Obama challenges Miranda rights

Obama

The Obama administration has introduced new interrogation rules that allow investigators to keep terrorism suspects in detention for an extended time without informing them of their Miranda rights.

According to an FBI memo revealed by The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, interrogations are now allowed to be carried out without suspects being notified of their rights in order to “collect valuable and timely intelligence.”

The Miranda rights is a legal document that constitutionally obligate US law enforcement officers to read out to all criminal suspects before subjecting them to any interrogations.

Among other things, the document reminds individuals in custody of their right to remain silent and to have an attorney present during the interrogation.

President Barack Obama tried to alter the constitutionally mandated Miranda rights last year but was rebuffed by Congress. This time, Obama plans to effect the change administratively rather than through the legislative process in Congress.

The new policy is the latest in a series of controversial measures Obama has taken to limit the civil rights of American citizens and legal immigrants.

Despite criticizing the Bush administration for rights violations and its treatment of terrorist suspects, Obama has been embracing many of the same policies, in addition to new ones such as restricting the Miranda rights.

Recently, the Obama administration has also instituted official procedures for indefinitely detaining foreign suspects at the notorious Guantanamo Bay prison, barring them from access to any legal representations.

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US issues tsunami alert for pacific coast

Tsunami alert issued for the Pacific Coast

Following the 8.9 magnitude earthquake that hit the northeastern island of Honshu in Japan, the US has issued tsunami alerts along most of the Pacific Coast.

After tsunami alerts were issued for Japan, Russia, and the Maiana Islands, other locations along the Panific Coast, including Hawaii, Mexico, Chile, and Peru have also recieved alerts by a US tsunami warning agency.

The West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center said that a tsunami may strike Hawaii and the West Coast.

“With an earthquake of this size, we could definitely see some water on the West Coast,” said a watcher at the center, Cindy Preller.

Preller’s statement held that residents of the sparsely populated western Alaskan islands should evacuate beaches.

Japan’s earthquake struck about 382 kilometers (237 miles) northeast of Tokyo at 2:46 p.m. (05:46 GMT) on Friday.

Following the quake, a four meter tsunami has hit Japan’s Pacific coast.

Powerful waves hurled ships and cars into the Japanese port town. The meteorological agency has issued an alert for the evacuation of the entire coast, warning of a six-meter tsunami.

US issues tsunami alert for pacific coast

BREAKING NEWS

Following the 8.9 magnitude earthquake that hit the northeastern island of Honshu in Japan, the US has issued tsunami alerts along most of its Pacific Coast.

Hawaii, Mexico, Chile, Peru, and other locations along the Pacific coast are also on a tsunami alert, AFP reported.

The West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center said that a tsunami may strike Hawaii and the West Coast.

“With an earthquake of this size, we could definitely see some water on the West Coast,” said a watcher at the center, Cindy Preller.

Preller’s statenment held that residesnt of sparsely populated western Alaskan islands should evacuate beaches.

Japan’s earthquake struck about 382 kilometers (237 miles) northeast of Tokyo at 2:46 p.m. (05:46 GMT) on Friday.

Following the quake, a four meter tsunami has hit Japan’s Pacific coast.

US rally raps demonization of Islam

US Muslims protest outside the US Republican Congressman Peter King's office in New York City

American Muslims have staged a rally in New York to protest against a US politician’s planned congressional hearing on “radicalization” of Islam in the country.

An alliance of over 100 nonprofit and governmental institutes rallied on Sunday in the Time Square, and denounced the scheduled hearing proposed by US Republican Congressman Peter King as “racist” move aimed at demonizing Muslims, the Associated Press reported.

Demonstrators were carrying signs saying “Today I am a Muslim, too” as they listed to a speech by Feisal Abdul Rauf, a Muslim cleric, who has been one of the staunch supporters of plans to build a mosque near Ground Zero in New York City.

Another group held a rally in support of King’s hearing, which is slated for Thursday, March 10 in Washington.

King, who is also the chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, has defended the controversial hearing, saying the move is not aimed at tarnishing the image of the Muslim community and would mainly focus on what he has referred to as “radical Islam.”

However, human rights groups and civil libertarians have labeled the hearing as modern day McCarthyism, arguing that targeting a whole Muslim community in the name of security of the country is divisive and demonizing.

Fifty-one Muslim and non-Muslim organizations have called on the US Congress not to hold the hearing, which is the first in a series of hearings on Muslim’s role in the US.

According to the Islamic Society of North America, there are currently between 6 and 8 million Muslims in the country.

Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, many Muslims have been the subject to discrimination, hate crimes, and racial profiling.

Obama agrees on further budget cuts

The US President Barack Obama agrees on further spending cuts to end the threat of government shutdown

US President Barack Obama has decided to make further budget cuts as long as Congress compromises on a budget deal that would end the threat of a government shutdown.

“The US can’t do business two weeks at a time. It’s not responsible, and it threatens the progress our economy has been making,” Wall Street Journal quoted Obama in his weekly radio and Internet address on Saturday.

Meanwhile, the 50-billion-dollar cut offered by the White House and Democrats falls short of the 62-billion-dollar one suggested by the Republicans.

The US government is currently running under a temporarily budget law which expires on March 18. This would give more time to Congressional representatives to find common ground on funding the government through 2011 fiscal year.

This is while Obama has insisted to leave areas like education, innovation and infrastructure off the spending cut plan.

The contours of the budget bill have emerged at a time when rattled nerves in the state of Wisconsin are still jittery over the controversial plans pushed by Wisconsin Republican governor Scott Walker to curb the power of public sector unions.

Results of a New York Times/CBS News opinion poll show that the public support for the Republican governor is sharply shrinking, as 60 percent of people in Wisconsin say they are opposed to Walker’s decision to strip them of some collective bargaining rights from public unions.

Nurses go on strike in Los Angeles

Nurses go on strike in Los Angeles

Over a thousand American nurses have gone on a strike over unfair labor practices and their hospitals failure to protect patient care standards.

The nurses went on a 24-hour strike outside Kaiser Permanente’s Los Angeles Medical Center, asking the hospital to provide more staff to meet the patients’ demands, a Press TV correspondent reported.

Kaiser Permanente is one of the largest health care providers in the United States.

The protesters, however, say Kaiser is not meeting the staffing ratios necessary for safe and quality care.

They have also complained about the practice of “floating” nurses to different units that demand medical expertise they do not have.

According to the protesters, emergency patients were being transferred to other Kaiser hospitals, and some surgeries were moved to other facilities due to staff shortage.

The National Union of Healthcare Workers said it organized the strike after contract talks failed to resolve the issue of staff shortage.

Hospital administrator Mark Costa, however, denied the nurses’ accusations that the hospital was not meeting state standards for the number of nurses per patient.

He also said the hospital will welcome back the nurses to their jobs and that they will continue to negotiate with the nurses until they reach a fair and equitable contract.

The strike is the first major union action seen in California since the protests started in Madison, Wisconsin, more than two weeks ago.

US grants drilling permit in Gulf

US grants drilling permit in Gulf

The US has granted a new permit for deepwater oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico for the first time since last year’s BP oil spill disaster.

The Noble Energy has demonstrated that it could safely drill a well of 70 miles (113 km) off the Louisiana coast, a US official said in a statement.

The well is situated 6,500ft (1,981m) under the Gulf of Mexico, according to state-run BBC.

The US has approved 37 permits for shallow water drilling since new safety measures were put in place in June.

This is while the massive oil spill continues to impact the Gulf environment and economy.

“This permit represents a significant milestone for us and for the offshore oil and gas industry, and is an important step towards safely developing deepwater energy supplies offshore,” said Michael Bromwich, director of the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement.

“This permit was issued for one simple reason: the operator successfully demonstrated that it can drill its deepwater well safely and that it is capable of containing a subsea blowout if it were to occur.”

More than 100 million gallons of oil poured into the Mexican Gulf after the Deepwater Horizon offshore rig exploded, 50 miles (80 km) off the coast of Louisiana on April 20, 2010, killing 11 workers and causing the worst environmental disaster in US history.

The disaster hit the region’s fisheries and tourism industry from Louisiana to Florida.

In January, months after the US government declared the waters in the Gulf of Mexico safe, thick layers of oil were found along Louisiana coastal marshes, prompting local officials to accuse relevant authorities of cover-up.

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