Friday News: May 24, 2013

  • As expected yesterday, U.S. President Barack Obama announced that he would end the CIA’s participation in the drone program, suggesting that he would urge judicial or other oversight in order to approve assassinations by drones. Human rights campaigners, however, are critical of the premise that the United States will still maintain, as official policy, what some are calling “kill courts.”
  • Wired is reporting that the U.S. is planning to launch eight miniature satellites in September, which will be used to assist Special Operations forces to track suspects globally in places where it has had difficulty doing so.
  • A member of the imprisoned Russian protest punk group Pussy Riot has begun a hunger strike. Maria Alyokhina, who was sentenced to two years in prison for performing a song critical of Russian President Vladimir Putin at an orthodox cathedral last year, began the strike after she was barred from attending a parole hearing in person. Alyokhina and band mate Nadezhda Tolokonnikova remain in prison. Yekaterina Samutsevich, a third member of the group, was released last October.
  • An I-5 bridge near Mt. Vernon, Washington collapsed yesterday, sending cars plummeting into the Skagit River. Three people were injured and there were no deaths.
  • Riots in Stockholm, Sweden continued for a fifth night last night, as youths burned buildings and cars in largely immirant-populated suburbs. Similar to, though less intense than, the Paris riots of 2005 and the London riots of 2011, the unrest in Stockholm was precipitated by police violence. Stockholm police shot and killed a man alleged to be holding a knife at his his home.
  • Anti-work anarchist publishers Crimethinc has a new episode of their bi-monthly podcast out.
  • Protesters in Bristol, Virginia locked down to an industrial-sized barrel of dirty water in front of mining firm Alpha Natural Resources, in an effort to highlight the waste from mountaintop removal runoff that contaminates streams and to urge Alpha against expanding their operations further.
  • Web tabloid Gawker has been raising money to purchase a video tape that reportedly shows Toronto, Ontario mayor Rob Ford smoking crack. The site has started a crowdfunded “crackstarter” to meet the $200,000 price for the tape, as demanded by the owners. The site may have shot itself in the foot, however; publicizing the existence of such a high-value piece of footage has apparently made their contacts with the tape hard to find.
  • The New York Times reports that, in a sign of Wall Street’s “resurgent” (!!), political strength, financial industry lobbyists are drafting legislation for Congress. Well one, as far as we know, Wall Street never substantially suffered a loss of influence, being allowed to settle any time they have faced serious criminal penalties and eviscerating any attempt to substantially regulate their trade. Two, Wall Street has been lobbying like a boss for so long, how is it news that they co-author bills?
  • Louisiana Senator Joe Vitter proposed kicking anyone ever convicted of a violent felony off of food stamps; Democrats were cool with that and sent that shit, part of the farm bill currently under debate, to the House. News flash: both parties hate poor people.
  • A cop in New Jersey has been charged with attempted murder after allegedly firebombing the home of his captain.


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