Wednesday, May 1, 2013

  • Obama Vows to Seek Guantánamo Closure, But Immediate Action Could Prevent Hunger Strikers’ Deaths


    President Obama has vowed a renewed push to shut down the military prison at Guantánamo Bay more than four years after first pledging its closure. Speaking at a White House news conference, Obama called the indefinite imprisonment of more than 100 people unsustainable, but defended the ongoing force-feeding of those on a three-month hunger strike to win their freedom. Attorneys representing Guantánamo prisoners have welcomed Obama’s closure pledge but have urged him to take immediate action, including the immediate release of 86 people already cleared for transfer and lifting his self-imposed moratorium on repatriating Yemeni nationals. We’re joined by Pardiss Kebriaei, senior staff attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights and lawyer for hunger-striking Guantánamo prisoner Ghaleb al-Bihani. "President Obama has made very important statements about Guantánamo before, as well, and what we need now is action," Kebriaei says. "It is a national security liability. It is legally unsupportable. It is morally wrong. It is unjust. The world knows it. President Obama knows it. The American people should know it. It needs to close."

  • As Bangladesh Toll Hits 400, Calls Grow to Grant Workers the Same Protections as Labels They Make


    Today’s global May Day actions include a march of thousands of workers in Bangladesh demanding workplace safety following last week’s factory collapse that left more than 400 dead and 150 missing. The collapse is now being described as the deadliest accident in the history of the garment industry and marked Bangladesh’s third industrial accident in five months. The building’s owner has been arrested, and a Bangladeshi court has frozen the assets of the owners of the five garment factories that were inside. Most of the workers reportedly earned an average annual salary of $38 a month — roughly 21 cents an hour — to make apparel for a number of Western companies. We’re joined by leading labor rights activist Charlie Kernaghan, director of the Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights. "The companies, the corporations, they’re hiding behind these phony codes of conduct that are meaningless. They’re just paper. What the workers want are legal rights," Kernaghan says. "We need to stand up and just say, 'You can bring anything you want into the United States, but you're not bringing it in if it was made by children or the workers are denied their right to organize.’ The lift that would give to the Bangladeshi labor movement would be enormous."

  • Tennis Star Martina Navratilova, Among First "Out" Pro Athletes, Congratulates NBA’s Jason Collins


    NBA basketball player Jason Collins swept sports headlines this week when he publicly revealed that he is gay, becoming the first professional male athlete to do so while still active in a major U.S. team sport. Collins noted that he was inspired by tennis legend Martina Navratilova, who became one of the first openly gay sports figures when she came out in 1981. Navratilova, the winner of 59 grand slam crowns and a record nine Wimbledon singles championships, joins us to discuss Collins’ announcement and her reaction to another advancement for LGBT rights: the legalization of same-sex civil unions in Colorado. Back in 1992, Navratilova helped file a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a Colorado amendment that prohibited state and local regulations that extend minority civil rights protections to homosexuals and bisexuals in Colorado. "Jason has been a breath of fresh air and a pioneer,"  Navratilova says. "It takes a lot of guts to come out to your friends and family. For most gay people, coming out is the most traumatic experience in their life ... He’s done a lot for the gay community, and I thank him for that."

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