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This week, Democracy Now! is celebrating our 22nd birthday. Since our first show in February 1996, our daily news hour has brought you fearless journalism and hard-hitting news you can trust--all without ads or corporate underwriting. How is this possible? Only with your support. In fact, if everyone reading this gave just $4, it would cover our operating expenses for the whole year. Right now, a generous donor will TRIPLE every donation, meaning your gift today will go three times as far. Pretty amazing, right? Please do your part. Take a moment to give right now for our 22nd birthday.
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Voters are heading to the polls for the second day in Egypt’s first competitive presidential election following the ouster of Hosni Mubarak 15 months ago. The first day of voting saw numerous reports of minor violations, but was largely hailed as free of fraud and violence. Ahmed Shafik, Mubarak’s last prime minister and now a leading candidate, was swarmed by protesters outside his polling station who hurled shoes and debris at him.
In Mexico, an arrest has been made in the 2006 killing of independent U.S. journalist Brad Will. The 36-year-old Will was shot and killed while covering the popular uprising against then-Oaxaca Gov. Ulises Ruiz. Will’s own camera captured the shooting, with armed men firing into the crowd from a distance. On Wednesday, Oaxaca Attorney General Manuel de Jesús López said the findings of a human rights group had helped resolve the case.
Manuel de Jesús López: “We followed a line of investigation which hadn’t previously been explored: a hypothesis that had been provided by the CNDH (National Commission for Human Rights) at the time. And, as has been explained, when that line of investigation was followed, we arrived at the same hypothesis. But it was also strengthened throughout the course of the investigation with the testimony of eyewitnesses.”
The suspect has been identified as Lenin Osorio. Oaxacan prosecutors had previously charged a Mexican activist for the killing, but Will’s own family had been among those to call for the activist’s release. José Luis García of the Oaxaca teachers’ union called the arrest a vindication for the group.
José Luis García: “Once again, we have to say that this is a victory for the teachers, in that today they have in custody the man believed to be responsible for the murder of American Brad Will which took place in 2006. The teachers’ union repeatedly said that our companion, Juan Manuel Martínez Moreno, was innocent.”
Will’s supporters have long believed pro-government paramilitaries were responsible for his killing, saying images captured at the scene show government and police officials shooting directly at demonstrators.
President Obama delivered a commencement address to graduating Air Force cadets in Colorado on Wednesday by touting his administration’s policy and declaring “a new era of American leadership.” In his remarks, Obama said he had shored up so-called U.S. exceptionalism by winding down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
President Obama: “We can say with confidence and pride the United States is stronger and safer and more respected in the world, because even as we’ve done the work of ending these wars, we’ve laid the foundation for a new era of American leadership. And now, cadets, we have to build it. We have to build on it. You have to build on it.”
Two top lawmakers have warned Pakistan over the sentencing of a doctor who ran a fake vaccination campaign to help the CIA locate Osama bin Laden. The doctor, Shakil Afridi, was sentenced to 30 years in prison this week for setting up the vaccination effort in an attempt to get DNA from the bin Laden family. In a statement, Senators John McCain of Arizona and Carl Levin of Michigan, the ranking members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Afridi’s imprisonment could “diminish Congress’s willingness to provide financial assistance to Pakistan.” State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland was questioned on the Obama administration’s handling of Afridi’s case.
Reporter: “Since he was helping the U.S. on various matters in the CIA, how come you left him to die or to be in prisons to sentenced by the Pakistanis on treason and other charges? How come you didn’t give him some kind of protection or — just like the Chinese Chen, Mr. Chen, just like him, to bring him somewhere, give him some safe haven, rather than leaving him behind?”
Victoria Nuland: “I think we’ve said that we don’t see any basis for what’s happened here. And so, you know, we will continue to make those representations to the government of Pakistan.”
A new poll shows U.S. support for same-sex marriage is at an all-time high. According to the Washington Post and ABC News, 53 percent of Americans say gay marriage should be legal, while a record-low 36 percent say it should not be allowed. The findings come shortly after President Obama declared his support for same-sex marriage earlier this month.
A protest is being organized outside a North Carolina church this Sunday after the church’s pastor called for placing gays and lesbians inside a concentration camp. The Reverend Charles Worley made the remarks in a Mother’s Day address to the Providence Road Baptist Church.
Rev. Charles Worley: “I figured a way out, a way to get rid of all the lesbians and queers, but I couldn’t get it past the Congress: build a great big large fence, 150 or a hundred mile long. Put all the lesbians in there, fly over and drop some food. Do the same thing with the queers and the homosexuals. And have that fence electrified so they can’t get out. Feed 'em. And you know what? In a few years they will die out. Do you know why? They can't reproduce.”
Worley’s sermon was delivered just days after North Carolina voters passed a gay marriage ban. A group calling itself Catawba Valley Citizens Against Hate says it will picket Worley’s church on Sunday.
Investors have launched a class action lawsuit against Facebook, Morgan Stanley and other banks that underwrote the tech giant’s public offering, claiming the companies misstated facts and concealed relevant information about Facebook’s financial prospects. Plaintiffs say they have lost more than $2.5 billion as Facebook shares plunged in the days after the company went public. Another lawsuit has reportedly been filed in California. Regulators including the Securities and Exchange Commission have said they plan to probe issues related to the offering. Salvatore Graziano, an attorney for a plaintiff, said investors were misled.
Salvatore Graziano: “When you go public, when you raise money in the market, you are required to disclose material information. Here, what apparently happened, what’s being discussed, is that there was information put in the prospectus which was vague. And then, separately, people at Facebook, allegedly, were talking to Morgan Stanley and the other underwriters, giving them more information, adverse information. And that’s what these cases are about.”
The tech giant Hewlett-Packard has announced a new round of job cuts amid declining profits. On Wednesday, HP said it will slash 27,000 jobs, or 8 percent of its workforce.
The head of the Secret Service appeared before Congress Wednesday to publicly apologize for the Colombian prostitution scandal for the first time. Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan spoke at a hearing of the Senate Homeland Security Committee.
Mark Sullivan: “Clearly, the misconduct that took place in Cartagena, Colombia, is not representative of these values or of the high ethical standards we demand from our nearly 7,000 employees. I am deeply disappointed, and I apologize for the misconduct of these employees and the distraction that it has caused.”
Seven people were injured after a fire broke out Wednesday on a nuclear-powered submarine at a naval shipyard in Maine. The fire reportedly did not damage the nuclear reactor, which was inactive at the time. The cause of the blaze is under investigation.
A British journalist has accused CNN host Piers Morgan of teaching him how to hack into other peoples’ phones a decade ago. BBC journalist Jeremy Paxman told a judicial inquiry into media standards that Morgan had boasted in 2002 about how easy it was to access the voicemail of other peoples’ cellphones. At the time, Morgan was the editor of the British tabloid, The Daily Mirror, after previously editing Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World. Morgan now hosts CNN’s “Piers Morgan Tonight.” He has previously denied authorizing phone hacking.
Members of Occupy Wall Street say they plan to file a lawsuit against the City of New York today in federal court seeking redress for the destruction of the People’s Library. With thousands of books, the library was a proud fixture of the occupation of Zuccotti Park, which came to be known as Liberty Square. But protesters say books, along with other materials and equipment, were destroyed when the police raided the encampment in the middle of the night on November 15. In a statement, activists said the raid “struck not only at Constitutional rights but at a fundamental tool of enlightenment.”