Newscast for Thursday, August 22, 2013
- Year: 2013
- Length: 29:13 minutes (26.75 MB)
- Format: MP3 Mono 44kHz 128Kbps (CBR)
In Syria, bombardments continued today against residents in an area near Damascus that was the site of an alleged chemical attack Wednesday. Hundreds were killed and many more injured in Eastern and Western Ghouta, according to activists, where witnesses describe a missile attack that began in the early morning hours while many were still sleeping. According to medical staff, victims showed signs consistent with poisonous gas, though the use of chemical weapons is not yet confirmed. For more, we’re joined by Lama Fakih, Syrian and Lebanon researcher with Human Rights Watch. The group has documented eyewitness accounts of the attack.
In a statement released this morning, US Army Private Bradley Manning announced that she is a female and starting today, will be using the name Chelsea. Manning asked the public to support her in this transition, using her new name and the feminine pronoun. She said she wants to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible. Manning also thanked supporters and said she is "forever indebted" to those who wrote letters, made donations, and came to the trial. Yesterday, a military judge sentenced Manning to 35 years in prison and a dishonorable discharge. Following the sentencing, supporters rallied in numerous cities, including Washington, DC, Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas, and Milwaukee. FSRN's Rebecca Myles reports from the demonstration in New York.
In a speech in Buffalo, New York today, President Obama unveiled a new plan that aims to reduce the rising costs of higher education. That plan includes a rating system for colleges that would rank schools using tuition costs, student debt, graduation rates and the income made by those who graduate. Financial aid to schools would be based on rankings, though Congress would have to approve that part of the plan. But some progressive economists, professors and student advocates say the plan doesn’t address the root causes of unequal access to education, and are calling for more structural changes that would forgive student debt now and prevent it in the future. In Washington, FSRN’s Alice Ollstein has more.
After setting sail from Northern Australia, a group of activists are headed for the Indonesian-occupied territory of West Papua as part of a Freedom Flotilla. The flotilla is described by the organizers as an act of peaceful resistance, which aims to reconnect Papuans with their Indigenous neighbors to the south as well as draw international attention to West Papua’s fight for independence. The activists are calling for an end to the human rights abuses and environmental destruction that Indigenous West Papuans say they have faced during the last 50 years of Indonesian rule. FSRN’s Rachael Bongiorno reports from Cairns, Australia.