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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.
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 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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.