: 29:11 minutes (26.72 MB)
- Format: MP3 Mono 44kHz 128Kbps (CBR)
In Syria today, violence continued in a number of cities, including Aleppo where an estimated 20 people were killed, according to reports from activists and the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Video posted online purportedly taken in Deraa shows a large plume of black smoke rising from a building on the horizon before a flash of light and another explosion sends more smoke into the sky. A car bomb also was reported at a refugee camp there, killing a number of civilians. More footage purportedly of the aftermath of strikes in Idlib showed two young boys, bloodied and unresponsive, lying on the floor.
In Kafranbel, near Idlib, students protested the attacks at Aleppo University earlier this week in which more than 80 were killed and many more injured. Some held a banner reading: "Aleppo University Massacre Proved That Pro-Humanity Claimants Are Actually Pro-Terrorism By Ignoring Assad's Violations."
Details of another mass killing in the village of Haswiya, near Homs also started emerging. A BBC reporter visited the area and saw charred bodies, blood stains, dozens of bullet casings and gutted homes. Activists say more than 100 were killed, all civilians. There are conflicting reports on who is responsible, some blaming the Syrian government, others the Islamist militant group, Jabhat al-Nusra. More than 60,000 people have been killed in the Syrian conflict in less than two years. The United Nations estimates that four million people inside Syria need humanitarian aid. Panos Moumtzis is the UN Refugee Coordinator for Syrian Refugees. He says the conflict has created the fastest growing regional humanitarian disaster in the world.
“The number one concern we have for inside Syria is the protection of civilians. We constantly hear reports and stories of displacement, but also when we interview refugees who have just crossed the border I’m afraid we constantly hear these horrific stories of their experiences and what they have gone through in order to reach safety and reach one of the neighboring countries.”
More than 600,000 have fled Syria and many report rape as the primary reason their families left the country.
In Karachi, Pakistan, schools and businesses shut down for several days of mourning following the killing of a lawmaker Thursday. Manza Imam of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, or MQM was gunned down yesterday along with three of his guards, according to AFP. Also today in Islamabad a lead investigator overseeing the probe into corruption charges against Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf was found dead. Police said he was found hanging in his house in Islamabad, according to the Times of India, adding a layer of uncertainty after a week of protests and political upheaval in the country. Monday, the Prime Minister removed a governor in Balochistan after protests over the killing of some 100 Shia in the district. And an estimated 20,000 protesters converged on Islamabad this week to protest corruption and call for reform ahead of upcoming elections. For more on some of these events we’re joined by independent journalist Umar Farooq. He’s written for The Nation and Salon and joins us today from Washington, DC.
Rules released this week by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau seek to crack down on the risky mortgage lending practices that contributed to the collapse of the housing market and make the process safer for borrowers. Federal regulators also reached a nearly $9 billion settlement with big banks over mortgage-related abuses. But many housing justice advocates are criticizing both developments for giving the banks legal protections from future lawsuits, and promising them billions more taxpayer dollars. FSRN’s Alice Ollstein has more.
Maryland officials are abandoning controversial plans to construct a new youth detention facility in the state’s largest city of Baltimore. After facing public opposition and a steady drop in youth crime since 2007, officials of the Department of Juvenile Services and the Department of Corrections announced on Thursday that the state will instead renovate an older facility to house youth charged as adults. FSRN’s Clayton Conn has more.
Across the country, parents and educators have long questioned the emphasis federal programs and public schools put on standardized tests. One of those tests is called MAP, or the Measure of Academic Progress, and multiple times a year thousands of students take the computer-based exam. But one school in Seattle is now refusing to administer the MAP test. FSRN’s Jill Freidberg has more.