NEWS DAY | Ted Kennedy / Mpls Council vs. Park Board / Strike Force hearings / RNC

581px-Ted_Kennedy,_official_photo_portraitTed Kennedy dies “For five decades, virtually every major piece of legislation to advance the civil rights, health and economic well-being of the American people bore his name and resulted from his efforts,” said President Obama, in a statement expressing loss and sorrow on the death of Senator Ted Kennedy. “An important chapter in our history has come to an end. Our country has lost a great leader, who picked up the torch of his fallen brothers and became the greatest United States Senator of our time.” Kennedy died at the age of 77, after a battle with brain cancer.

The “Liberal Lion of the Senate” served Massachusetts and the nation since 1962. His leadership in the current battle for health care reform was the last in a long line of progressive causes he championed, beginning with civil rights, anti-poverty legislation and Medicare in the 1960s, described here by NPR. His was one of the few voices in the Senate that vigorously opposed the 2003 war in Iraq.

The Kennedy family issued a statement on his death: “We’ve lost the irreplaceable center of our family and joyous light in our lives, but the inspiration of his faith, optimism, and perseverance will live on in our hearts forever. He loved this country and devoted his life to serving it. He always believed that our best days were still ahead, but it’s hard to imagine any of them without him.”

City Council vs. Park Board Although the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board collected enough signatures to get its proposal for more independence and taxing authority on the November ballot, the Minneapolis city council may refuse to allow a vote. The charter commission will send the proposal to the city council today. According to the Star Tribune, unnamed council members are “irked” at the Park Board’s try for greater independence, and have obtained a city attorney opinion saying that the council has the right to prevent a November 3 vote on the question. Park Board backers disagree.

The proposal’s supporters have offered the council a letter from University of Minnesota Prof. Fred L. Morrison, a specialist in local government law, arguing that the council has a duty to put the charter amendment to the voters. Morrison said the Legislature has authorized charter commissions to create any scheme of local government not inconsistent with the state Constitution.

Gang Strike Force IDs, hearing Responding to a request by St. Paul Police Chief John Harrington, Andy Luger, chair of a state investigative panel, said he would meet with local police authorities next week to give them information on the identity of officers accused by the panel of criminal activity, reports the Star Tribune. The Star Tribune, citing “a source close to the investigation,” said that the 10-12 officers come from Minneapolis, St. Paul, Ramsey County and possibly one suburban department.

This afternoon, a joint hearing by four legislative committees will review the panel’s report and hear from Luger and public officials who have investigated the Metro Gang Strike Force. The hearing is scheduled to be carried live on the Senate television channel,, at 2:00 p.m.

RNC arrests, one year later One year later, the TC Daily Planet offers a scorecard detailing what happened to all of the 856 RNC-related arrests. Unsurprisingly, more than 600 cases were dismissed or declined by prosecutors, while a handful, including the RNC 8, still awaiting trial. To date, five people have been found guilty after trials. Some others have either pleaded guilty or agreed to pay a fine or do community service and have the case continued for dismissal after a year.

The RNC 8 trial date has not yet been set, and the scheduling conference set for August 19 was postponed, with no new date set as of yet.

World/National News

Honduras An Organisation of American States delegation – consisting of foreign ministers from Argentina, Canada, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama and the Dominican Republic – failed to persuade the de facto coup government in Honduras to make any concessions, reports BBC. Instead, the ruling officials said they will proceed with an election in November, without allowing President Manuel Zelaya, ousted June 28, to return to the country. While BBC recognized Zelaya as a right-wing politico when he was elected in 2005, since the coup he has been reclassified as “Left-wing President Manuel Zelaya.”

War Report

Afghanistan Car bombs in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar killed more 41 people yesterday, reports NPR. At least 66 people were wounded, and the death toll could rise higher. The bombs were detonated near a foreign-owned construction company, according to NPR, and near the city government offices, according to BBC.

CIA Reports Want to read the recently released CIA reports for yourself? Just click here to see the PDF documents, courtesy of NPR:

The 2004 Document (PDF)
The 2006 Memo (PDF) on overseas prisons
The 2007 Reply (PDF).
The 2005 Report (PDF).

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