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HeadlinesSeptember 19, 2012

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Chicago Teachers Suspend Strike After Deal Reached

Sep 19, 2012

Chicago public schools are back in session today after the governing body of the Chicago Teachers Union voted to suspend a nine-day strike. On Tuesday, teacher representatives accepted an agreement with the city calling for a double-digit salary increase over the next three years, as well as compromises over the contentious issues of teacher evaluations and job security. The agreement will now go before a union-wide vote. Uncertainty remains over how many schools Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel will try to close. Analysts have estimated as many as 140 Chicago-area schools could face closure in the near future.

Obama Admin Wins Freeze on Ruling Against Indefinite Detention

Sep 19, 2012

The Obama administration has won an emergency freeze of a federal judge’s recent decision to block a controversial statute that gave the government the power to carry out indefinite detention. An appeals court agreed to stay Judge Katherine Forrest’s ruling against a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, authorizing the imprisonment of anyone deemed a terrorism suspect anywhere in the world without charge or trial. The stay will remain in effect until an appeals panel considers the case.

Court Overturns Rule for Disclosure of TV Ad Funders

Sep 19, 2012

A federal appeals court has overturned a rule requiring third-party groups to disclose the funders of election-related television ads. The ruling overrides a lower court decision that said the 2002 McCain-Feingold Act on campaign finance reform likely intended to require such disclosures. It marks a major victory for Republican-linked groups including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Americans for Prosperity and Crossroads GPS, which had altered their ads after being compelled to disclose who funded them. In a statement, Democratic Rep. Christopher Van Hollen of Maryland, who brought the initial case that won the disclosure rule, said: “The Court of Appeals’ decision today will keep the American people, for the time being, in the dark about who is attempting to influence their vote with secret money.”

Romney Video: Palestinians Don’t Want Peace

Sep 19, 2012

The magazine Mother Jones has released the full version of the secret Mitt Romney campaign speech that has sparked a national controversy. In one excerpt from the tape — recorded at a Republican fundraiser in Florida earlier this year — Romney says Palestinians do not want peace with Israel and suggests his Middle East policy would be to do nothing and hope for the best.

Mitt Romney: “I look at the Palestinians not wanting to see peace anyway, for political purposes, committed to the destruction and elimination of Israel, and these thorny issues, and I say, ’There’s just no way.’ And so, what you do is you say — you move things along the best way you can, you hope for some degree of stability, but you recognize this is going to remain an unsolved problem. We live with that in China and Taiwan. All right, we have a potentially volatile situation, but we sort of live with it, and we kick the ball down the field and hope that ultimately, somehow, something will happen and resolve it.”

White House: Social Security Recipients Not “Victims”

Sep 19, 2012

The Obama campaign has pounced on Mitt Romney’s widely reported statement in the video that nearly half the country is dependent on government aid and sees themselves as “victims.” In Washington, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney drew a contrast between Romney and Obama’s view of the electorate.

Jay Carney: “When you’re president of the United States, you are president of all the people, not just the people who voted for you. You’ve heard the president say, so many times, because he deeply believes it, that we’re in this together, all of us. The president certainly doesn’t think that men and women on Social Security are irresponsible or victims, that students aren’t responsible or are victims. He certainly doesn’t think that middle-class families are paying too little in taxes.”

U.N.-Arab League Envoy Says Syria Crisis Getting Worse

Sep 19, 2012

The United Nations-Arab League envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, has wrapped up his first visit to the country since taking over from Kofi Annan. Speaking on Tuesday in Jordan, Brahimi said the situation on the ground in Syria is getting worse by the day.

Lakhdar Brahimi: “The situation is very bad and worsening. It’s not improving. Syrians on both sides say from time to time, we are going to win very soon or in three months or two months or — I don’t think it’s true. I don’t think any side is winning now or anytime in the future. The situation is getting worse, and it is a huge threat for the region.”

South African Miners Accept Pay Increase, End Strike

Sep 19, 2012

Striking miners at South Africa’s Marikana mine have agreed to return to work after a six-week walkout that saw major unrest and a number of deaths. At least 34 miners were killed at a demonstration last month after South African police opened fire. On Tuesday, the miners voted to end the standoff with management by accepting a pay increase of 22 percent. Union representative Bishop Seoka hailed the deal.

Bishop Seoka: “The actual increase is about 22 percent, which is very high. We don’t think that has ever happened in the history of negotiations, and the negotiations by the unions will still happen and add more percentage in October.”

USAID to Exit Russia After Orders to Cease Operations

Sep 19, 2012

The U.S. Agency for International Development, USAID, has announced its departure from Russia after being ordered to halt operations. The Russian government has given USAID until the end of the month to shut down after accusing it of political interference. Earlier this year, Russian President Vladimir Putin accused unspecified U.S. groups of meddling in Russia’s politics after protests erupted against his government.

Judge: Arizona Can Begin Enforcing “Show Me Your Papers” Provision

Sep 19, 2012

A federal judge has lifted an injunction against a key component of Arizona’s controversial anti-immigrant law. The “show me your papers” measure requires police to check the immigration status of people they stop before releasing them. Critics say it enables racial profiling. On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton ruled Arizona police can begin enforcing the law immediately.

DOJ: North Carolina Sheriff Illegally Targeted Latinos

Sep 19, 2012

A Justice Department probe has found a North Carolina sheriff and his deputies routinely discriminated against Latinos by illegally stopping, detaining and arresting them without probable cause with the goal of helping to deport as many as possible. The investigation found Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson called Latinos “taco eaters” and ordered roadblocks in Latino neighborhoods where only people of color were stopped. Johnson also reportedly ordered his deputies to arrest drivers who appeared Latino for minor traffic violations, while merely giving warnings to white drivers. The Justice Department also says Sheriff Johnson tried to obstruct its two-year investigation by falsifying records and withholding documents.

Pennsylvania Voter ID Law Returned to Lower Court

Sep 19, 2012

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has handed a state judge back his ruling that upheld the state’s new voter identification law and instructed him to consider whether the state can actually provide IDs to all eligible voters in time for the election. Under the ruling, Judge Robert Simpson must hold a hearing and rule before October 2 on whether the law can be implemented without disenfranchising people who lack ID. If he is not convinced that there will be “no voter disenfranchisement,” he must block the law from taking effect. Pennsylvania’s law is among the strictest to pass as part of a nationwide effort critics say is aimed at disenfranchising lower-income residents and people of color, who tend to vote Democratic.

Suu Kyi Calls for Easing of Burma Sanctions During U.S. Visit

Sep 19, 2012

The Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi is in the midst of her first visit to the United States in more than three decades. After spending 15 years under house arrest, Suu Kyi was recently elected to parliament and allowed to travel abroad as part of the ruling Burmese junta’s efforts to ease its global isolation. Speaking in Washington, Suu Kyi called for an easing of sanctions on Burma.

Aung San Suu Kyi: “In the last years of military rule, United States sanctions were blamed for all the economic ills of Burma, not just the economic ills, but other ills, as well, and there is great eagerness for these sanctions to be removed. On my part, I do not think that we need to cling on to sanctions unnecessarily, because I want our people to be responsible for their own destiny.”

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