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HeadlinesOctober 28, 2014

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U.N. Criticizes State Ebola Quarantines; U.S. Troops Isolated

Oct 28, 2014

The Obama administration has released new protocols for people who have been in contact with Ebola patients amidst global condemnation of state quarantines. The new policy from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention requires a checkup and phone call with a local health authority, but does not automatically place workers under confinement. The update comes after New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie agreed to release a nurse who was placed in an isolated tent inside a Newark hospital after returning from Sierra Leone. Kaci Hickox had denounced her treatment publicly after she was confined despite having no Ebola symptoms. In a statement read by a spokesperson, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon criticized the state measures.

Stéphane Dujarric: “Returning healthcare workers are exceptional people who are giving of themselves to humanity. They should not be subjected to restrictions that are not based on science. Those who develop infections should be supported, not stigmatized. The secretary-general reiterates that the best way for any country to protect itself from Ebola is to stop the outbreak at its source in West Africa. This requires considerable international healthcare worker support, and in return for this support, we have an obligation to look after them.”

The U.S. Army is quarantining soldiers returning from Liberia. The group placed under 21-day monitoring includes Major General Darryl Williams, commander of U.S. Army Africa.

AIDS Activists Protest Ebola Quarantines in New York City

Oct 28, 2014

A group of AIDS activists gathered outside Bellevue Hospital in New York City, where a doctor who became the state’s first Ebola patient is reportedly in serious condition. The activists condemned the quarantining of other health workers who have been in contact with Ebola patients, comparing it to the intense stigma associated with the early days of HIV/AIDS.

Jennifer Flynn, executive director of VOCAL-NY: “This is actually an extreme exaggeration. This is hysterical response, the quarantining of people who are not symptomatic of Ebola. And so we’re here in solidarity to make that case and that connection.”

Nigeria: Boko Haram Captures 30 More Youths

Oct 28, 2014

In Nigeria, the militant group Boko Haram has reportedly captured at least 30 more young people. A local chief in the village of Mafa said those taken include girls as young as 11.

ISIS Video Shows U.K. Hostage John Cantlie in Kobani

Oct 28, 2014

Islamic State militants have released a new propaganda video that appears to show British hostage John Cantlie in the contested Syrian city of Kobani. For weeks, U.S.-led airstrikes have sought to beat back an ISIS assault on the city. In the video, Cantlie says Kobani is poised to fall entirely under ISIS control.

Two Attacks Kill Dozens in Iraq

Oct 28, 2014

In Iraq, a suicide attacker killed at least 27 pro-government Shiite militiamen just south of the capital Baghdad. The bomber drove a Humvee loaded with explosives into a checkpoint. Further north in downtown Baghdad a suicide bomber killed at least 14 people near a commercial strip.

Ukraine: Pro-Western Parties Sweep Parliamentary Election

Oct 28, 2014

In Ukraine, pro-Western parties are set to dominate the country’s new Parliament. The outcome marks a victory for President Petro Poroshenko as he seeks to strengthen ties with Europe. Pro-Russian rebels blocked the vote in some areas of eastern Ukraine, which they seized following the ouster of pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych earlier this year.

Tunisia: Secular Party Tops Islamists in Landmark Parliamentary Race

Oct 28, 2014

In Tunisia, a secular opposition party has won a major victory in the country’s first full parliamentary elections since the 2011 Arab Spring revolution. Early results show the secular Nida Tunis party taking the most seats, beating the Islamist Ennahda party, which previously dominated the Parliament.

Climate Report Predicts “Pervasive and Irreversible” Impacts

Oct 28, 2014

Delegates from more than 100 countries are meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark, this week to approve a new report on the effects of climate change. Known as the synthesis report, the draft warns an ongoing rise in greenhouse gas emissions is “increasing the likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts.” Denmark’s energy minister, Rasmus Helveg Petersen, opened the meeting.

Rasmus Helveg Petersen: “Today we can measure the rising temperatures, the rising seas and our rising insurance bills, and tomorrow we’ll have to measure our rising debt to the future generations. As fossil fuel is burning, so is the platform underneath us. We can stop the fire, or we can jump into the sea — and the first solution does cost money, and the second seems to be free, but it isn’t.”

The meeting in Copenhagen comes ahead of the 2014 U.N. climate summit in December in Lima, Peru. Democracy Now! will be broadcasting live from the summit.

Georgia: 8 Arrested Protesting Disappearance of 40,000 Voter Records

Oct 28, 2014

In the United States, eight people were arrested at a Moral Monday protest in Georgia over the alleged disappearance of 40,000 voter registration records, most of them from people of color. The New Georgia Project has filed a lawsuit against the office of Georgia’s Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp, saying about half of the 80,000 voter registration forms it submitted as part of a recent drive do not appear on state rolls.

Report: Postal Service Approved 50,000 Requests to Monitor Mail

Oct 28, 2014

A newly obtained audit shows the U.S. Postal Service approved nearly 50,000 requests last year from law enforcement and its own inspection unit to secretly monitor Americans’ mail. The New York Times reports the number is far higher than what the Postal Service had previously disclosed.

Report: FBI IDs Whistleblower Who Exposed Watchlist Details to The Intercept

Oct 28, 2014

A new report says the FBI has identified the whistleblower who provided documents about the U.S. terrorist watchlist to The Intercept news site. Citing unnamed sources, Michael Isikoff reports in Yahoo News the FBI recently searched the home of the employee of a federal contractor in northern Virginia, while federal prosecutors have opened a criminal probe. Isikoff said the case relates to an August story by investigative journalists Jeremy Scahill and Ryan Devereaux based on a classified document which showed nearly half of those on the U.S. government’s massive terrorist watchlist are not linked to any known terrorist group. Intercept editor John Cook said the stories had revealed “crucial information” about the excesses of the U.S. watchlisting system, and that “any attempt to criminalize the public release of those stories benefits only those who exercise virtually limitless power in secret with no accountability.” Last week on Democracy Now!, Scahill described the significance of the revelations.

Jeremy Scahill: “This document and others like it had been long sought after by the American Civil Liberties Union and other legal organizations and lawyers who represent clients who have been unjustly placed on the no-fly list. We saw an immediate impact from what this extremely principled and brave whistleblower did, in that it’s already been used in court cases. A federal judge has declared the aspects of the watchlisting program that disallow people from knowing their status on the watchlist to be unconstitutional.”

The existence of a second whistleblower is also noted at the end of Laura Poitras’ new documentary “Citizenfour,” about National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden. Scahill has not discussed his source, but told Isikoff, “The Obama administration in my view is conducting a war against whistleblowers and ultimately against independent journalism.”

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