Newscast for Thursday, October 11, 2012
- Length: 29:07 minutes (26.66 MB)
- Format: MP3 Mono 44kHz 128Kbps (CBR)
As Vice President Joe Biden and challenger Paul Ryan face off in their vice presidential debate this evening, many pundits are focusing on the topics they’ll likely address: the economy, health care, taxes. But with the election just weeks away, groups in several key states continue to wage legal battles over voting rights. A federal court ruled Wednesday that South Carolina can implement its proposed voter ID law, but not until 2013. After a similar ruling for Pennsylvania, several counties there are still telling voters they must show an ID at the polls. And Republican officials in Ohio asked the US Supreme Court to allow the state to block early voting. Voting rights advocates across the country say this ongoing uncertainty about who can vote and when could suppress turnout among vulnerable populations. FSRN’s Alice Ollstein has more.
An Ohio coal company run by a staunch supporter of Mitt Romney is denying allegations that it violated fundraising rules in directing employees to contribute to the company’s political action committee and threatening the loss of jobs if Republicans lose. A complaint filed this week with the Federal Election Commission by the group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington alleges that Murray Energy Corporation and its CEO Robert Murray “coerced” workers to make the political contributions with financial reprisal, including the loss of their jobs. In response to charges into fundraising activities, also made by the Ohio Democratic Party, Murray Energy sent FSRN a written statement calling the allegations “unfounded” and “baseless.” The company said the allegations are “an attempt to silence Murray Energy and its owners from supporting their coal mining employees and families by speaking out against President Barack Obama’s well known and documented War on Coal.” The charges were prompted, in part, by an article in the New Republic Magazine published last week. The case brings attention to other similar incidents. In Florida, David Siegel, of Westgate Resorts of Orlando, warned employees that their jobs could be at risk in the election, according to a copy of an email obtained and published by the Orlando Sentinel. CEO Richard Lacks in Michigan sent his employees a letter warning of cuts to paychecks if Obama were re-elected and urging them to vote in November for the candidate of “smaller government and less government,” according to excerpts leaked to local media. For more, we’re joined by Melanie Sloan, she’s the executive director with the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, or CREW.
New York’s City Council is considering a package of new laws to address the police department’s controversial practice known as Stop and Frisk, in which police officers temporarily stop and detain people on the street. Stop and Frisk has increased 600 percent under Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s leadership, peaking at nearly 700,000 stops last year. At a City Council hearing yesterday, residents gave more than five hours of testimony about the new measures aimed at curbing the practice. Critics point to the police department’s own statistics that show the majority affected are people of color and not charged with any crime. From New York, FSRN’s Matthew Petrillo reports.
Four Nigerian farmers from the oil producing Niger Delta region were in a Netherlands court today to argue their case against the multinational oil company Shell. The farmers allege that pollution from Shell’s activities affected their farmlands and fishing ponds and denied them their livelihood. The case marks the first time a Dutch multinational is being sued at home in connection with pollution caused abroad and it comes a little more than a week after the US Supreme Court heard a case against Shell for alleged involvement in acts of torture in Nigeria. The case at the Hague could set a precedent which would make it possible for multinational companies to be sued at home for pollution caused in other countries. FSRN’s Sam Olukoya reports from Lagos.