Anti-U.S. government protests continue in Muslim countries angered over a U.S.-made amateur film mocking the Prophet Muhammad. In Pakistan, at least 21 people were killed and more than 200 were wounded on Friday when thousands took part in nationwide rallies that turned violent. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appealed for calm inside Pakistan.
Secretary Of State Hillary Clinton: “I want to thank the government of Pakistan for their efforts to protect our embassy in Islamabad and consulates in Lahore, Peshawar and Karachi. And I want to be clear. As I have said on numerous occasions, the violence we have seen cannot be tolerated. There is no justification for violence. Of course, there is provocation, and we have certainly made clear that we do not in any way support provocation.”
More protests were held over the weekend in countries including Iran, Greece and Bangladesh.
The New York Times reports the deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, during protests there against the film has seriously hampered CIA operations on the ground. Following the deaths of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three staffers, more than a dozen CIA operatives and contractors were evacuated. They had been gathering intelligence on armed groups operating in and around Benghazi. The Libyan government has said it only became aware of the U.S. intelligence operations after seeing the number of operatives being evacuated.
The Obama administration has released the names of 55 Guantánamo Bay prisoners who have been cleared for release. The names are part of a group of 86 prisoners who received approval to be transferred from Guantánamo three years ago but have remained in captivity. Guantánamo defense attorneys say the disclosure will make it easier to advocate for those identified but have urged the United States to reveal the remaining names and begin transfers without further delay.
Republican candidate Mitt Romney has released a limited set of personal tax records following months of public criticism. Romney’s 2011 tax return shows he paid an effective tax rate of 14 percent on gross income of $13.7 million. But the return also shows Romney gave up $1.75 million in charitable deductions so as not to contradict his claim he has never paid below 13 percent. Keeping the deductions would have meant a tax rate of 10 percent. But forgoing them also contradicts his previous statement that he would not be qualified to be president had he ever paid more taxes than he owed. Although Romney continued his refusal to release full tax returns from previous years, a letter from his accountants says he paid a tax rate from 1990 through 2009 of at least 13.66 percent. Speaking on Fox News, former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs criticized Romney’s secrecy on his tax returns.
Robert Gibbs: “He gave his accountant 20 years, and he gave the American people two. Chris, what’s he hiding? Why does he have corporations in Bermuda, investments in the Caymans? Why is somebody who says they’re going to get tough on China investing in the Chinese state oil company and banks in China? I think the American people deserve to know a lot more about Mitt Romney’s finances, because he hasn’t been straight with the American people about those finances. And he hasn’t been straight with the American people about what’s going to happen with their taxes.”
Campaigning over the weekend in Virginia, President Obama told supporters that the change he has pledged in Washington will only come with the mobilization of ordinary Americans.
President Obama: “You can’t change Washington just from the inside. You change it from the outside. You change it because people are mobilized. You change it with the help of ordinary Americans who are willing to make their voices heard, because the decency and the goodness and the common sense of Americans. We don’t want an inside job in Washington. We want change in Washington. And from the day we began this campaign, we’ve always said that change takes more than one term or even one president, and it certainly takes more than one party. It can’t happen if you write off half the nation before you even took office.”
A prominent human rights lawyer known for defending peasants in Honduras has been assassinated. Antonio Trejo was attending a wedding when he was shot to death just outside the church. Trejo represented several peasant rights groups in their struggle against wealthy Honduran landowners. Hours before his death, he had spoken out publicly as part of his vocal opposition to plans for privately run cities in Honduras with their own police and tax system.
The government of Ecuador has offered a new proposal to the British government in their standoff over Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks. Assange is currently taking refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy in London in a bid to avoid extradition to Sweden to answer questions over alleged sex crimes. Ecuador says it has asked Britain whether Assange could be sent to Sweden under its protection, which would thereby safeguard him from the threat of further extradition to the United States.
A former Guatemalan army commander accused in a 1982 massacre has been extradited from Canada to the United States to face charges he lied about his past to obtain U.S. citizenship. Jorge Sosa was allegedly a commanding officer during the notorious Dos Erres killings, when a U.S.-backed death squad killed more than 200 villagers, including women and children who were strangled, beaten with sledgehammers, and thrown down a well. If convicted, Sosa could be returned to Guatemala to face charges there after serving his sentence.
Rioting has broken out at the notorious Foxconn factory in China known for the poor treatment of workers who help make Apple products such as the iPhone. Foxconn says a “personal dispute” among the workers led to clashes involving some 2,000 of them, leaving 40 people injured.
The federal government has opened a criminal probe of Chevron’s oil refinery in Richmond, California, after discovering the company funneled pollutants away from monitoring equipment and instead burned them off into the sky. The discovery came at the same facility where a massive fire sparked blazing fires and a health scare for surrounding residents last month. The alleged rerouting of the pollutants meant federal monitors have had no way of knowing how much pollution was emitted into the air and toward residents living downwind from the plant.
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