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HeadlinesOctober 29, 2014

Ebola-Free Nurse Rejects Home Quarantine

Oct 29, 2014

The nurse freed from a mandatory quarantine in New Jersey says she will not obey a new confinement order in Maine. Kaci Hickox had been forced to live inside a tent at a Newark hospital after returning from West Africa, despite testing negative for Ebola. On Monday, Hickox was released to her home in Maine, where she now faces a 21-day home confinement rule. Hickox’s attorney says she will follow the federal guidelines requiring constant self-monitoring and a checkup with a local health authority. She remains asymptomatic, as she has been from the beginning.

2nd Dallas Nurse Released After Beating Ebola Infection; Obama to Meet with Medical Workers

Oct 29, 2014

In his first comments on new state quarantine rules, President Obama said medical workers traveling to West Africa deserve support.

President Obama: “We can make sure that when they come back, they are being monitored in a prudent fashion. But we want to make sure that we understand that they are doing God’s work over there, and they’re doing that to keep us safe. And I want to make sure that every policy we put in place is supportive of their efforts, because if they are successful, then we’re not going to have to worry about Ebola here at home.”

Also Tuesday, the second nurse who contracted Ebola at a Dallas hospital earlier this month has been released from hospital. Amber Vinson had been declared virus-free on Friday after being hospitalized two weeks ago. Obama will meet with Ebola medical workers at the White House today.

Iraqi Kurds Arrive in Turkey to Join Syria Fight

Oct 29, 2014

Iraqi Kurdish forces have arrived in Turkey on their way to fight Islamic State militants in neighboring Syria. The Turkish government is opening its border to the Iraqi Pershmerga to help break the ISIS siege of the town of Kobani.

U.N. Seeks Greater Aid for Syrian Refugees

Oct 29, 2014

The United Nations has issued a new appeal for countries to take in refugees from Syria’s three-year civil war. The conflict has displaced nearly 3.5 million people, most of them fleeing to Turkey and Jordan. At a conference in Berlin, U.N. refugee chief António Guterres said the plight of Syrian refugees is a global responsibility.

António Guterres: “We ask the neighboring countries to keep their borders open, but we ask all countries in the world to keep their borders open to Syrian refugees. This is not only a responsibility of the countries of the region; this is a responsibility of the whole of the international community.”

White House Official: Netanyahu a “Chickens—t”; Row Centers on Iran, Settlements

Oct 29, 2014

A new report says relations between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are at an all-time low. Speaking to The Atlantic magazine, anonymous White House officials say they have “red-hot anger” at Netanyahu for continuing to expand West Bank settlements and seeking to undermine an Iran nuclear deal. Netanyahu is reportedly preparing to bypass Obama and appeal directly to Congress if an Iranian nuclear deal is reached. One “senior administration official” called Netanyahu a “chickens—t,” saying: “He won’t do anything to reach an accommodation with the Palestinians or with the Sunni Arab states. The only thing he’s interested in is protecting himself from political defeat.” Despite the heated rhetoric, the Obama administration has repeatedly backed the Israeli government, supporting the assault on Gaza, opposing a Palestinian statehood bid, and vetoing a U.N. Security Council resolution declaring Israeli settlements illegal. The report suggests that diplomatic cover could vanish when the Palestinian Authority seeks full recognition for Palestine at the United Nations next year.

Ferguson Police Chief Denies Report of Plan to Resign

Oct 29, 2014

There are conflicting reports out of Ferguson, Missouri, on the fate of embattled police chief Thomas Jackson. Unnamed government officials told CNN that Jackson is expected to step down as part of efforts to reform the police department following the killing of unarmed black teen Michael Brown in August. But Chief Jackson and the city’s mayor say the reports are false.

Friend of Boston Marathon Bomber Convicted of Lying to Investigators

Oct 29, 2014

A friend of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been convicted of lying to investigators about attempts to dispose of Tsarnaev’s belongings. On Tuesday, a jury found Robel Phillipos guilty of making false statements about his visit to Tsarnaev’s dorm room three days after the attack. Phillipos has maintained he was too intoxicated on marijuana to have a clear memory of the encounter. Outside the courtroom, defense attorneys vowed to appeal the verdict.

Derege Demissie: “We will be filing post-conviction motions to vacate the guilty finding. We believe there are serious legal issues relative to the materiality of just being there, not having to do anything with the backpack or fireworks.”

Susan Church: “I don’t believe that Robel Phillipos has ever been more angry at a person than he is angry at Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. When Robel found out that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev did what he did in this case, he was absolutely mortified. It was an unbelievable feeling of shock and betrayal that somebody that he knew could commit such atrocious, horrible acts.”

FBI Ruses to Nab Suspects Draw Criticism, Court Challenge

Oct 29, 2014

The Seattle Times newspaper is criticizing the FBI for creating a fake page under the paper’s name in order to monitor a suspect accused of making bomb threats. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has revealed the FBI sent the suspect a link to a fabricated Seattle Times news story during an investigation. Once the suspect clicked on the link, authorities were able to monitor his computer. The FBI says the technique helped subvert a potential threat on a local school, leading to the suspect’s arrest. But Seattle Times editor Kathy Best said: “The FBI’s actions, taken without our knowledge, traded on our reputation and put it at peril.” In a separate case involving the FBI, lawyers for a group of defendants accused of illegal online gambling have asked a court to dismiss evidence collected by FBI agents. The FBI apparently shut off Internet access at a Las Vegas hotel and then posed as repair technicians to collect evidence. The agents carried out the ruse against the recommendation of a prosecutor who said it could amount to an unreasonable search.

Woman Sues DEA for Creating Fake Facebook Profile in Her Name

Oct 29, 2014

The cases follow a New York woman suing the Drug Enforcement Administration for setting up a fake Facebook profile with her identity. Sondra Arquiett was arrested in 2010 on charges of involvement in drug trafficking. Arquiett says a DEA agent used images from her confiscated phone to set up a Facebook profile in her name without her consent. The agent then used the profile to contact other people of interest to investigators. The Justice Department says it is reviewing the case.

Texas Carries Out Execution; Supreme Court Issues Stay in Missouri

Oct 29, 2014

Texas has carried out a new execution while another has been halted in Missouri. Miguel Paredes was killed in Texas based on a 2000 conviction for a triple murder. Meanwhile, the U.S. Supreme Court temporarily halted the execution of Mark Christeson in order to hear his appeal. Christeson was convicted of killing a mother and her two children in 1998. Both he and Paredes were convicted as teenagers. According to the Death Penalty Information Center, the United States is set for 35 executions this year, its lowest number since 31 took place 20 years ago.

U.N. Criticizes Iran for Execution of Woman in Killing Alleged Rapist

Oct 29, 2014

The United Nations meanwhile has criticized Iran for the execution of a woman convicted of killing a man she had accused of rape. Reyhaneh Jabbari had claimed self-defense in her killing of an intelligence official who she said had raped her years earlier when she was a teenager. The case drew global attention and the attempted intervention of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. But U.N. human rights agency spokesperson Rupert Colville said Iranian officials ultimately bear responsibility for failing to stop the killing.

Rupert Colville: “The Iranian authorities apparently did make attempts to prevent the execution, which was stayed at least twice, in April and in September, in order to enable the two families to reach a settlement. However, it’s the government’s responsibility to prevent execution, especially when there is so much uncertainty about the events surrounding the killing and concerns over due process.”

Immigration Rights Protester Interrupts Obama Speech

Oct 29, 2014

President Obama faces continued protests over his recent decision to delay executive action on immigration reform. Obama had promised a broad overhaul by the end of summer, including a potential new reprieve to slow his record-breaking deportations. But last month, he delayed any moves until after the upcoming midterm elections. While campaigning for Democrats in Wisconsin on Tuesday, President Obama faced a disruption from the crowd.

President Obama: “Hold on a second, young lady. Let me tell you something. Let me tell you something. Hold on a second. It’s alright. The young lady is expressing her concern about immigration and the fact that we don’t have a comprehensive immigration bill. The problem is, she should be protesting the Republicans who are blocking it in Congress. That’s what you should be doing. That’s what she should be doing, because I’m for it.”

NASA Rocket Operated by Private Firm Explodes on Takeoff

Oct 29, 2014

The massive explosion of an unmanned rocket in Virginia has raised fresh concerns about NASA’s reliance on private contractors. The rocket, which used a Soviet-era engine, was made by Orbital Sciences, which has a $1.9 billion contract with NASA to make deliveries to the International Space Station. Since retiring its shuttle fleet in 2011, NASA has relied on private companies to supply the space station. Another Orbital rocket engine reportedly suffered an explosion in Mississippi in May. The executive vice president of the company, Frank Culbertson, has warned the public that the rocket which exploded on Tuesday “had a lot of hazardous equipment, hazardous materials on board.”

Flood Wall Street Activists Seek Trial to Mount “Necessity Defense” for Global Warming Protest

Oct 29, 2014

Protesters arrested in last month’s demonstration in the heart of Wall Street have appeared in court to a demand a trial. More than 100 people were detained as part of the “Flood Wall Street” action targeting the financial sector’s role in the extractive industries fueling global warming. As the cases were brought to court this week, a group among those arrested rejected a prosecution offer to dismiss the charges after six months. Instead, the protesters said they want their case to go to trial so they can mount a “necessity defense” — arguing that their actions were justified by how the financial industry worsens the climate change that threatens the planet. Flood Wall Street defendant John Tarleton explained the rationale on Tuesday.

John Tarleton: “Twelve of us have plead not guilty to these charges of disorderly conduct. We want to take the case to trial and argue a 'necessity defense,' that the harm being caused by Wall Street in financing all sorts of extreme energy projects in this country and around the world is so much greater than any harm that was done by a traffic jam on Broadway. And we feel that we have to continue to push this point that Wall Street and capitalism in general cannot solve the climate crisis because they are central to the problem.”

The “necessity defense” had been the plan of two climate activists set to go on trial in Massachusetts last month for blocking a coal shipment. But the case was resolved after the prosecutor all but adopted their reasoning and dropped the charges. He then joined them in the People’s Climate March.

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