In Tanzania, an international court has convicted three Rwandan journalists of genocide for encouraging the mass killing of hundreds of thousands of Tutsis in Rwanda. One newspaper urged citizens to exterminate the “cockroach Tutsis.” A radio station featured Djs who would recite the phrase “go to work the graves are not yet full” over the airwaves. It is estimated that Rwanda’s Hutu majority killed about 800,000 Tutsis between April and July of 1994. Two of the journalists were sentenced to life terms. Another was sentenced to 35 years. The Washington-based lawyer John Floyd who defended one of the journalists said the verdict was unfair and a setback for freedom of the press. The court ruled “The power of the media to create and destroy human values comes with great responsibility. Those who control the media are accountable for its consequences.”
In news from Iraq, the New York Times is reporting that U.S. officials have rejected a plan for Iraqi officials to conduct a quick census of the country’s population that would allow Iraq to hold national elections in nine months. This comes at a time that the U.S. is arguing the lack of a census is a reason why direct elections cannot be held.
The Washington Post is also reporting that the US is moving forward with plans to create an Iraqi paramilitary force made up of fighters mostly from Shiite and Kurdish political parties that back the U.S. occupation. At least one member of the Iraqi Governing Council opposes the plan. Ghazi Yawartold the Washington Post: “We should be dissolving militias, not finding ways to legitimise them. This sends the wrong message to the Iraqi people.”
A new poll by the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland has found that seven out of 10 Americans believe the war in Iraq did not reduce the threat of terrorism.
In Cincinnati, a coroner has ruled that Nathaniel Jones died from injuries sustained when police beat him repeatedly on Sunday. A video of the beating showed that officers repeatedly beat the unarmed Jones, who is African-American, with metal nightsticks while it appeared he resisted arrest. An attorney representing Jones’ family said the man was trying to give up when he was beaten. Up until now police officials had suggested the cause of his death was not the beating but either a heart problem or an overdose from drugs. The coroner said that although the beating was the primary cause of death it should not be interpreted to imply that the police behaved inappropriately.
Islamic Group Sues GOP Congressman for Defamation
The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations is suing North Carolina Republican Congressman Cass Ballenger for defamation. In October Ballenger described the organization as “the fund-raising arm for Hezbollah” and claimed that the stress caused by living near CAIR’s Washington’s office after 9/11 lead to the end of his marriage.
In Cairo, 12 Palestinian groups are meeting in an effort to reach an agreement on a conditional ceasefire with Israel.
A state judge in Colorado has the state’s new school-voucher law unconstitutional yesterday, saying it illegally strips local school boards of control over education.
In Buffalo a Yemenee man was sentenced to 10 years in prison yesterday for visiting a Taliban-run training camp before Sept. 11. He was one of six men from Lackawanna New York to plead guilty to providing material support to a terrorist organization. Meanwhile a federal court in San Francisco struck down portions of that same law. We’ll have more on this in a few minutes.
And 80 Republican members of Congress are backing an effort to replace the face of Franklin Delano Roosevelt on the dime coin with that of Ronald Reagan. The bill’s chief sponsor Congressman Mark Souder of Indiana said, “It is particularly fitting to honor the Freedom President on this particular piece of coinage because… President Reagan was wounded under the left arm by a bullet that had ricocheted and flattened to the size of a dime.”
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