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HeadlinesAugust 31, 2012

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3 Killed in New Jersey Shooting

Aug 31, 2012

A number of people have reportedly been killed in a shooting attack in New Jersey. A lone gunman allegedly opened fire inside a Pathmark supermarket in the town of Old Bridge. At least three people including the gunman are dead.

Romney Accepts GOP Nomination

Aug 31, 2012

Mitt Romney accepted the Republican presidential nomination Thursday night with a vow to revive the U.S. economy and a plea to voters disappointed with President Obama’s first term.

Mitt Romney: “How many days have you woken up feeling that something really special was happening in America? Many of you felt that way on Election Day four years ago. Hope and change had a powerful appeal. But tonight I’d ask a simple question: If you felt that excitement when you voted for Barack Obama, shouldn’t you feel that way now that he’s President Obama? You know there’s something wrong with the kind of job he’s done as president when the best feeling you had was the day you voted for him.”

Justice Dept. Rejects Prosecutions for CIA Torture

Aug 31, 2012

The Justice Department has announced it will not prosecute anyone involved in the killing and torturing of prisoners in CIA custody after a three-year investigation. The Justice Department had been probing the deaths of two men: one in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. Gul Rahman died in 2002 while being held at a secret CIA facility known as the “Salt Pit” in Afghanistan. He had been shackled to a concrete wall in near-freezing temperatures. Manadel al-Jamadi died in 2003 while in CIA custody at Iraq’s notorious Abu Ghraib prison. His corpse was photographed packed in ice and wrapped in plastic. In a statement, Holder said no charges would be brought against U.S. operatives “because the admissible evidence would not be sufficient to obtain and sustain a conviction beyond a reasonable doubt.” Denouncing the decision, the Center for Constitutional Rights said: “Today’s announcement belies U.S. claims that it can be trusted to hold accountable Americans who have perpetrated torture and other human rights abuses.”

Federal Court Blocks Texas Voter ID Law

Aug 31, 2012

A federal court has blocked the controversial voter ID law in Texas, saying it discriminates against people of color. The law requires voters to show their photo identification at the polls, and Texas had hoped to implement it before the November election. But on Thursday, a three-judge panel said Texas had failed to prove the law won’t harm the voting rights of ethnic minorities. The Justice Department blocked the law earlier this year, warning it stood to disenfranchise at least 600,000 voters, a disproportionate number of which are Latinos and other minorities. Texas says it plans to appeal Thursday’s ruling to the Supreme Court.

Isaac Heads West as Gulf Coast Recovery Effort Begins

Aug 31, 2012

Tropical Storm Isaac is beginning to head west after lashing the Gulf Coast for the better part of two days. Rainfall is continuing in parts of the Gulf as the slow-moving storm continues to show its wrath. The Port of New Orleans and the city’s airport are expected to reopen today as the clean-up effort begins. New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said the city is not yet in the clear.

Mitch Landrieu: “The game is not over until the game is over, and a lot of stuff can still happen. We know that because our past experience has concrete examples of how bad stuff has happened at this point in the storm. So it’s important for the people of New Orleans to remember, we’re just in another phase.”

Admin Allows “Preparatory Activities” for Shell Drilling in Arctic

Aug 31, 2012

The Obama administration has authorized the oil giant Royal Dutch Shell to begin “preparatory activities” for oil drilling in the Arctic Sea. On Thursday, the Interior Department said Shell can start its operations but must stop short of the actual drilling. The White House had set a deadline for the end of this month to reach a final decision on Shell’s drilling bid, and Thursday’s move suggests it will be approved.

IAEA: Iran Doubles Enrichment Machines at Underground Site

Aug 31, 2012

A new U.N. report says Iran may have expanded its stockpile of nuclear material for uranium enrichment. In a quarterly report on Iran’s nuclear activities, the International Atomic Energy Agency says Iran has doubled the number of enrichment machines it stores in an underground bunker. In Washington, White House spokesperson Jay Carney said Iran is violating its international requirements.

White House spokesperson Jay Carney: “We are closely studying the details of the report. But broadly speaking, it is not surprising that Iran is continuing to violate its obligations. As the report illustrates, we are in a position to closely observe Iran’s program and to detect any effort by Iran to begin production of weapons-grade uranium. And just to reiterate, the president has made clear frequently that he is determined to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, and he has led an unprecedented effort to pressure Iran to live up to its obligations.”

Iran Leader Renews Call for Nuclear-Free World

Aug 31, 2012

The IAEA report comes as Iran continues to host a meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement in Tehran. Addressing the 120-nation gathering on Thursday, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei repeated his government’s insistence on a peaceful nuclear program and its call for a nuclear-weapons-free world.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei: “I repeat that the Islamic Republic of Iran is not developing capabilities for nuclear weapons, but also will not overlook the rights of its people and their need for access to peaceful nuclear energy. Our motto is nuclear energy for all, and nuclear weapons is for none. We stand by both of these mottos. And we know that breaking the biased views that some Western countries hold about the production of nuclear energy, and the underlying fundamentals, is to the benefit of all nations.”

Morsi: Solidarity with Syrian Uprising an “Ethical Duty”

Aug 31, 2012

In other news from the Non-Aligned Movement in Tehran, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi caused a walkout by the Syrian delegation on Thursday when he called for solidarity with the uprising against the Assad regime.

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi: “Our solidarity with the struggle of the Syrian people against an oppressive regime that has lost its legitimacy is an ethical duty, as it is a political and strategic necessity. We all have to announce our full solidarity with the struggle of those seeking freedom and justice in Syria, and translate this sympathy into a clear political vision that supports a peaceful transition to a democratic system of rule that reflects the demands of the Syrian people for freedom.”

Ban Criticizes Iranian Gov’t for Israel Comments, Holocaust Denial

Aug 31, 2012

Also speaking at the Non-Aligned Movement summit in Iran, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon criticized the host government of Iran for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s hostile words for Israel and denial of the Nazi Holocaust.

Ban Ki-moon: “As I have repeatedly stated around the world, I strongly reject threats by any member states to destroy another or outrageous attempts to deny historical facts such as the Holocaust. Claiming that another U.N. member state — Israel — does not have the right to exist or describing it in racist terms is not only utterly wrong but undermines the very principles we have all pledged to uphold.”

Panel Rejects Coup Claims in the Maldives

Aug 31, 2012

A Commonwealth-backed probe has rejected the contention of former Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed that he was ousted in a coup. Nasheed is now being charged for ordering the arrest of a judge appointed by Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who ruled the Maldives for 30 years before Nasheed became its first democratically elected president in 2008. Nasheed was ousted earlier this year in what he has described as a coup at gunpoint by Gayoom’s supporters. On Thursday, the Commission of National Inquiry in the Maldives concluded Nasheed had resigned voluntarily. Supporters of Nasheed immediately took to the streets to condemn the finding. Nasheed is well known internationally for his activism around the issue of global warming, which he says threatens the survival of his small island country.

South Africa Charges Miners in Mass Killing

Aug 31, 2012

The South African government has sparked outrage after bringing charges against striking miners for the killings of 34 colleagues earlier this month, despite the fact they were shot dead by police. The victims were killed more than a week after walking off the job at the Marikana platinum mine in a call for higher pay. Police say they opened fire after workers tried to attack them with machetes, but the miners have accused the police of committing a massacre. The shooting marked the worst mass killing in South Africa since the end of apartheid. But on Thursday, the South African government invoked an apartheid-era “common purpose law” to charge 270 miners for their colleagues’ deaths.

Canada Orders Deportation of U.S. War Resister

Aug 31, 2012

A Canadian immigration board has ordered the deportation of a U.S. war resister who fled to avoid serving in the Iraq War. Kimberly Rivera left the United States in January 2007, along with her husband and two children, to avoid a second tour of duty in Iraq.

Bradley Manning Trial Set for February 2013

Aug 31, 2012

A military judge has set a trial date for the alleged Army whistleblower Bradley Manning, who is accused of passing classified material to WikiLeaks. Manning will stand trial on February 4 of next year — close to three years after his arrest. He faces life in prison.

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