Tag Archives: Somali

News Day: What now, Norm? / Death in Somalia: Looking for answers / Carstarphen: Go slower / Wind industry layoffs / more

What now, Norm? Politics in Minnesota has gotten several answers to that question over the past few days. First, on June 4, came a report from Roll Call that Norm was willing to bow out if the MN Supreme Court rules against him. PIM thought that sounded unlikely, and, within hours, posted:
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News Day: Going up – domestic violence, tick populations / Going down: Auto dealers, Gang Strike Force / “Stagecoach from hell” / Tweet trouble / more

Domestic violence increase “off the charts” Looking at domestic violence, St. Paul police see an “an uptick off the charts,” and Dakota County’s Community Action Council reported a 37 percent increase in women seeking services for domestic abuse from 2007 to 2008, reports the PiPress. The increase in domestic violence is attributed, at least in part, to the economic recession.
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News Day: All T-Paw, all the time / Vampire pleads guilty / Trees coming down / Recession-proof industry / more

T-Paw signing off – in 2010 As Governor Pawlenty announced that he would not run for a third term as governor in 2010, it seemed that no other news could compete. Here’s the breakdown from Eric Black, who came away from the press conference with the message that “Tim Pawlenty loves God, his wife and kids, the troops and Minnesotans”, as well as the news that House Minority Leader Marty Seifert will run for guv, the PiPress gives a straightforward report,PIM looks at Pawlenty as a Big Mac, with “Secret sauce, secret seasonings. Same thing. Extraordinary tastes for extraordinary times,” but also provides a fact check on T-Paw’s claims of success, MinnPost on possible GOP gubernatorial candidates, and the Strib.
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News Day: GM in MN / Franken-Coleman blow-by-blow / Health care saga / more

MN GM dealers: Who’s going down? Minnesota has 149 GM dealers, reports MPR, and Tuesday they will learn which dealerships will be closed under GM bankruptcy proceedings. Thirty MN dealers had received earlier notice that GM would cut them, but now the company plans to close 40 percent of all its dealers nationwide, which could mean another 30 in Minnesota.
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News Day: CORRECTION / Unemployment up again / Here come the Feds / more

CORRECTION I summarized an article from AP and the Pioneer Press regarding a 14-state federal prosecution for “modern-day slavery” of immigrant workers. The article, and my summary, erroneously said that a Mankato roofer was implicated in the case. Here is the correction from the Pioneer Press:

A headline in Thursday’s Pioneer Press should not have said that a Mankato roofer was implicated in a labor scheme involving immigrant workers. In fact, Kato Roofing was a client of a labor-leasing company that has been indicted in relation with the scheme. But Kato Roofing has not been implicated or associated in any way with the federal investigation and Kato Roofing officials emphasize that they have done nothing wrong. The Pioneer Press apologizes for the error.

I also apologize for the error. And I thank Kato Roofing for furnishing a link to the PDF file of the federal indictment.

According to AP and the Pioneer press, the 45-count indictment includes 12 individuals and three companies, charging labor racketeering, forced labor trafficking and immigration violations. According to the indictment, the defendants secured fraudulent labor leasing contracts with clients in the hotel/resort, casino, and construction industries in the 14 states.

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News Day: Memorial Day

477px-Graves_at_Arlington_on_Memorial_DayOn Memorial Day, reports from several war zones around the world … and some responses to war.

Afghanistan After a four-day attack targeting the town of Marja in Helmand province, U.S. and Afghan forces claim to have killed 60 Taliban and seized 92 tons of drugs, according to BBC.

From Reuters, the voices of Afghan poets speak on the war:

We have heard these anecdotes
That control will be again in the hands of the killer
Some will be chanting the slogans of death
And some will be chanting the slogans of life
The white and sacred pages of the history
Remind one of some people
In white clothes, they are the snakes in the sleeves
They capture Kabul and they capture Baghdad.

Pakistan According to BBC, Pakistan government troops and Taliban are fighting in the streets of Mingora, the largest city in the Swat region. On Friday, a car bomb killed at least six people and injured 70 in the northwestern city of Peshawar.

Nigeria BBC In response to a 10-day army assault that has forced thousands of people from their homes, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) said it had attacked pipes for a Chevron facility. MEND says it wants a larger share of resources for people in the Niger Delta region. Chevron says it has shut down part of its output because of the attacks. The conflict between MEND and the army began in 2006.

Ken Saro-Wiwa Jr. writes in The Observer that “Now, at last, it’s time for Shell to atone for my father’s death.”

This week, a US court will hear a case that I and nine other plaintiffs filed against Royal Dutch Shell for its part in human rights violations committed against some Ogoni families and individuals in Nigeria in 1995. … Ken Saro-Wiwa’s real “crime” was his audacity to sensitise local and global public opinion to the ecological and human rights abuses perpetrated by Shell and a ruthless military dictatorship against the Ogoni people.

Somalia BBC Al-Shabab leader Sheik Husein Ali Fidow said a Somali teenager carried out a suicide bombing on Sunday, killing six soldiers and a civilian in the capital of Mogadishu

Colombia Colombia’s ELN rebels asked the larger FARC rebel gorup for a truce. “Both the Farc and the ELN have been fighting the Colombian government since the 1960s,” according to BBC.

Sudan Two Sudan army bases in or near Darfur have been seized over the past week, reports BBC, possibly by rebels from the Justice and Equality Movement (Jem), one of the competing rebel groups in Darfur.

Iraq Steve Carlson writes of “the awful sound of silence” about the impact of the Iraq war on Iraqi people:

But what are the people of Iraq facing? What must it be like to be a survivor of the Iraqi War? …

• The website Iraq Body Count has cross documented the violent deaths of between 90,000 to 100,000 Iraqi civilians since the 2003 American led invasion and occupation. Most experts agree that this number is, in all probability, significantly below the actual death toll.

• A study by researchers at Johns Hopkins estimated that as of July, 2006, the death toll had exceeded 600,000 people.

• A September 2007 study by the prestigious British polling firm Opinion Research Business, put the death toll at 1.2 million Iraqis.

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News Day: Shredding Strike Force docs / T-Paw: “Quit whining” / Ending “Season of Fear” / more

Picture 5Shredded documents at Gang Strike Force led to Strike Force commander Capt. Chris Omodt’s decision to padlock the doors ahead of schedule yesterday, reports the Strib.

Officers in the Metro Gang Strike Force shredded documents at its headquarters late Wednesday night, hours after the state Commissioner of Public Safety announced plans for an internal investigation after a government audit found that the Strike Force couldn’t account for $18,000 in seized cash and at least 13 vehicles.

After the shredded documents were found in dumpsters and garbage cans at the Strike Force’s Brooklyn Center headquarters, Omodt ordered an immediate closing. In an email obtained by the Strib, Omodt also reported that “someone apparently shut off a computer that records when someone enters the building with a security card,” and that Strike Force members had removed documents and personal property from the building.
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News Day: Looking for the (police) money / Red scare over? / Unemployment, full and partial / Hmong refugees camp closing / more

Where’s the money? “Minnesota Public Safety Commissioner Michael Campion told a legislative audit committee that he would temporarily shut down the Metro Gang Strike Force after a report showed poor financial practices,” reports reports The Uptake. The legislative auditor found that the Metro Gang Strike Force could not account for $18,126 of seized cash and at least 13 seized vehicles. According to MPR, the Metro Gang Strike Force includes 34 officers from 13 jurisdictions.

You mean they’re NOT socialists? Okay, it wasn’t a real, old-fashioned red scare, more like a modified pink scare, but some Republicans really, REALLY, wanted to “officially” call out the Democratic Party as socialist. But now, just as the slow news season approaches, TPM reports that the RNC has officially abandoned its “much-ridiculed proposal to call for the Democratic Party to change its name to the ‘Democrat Socialist Party.'” One of the sponsors of the proposal said they had succeeded by alerting Americans to the “socialist agenda” so that they could be “properly fearful.”

Unemployment, full and partial If your hours are cut, apply for unemployment benefits. That’s the advice from the Department of Employment and Economic Development, reports MPR. You might not qualify for benefits – rules are complicated. But you might qualify. And, yes, unpaid time off and furloughs are layoffs. And here’s another angle:

Her daughter’s hours were cut last November. And she hasn’t applied for unemployment. And that will cost her. The base benefit amount is calculated on income earned during the first four of the last five calendar quarters.

If she were to file now, one of those calendar quarters is part-time work, is only 20 hours a week instead of the 32 hours a week she had been working. So her base amount is much lower than had she known that and been able to file right away.

Complicated? You bet – so if you are losing hours or days of paid work, consult someone at the unemployment office about what applying now will do for your eligibility and payment level, now and in the future.

Meanwhile, national unemployment continues to climb. NPR reports that new claims are down slightly this week, but total unemployment, at 6.7 million, sets a record high for the sixteenth straight week. New claims were at 631,000 this week, up from a low of 605,000 earlier this month but still lower than late March’s record 674,000.

Hmong refugee camp closing Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) is pulling out of a Hmong refugee camp in Thailand, effectively closing the camp, according to BBC. The camp still houses 5,000 Hmong asylum seekers, whom the Thai government calls economic refugees. According to MSF head of mission Gilles Isard:

“More and more, the Thai army is trying to use coercive measure to force the people to return to Laos. Also they are pressuring MSF.

“For instance they have been trying to demand MSF stop providing food distribution to the people in order to punish them.”

Officer testifies in Fong Lee trial Officer Jason Anderson testified in the second day of the Fong Lee trial, maintaining that when he shot the teenager, Lee had a gun. Anderson acknowledged that he could not see a gun in the photos from surveillance cameras that captured parts of the police chase, reports the PiPress.

Warsame pleads guilty After five years in solitary confinement, Mohammed Abdullah Warsame pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiring to support al-Qaida. Warsame is a Canadian citizen of Somali descent who was living in Minnesota when arrested. He had traveled to Pakistan and Afghanistan in 2000, and attended what are described as al-Qaida training camps before returning to Toronto in April 2001 and to his family here in 2002. Under the plea agreement, all other charges were dropped. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for July 5. NPR reports that Warsame’s attorney said his client pleaded guilty because that reduces the maximum prison time from 30 years to 12 1/2 years. He has also agreed to be deported to Canada after sentencing.

World/National headlines

Torture ties closer to Bush, Cheney Before the Justice Department memos, CIA officials engaging in torture were sending daily memos and getting daily approval from then-White House counsel Alberto Gonzales, reports NPR.

“At the very least, it’s clear that CIA headquarters was choreographing what was going on at the black site,” says Jameel Jaffer, the ACLU lawyer who sued to get the document. “But there’s still this question about the relationship between CIA headquarters and the White House and the Justice Department and the question of which senior officials were driving this process.”

Hold that interest rate New credit card regulations passed by Congress, as described by NPR, would:

• prohibit card companies from raising interest rates on existing balances unless the borrower is at least 60 days late paying a bill;
• require restoration of the original rate if the cardholder pays on time for the following six months;
• mandate that card issuers apply payments to the debts with the highest interest rates first, on cards with more than one interest rate;
• give 45 days notice before increasing rates on future purchases;
• bar fees for paying by phone, mail, or electronic transfer, “except when it requires someone’s help to expedite the payment;”
• places some restrictions on aggressive marketing of credit cards to people under 21;
• bans double cycle billing and delayed crediting of payments.

Also in the bill – a provision allowing the carrying of loaded weapons in national parks. That provision comes courtesy of the National Rifle Association, in a show of its power over Congress. Though supporters of the credit card reform wanted nothing to do with the gun law, they had to agree or send the credit card bill back to the starting gate.

Diplomats barred from Aung San Suu Kyi trial Diplomats were allowed to attend the closed trial of Nobel Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi for a single day, but then barred again. She is charged with breaking the terms of her house arrest, after a US man swam across a lake to her home, where she has been held under house arrest for 13 of the past 19 years. Her latest house arrest was scheduled to end May 27, and the current trial is seen as a way to extend some kind of imprisonement of the ailing opposition leader past the 2010 elections scheduled by the military dictatorship. Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party won the 1990 elections, but was never allowed to take office.

War Report

Iraq At least 34 people were killed and 72 injured by a car bomb in Baghdad, reports BBC. The bomb went off in a poor, mostly Shia, neighborhood, adding to fears of increasing sectarian violence as the U.S. prepares to pull out. Although the final pullout date is not until August 2010, the agreement between Iraqi and U.S. governments calls for earlier stages of withdrawal from civilian areas.

Somalia Somalia’s neighbors, acting in concert in the Igad group, have called for an air and sea blockade to prevent arms from being supplied to the Al-Shabab rebels, and to prevent the entry of more foreign fighters, reports BBC.

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News Day: Veto forecast / Charter school in trouble / New car rules / more

Even without the legislature in session, the forecast for Minnesota is high winds and lots of heat today.

T-Paw QOTD “The legislators are gone away and they are not coming back.”
Health care, bullying, transportation More end-of-session news: Pawlenty plan is recipe for massive job losses from Workday Minnesota, and Pawlenty talks unallotment, veto plans from Session Daily. Getting down to specifics:
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News Day: Minnesota’s midnight madness / MN Job Watch / NYT and plagiarism / more

Midnight madness Just moments before midnight, the legislature passed a new tax bill, but it faces certain veto by the governor, MinnPost reports. Governor Tim Pawlenty claimed that he offered a “choice” to DFLers in the legislature, which came down to: you can keep me from making unilateral cuts by agreeing to those cuts, which would make them … not unilateral. Or, as Sen. Tarryl Clark put it: “He left us with two choices. We could do it his way or he would do it his way.’’

In other action during the closing days of the session:
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