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HeadlinesJune 05, 2012

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Wisconsin Voters Head to Polls in Walker Recall

Jun 05, 2012

Wisconsin voters head to the polls today for a historic recall election targeting Republican Gov. Scott Walker. The recall effort was launched last year after Walker stripped public sector unions of their collective bargaining rights and reduced their benefits. The race between Walker and his Democratic opponent, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, is expected to be close, but nearly every poll gives Walker the edge.

Officials: U.S. Drone Strike That Killed 12 Targeted Al-Qaeda Leader

Jun 05, 2012

U.S. and Pakistani officials say a drone strike that killed at least a dozen people in Pakistan on Monday targeted Abu Yahya al-Libi, who is believed to be al-Qaeda’s second-in-command. It is unclear if al-Libi was killed or if any civilians were among the dead. The strike followed a series of U.S. attacks inside Pakistan over the past two weeks.

Syrian Rebels Say Ceasefire No Longer Applies; 80 Soldiers Killed

Jun 05, 2012

Syrian rebels say they are no longer bound by a U.N.-backed ceasefire after Syrian President Bashar al-Assad ignored their Friday deadline to halt attacks. On Monday, the Free Syrian Army said it has resumed attacks on Syrian troops stationed at checkpoints in major cities. Syrian activists claim at least 80 Syrian soldiers have been killed in rebel operations since Friday. At the United Nations, a spokesperson for international envoy Kofi Annan said Syria might already be experiencing an all-out civil war.

Ahmad Fawzi: “The special envoy, Mr. Annan, and many others have warned of the danger of Syria descending into a bloody, protracted sectarian civil war. We may be there already. And we hope, for the Syrian people — for the sake of the Syrian people, we hope we’re not there yet. But this is certainly a very unfortunate and bloody scenario that we are witnessing.”

Yemeni Troops Prepare for Major Operation Against Al-Qaeda

Jun 05, 2012

Yemeni troops are reportedly preparing for a major operation to retake a southern town held by al-Qaeda militants. Hundreds of troops are reportedly approaching the town of Shaqra as part of an ongoing U.S.-backed Yemeni government offensive to wrest control from al-Qaeda in the country’s south.

Germany Signals Readiness on Shared Euro Deal

Jun 05, 2012

As the European debt crisis continues, Germany has signaled it is prepared to accept a deal that would give aid to indebted countries in exchange for more centralized control over government spending in Europe. The plan would likely involve pooling much of Europe’s bad debt and paying it off over the next roughly 25 years. In exchange for financial support, Germany has called for individual states to yield sovereignty to a central fiscal authority, a plan that could meet with resistance in other European countries. The finance chiefs of the Group of Seven industrialized countries are holding an emergency session today on the eurozone debt crisis. At the White House, Press Secretary Jay Carney said Europe will face continued pressure to take drastic steps.

Jay Carney: “Europeans have the capacity to take action to resolve this, and that they have already taken actions that are significant, but serious risks remain, and there is no question that markets remain skeptical that the measures taken thus far are sufficient to secure the recovery in Europe and remove the risk that the crisis will deepen. So we obviously believe that more steps need to be taken.”

Tens of Thousands Mark Anniversary of Tiananmen Square Crackdown

Jun 05, 2012

Tens of thousands of people flooded a public park in Hong Kong on Monday to mark the 23rd anniversary of the crackdown in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, when Chinese forces crushed student protesters. On June 3 and 4, 1989, the Chinese military killed an untold numbers of unarmed civilians in Beijing and other cities after weeks of nonviolent protests.

China Slams U.S. Plan to Shift Naval Fleet to the Pacific

Jun 05, 2012

The Chinese government has criticized U.S. plans to shift the bulk of its naval fleet to the Pacific by 2020. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced this weekend that a majority of U.S. ships and submarines will operate out of East Asia by the end of the decade. In Beijing, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson said U.S. militarization would mark a step backwards.

Liu Weimin: “The approach of artificially stressing military security, enhancing military deployments and strengthening military alliances is out of keeping with the times. The Asia-Pacific is the region where Chinese and U.S. interests most overlap, and we welcome the United States to play a constructive role in the region. We also hope that the United States will respect the interests and concerns of all sides in the Asia-Pacific, including China.”

Manning Lawyer Seeks Documents Withheld by U.S. Gov’t

Jun 05, 2012

A defense lawyer for accused whistleblower Bradley Manning has submitted a motion calling for the U.S. government to release hundreds of thousands of documents relating to Manning’s alleged leak of a massive trove of official material to the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks. The government is reportedly in possession of 250,000 pages of documents related to the case but has refused to turn them over to Manning’s defense team. Bradley Manning is charged with 22 counts related to the massive leak. His trial is scheduled for September.

BP’s Subpoena of Scientists’ Emails Sparks Concerns

Jun 05, 2012

BP has sparked concerns over academic freedom after obtaining thousands of confidential emails from scientists who studied the 2010 oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. The scientists, Richard Camilli and Christopher Reddy of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, estimated 4.9 million barrels of oil gushed into the Gulf after the Deepwater Horizon explosion. Earlier this month the scientists were forced to hand over more than 3,000 confidential emails after BP obtained a subpoena. In an opinion piece, the scientists condemned the lack of legal protection for scientific emails and said they are concerned not just about invasion of privacy, but about “the erosion of the scientific deliberative process.” The duo says the emails mentioned dead-ends and weaknesses confronted in the course of research, and said incomplete thoughts could be intentionally taken out of context. In related news, federal investigators are now investigating whether BP representatives lied to Congress about the amount of oil leaking as a result of the disaster.

Milwaukee Man Charged with 1st Degree Murder in Shooting of Unarmed Black Teen

Jun 05, 2012

A Milwaukee resident has been charged with first-degree murder after fatally shooting an unarmed 13-year-old African-American boy who lived next door. The victim, Darius Simmons, was reportedly retrieving a garbage cart outside of his family home when the shooter, John Henry Spooner, approached him. Simmons’ mother says Spooner accused her son of stealing his property before opening fire. Simmons tried to run away but suffered a fatal gunshot wound to his chest.

Supreme Court Rejects Cheney Protester’s Lawsuit Against Secret Service

Jun 05, 2012

The Supreme Court has rejected a lawsuit from a Colorado resident who was arrested for approaching then-Vice President Dick Cheney and criticizing the Iraq War in 2006. Steven Howards had accused the Secret Service of violating his civil rights when they detained him for assault and harassment. Howards had confronted Cheney in a shopping mall and told him the Bush administration’s occupation of Iraq was “disgusting.” In a unanimous decision on Monday, the Supreme Court ruled the Secret Service cannot be sued because it enjoys qualified immunity.

“CeCe” McDonald, Transgender Black Woman, Sentenced to 41-Month Term in Controversial Manslaughter Case

Jun 05, 2012

A transgender African-American woman in Minneapolis has been sentenced to 41 months in prison after pleading guilty last month to second-degree manslaughter to avoid a murder trial for the fatal stabbing of a man who harassed her with racial and homophobic slurs. Supporters say Chrishaun “CeCe” McDonald was the victim on June 5, 2011, after two women and a man, all of them Caucasian, began harassing her and her friends outside a bar. While the events of that night remain unclear, the fight that ensued left 47-year-old Dean Schmitz dead after he was apparently stabbed by a pair of fabric scissors that had been in McDonald’s purse. McDonald’s supporters have said the case is symptomatic of the bias against transgender people and African Americans in the criminal justice system. Dozens of McDonald’s supporters packed her sentence hearing in a show of support. State officials say they plan to hold McDonald in a prison for men despite her transgender identity.

California Primary to Determine Challengers for Rep. Woolsey’s Seat

Jun 05, 2012

Voters in Northern California head to the polls today in a primary vote to determine the successor to retiring Democratic Rep. Lynn Woolsey. The candidates include the progressive activist and author Norman Solomon, founder of the public affairs group, Institute for Public Accuracy. The top two vote getters in the 12-candidate race will square off in November for the chance to claim Woolsey’s seat.

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