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HeadlinesJune 18, 2012

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Obama Order Stops Deportations for Immigrant Youths

Jun 18, 2012

President Obama has issued an executive order that will stop the deportations of some undocumented youth. Under the administration’s plan, immigrants who meet certain requirements will not be deported if they were brought to the United States before they turned 16 and are younger than 30. They must have lived in the country for at least five continuous years; have no criminal history; and graduated from a U.S. high school or earned a GED, or served in the military. Those deemed eligible will be able to apply for a work permit good for two years with no limits on how many times it can be renewed. Announcing the move on Friday, Obama stressed that his plan does not amount to “amnesty.”

President Obama: “These are young people who study in our schools. They play in our neighborhoods. They’re friends with our kids. They pledge allegiance to our flag. They are Americans in their heart, in their minds, in every single way but one — on paper. Now, let’s be clear. This is not amnesty. This is not immunity. This is not a path to citizenship. It’s not a permanent fix. This is a temporary, stopgap measure. ”

More than 800,000 people could now be immune from deportation. Obama’s decision bypasses Congress and partially achieves the goals of the DREAM Act, which would provide a path to citizenship for undocumented youth. The White House shift came after undocumented activists occupied four Obama campaign offices around the country earlier in the week.

Reporter Interrupts Obama During Immigration Remarks

Jun 18, 2012

A separate controversy grew out of Obama’s remarks on immigration when he was repeatedly interrupted by Neil Munro, a reporter with the right-wing news site The Daily Caller.

President Obama: “…lets us focus our resources wisely while giving a degree of relief and hope to talented, driven, patriotic young people. It is — it is the right thing to do. Excuse me, sir. It’s not time for questions, sir.”

Neil Munro: “Are you going to take questions?”

President Obama: “Not while I’m speaking.”

Muslim Brotherhood Claims Egypt Elections; Military Council Enacts New Powers

Jun 18, 2012

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood has declared victory in the country’s landmark presidential elections. The group says its candidate, Mohamed Morsi, beat out former Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Shafik by close to one million votes in the weekend’s presidential runoff. Shafik’s campaign has refused to concede defeat and says it will await final results due later this week. Turnout was lower than in the first round of voting, with around 46 percent of Egypt’s 51 million eligible voters taking part. Many Egyptians stayed home in protest of the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which dissolved Egypt’s parliament late last week. On Sunday, the Council threw the country into further disarray after releasing new guidelines that will severely limit presidential authority while shoring up its own powers. The move hands all legislative responsibilities to the Council until a new parliament is formed. But the new parliament can only happen after the drafting of a new Egyptian constitution, a process that could take months.

Pro-Bailout Party Narrowly Wins Greek Elections

Jun 18, 2012

Greece’s pro-bailout New Democracy Party has narrowly won the country’s parliamentary elections. New Democracy edged out the anti-bailout Syriza Party on Sunday by less than 3 percent. The election was seen as a critical referendum on an unpopular agreement that would hand Greece a $164 billion bailout in return for crippling austerity. The bailout’s rejection would likely have prompted Greece’s exit from the eurozone. The head of the New Democracy Party, Antonis Samaras, said he will form a coalition government that fulfills the bailout terms.

Antonis Samaras: “Today the Greek people expressed their will to stay anchored with the euro, remain an integral part of the eurozone, honor the country’s commitments and force their growth. This is a victory for all Europe. I call upon all political parties that share those objectives to join forces and form a stable new government.”

The second-place, anti-bailout Syriza Party has ruled out joining any coalition that agrees to uphold the austerity deal. Syriza Party leader Alexis Tsipras said the razor-thin election victory will embolden his party to mobilize bailout opposition in the streets.

Alexis Tsipras: “The government that will be formed with New Democracy at its core needs to seriously take into consideration that, on big issues, it can no longer proceed as previous governments had done. It cannot proceed insisting on a policy which has been proven to be in complete disharmony with the public’s will.”

Thousands Protest G20 in Mexico City

Jun 18, 2012

Thousands of protesters marched in Mexico City over the weekend to protest the G20 summit beginning today in Los Cabos. A protester who came to Mexico from Spain’s indignado movement said the anti-austerity struggle is worldwide.

Protester: “It’s a matter of resistance to the politics of neoliberalism, to criminal policies of the G20, the IMF, the World Bank, the European Union, and our own Spanish government and other governments of the world, such as the one we are protesting today in Mexico.”

U.N. Monitoring Mission Suspends Syria Operation

Jun 18, 2012

The U.N. monitoring mission in Syria has suspended its operations, saying growing violence is threatening its safety. The mission’s chief, General Robert Mood, said the suspension could be lifted if conditions improve.

Gen. Robert Mood: “In this high-risk situation, UNSMIS is suspending its operations. U.N. observers will not be conducting patrols and will stay in their locations until further notice. Engagement with the parties will be restricted. This suspension will be reviewed on a daily basis. Operations will resume when we see the situation fit for us to carry on our mandated activities.”

Report: U.S. Hid Magnitude of Deadly Taliban Attack

Jun 18, 2012

The Washington Post has revealed a recent Taliban attack in Afghanistan was far worse for the U.S.-led occupation force than initially reported. The United States claimed it had suffered no casualties in successfully repelling a Taliban operation on a U.S. outpost in Khost on June 1. But the Washington Post reports two U.S. soldiers and five Afghan civilians were killed when a truck bomb slammed into the U.S. base. Another three dozen troops were seriously wounded, while another 100 were treated for minor injuries. The U.S. statement at the time omitted mention of the deaths and of the truck bomb.

Socialists Win Parliamentary Majority in France

Jun 18, 2012

In France, the party of newly elected President François Hollande has won a parliamentary majority in a second round of legislative elections. Hollande’s Socialists emerged with a decisive advantage after running on a platform critical of European-wide austerity measures. They will now control both houses of parliament for the first time in France’s history.

Suu Kyi Collects Nobel Prize in Norway

Jun 18, 2012

The Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi visited Norway over the weekend to collect the Nobel Peace Prize she was awarded while leading the struggle against the military junta 21 years ago. Suu Kyi spent 15 years under house arrest and never left Burma when she could have, out of fear of being barred from returning. She was recently elected to parliament and allowed to travel abroad as part of the ruling junta’s efforts to ease its global isolation. In her remarks, Suu Kyi said the Nobel Prize award had expanded global solidarity for the Burmese people.

Aung San Suu Kyi: “As the days and months went by and news of reactions to the award came over the airwaves, I began to understand the significance of the Nobel Prize. It had made me real once again. It had drawn me back into the wider community. And what is more important, the Nobel Prize had drawn the attention of the world to the struggle for democracy and human rights in Burma. Receiving the Nobel Peace Prize means personally extending my concern for democracy and human rights beyond national borders. The Nobel Peace Prize opened up a door in my heart.”

Thousands Hold Silent March Against NYPD’s “Stop-and-Frisk”

Jun 18, 2012

Thousands of people held a silent march in New York City on Sunday to protest the New York City Police Department’s controversial “stop-and-frisk” policies. The warantless search initiative has drawn accusations of being unconstitutional and primarily targeting people of color, mostly black and Latino men. Organized by the NAACP, the march proceeded down Fifth Avenue to the home of Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Eight people were arrested at the end of the march after a large group of protesters remained in the streets.

Wage Disparity Between CEO and Workers Continues to Grow

Jun 18, 2012

New figures show the median pay for the country’s top corporate executives increased at nearly double the rate of the average worker. According to the New York Times, the top 200 CEOs made an average $14.5 million, a 5 percent increase over 2010. Workers, on the other hand, saw a pay increase of just 2.8 percent. CEO pay has outgrown worker pay more than 127 times faster over the last three decades. The average Fortune 500 chief executive now makes 380 times more than the average worker.

Wal-Mart-Linked PR Officer Poses as Journalist to Workers

Jun 18, 2012

An employee of a public relations firm tied to the corporate giant Wal-Mart has been found to have posed as a reporter at a news conference about poor labor conditions at major retailers. Stephanie Harnett, a publicist for the company Mercury Communications, claimed she was student journalist “Zoe Mitchell” when she attended a media briefing on a recent report highlighting the practices of companies like Wal-Mart. The report, called “Chain of Greed,” singled out Wal-Mart for maintaining low wages and poor workplace conditions in a network of subcontracted labor. At the news conference, Harnett, posing as Mitchell, approached at least two workers and got them to reveal detailed information about themselves under the guise she was interested in reporting their story. Mitchell’s employer, Mercury Communications, claims neither it nor Wal-Mart authorized her stunt.

Women Lawmakers in Michigan Perform “Vagina Monologues” to Protest Censorship

Jun 18, 2012

A group of women lawmakers in Michigan are gathering at the State Capitol today to protest a ban on two of their members for using the word “vagina.” Michigan state lawmaker Lisa Brown, a Democrat, took to the House floor last week to voice opposition to the state’s recent anti-abortion law. Brown ended her remarks by saying: “Mr. Speaker, I’m flattered that you’re all so interested in my vagina, but no means no.” Brown and another female colleague who sided with her were immediately banned from speaking by the Republican-led chamber. In response, the women lawmakers say they will perform a version of the play, “Vagina Monologues,” on the Capitol steps today along with the play’s author, Eve Ensler, and local actresses.

Rodney King, LAPD Beating Victim, Dies at 47

Jun 18, 2012

Rodney King, the Los Angeles motorist whose brutal beating by local police led to the city’s 1992 riots, has died at the age of 47. King became a symbol of police brutality against people of color, particularly African Americans, when a witness videotaped four police officers beating and tasering him as he lay helpless on the ground. The officers’ subsequent acquittal by an all-white jury sparked the L.A. riots 20 years ago. As the unrest raged in the streets, King issued a famous appeal for calm.

Rodney King: “People, I just want to say, you know, can we all get along? Can we get along?”

The L.A. riots’ 20th anniversary was observed in April. At a recent event, Rodney King discussed how he hoped to be remembered.

Rodney King: “Can’t we all get along? Simple. And why can’t we all get along? Can I try and do it like Rodney? Can I find me some piece of mind by being humble? I know I’m in a bad situation, but let me think this out, you know what I mean? Let me give you some time, and let me think about how I’m going to go about doing this. Can’t we all just get along? And that’s how I would like to be remembered after I’m dead and gone.”

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