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HeadlinesMarch 19, 2015

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Thousands March After Shooting Rampage at Tunisian Museum

Mar 19, 2015

A shooting rampage at Tunisia’s national museum has left 22 people dead — 20 foreign tourists and two Tunisians. Nearly 50 people were injured. The two gunmen began the attack by opening fire on tourists as they got off a bus and then chasing them inside the museum. The Bardo museum is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Tunis and is adjacent to the country’s Parliament building. The dead included residents of Japan, Italy, Colombia, Australia, France, Poland, Spain and Britain. It was the most serious attack in years in Tunisia, where the Arab Spring began in 2011. Thousands of Tunisians have marched in the streets to denounce the shooting. The Tunisian government has pledged to wage what it calls a “merciless war against terrorism.”

Report: U.S. May Stop Blocking U.N. Resolutions on Israeli-Palestinian Peace

Mar 19, 2015

The Obama administration has signaled a potential shift in its approach to Israel and Palestine following the re-election of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. On the eve of the vote, Netanyahu vowed to prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state and warned against a high turnout of Arab voters. In its first public response, the White House said it is “deeply concerned” about divisive rhetoric and “will evaluate our approach to this situation moving forward.” According to The New York Times, the Obama administration is considering backing a U.N. Security Council resolution calling for a two-state solution based on an Israeli withdrawal from the Occupied Territories. That would mean President Obama would be formally supporting official U.S. policy for the first time, after previously vetoing similar resolutions at the United Nations. A White House official said: “We are now in a reality where the Israeli government no longer supports direct negotiations. Therefore we clearly have to factor that into our decisions going forward.” On Wednesday, a spokesperson for U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon renewed calls on Israel to end the occupation.

Farhan Haq: “It’s incumbent on the new Israeli government, once formed, to create the conditions for a negotiated, final peace agreement with the active engagement of the international community that will end the Israeli occupation and realize the creation of a viable Palestinian state living in peace and security alongside Israel. This includes the cessation of illegal settlement building in the occupied Palestinian territory.”

Dozens Wounded in Clashes at Mass Anti-Austerity Protest in Germany

Mar 19, 2015

Dozens of people have been wounded in clashes surrounding Wednesday’s massive protest against austerity in Frankfurt, Germany. A crowd of around 10,000 people marched outside the new headquarters of the European Central Bank to oppose economic policies that force deep cuts to public spending and worsen unemployment. Around 14 officers and 21 protesters were injured after breakaway marchers clashed with police. Opposition to austerity has grown with the recent election of the Syriza party in Greece, which has challenged the terms of its international bailout. A spokesperson for rally organizer “Blockupy” said protesters are bringing Athens to Frankfurt.

Frederic Wester: “Today in Frankfurt, we have shown that there is huge anger and frustration about German crisis politics and the ECB’s policies, and that social injustice leads to social discontent, whether you like it or not. And in this sense, we can or must say: Athens has arrived in Frankfurt.”

Yemeni Journalist Close to Houthis Shot Dead in Sana’a

Mar 19, 2015

A prominent Yemeni journalist has been assassinated in the capital Sana’a. Abdul Kareem al-Khaiwani was reportedly shot dead near his home by gunmen riding a motorbike. Al-Khaiwani was also a well-known activist close to Yemen’s Houthi militia, which recently seized power.

Families of Missing Mexican Students to Campaign in U.S.

Mar 19, 2015

Parents and colleagues of 43 students missing for nearly six months in Guerrero, Mexico, are bringing their call for justice to the United States. The students’ families question the Mexican government’s claims local police under orders from the corrupt mayor of Iguala turned the students over to drug gang members, who killed and incinerated them. Only one student’s remains have been identified, and Mexican media reports have tied federal authorities to the attack. Three caravans will travel across the United States, converging on New York next month. Speaking at a news conference at the Mexican Consulate in New York, Felipe de la Cruz Sandoval, a professor at the Ayotzinapa teachers college, whose son survived the police attack, said the parents have a message for President Obama.

Felipe de la Cruz Sandoval: “We are here to tell [the U.S. government] that in Mexico we have been living for many years in an anti-democracy, in a criminal state, and as parents, we will not allow more impunity, and that if President Obama has human thoughts and feels the pain of the Mexican people, he should be reviewing the political relations and the agreements with Mexico, and that he should consider if a life is more important than a political and economic agreement on weapons with Mexico, because these weapons are being used to kill students in Mexico.”

White Supremacist Arrested After Arizona Shooting Spree

Mar 19, 2015

A known white supremacist has been arrested following a shooting spree Wednesday in Mesa, Arizona. A police spokesperson said one person was killed and five others were wounded before the suspect was detained.

Esteban Flores: “The suspect, who is — who we believe is responsible for the incident, has been taken into custody without major incident. He was tased during the in-custody. And at this time, we believe he is responsible for each and every one of these shootings. He was taken into custody in the 1700 block of West Emelita here in Mesa. Well, we do have one deceased. The other five have been treated at hospitals; one of them is in critical condition with, I believe, multiple gunshot wounds, and he is still being treated.”

The suspect has been identified as 41-year-old Ryan Elliott Giroux. The Southern Poverty Law Center says Giroux has belonged to skinhead and white supremacist groups.

Air Force Veteran Pleads Not Guilty to Allegations of Seeking to Join ISIS

Mar 19, 2015

A U.S. Air Force veteran has pleaded not guilty to charges of trying to assist the self-proclaimed Islamic State. Tairod Nathan Webster Pugh was indicted this week on charges of seeking to provide material support to ISIS and attempted obstruction of justice. Prosecutors say Pugh was caught trying to cross the border into Syria earlier this year.

Boxer: Industry Lobbyist Authored Chemical Safety Bill

Mar 19, 2015

The chemical industry’s top lobby group has reportedly drafted a chemical safety bill before Congress. The bill is sponsored by senators Tom Udall, a Democrat, and David Vitter, a Republican. But Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer says a digital copy she received proves the authorship of lobbyists. Information imbedded inside Microsoft Word shows the “company” of origin for the document is the American Chemistry Council.

Sen. Barbara Boxer: “Now, maybe I am old-fashioned, but I don’t believe that a regulated industry should be so intimately involved in writing a bill that regulates them. The voices of public health and safety organizations that speak for our citizens must be heard. Their views must not be drowned out by the very industry that is supposed to be regulated.”

VA Governor Seeks Probe After Bloody Arrest of African-American Student

Mar 19, 2015

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe is calling for a probe after a police arrest left a black University of Virginia student bloodied in the face. Charlottesville police say Martese Johnson has been charged with obstruction of justice without force and public swearing or intoxication. But the group Concerned Black Students said: “The brutish force used resulted in his head and bodily injuries. His treatment was unprovoked as he did not resist questioning or arrest.”

Video Shows Dallas Police Shooting Unarmed Mentally Ill African American

Mar 19, 2015

Newly emerged video footage shows Dallas, Texas, police fatally shooting a mentally ill African-American man at his home, six seconds after encountering him. Jason Harrison was reportedly shot dead in June after his mother called 911 to report she was worried about him, because he suffered from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Within two minutes of the officers’ arrival, Harrison had been fatally shot. In video released by the family, Harrison is seen standing in the doorway with a screwdriver. After he does not heed police orders to drop it, they open fire. Harrison was shot six times in the chest. As he was dying, a police officer can be heard asking if they should handcuff him.

Obama Admin Sets Secrecy Record for Withholding Documents

Mar 19, 2015

The Obama administration has set a new record for concealing information from the public. According to an Associated Press analysis, of the more than 700,000 requests for information last year, the government censored or denied access to information in more than 250,000 cases. In more than 215,000 others, it said it could not find the records. When the government was challenged over its withholding of information, in nearly one in three cases, it acknowledged the decision was improper. As the number of records requests increased, the administration slashed the number of full-time employees paid to look for records by 375, to its lowest number in five years. But White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters: “When it comes to our record on transparency, we have a lot to be proud of. And frankly, it sets a standard that future administrations will have to live up to.”

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