Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been sentenced to an additional eighteen months of house arrest after a controversial trial. Suu Kyi has already spent fourteen of the past twenty years in detention under Burma’s military junta. The trial has brought international condemnation, with critics accusing Burma’s military government of trying to keep Suu Kyi out of next year’s planned multi-party elections. The Nobel Peace Prize winner was found guilty of violating an internal security law. The charges stemmed from a mysterious incident in which an American, John Yettaw, swam uninvited to her lakeside home in May and stayed there for two days, in violation of the terms of her house arrest. In a separate trial, Yettaw was sentenced to seven years’ hard labor. Jared Genser, a lawyer who represents Suu Kyi overseas, said, “She is not being imprisoned because an American swam to her home but because she is viewed as a strong threat to the legitimacy of this regime and its plans for next year’s elections.”
President Barack Obama addressed the political crisis in Honduras during a press conference Monday in Mexico alongside the leaders of Mexico and Canada. Obama said it was hypocritical for critics of Washington’s response to the coup to demand a more forceful US role in returning the democratically elected president Manuel Zelaya to power.
President Obama: “The same critics who say that the United States has not intervened enough in Honduras are the same people who say that we’re always intervening and the Yankees need to get out of Latin America. You can’t have it both ways…If these critics think that it’s appropriate for us to suddenly act in ways that in every other context they consider inappropriate, then I think what that indicates is, is that maybe there’s some hypocrisy involved in their approach to US-Latin America relations that certainly is not going to guide my administration’s policies.”
While President Obama spoke in Mexico, thousands marched to the UN headquarters in the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa calling for the return of ousted president Manuel Zelaya. Meanwhile, the Union of South American Nations announced Monday it will not recognize any leader elected while Honduras’s coup-installed regime is in power.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton arrived in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Monday and called on the Congolese government to do more to stamp out rape. Clinton said women can no longer be used as “weapons of war.” Earlier today, Clinton arrived in the eastern Congolese city of Goma, capital of North Kivu province, which aid groups say is the most dangerous place on earth for women and children. She is scheduled to have a private meeting with women who have suffered rape and other atrocities.
About 180 nations met for UN climate talks on Monday to prepare for the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December. The head of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Yvo de Boer, said “time is running out.”
Yvo de Boer: “As you know, we have just over 115 days left until Copenhagen, about five weeks of negotiating time. We have a very complicated text on the table, and the challenge for this session is going to be to narrow that text down and really try and identify the core elements of a Copenhagen agreement.”
In Pakistan, at least ten people have died after a US drone hit an insurgent camp in South Waziristan near the Afghan border. The area is the stronghold of Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud, who is believed to have been killed in another US drone strike last week.
The kidnapped head of a charity helping children in Chechnya was found dead of gunshot wounds in her car today along with her murdered husband. Armed men seized Zarema Sadulayeva and her husband Alik Dzhabrailov from the office of the Save the Generations charity in the regional capital Grozny. The Save the Generations charity that Sadulayeva headed provides medical and psychological help to young people who have suffered as a result of violence in Chechnya, including children who lost limbs during the region’s separatist wars. The murders comes one month after leading Chechen rights activist Natalia Estemirova was kidnapped and killed by unknown assailants.
Partial election results show the Fatah faction of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has voted to overhaul its top leaders in its first election in two decades. New members of Fatah’s Central Committee include the popular jailed leader Marwan Barghouti and Mohammed Dahlan, who served as head of security in the Gaza Strip for Yasser Arafat.
Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa was sworn in for a second term on Monday. The inauguration fell on the same day as Ecuador’s bicentennial celebration. On the first day of his new term, Correa called for the Union of South American Nations, or UNASUR, to negotiate a regional monetary agreement and to move ahead with establishing a new multilateral lending agency.
Rafael Correa: “Facing this global crisis that we are living through, which is one of the most serious crises of the capitalist system, we have to find profound solutions, solutions that are not going to be found within the collapsing system. We have to construct creative, revolutionary answers in order to build something new, something better.”
Prison watchdog groups are blaming Saturday’s prison riot in California on overcrowding. Two hundred prisoners were injured, including over fifty seriously, during a four-hour riot at the California Institution for Men in Chino. The prison was designed to hold 3,000 men, but the state was housing nearly twice that number. For years, California officials have ignored warnings about prison overcrowding. Two years ago, a prison expert warned that the prison in Chino was a “serious disturbance waiting to happen.” Some state prisons in California are at nearly 300 percent of intended capacity.
The wealthy county of Westchester in New York has agreed to spend $60 million to build at least 750 affordable housing units in overwhelmingly white communities and to market that housing to minority tenants and buyers. The landmark desegregation agreement settles a lawsuit filed by the Anti-Discrimination Center. Craig Gurian of the Anti-Discrimination Center said, “This settlement means that Westchester can no longer hide from the ugly reality of continuing residential segregation.”
FBI agents raided the homicide division of the New Orleans Police Department last week as part of a federal probe into a deadly bridge shooting in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
FBI agents seized two computers and case files from the department during a search of the office. The FBI is investigating officers involved in the September 4, 2005 shootings on the Danziger Bridge that killed two men and injured four.
And Eunice Kennedy Shriver has died at the age of eighty-eight. She was the founder of the Special Olympics and was a member of one of the most prominent American political families of the twentieth century. Her brothers included President John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy and Senator Edward Kennedy. Her daughter Maria is married to California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
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