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HeadlinesMay 20, 2014

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Thai Military Imposes Martial Law

May 20, 2014

Thailand’s military has imposed martial law after months of anti-government protests. The protesters have blocked elections and called for the ouster of a caretaker government installed after Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra was removed by a court earlier this month. Soldiers have blocked off streets in the capital Bangkok, and at least 10 TV stations have been ordered to shut down. The army has denied its efforts constitute a coup.

U.S. Charges 5 Chinese Army Members with Economic Spying

May 20, 2014

The Obama administration has announced charges against five members of the Chinese military for economic espionage against U.S. companies, including Westinghouse, Alcoa and United States Steel. Attorney General Eric Holder accused the officers of stealing trade secrets to benefit state-owned companies.

Eric Holder: “All nations are engaged in intelligence gathering. What I think distinguishes this case is that we have a state-sponsored entity, state-sponsored individuals using intelligence tools to gain commercial advantage. And that is what makes this case different.”

China has denounced the indictment and summoned U.S. Ambassador Max Baucus. The United States has denied engaging in economic espionage, despite reports from Glenn Greenwald and others about its efforts to spy on economic targets, from global conferences to the Brazilian oil firm Petrobras. The charges came as a new report by The Intercept reveals the United States is secretly recording virtually every cellphone call in the Bahamas. We’ll speak with the report’s co-author Ryan Devereaux later in the broadcast.

Cleric Convicted of Terrorism in New York

May 20, 2014

London cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri has been convicted of terrorism charges by a jury in New York. He was accused of aiding kidnappers in Yemen and trying to set up a militant training camp in Oregon, although his attorneys argued the case relied largely on beliefs expressed in his sermons. He could face life in prison.

Execution Stay Denied for Missouri Prisoner with Rare Condition

May 20, 2014

A federal judge has denied a request to stay the execution of a Missouri prisoner who suffers from a rare medical condition which he fears could cause an excruciating death. The judge also rejected Russell Bucklew’s request to have his execution filmed as evidence of cruel and unusual punishment. Bucklew’s lawyers have appealed. His execution, set for 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, would be the first since last month’s botched killing in Oklahoma. In both states, the source of the lethal drugs has been kept secret.

Credit Suisse Pleads Guilty to Criminal Charge in Tax Case

May 20, 2014

Credit Suisse has pleaded guilty to a criminal charge and agreed to pay $2.6 billion for its role in helping U.S. clients avoid taxes by concealing assets in undeclared bank accounts. It is the largest bank to plead guilty to a criminal charge in the United States in 20 years. We will have more on the plea deal later in the broadcast.

Abramson Salutes Anita Hill in Wake Forest Commencement Speech

May 20, 2014

Jill Abramson has delivered the commencement address at Wake Forest University in North Carolina, just days after she was fired as executive editor of The New York Times. Abramson was the first woman to hold the post and had reportedly complained about making less than her male predecessor. In her address, she discussed how she co-authored a book about Anita Hill, who testified about sexual harassment by then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas before an all-white, all-male Senate panel in 1991.

Jill Abramson: “The senators portrayed her as being, as one of her detractors so delicately put it, a little bit nutty and a little bit slutty. She turned that potential humiliation into a great career teaching at Brandeis University and writing books that tell truth to power. Anita was one of the many people who wrote me last week to say they are proud of me. Those messages are so appreciated.”

“Yes Men” Artist Unveils Fossil Fuel Divestment at Reed College in Commencement Prank

May 20, 2014

In a commencement address at Reed College in Oregon, speaker Igor Vamos announced the school’s decision to join a growing movement to divest from fossil fuels.

Igor Vamos: “I was very pleased to learn that the board of trustees of Reed College has just now decided to divest the school’s $500 million endowment from fossil fuels! … But what they’re doing with the money is what’s most interesting: They’re pulling the money from those industries, and they’re re-investing it in community-owned, renewable energy projects.”

The announcement received a standing ovation. The only catch is that Reed College has not actually divested from fossil fuels. The speaker, Reed alumni Igor Vamos, also known as Mike Bonanno, is a member of the culture jamming activist group The Yes Men, who was carrying out his latest political prank. The ruse involved a fake website and press release which fooled at least one news outlet. In a real statement, Reed College said its trustees are reviewing the student call for divestment.

OWS Activist Cecily McMillan Sentenced to 90 Days in Jail

May 20, 2014

Occupy Wall Street activist Cecily McMillan has been sentenced to 90 days in jail and five years of probation for elbowing a police officer during her arrest at a protest. McMillan has claimed she struck out instinctively when her breast was grabbed from behind. Nine of 12 jurors had written to the judge asking him not to sentence her to any time in prison. We will have more on the case later in the broadcast.

Utah Told to Honor Same-Sex Marriages; Ban Lifted in Oregon

May 20, 2014

In two victories for marriage equality, a federal judge has ordered Utah to recognize more than 1,000 unions that occurred before a stay was issued by the Supreme Court, while another judge has struck down Oregon’s ban on same-sex marriage. Couples began tying the knot in Oregon almost immediately after the ruling.

Historian, MLK Speechwriter Vincent Harding Dies at 82

May 20, 2014

The historian, author and civil rights activist Vincent Harding has died at the age of 82. He was a friend and speechwriter for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and co-wrote King’s famous antiwar address, “Beyond Vietnam.” Speaking on Democracy Now! in 2008, Harding talked about King’s vision.

Vincent Harding: “By the last years of his life, he was saying that America had to deal with three — what he called triple evils: the evil of racism, the evil of materialism and the evils of militarism. And he saw those three very much connected to each other.”

Harding died on Monday.

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