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You turn to Democracy Now! for ad-free news you can trust. Maybe you come for our daily headlines. Maybe you come for in-depth stories that expose government and corporate abuses of power. This month, Democracy Now! is celebrating our 23rd birthday. For over two decades, we've produced our daily news hour without ads, government funding or corporate underwriting. How is this possible? Only with your support. Right now, in honor of Democracy Now!'s birthday, every donation we receive will be doubled by a generous supporter. This means if you give $30 today, Democracy Now! will get $60 to support our daily news hour. Please do your part. It takes just a couple of minutes to make sure that Democracy Now! is there for you and everybody else. Thank you! -Amy Goodman
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NATO continues to bomb the Libyan capital of Tripoli in the international military campaign against Col. Muammar Gaddafi. A Libyan official says NATO carried out at least 10 attacks earlier today. The air strikes come hours after NATO extended its mandate to bomb Libya for another 90 days.
In Libya news, an alleged victim of rape by Col. Muammar Gaddafi’s forces has been deported from Qatar to the rebel-held east of Libya. The woman, Eman al-Obeidi, was detained in March after bursting into a hotel full of reporters in Tripoli and recounting her ordeal. She fled to Qatar shortly after being released. A friend of Obeidi’s says she did not want to return to Libya and now fears violence for criticizing Libyan rebels.
Violence continues to engulf the Yemeni capital of Sana’a in the ongoing standoff over President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s refusal to step down. Yemeni forces reportedly fired on crowds of protesters today following an earlier round of shootings on Thursday. Street battles meanwhile are continuing between Saleh’s forces and anti-government tribal groups. At least 135 people have been killed in Sana’a in the past 10 days.
Syrian forces are being accused of killing more civilians in the ongoing crackdown on protests challenging President Bashar al-Assad. The head of the Syrian Organization for Human Rights, Ammar Qurabi, says at least 13 civilians were killed in the town of Rastan this week while another 10 were killed in the town of Hirak.
Ammar Qurabi: “We have names from Hirak. More 10 people who killed by the fire, and four of them as doctors who take the treatment and give the treatment about (to) the injured people on the street, but unfortunately they received the fire from the sniper on the roof of the buildings around these places.”
The latest violence comes as exiled Syrian opposition groups have called on President Bashar al-Assad to step down immediately. Meeting in Turkey, nearly 300 delegates issued a declaration demanding Assad’s departure.
Moulhem Droubi: “We are offering President Bashar al-Assad to resign immediately and transfer the authorities to his deputies so that the Syrian people, within a year time, can prepare themselves for a democratic process. If not, we are pressing in supporting the revolution in Syria in order to force him to leave Syria for Syrians.”
The World Health Organization is warning that a strain of E. coli that’s killed 17 people and sickened nearly 2,000 more in Europe may be the deadliest ever seen. The bacterium is believed to be a mutant combination of two different strains. According to the Washington Post, the bacterium that has caused the deaths would be legal in the United States if discovered on meat or poultry because of a regulatory oversight. That means there would be no way to prevent an outbreak were the strain to contaminate fruits or vegetables.
The Obama administration says it has launched an investigation following news of a cyber attack against Google users originating in China. Google says hackers in China tried to break into the Gmail accounts of hundreds of people, including senior U.S. government officials. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said the FBI is examining the case.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney: “The FBI has got the lead in this as an investigation. I’m not going to confirm anything about origins, except to say that we’re aware of the reports and are obviously concerned about cyber security and have taken action accordingly.”
The probe follows recent news the Pentagon has determined cyber attacks generated abroad may now constitute an act of war. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Pentagon’s first-ever cyber strategy says attempts to sabotage the nation’s electricity grid, subways or pipelines could be met with military force. The decision is expected to stir debate about whether the United States can ever be certain about the origin of a cyber attack and when the severity of attack constitutes an act of war.
A high-level international panel has concluded the so-called “war on drugs” has failed and that governments should consider legalizing substances, including marijuana. The Global Commission on Drug Policy is comprised of 19 members, including several former heads of state. Former Colombian president César Gaviria urged the United States to begin debate on legalization.
César Gaviria: “We want the U.S. society to make a debate on this matter. That has not been done because political leaders are a little fearful of the association between crime and narcotrafficking, and it’s very difficult to distinguish from consumers to users. But this society needs a debate. This society is spending $40 billion each year in fighting drugs — that is a lot of money — has more than 500,000 people in jail. But they are spending that money in a way that is not effective. The consumption is not being reduced.”
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney has entered the race for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. Romney announced his candidacy in New Hampshire.
Mitt Romney: “Barack Obama has failed America. When he took office, the economy was in recession. And he made it worse. It breaks my heart to see what’s happening in this great country. These failing hopes make up President Obama’s own misery index.”
Several civil rights groups have filed a class action lawsuit seeking to block a recent Georgia law modeled on the anti-immigrant measure in Arizona. The law empowers local and state police to demand documentation of residency and to detain people they suspect are in the country without permission. State residents, including U.S. citizens, are required to carry documentation with them at all times. The suit was brought by a coalition including the American Civil Liberties Union and the Southern Poverty Law Center.
The former Black Panther and political prisoner Geronimo ji-Jaga Pratt, has died at the age of 63. In 1972, Pratt was wrongfully convicted of the murder of Caroline Olsen. He spent 27 years in prison, eight of those in solitary confinement. He was released in 1997 after a judge vacated his conviction. Click here to hear Democracy Now!’s interview with Pratt Oct. 5, 2000