Police in Los Angeles are clearing out a downtown protest encampment in the latest in a series of raids on Occupy Wall Street-related sites nationwide. More than 1,000 police officers in riot gear descended on the encampment around Los Angeles City Hall shortly after midnight. Scores of people were arrested as police tore down the tents around the site. Meanwhile, in Philadelphia, around 100 protesters vacated their encampment earlier today after police moved in and warned them of mass arrests.
The Senate has advanced a controversial measure that would authorize the military to jail anyone it considers a terrorism suspect without charge or trial anywhere in the word, including the United States. The provision is attached to a large military spending bill that’s before the Senate this week. On Tuesday, the Senate voted 61 to 37 to defeat a measure that would remove the new indefinite detention policy as well as other controversial measures. The White House has promised to veto the entire bill should the provisions remain.
In Britain, up to two million public sector workers have launched the country’s first mass strike in more than 30 years. A coalition of 30 trade unions has organized approximately 1,000 demonstrations and rallies across the country.
Former Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo has been arrested and transferred to The Hague to face charges of crimes against humanity. Gbagbo arrived in the Netherlands overnight after being taken from house arrest in the Ivory Coast. An International Criminal Court spokesperson announced the charges.
Fadi El Abdallah: “Mr. Laurent Gbagbo has been arrested and transferred to the ICC detention center in the night. That’s in accordance with a warrant of arrest issued by Pre-Trial Chamber III. And that’s for four crimes, four charges of crimes against humanity: murder, persecution, rape and other sexual violences, and also other inhuman acts that allegedly has been perpetrated in Côte d’Ivoire in the post-electoral area, a period when there was violence committed in this country.”
Gbagbo is accused of responsibility for the violence that killed more than 3,000 people after he refused to step down, despite losing presidential elections a year ago. His attorneys say he has been wrongfully seized and plan to challenge his detention in court.
The Obama administration is facing scrutiny over the recent shipments of tear gas from a U.S. firm to the military government in Egypt. Workers at Egypt’s Suez seaport revealed an initial seven-ton shipment from the company Combined Systems recently arrived. Egyptian forces have used U.S.-made tear gas in an attempt to break up the mass protests against military rule in Tahrir Square. On Tuesday, State Department spokesperson Mark Toner was questioned about the shipments.
Reporter: “What does that say, then, when you’ve got tear gas shipments arriving in the Port of Suez with 'Made in the USA' on the side of them?”
Mark Toner: “Well, you know, it’s—again, as I said, these are—this tear gas is approved for export to many countries around the world. It’s used by police forces in many countries around the world, including our own, including our own.”
Reporter: “But you’ve seen instances, haven’t you?”
Mark Toner: “Including our own.”
Reporter: “In the past week or so, where it’s been misused?”
Mark Toner: “Right. And let me just finish what—my last point, which was saying that, you know, we certainly condemn the misuse of tear gas that would result in death or injury. And any kind of misuse to that extent would certainly cause us to—give us pause, I think, and has the potential to jeopardize future exports.”
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has arrived in Burma as part of an easing of ties between the United States and the ruling military junta. Clinton’s visit marks the first by a U.S. secretary of state in 50 years. President Obama has said he authorized Clinton’s trip after getting support from the Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi earlier this month.
Pakistan has announced a boycott of an upcoming international conference on Afghanistan in protest of the deadly NATO cross-border attack that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers at a military checkpoint. The international gathering is due to take place in Germany next week to discuss the future of Afghanistan following NATO’s scheduled withdrawal in 2014. The boycott announcement follows Pakistan’s earlier moves demanding the U.S. vacate an air base as well as blocking NATO supply lines. A NATO spokesperson said the bombing is still under investigation.
Carsten Jacobson: “There unfortunately were a number of Pakistan military casualties. The ongoing investigation regarding this incident is underway and has the highest level of the ISAF commander’s attention. The commander of ISAF, General Allen, has put great emphasis the last couple of days that this will be investigated thoroughly.”
Britain is withdrawing a portion of its diplomatic staff from Iran after protesters stormed the British embassy in Tehran. On Tuesday, hundreds of protesters overran two diplomatic buildings, chanting “Death to Britain” and setting fire to the British flag and a car. The incident came one week after the British government cut all relations with Iran’s financial sector as part of new sanctions coordinated with the United States and Canada. Norway has also closed its embassy due to security concerns. In Washington, President Obama criticized the storming of the embassy.
President Obama: “For rioters essentially to be able to overrun the embassy and set it on fire is an indication that the Iranian government is not taking its international obligations seriously. And so, obviously, we’re deeply concerned about that situation, and we expect to see some sort of definitive action some time very quickly.”
A Mexican activist who had accused police of kidnapping his son has been shot dead in northern Mexico. Nepomuceno Moreno had been a vocal member of the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity, which has campaigned against rampant crime and corruption in Mexico’s drug war. He was shot at least five times on Monday while driving his car. An activist who worked with Moreno said Moreno had only recently met with Mexican President Felipe Calderón, telling him he needed protection out of fear for his life.
Pietro Ameglio: “This is undignified and embarrassing for a man who asks for justice for a son who disappeared over a year ago, a son who has been jailed with invented charges, as he showed. His daughter was fired from a job in the government. And there’s the fact that he was killed in the middle of town after having asked the president for protection one month before.”
The World Meteorological Organization is warning 2011 was one of the hottest years on record, and human activity is to blame. According to the WMO’s findings, the warmest 13 years of average global temperatures have all occurred in the 15 years since 1997, with temperatures in 2011 cited as the 10th highest on record, higher than any previous year with a so-called La Niña event. The report was unveiled at the United Nations climate change talks in Durban, South Africa. The deputy secretary general of the WMO, Jerry Lengoasa, said the findings also back previous studies linking global warming to extreme weather.
Jerry Lengoasa: “We are observing a change in our climate. Now, temperature is a key indicator of the changing climate. One of the key things about that is that extreme hot days, or the number of hot days, is increasing with an increasingly warmer climate. It also means that extreme events, such as floods, hurricanes and droughts, are becoming more and more frequent. The number of warmer days, as I said, are increasing, so our climate is changing.”
Workers at a Cambodian garment factory that produces clothing for major U.S. retailers have gone on strike over the suspension of their union representatives. The Workers Friendship Union Federation says the strike will continue until the three union representatives are reinstated. The factory produces garments for the U.S. brands Gap, JCPenney and Old Navy.
Michigan has authorized a state takeover of the City of Flint, citing a financial emergency. Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has appointed former Flint mayor Michael Brown as the city’s new financial manager. Flint is now the fifth Michigan municipality to come under state-appointed management.
The New York City Council has voted to sue Mayor Michael Bloomberg over new restrictions that critics say will force homeless people from shelters out into the streets. Under the new rules, adults seeking to spend the night at shelters would be required to submit information, including documents, about their housing history and finances. The council is expected to file its lawsuit next month.
Texas governor and Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry is making headlines for another gaffe on the campaign trail. Speaking in New Hampshire, Perry mistakenly asserted that the voting age in the United States is 21 instead of 18, and also got the date of the 2012 election wrong by six days.
Gov. Rick Perry: “Those of you that are sitting in this—in this hall, who are going to inherit this country, are counting on us. Those of you that are—will be 21 by November the 12th, I ask for your support and your vote. Those of you who won’t be, just work hard, because you’re going to inherit this, and you’re counting on us getting this right.”
Perry, meanwhile, has picked up the endorsement of Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, known as one of the staunchest anti-immigrant figures in the United States. Arpaio campaigned for Perry at a series of appearances in New Hampshire on Tuesday.