In the Mexican city of Oaxaca, thousands of federal police backed with armored vehicles and helicopters have raided the southern city in an attempt to crush the popular uprising in the region. Federal police have reportedly seized control of the city square. At least two protesters died last night including a 15-year-old boy.
On Friday gunmen with ties to the government shot and killed three other people including the U.S. journalist and activist Brad Will. Five men connected to Will’s shooting have been turned over to state authorities. The suspected gunmen have been identified as two members of the local city hall, two police officers and the former justice of the peace of a nearby town. Brad Will was filming on his videocamera when he was shot in the stomach. The sound of the shooting was captured on his camera. A protest is scheduled outside the Mexican Consulate in New York this morning at nine.
In Iraq, the U.S. death toll for the month has topped 100. October has been the deadliest month of the year for U.S. troops. In Baghdad, at least 30 Iraqis have died after a large bomb exploded earlier today in the Shiite district of Sadr city. The bombing occurred even though Sadr City has been under a U.S. siege for the past five days. In Basra, gunmen killed 15 Iraqi police instructors and two translators on Sunday. Overall at least 83 Iraqis died yesterday. Meanwhile on Saturday a U.S. air strike in the city of Ramadi killed six Iraqis including three women and two children. Local residents condemned the attack. Unnamed Iraqi: “U.S. forces demolished this house. We came in the morning and we found three dead civilians and three others were still missing.”
A new U.S. government report has determined that the military has failed to track hundreds of thousands of weapons intended for Iraqi security forces. The Pentagon failed to even record the serial numbers of weapons given to the Iraqi military. In addition the report found the Pentagon has failed to provide spare parts or repair manuals for most of the weapons.
Meanwhile the Army has admitted it has given out wrong or misleading information to the families of seven soldiers killed in iraq and Afghanistan. One of the soldiers was the former football star Pat Tillman. He died in Afghanistan after being shot by a fellow Army Ranger but the military told the family he died from enemy fire. The Army also admitted misleading the family of Sgt Patrick McCaffrey. McCaffrey’s mother Nadia formed Gold Star Families For Peace with Cindy Sheehan. He was killed by an Iraqi soldier being trained by U.S. troops.
In Brazil, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has been re-elected by a landslide margin. Lula received about 61 percent of the vote. The former union leader proclaimed he would remain a champion of Brazil’s poor and workers. Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva: “We will continue to govern Brazil for everyone, but we will continue to give the most attention to those who need it most. The poor will have preference in our government.”
Democratic Republic of Congo, votes are being counted in that country’s historic election between President Joseph Kabila and Jean-Pierre Bemba. It is being hailed as the country’s first free election in more than 40 years. Election results are not expected for weeks.
British journalist Robert Fisk is reporting that Israel may have dropped uranium-based munitions on targets during its war against Lebanon. A leading British scientist has found that soil samples in Lebanon show elevated radiation and the concentration of uranium isotopes. According to the scientist, Dr. Chris Busby, there are two possible reasons for the contamination. Israel might have dropped a small experimental nuclear fission device or Israel used a bunker-busting conventional uranium bomb that employed enriched uranium. Robert Fisk reports that a photograph of one explosion shows large clouds of black smoke that might result from burning uranium. Israel has denied the report. However, last week the Israeli military admitted for the first time that it had dropped phosphorous bombs on Lebanon.
In other news from Israel, the country’s attorney general has said Israeli President Moshe Katsav should temporarily step aside while prosecutors decide whether to charge him with rape and other crimes.
The United States has begun carrying out a naval exercise in the Persian Gulf near the coast of Iran. The U.S.-led war games are reportedly designed to test the ability of nations to intercept ships carrying weapons of mass destruction. The exercises are being conducted in the waters off of Bahrain. The ships will be within 120 miles of the Iranian coast. Iran called the naval exercise “adventurous.”
In Chile, a federal judge has ordered the arrest of former dictator Augusto Pinochet for carrying out 36 cases of kidnappings and 23 cases of torture at a secret prison. The prosecuting attorney, Hernan Quezada, praised the decision. Hernan Quezada: “Above all, because we’re talking about crimes of torture and those are crimes against humanity, with this resolution by Judge Solis, our country rises to the level of international law on this.”
Student protesters at the nation’s premier school for the deaf are proclaiming victory after the board of trustees voted to terminate the appointment of the incoming school president. Gallaudet University had been the scene of several student and faculty protests over the hiring of Jane Fernandes to head the school. In recent weeks, student protesters had taken over school buildings and staged a three-day blockade of the campus. More than 130 students were arrested in the protests.