Florida Governor Jeb Bush has been subpoenaed to appear in a federal civil rights inquiry into Florida’s presidential election. The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights will hold hearings next week into whether Floridians’ voting rights were violated in the November 7 election. The inquiry follows complaints made to the Department of Justice by the Reverend Jesse Jackson and others alleging that black voters were denied access to the polls. The NAACP says it’s gathered more than 450 complaints and taken more than 300 pages of sworn testimony from people who say they were blocked from voting. The subpoena directs Bush to produce copies of all documents and communications about the state’s preparations for the November 7 election, and any document created after the election that refers to any alleged irregularities.
In Traverse City, Michigan, rainbow stickers place on police cars and other city vehicles earlier this month are being removed because of complaints that the emblem promotes homosexuality. City officials said the stickers of a rainbow overlaid with human figures were meant to endorse diversity, but they drew hundreds of letters and emails to the city commission because the rainbow emblem is a symbol for acceptance of gays. Traverse City Mayor Larry Hardy said he had no idea it had anything to do with the gay community. “I personally think I was kind of conned,” he said. “I was stupid not to know what the symbol stood for.” City Commissioner Margaret Dodd, who designed the sticker, said the design was “never in mind just a gay thing.” She said the stickers evolved as a result of a series of hate crimes in the community. In September, three men attacked an employee at a bar frequented by gay men and lesbians.
Suspected far-right paramilitaries killed 11 people in a northwestern Colombian region in the first massacre of the new year in Colombia. Police in Bogotá said the victims were shot dead in Wednesday’s attack in a rural area near the town of Yolombó. The secretary of the Yolombó government told reporters the massacre, which he blamed on paramilitaries, had sparked anxiety, panic and commotion. Human rights groups allege the paramilitaries, which number some 8,000 and are grouped into the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, have links to the military. The army, which says paramilitary numbers are rising, vehemently denies the collusion.
In Seattle, striking employees at the Seattle Times reached a settlement yesterday that could end a 45-day-old walkout and ensure they keep their jobs. Hundreds of reporters, photographers and circulation advertising employees went on strike against the two newspapers, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and the Seattle Times, on November 21. Managers, replacement workers and employees who crossed the picket line have continued to put out both papers since then.