Public school teachers in Chicago have voted to continue their strike, prompting Mayor Rahm Emanuel to threaten legal action to force their return to the job. A deal to end the strike was reached on Friday, but teacher delegates voted down the proposal in a Sunday vote. Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis said delegates want more time to consult with rank-and-file members.
Karen Lewis: “Clearly, a contract is always a set of negotiations. No sides are ever completely happy, but our members are not happy, and they want to have the opportunity to talk to their members to see. They still want to know is there anything more they can get. We’ve told them basically that we feel that this is the deal that the board had. They still want to have the opportunity to discuss it. When you have expectations of democracy, then that’s what happens. So, people have exercised that.”
Sunday’s vote came one day after thousands of teachers and their supporters rallied in Chicago’s Union Park for the largest protest since the strike began. The standoff has centered around education reforms, including a proposed teacher evaluation process the union says relies too heavily on standardized testing. In response, Emanuel has called the strike “illegal” and said he will seek a court injunction to bring it to an end.
A Wisconsin judge has struck down large parts of Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s controversial law curbing the collective bargaining rights of public employees. On Friday, Judge Juan Colás of Dane County Circuit Court overturned the law as it applies to city, county and school district workers, saying it violates their freedom of speech and association. Judge Colás’ order exempts public employees at the state level. Gov. Walker has vowed to appeal the order, saying it was issued by a “liberal activist judge.” Walker will likely seek to freeze the order during the appeal.
Eight civilians have been killed in a bombing by the U.S.-led NATO occupation force in Afghanistan. Local villagers say the victims were collecting firewood when they came under attack.
Villager: “Those killed are all women. The brutal Americans killed all women in their raid. They are not able to distinguish between sticks and guns. The women were collecting wood. You infidels and brutal Americans couldn’t see the difference between a piece of wood and a gun.”
Seven people were also wounded. According to NATO figures, foreign troops have killed more than 200 civilians in Afghanistan so far this year.
The NATO occupation continues to face a relentless wave of attacks from within the Afghan ranks. On Sunday, four U.S. soldiers were killed and two others were wounded in a shooting by members of the Afghan police. NATO spokesperson Günter Katz said the killings followed a separate attack on foreign troops.
Günter Katz: “Very sadly, we had two more insider attacks within the last 24 hours. Last, yesterday in the late afternoon, we had an insider attack where a member of the Afghan local police was killing two British soldiers, wounding another British soldier. The shooter has been killed during that incident. In the early morning hours of today, four ISAF [International Security Assistance Force] service members have been killed by members of the Afghan police. This incident is still under investigation, and as soon as we have more findings, we will inform you about that.”
The so-called “green-on-blue” attacks by Afghan forces against foreign troops have claimed 51 lives so far this year, well surpassing the 35 deaths for all of 2011. On Sunday, General Martin Dempsey, the chair of the U.S. joint chiefs of staff, called the violence “a very serious threat” to the occupation, adding: “You can’t whitewash it … Something has to change.”
The Obama administration has order the evacuation of government personnel from Tunisia and Sudan amidst ongoing unrest throughout Muslim countries over an amateur, U.S.-made anti-Islam film. Global protests continued over the weekend as anger to more than 20 countries after initially kicking off in Egypt and Libya last week. The United States says it is withdrawing diplomatic officials from Sudan and Tunisia as a precaution, not due to any actionable intelligence. The order in Sudan came after the Sudanese government rejected a U.S. effort to deploy a Marine unit to protect the U.S. embassy in Khartoum. The Libyan government says it has made more than 50 arrests in connection with the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi that killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three staffers. After pressure from the United States, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has also made arrests and cleared protesters from Cairo’s Tahrir Square.
On Friday, the bodies of the four Americans killed in Libya were returned to the United States at Andrews Air Force Base outside of Washington, D.C. At a memorial service, President Obama paid tribute to their lives and vowed to bring justice to their killers.
President Obama: “To you, their families and colleagues, to all Americans, know this: Their sacrifice will never be forgotten. We will bring to justice those who took them from us. We will stand fast against the violence on our diplomatic missions. We will continue to do everything in our power to protect Americans serving overseas, whether that means increasing security at our diplomatic posts, working with host countries which have an obligation to provide security, and making it clear that justice will come to those who harm Americans.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continues to press his case for military action against Iran despite apparent resistance from the United States. Speaking to NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, Netanyahu said Iran is close to developing the enriched uranium needed for a nuclear weapon.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: “So I think that as they [Iran] get closer and closer and closer to the achievement of weapons-grade material — and they’re very close, they’re six months away from being about 90 percent of having the enriched uranium for an atom bomb — I think that you have to place that red line before them now, before it’s too late. We have to stop them. Don’t rely on containment. That is not the American policy. It would be wrong. It would be a grave, grave mistake. Don’t let these fanatics have nuclear weapons. It’s terrible for Israel, and it’s terrible for America. It’s terrible for the world.”
Despite his warning of a six-month window before Iran advances its alleged nuclear weapons program, this wasn’t the first time Netanyahu has made such a prediction. In 1992 — 20 years ago — Netanyahu said that Iran was just three to five years from developing a nuclear weapon and urged U.S.-led international action to stop the purported threat.
Occupy Wall Street protesters are converging in Manhattan’s Financial District today to mark the movement’s first anniversary. Similar protests are taking place in dozens of cities throughout the nation.
The social media site Twitter has handed over the account details and message history of an Occupy Wall Street protester after a lengthy court dispute. Twitter had been ordered to provide tweets written by Malcolm Harris, a protester who was arrested with hundreds of others during the Occupy march across the Brooklyn Bridge on October 1. Prosecutors say they subpoenaed the records to help refute protesters’ claims that police led them off the bridge’s pedestrian walkway. Twitter had sought to avoid the order, saying it constitutes an undue burden and a violation of freedom of speech.
A Chicago man has been arrested on allegations of attempting to set off a bomb in what authorities call a “jihadist” plot. Eighteen-year-old Adel Daoud was detained on Friday after allegedly detonating what he thought was a bomb in a vehicle outside a downtown bar. But as in previous cases that have brought claims of government entrapment, the bomb was in fact an inert device supplied by an undercover informant.