Category Archives: News

Boko Haram Guns Down 97 People Praying In Nigerian Mosques

via TPM News

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (AP) — Boko Haram extremists gunned down nearly 100 Muslims praying in mosques in a northeast Nigerian town during the holy month of Ramadan, a government official and a self-defense fighter said Thursday.

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Feds Investigating If Major Airlines Conspire To Keep Fares High

via TPM News

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. government is investigating possible collusion between major airlines to limit available seats, which keeps airfares high, according to a document obtained by The Associated Press.

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Law Enforcement: Fire At S.C. Black Church Likely Not Arson

via TPM News

This post has been updated.

The fire at a historically black church in Greeleyville, S.C. on Tuesday night was likely not a case of arson, a federal law enforcement official told the Associated Press on Wednesday.

Local and federal law authorities are still investigating a fire at Mount Zion AME Church, which was burned down by Ku Klux Klan members in 1995, but federal law enforcement said that the preliminary investigation indicated the fire was not intentionally set.

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AP: US, Cuba Will Announce Plans To Open Embassies On Wednesday

via TPM News

UPDATE: June 20, 2015, 5:31 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama will announce Wednesday that the U.S. and Cuba have reached an agreement to open embassies in Havana and Washington, a senior administration official said.

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New Ebola Case Found In Liberia After 2 Months Ebola Free

via TPM News

MONROVIA, Liberia (AP) — Liberian authorities on Tuesday quarantined the Nedowein area where the corpse of a 17-year-old boy was found with Ebola, sparking fears this West African country could face another outbreak of the disease nearly two months after being declared Ebola-free.

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Supreme Court deals big blow to Texas anti-choicers: Justices allow abortion clinics to remain open

via Salon

 

The Supreme Court refused on Monday to allow Texas to enforce restrictions that would force 10 abortion clinics to close.

The justices voted 5-4 to grant an emergency appeal from the clinics after a federal appeals court upheld new regulations and refused to keep them on hold while the clinics appealed to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court order will remain in effect at least until the court decides whether to hear the clinics’ appeal of the lower court ruling, not before the fall.

The court’s decision to block the regulations is a strong indication that the justices will hear the full appeal, which could be the biggest abortion case at the Supreme Court in nearly 25 years.

If the court steps in, the hearing and the eventual ruling would come amid the 2016 presidential campaign.

Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas would have allowed the state to move ahead with regulations requiring abortion facilities to be constructed like surgical centers. Doctors at all clinics also would be forced to have admitting privileges at a local hospital.

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Defense Dept. Refuses to Release Report about Massacre of Civilians in Afghanistan

from July 03, 2015 at 11:50AM http://bit.ly/1M0gm29

The Pentagon is refusing to release an internal report on how commanders dealt with Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales who snuck off his base in Afghanistan three years ago and massacred 16 civilians.

 

Following the tragedy, the military conducted a review of leadership in Bales’ unit, presumably to find out if his superiors could have done anything to stop him before he snapped, that March night in 2012. The Military Reporters & Editors Association filed a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain a copy of the report, but was denied.

 

The Project on Government Oversight (POGO) has said “a series of leadership breakdowns had to occur in order for Bales to commit these crimes—the public has a right to know what those breakdowns were, and to hold the military accountable so that they don’t happen again.”

 

POGO also pointed out that the Army changed its post-traumatic stress disorder treatment policies following Bales’ case, “which shed light on the use of dangerous stimulants by soldiers in the field.” Bales’ medical records, which were released, revealed he had the chemical compound stanozolol in his body at the time of the killings. Stanozolol is a steroid known to trigger outbursts of temper.

 

A probe by the Army Criminal Investigation Command showed Bales had a reputation among junior enlisted men as being “paranoid,” “bipolar,” “crazy” and “racist,” but was regarded as competent and “even-keeled” by superior officers.

 

Bales was tried and convicted by the military for his actions and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

-Noel Brinkerhoff

 

To Learn More:

Application of FOIA in Army Case Leaves Much to be Desired (Project on Government Oversight)

“Nobody Was That Crazy:” Documents Show Soldiers Called Robert Bales “Paranoid” Well Before Killings (by Adam Ashton, News Tribune)

U.S. Military Considers Death Penalty for First Time in 51 Years (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)

Read more at: News – AllGov http://bit.ly/SBRNmn


UN: South Sudan army raped girls and burned them alive

via Al Jazeera

The UN has accused South Sudan’s army of raping and then burning girls alive inside their homes during its recent campaign, a report by its mission in the country said.

The statement, published on Tuesday, warned the recent upsurge in fighting had been marked by a “new brutality and intensity”.

“The scope and level of cruelty that has characterised the reports suggests a depth of antipathy that exceeds political differences,” the UN said.

Women and children flee violence in South Sudan

Members of the UN mission in Sudan (UNMISS) said they interviewed 115 victims and eyewitnesses in Unity state where South Sudanese forces were involved in fighting against opposition fighters in April.

The survivors allege that the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) killed civilians, destroyed villages and displaced 100,000 people, the statement added.

The UN said attempts to corroborate the reports were prevented by the SPLA, which denied its teams access to the areas concerned.

“UNMISS human rights officers visited two additional sites of alleged atrocities and conducted more interviews of eyewitnesses and victims. The information gathered from those visits and interviews provided further corroboration of the earlier accounts,” the statement read.

“We call on the SPLA to fulfil this commitment and allow our human rights officers unfettered access to the sites of these reported violations,” said Ellen Margrethe Loej, the head of UNMISS.

The military spokesman for the South Sudanese army, Philip Aguer Panyang, told Al Jazeera that the accusations made in the report needed further verification, and questioned accusations South Sudanese troops had obstructed UN investigators.

“Our role as an army is to facilitate humanitarian deliveries and access for civilian protection,” Panyang said.

“If the UN has been denied access, they have the right to present those claims to the SPLA command.”

South Sudan attained independence in 2011 but the country has disintegrated into chaos. Thousands of people have been killed and almost two million displaced in a civil conflict that erupted in late 2013 as forces loyal to Salva Kiir tried to put down an uprising led by his former deputy, Riek Machar.

Peace talks between the factions collapsed in March this year, and clashes have since escalated.

Kiir said that he will not be forced into a premature peace deal and rejected the UN threat of sanctions against his country.

 


Thousands gather for rival rallies in Greek capital

via Euronews

Thousands of people have gathered in the Greek capital in a massive show of solidarity ahead of Sunday’s bailoutreferendum.

This is the final day of campaigning and if the number of anti-austerity banners and flags over Syntagma Square was anything to go by, then the “no” vote could be overwhelming.

Many banners declared simply “No”. Others said, “Our lives do not belong to the lenders” and “Don’t back down.”

Large numbers, however, also turned out for rival demonstrations calling for a yes vote.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras called the rally a celebration and not a protest. He described it as a celebration of pride, democracy and a choice to “live in dignity in Europe.”

Some of Greece’s European partners have said a no vote could see the country exit the 19-nation euro zone, with unforeseeable consequences for Athens.

But Tsipras stressed that Greek people should not feel terrorised by those who believe a rejection of the creditors terms will result in the country’s financial oblivion.


Justice Dept. Investigates Airline Price Fixing

from July 03, 2015 at 11:55AM http://bit.ly/1Kz637V

Possible collusion among the nation’s four top airlines to keep airfares artificially high is being investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).

 

The Associated Press (AP) reported that federal prosecutors sent out letters to the four airlines demanding copies of all communications during the past five years that they had exchanged with each other, as well as with major shareholders and various Wall Street analysts. Some of the communications being sought pertain to seat availability and the adding of new flights and routes.

 

The DOJ is also requesting data on each airliner’s passenger capacity, in total and by region since 2010, according to AP.

 

The Justice Department would say no more than that it is looking into potential “unlawful coordination” among some airlines, but AP believes its focus is on whether the airlines illegally communicated about their pattern of adding new flights and routes, as well as the limiting of seats, which could be used to maintain high airfares.

 

News organizations confirmed that the Justice Department letters had been received by American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines. Each of the companies, which collectively are said to control more than 80% of the seats in the domestic travel market, claimed to be complying with the federal request.

 

Smaller carriers, including JetBlue Airways and Frontier Airlines, were not contacted by the government.

 

The Justice investigation was launched at the request of Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) after he heard that airlines had publicly discussed capacity early last month in Miami at the International Air Transport Association‘s annual meeting.

 

During the past two decades, the Justice Department has had several run-ins with the airline industry over alleged price-fixing. The airlines paid hundreds of millions of dollars in settlements in those cases.

-Danny Biederman, Noel Brinkerhoff

 

To Learn More:

US Probing Possible Airline Collusion That Kept Fares High (by David Koenig, Scott Mayerowitz and Eric Tucker, Associated Press)

Justice Department Probes Airlines for Collusion (by Jack Nicas, Brent Kendall and Susan Carey, Wall Street Journal)

House of Representatives Votes to Allow Airlines to Hide Taxes and Fees when Advertising Flight Prices (by Noel Brinkerhoff and Steve Straehley, AllGov)

Read more at: News – AllGov http://bit.ly/SBRNmn