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The 411 Last Updated: Nov 30th, 2012 - 16:25:00

Court Reviews Rights Laws
By the SB Crew, Compiled With Dispatches from
Oct 4, 2012, 11:51

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Supreme Court Returns to a Docket Heavy on Rights Issues
The Supreme Court opens its 2012-2013 term with a landmark case to decide whether survivors of human rights violations in foreign countries can bring lawsuits against corporations in U.S. courts. The case centers on a lawsuit that accuses the oil giant Shell’s parent company, Royal Dutch Petroleum, of complicity in the murder and torture of Nigerian activists. In 1995, nine Nigerian activists, including Ken Saro-Wiwa, were executed by the Nigerian military government for protesting Shell’s exploration and development in the Niger Delta. The families of seven of the Nigerians killed are seeking to hold Shell liable under a 1789 U.S. law called the Alien Tort Statute. A separate suit involving Ken Saro-Wiwa’s family was settled in 2009, when Shell agreed to pay $15.5 million.Some legal analysts are comparing this case, Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum, to the landmark campaign finance ruling in Citizens United. In 2010, the Supreme Court ruled corporations have broad rights under the First Amendment and can directly fund political campaigns. The court is now being asked to decide if corporations have the same responsibilities as individuals for violations of international law. The court’s ruling will also impact numerous other human rights cases being heard by lower courts. We’re joined in New York by Baher Azmy, the legal director of the Center for Constitutional Rights

The Supreme Court’s new term is expected to see cases on a number of important and highly contentious issues. The last session was defined by a single case, the Affordable Care Act, President Obama’s signature bill, which was upheld by a 5-4 vote and cleared the way for the largest revamp of America’s healthcare system since the 1960s. In the new term, the court is expected to hear cases on a number of important and highly contentious issues ranging from affirmative action and same-sex marriage to corporate accountability for international human rights violations and voting rights.

Nan Aron, president of Alliance for Justice: For the moment, campaign finance litigation is being held on the side. I think until we have a change in the composition of the court, Citizens United will continue to be the law of the land.

But going to this term, this term is—there is a huge look and consideration of civil rights in this country, and we’ve got some blockbuster cases being heard by the Supreme Court. One of those cases involves affirmative action. Abigail Fisher applied to the University of Texas and was denied admission. That university has a policy of allowing the top 10 percent academic performers to be automatically eligible to go into the class. And for the remainder, a percentage of the remainder, race is one of the criteria. Fisher is suing because she was denied admission. And that case will really decide, I think, the future of racial preferences in this country. That’s one of the leading cases being heard.

Voting rights, a challenge to the Voting Rights Act. This is our most critically important civil rights statute probably ever enacted in this country. The court may accept a challenge to this statute. This is a statute enacted in law in 1965, renewed four years, as recently as 2006 by an overwhelming number of Democratic and Republican members of Congress. And there are some who basically want to gut the Voting Rights Act.

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Upholds Execution Stay for Sexual Abuse Victim
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has upheld the stay of execution granted to a death row prisoner convicted of murdering his sexual abuser. Terrance "Terry" Williams was scheduled to be executed this week for the 1984 murder of Amos Norwood. Norwood had sexually abused Williams over a number of years up until the night before Williams took revenge by ending Norwood’s life. But last week, a state court halted the execution and ordered a new sentencing hearing over evidence prosecutors had withheld evidence of Norwood’s molestation of Williams and other minors. Williams was convicted based on the prosecution’s contention that he had been trying to rob Norwood before the murder, not seeking revenge for sexual abuse. Prosecutors had challenged that ruling, but on Wednesday Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court affirmed the stay. In a statement, Williams attorney Shawn Nolan said: "The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office should stop its pursuit to execute Terry Williams. The time has now come for them to heed the call from the victim’s widow, jurors, child advocates, victim’s rights advocates, and over 380,000 [petitioners] who do not want Terry executed."

Pennsylvania Judge Strikes Down Voter ID Law A Pennsylvania judge has struck down the state’s election law requiring voters to show photo identification. Pennsylvania’s law allowed voting only to those who could produce a state driver’s license, government employee ID or a state non-driver ID card. But on Tuesday, Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson ruled the state does not have enough time to adequately provide ID to all those who need it in time for the November 6 election. The law was among the strictest to pass as part of a nationwide effort critics say is aimed at disenfranchising lower-income residents and people of color, who tend to vote Democratic. After its passage earlier this year, Pennsylvania’s Republican House Majority Leader, Mike Turzai, had predicted the law would help Romney win the state. Although the law won’t take effect now, Tuesday’s ruling does pave the way for its use in future elections.

Mississippi Won’t Enforce ID Law Before Election Mississippi announced on Tuesday it will not enforce its law requiring photo identification at the polls. The law was put on hold after the Justice Department demanded proof the measure would not violate the Voting Rights Act.

Early Voting Begins in Ohio
Early voting has begun in the battleground state of Ohio, with some voters camping out overnight in order to cast their ballots. Ohio is the seventh state to begin early voting along with Idaho, South Dakota, Vermont, Wyoming, Iowa and Nebraska.

Chicago Teachers Ratify Agreement Ending Strike
Public school teachers in Chicago have voted to ratify the agreement that ended their historic strike last month. The deal calls for a double-digit salary increase over the next three years, as well as compromises over the contentious issues of teacher evaluations and job security. The ratification vote officially ends the strike, the first by Chicago teachers in 25 years.

NYC Prosecutors Stop "Stop and Frisk" Cases in Bronx Public Housing
New York prosecutors have dealt a major blow to the New York City Police Department’s controversial "stop-and-frisk" policy by refusing to prosecute those arrested for trespassing at Bronx public housing projects unless the arresting officer submits to an interview. The change was adopted in July after prosecutors found many of those arrested for trespassing at public housing projects were tenants of the buildings or invited guests who were wrongfully arrested. Officials found police had provided written statements indicating people were guilty of trespassing, even though they later turned out to be innocent. The new policy appears to have had an impact in the Bronx, where trespass arrests to date have fallen more than 38 percent compared to last year. Previous data on the NYPD’s "stop-and-frisk" policy has shown African-American and Latino men make up a hugely disproportionate share of those stopped by police.

U.S. Considering Military Strikes in North Africa
The Obama administration is reportedly considering whether to begin unilateral military strikes on alleged al-Qaeda targets in North Africa. The Washington Post reports the deliberations center around concern over al-Qaeda gains in Mali as well as its acquisition of weapons from post-Gaddafi Libya. As part of its efforts in North Africa, the U.S. has launched secret intelligence operations, including the use of civilian aircraft to conduct surveillance over the Sahara Desert and the Sahel region.

U.S. Army Tested Chemicals on Cities, Low-Income Residents
Newly disclosed documents have revealed details on how the U.S. military carried out testing of chemicals on major U.S. cities during the 1950s and 1960s. Sociologist Lisa Martino-Taylor of St. Louis Community College says zinc cadmium sulfide was sprayed in several cities without residents’ knowledge. The most densely sprayed area appears to have been a housing complex for low-income people in St. Louis.

Lisa Martino-Taylor: "It was pretty shocking, the level of duplicity and secrecy. Clearly they went to great lengths to deceive people. There’s a lot of evidence that indicates that people in St. Louis in the city, particularly in minority communities, were subjected to military tests that was connected to a larger radiological weapons development and testing project."

UC Davis Reaches $1 Million Settlement over Pepper-Spraying of Student Protesters
The University of California has reached a $1 million settlement with 21 protesters at UC Davis who were pepper-sprayed at a student demonstration last November. The incident sparked a nationwide outcry after video was posted online showing a campus police lieutenant repeatedly pepper-spraying students in the face from only a few feet away as they sat on the ground. The settlement includes a $30,000 payout to each of those who were sprayed, attorneys’ fees, and a formal apology from UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi.

Exposed: U.S. May Have Designated Julian Assange and WikiLeaks an "Enemy of the State"
Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange may have been designated an "enemy of the state" by the United States. U.S. Air Force counterintelligence documents show military personnel who contact WikiLeaks or its supporters may be at risk of being charged with "communicating with the enemy" — a military crime that carries a maximum sentence of death.

Speaking via videolink from the Ecuadorean embassy in London, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange addressed a side meeting of the U.N. General Assembly on September 26. In his remarks, Assange gave thanks to the United Nations for its treaties on political asylum and denounced the U.S. treatment of alleged Army whistleblower Bradley Manning. Assange also accused President Obama of exploiting the Arab Spring and called on the end its persecution of WikiLeaks and its supporters.

The United States of ALEC: Bill Moyers on the Secretive Corporate-Legislative Body Writing Our Laws
Democracy Now! premieres "The United States of ALEC," a special report by legendary journalist Bill Moyers on how the secretive American Legislative Exchange Council has helped corporate America propose and even draft legislation for states across the country. ALEC brings together major U.S. corporations and right-wing legislators to craft and vote on "model" bills behind closed doors. It has come under increasing scrutiny for its role in promoting "stand your ground" gun laws, voter suppression bills, union-busting policies and other controversial legislation. Although billing itself as a "nonpartisan public-private partnership," ALEC is actually a national network of state politicians and powerful corporations principally concerned with increasing corporate profits without public scrutiny. Moyers’ special will air this weekend on Moyers & Company, but first airs on Democracy Now! today. "The United States of ALEC" is a collaboration between Okapi Productions, LLC and the Schumann Media Center

GOP Cuts Ties with Firm Linked to Voter Fraud
The Republican National Committee has reportedly ended its bid to register new voters in key states ahead of the November election after a company hired to run its registration effort was accused of systematic voter fraud. Election officials in at least nine Florida counties have reported questionable voter registration forms submitted by the right-wing firm Strategic Allied Consulting. The Republican National Committee has canceled its contract with the firm, which was reportedly the only vendor it had hired to register voters. Despite a reported history of similar accusations against founder Nathan Sproul, Republicans had paid the firm millions of dollars, including more than $1.3 million in Florida.Obama,

Romney Face Off in 1st Presidential Debate
In the first presidential debate, even President Obama's supporters say he didn't address forcefully Mitt Romney's many weaknesses.
President Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney squared off in Denver on Oct. 3 in the first of three presidential debates. Trailing Obama in the polls of several battleground states, Romney sought to rejuvenate his campaign with a spirited attack on what he called President Obama’s policies of "trickle-down government."

Mitt Romney: "I’m concerned that the path that we are on has just been unsuccessful. The President has a view very similar to the view he had when he ran four years go, that a bigger government, spending more, taxing more, regulating more, if you will, trickle-down government would work. That’s not the right answer for America. I will restore the vitality that gets America working again."

President Obama was more subdued in his comments, failing to make one mention of Romney’s infamous "47 percent" comments and his background at Bain Capital. Addressing Romney’s tax plan, Obama said Romney’s effort to cut taxes for the wealthy would lead to the gutting of essential government programs.

President Obama: "Well, for 18 months, he has been running on this tax plan and now five weeks before the election, he is saying that his big, bold idea is never mind, and the fact is that if you are lowering the rates the way you describe, governor, then it is not possible to come up with enough deductions and loopholes that only affect high-income individuals to avoid either raising the deficit or burdening the middle class. It’s math, it’s arithmetic."

Presidential Debates Governed by Private Corporation
The Commission on Presidential debates sounds like a government agency, it sounds like a nonpartisan entity. But, in reality, it is a private corporation financed by Anheuser-Busch and other major companies, that was created by the Republican and Democratic parties to seize control of the presidential debates from The League of Women Voters in 1987. Every four years, this commission allows the major party campaigns to meet behind closed doors and draft a secret contract, a memorandum of understanding that dictates many of the terms. The reason for the commission’s creation is that the previous sponsor, The League of Women voters, was a genuine non-partisan entity, our voice, the voice of the American people in the negotiation room, and time and time again, The League had the courage to stand up to the Republican and Democratic campaigns to insist on challenging creative formats, to insist on the inclusion of independent candidates that the vast majority of American people wanted to see, and most importantly, to insist on transparency, so that any attempts by the Republican and Democratic parties to manipulate the presidential debates would result in and of enormous political price.

Romney in 1985 Video: Bain’s Goal is to "Harvest" Companies for Profit
A new video has raised questions about Mitt Romney’s repeated claims on the campaign trial that his business background would help him create jobs as president. The video released by the magazine Mother Jones shows Romney in a 1985 address describing the mission of Bain Capital, the private equity firm he co-founded and formerly ran, saying Bain’s goal is to "harvest" companies for profit.

Mitt Romney: "Bain Capital is an investment partnership which was formed to invest in start-up companies and ongoing companies, then to take an active hand in managing them, and hopefully, five to eight years later, to harvest them at a significant profit."

Ryan: 30 Percent Want to Live Off "Welfare State" Also, New video has surfaced of Paul Ryan making a class-based assessment of the American population similar to Mitt Romney’s infamous "47 percent" comments that emerged last month. In a speech delivered last November, Ryan said 30 percent of Americans want to live off of the government.

Rep. Paul Ryan: "Today, 70 percent of Americans get more benefits from the federal government in dollar value than they pay back in taxes. So you could argue that we’re already past that [moral] tipping point. The good news is survey after survey, poll after poll, still shows that we are a center-right 70-30 country. Seventy percent of Americans want the American dream. They believe in the American idea. Only 30 percent want their welfare state. What that tells us is at least half of those people who are currently in that category are there not of their wish or their will."

"Bainport" Workers Block Removal of Factory Equipment
Workers at a Freeport, Illinois, factory set for closure by Bain Capital have begun blockades to stop the removal of equipment from their workplace. Workers at Sensata Technologies have set up a three-week encampment called "Bainport" across the street from the facility to protest plans to close the plant and move it to China, taking 170 jobs with it. Sensata is owned by Bain Capital, the private equity firm co-founded by Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. The workers say they plan to continue the blockades of trucks removing their equipment.

Wrongfully-Detained Muslim-American Wins Right to Trial
A Muslim-American man who was wrongfully detained after the 9/11 attacks has won the right to be tried. Abdullah al-Kidd was jailed for 15 nights under the federal material witness statute before being released. During his ordeal he was repeatedly strip searched and left naked in his cell. A federal appeals court later ruled then-Attorney General John Ashcroft circumvented the Constitution after the 9/11 attacks to hold al-Kidd and other innocent men without charge. On Friday, a federal judge ruled al-Kidd was wrongly imprisoned and is entitled to challenge the government’s misuse of the law in court.

Months After Aurora Massacre, University of Colorado Sparks Fear, Outrage by Allowing Concealed Guns For the first time in 40 years, the University of Colorado is allowing students with concealed-carry weapons permits to keep guns at some off-campus housing. The decision was made in accordance with the state Supreme Court’s ruling in March that found the university’s gun ban violated a 2003 state law allowing concealed firearms. It comes just months after former University of Colorado graduate student James Holmes shot dead 12 people at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado

Seeking Living Wage and Humane Conditions, Immokalee Workers Bring Fair Food Struggle to Chipotle
Members of the Florida-based Coalition of Immokalee Workers are urging the fast-food giant Chipotle to sign on to a fair food program already agreed to by McDonalds and Burger King. The Denver-based Chipotle has refused to sign a contract that would ensure a living wage and humane conditions for workers who pick the tomatoes it purchases. This weekend, the Immokalee workers will target a festival in Denver that is promoted by Chipotle, that features music, food, chefs and local farmers — but no farm workers.

Minneapolis Shooting Spree Leaves 5 Dead, Including Gunman
A gunman opened fire Sept. 27 inside a Minneapolis sign-making business, killing four people and wounding several others before turning the gun on himself. Three others were critically wounded. There are reports the shooter was a former employee of the business who had been laid off earlier in the day. The tragedy follows a rash of other mass shootings in the U.S. this year and is the latest act of violence involving a shooter with reported financial difficulties. The laid-off employee who killed a former co-worker outside the Empire State Building in New York City last month was reportedly facing eviction. Two weeks before that, a man in College Station, Texas, opened fire on a constable bringing him an eviction notice, killing two people before being fatally shot by police. Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak spoke after Thursday’s shootings.

Mayor R.T. Rybak: "We are deeply, deeply sorry about what has happened here. The employees are together and are being cared for, and the neighborhood, as I mentioned, is secure and will be returning to relative calm. But obviously we will have a horrible crime scene that we’ll be dealing with over time."

Report: Payments to Settle Fraud by U.S. Drugmakers Have Doubled in 2012
A new report finds U.S. drugmakers have paid $6.6 billion in penalties and fees to settle fraud allegations this year, already doubling what they paid last year. The advocacy group Public Citizen said the increased fees and penalties are still not enough to make a dent in drug company profits or to curb alleged behavior, ranging from overcharging Medicare to encouraging the prescription of drugs for unsanctioned uses. In July, GlaxoSmithKline settled for a record $3 billion over fraud charges, including allegations it failed to report key safety data on a diabetes drug linked to heart risks.

Goldman Sachs Reaches $12 Million Settlement over SEC Charges
Financial firm Goldman Sachs has agreed to pay nearly $12 million to settle civil charges one of its executives gave campaign services to a Massachusetts public official in exchange for business. The Securities and Exchange Commission said former Goldman Vice President Neil M.M. Morrison used company resources to campaign for Massachusetts Treasurer Timothy Cahill, who made an unsuccessful bid for governor in 2010. Goldman failed to report the activities and went on to earn more than $7.5 million from the state’s bond deals.

EPA Proposes Tough New Standards for Asbestos Cleanup
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is proposing tough new standards for federal cleanup of the toxic material asbestos in a move that could impact contaminated sites across the country. The proposal relates to the mining town of Libby, Montana, where hundreds died after breathing asbestos dust from the mining of vermiculite, a mineral used in insulation, fireproofing material and other products. Cleanup efforts in Libby are still underway and have cost nearly $450 million over more than a decade. The EPA’s new standard for asbestos is 5,000 times stricter than the one used for earlier cleanups.

Study: Student Debt Reaches Record High with 1 in 5 U.S. Households Affected
New research shows student debt has reached a record high in the United States, with nearly one in five households now burdened by debt from college loans. According to the Pew Research Center, the number of households with college debt doubled from 1989 to 2010 and jumped 15 percent over just three years from 2007 to 2010. Researchers found the poor are most heavily burdened by college debt, with student loans consuming nearly a quarter of household income for the poorest 20 percent of Americans.

More International News
As U.S. Death Toll in Afghanistan Passes 2,000 Mark, Phyllis Bennis on America’s Longest War

The official U.S. military death toll in Afghanistan has just passed the 2,000 mark. On Oct. 1, a suicide bomber wearing an Afghan army uniform killed 14 people, including three U.S. soldiers, in the eastern province of Khost. Amidst a spate of attacks by Afghan troops on NATO forces, NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen has revealed Western forces may withdraw from Afghanistan sooner than expected. In addition, the New York Times reports the United States has all but written off hopes of working out a peace deal with the Taliban.

Meanwhile, the head of NATO has revealed Western forces may withdraw from Afghanistan sooner than expected. In an interview with The Guardian newspaper, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen admitted the killings of almost 50 allied troops this year by Afghan security forces has damaged the relationship between the international forces and the Afghan police and military. In addition, the New York Times reports the United States has all but written off hopes of working out a peace deal with the Taliban.

D.C. Protesters Mark Occupy Anniversary

Demonstrators rallied in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 1 to mark the first anniversary of the city’s Occupy movement. Occupy protesters camped out in D.C.'s Freedom Plaza after the initial Occupy Wall Street protest sprung up in Manhattan's Zuccotti Park last fall. On Monday, Occupy protesters marched through the streets, blocked traffic and protested at the offices of lobbyists and corporations.

Wal-Mart Protesters Detained in Support of Striking Workers
Police in riot gear arrested at least 17 protesters who sat down in the middle of a road leading to a Wal-Mart warehouse in Elwood, Illinois, on Monday in a bid to support striking workers. The arrests were made after some 600 people sang, chanted and marched toward the warehouse, which is run by a contractor but supplies Wal-Mart stores. Warehouse workers went on strike more than two weeks ago amidst allegations of sexual harassment, dangerous working conditions, unpaid wages and retaliation against organizers. Managers reportedly fired several leaders and threatened others after they delivered a petition. The strike in Illinois follows another strike by some three dozen workers at a Wal-Mart supply warehouse in Southern California who have also pushed for fairer workplace conditions.

New York Files $20B Fraud Suit Against JPMorgan Chase
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has filed a lawsuit against JPMorgan Chase for alleged fraud in mortgage-backed securities issued by Bear Stearns. Schneiderman says investors were defrauded around $20 billion in buying packages of pooled mortgages and loans. Bear Stearns issued the securities before being acquired by JPMorgan Chase during the financial crisis of 2008. The case is the first against a major U.S. bank to come out of the Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities Working Group, a White House-backed task force launched earlier this year to probe fraud in mortgage-backed securities.

Amex to Pay $112.5M over Credit Card Abuses
The credit card giant American Express has agreed to pay $112.5 million to settle allegations of abusive debt collection and late-fee charges as well as deceptive marketing. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau says Amex customers were illegally charged late fees based on a percentage of their debt while others were given the impression partial payment would result in the forgiveness of their remaining balance. The company will refund $85 million to customers and pay another $27.5 million to government agencies.

Youngest Gitmo Prisoner Transferred to Canada
The youngest prisoner and last Western citizen held by the U.S. military at Guantánamo Bay has been transferred to finish his sentence in his native Canada. Omar Khadr was 15 years old when U.S. troops imprisoned him for killing a U.S. soldier during a 2002 attack on his village in Afghanistan. Khadr says U.S. military guards beat him and threatened him with rape after he arrived at Guantánamo that same year. After 10 years at Guantánamo, Khadr faces up to another six years in prison behind bars in Canada but could be eligible for parole as early as next year. On Saturday, Canadian Public Safety Minister Vic Toews confirmed Khadr’s transfer.

Vic Toews: "Early this morning, convicted terrorist Omar Khadr was transferred to Canadian authorities at CFB Trenton. I am satisfied the Correctional Service of Canada can administer Omar Khadr’s sentence in a manner which recognizes the serious nature of the crimes that he has committed, and ensure the safety of Canadians is protected during incarceration. Any decisions related to his future will be determined by an independent Parole Board of Canada in accordance with Canadian law."

Khadr was the first person since World War II to be prosecuted in a war crimes tribunal for acts allegedly committed as a juvenile. The Canadian government says it accepted him earlier than planned under pressure from the United States.

Clashes Erupt as Iranians Protest Collapse of Currency
Scores of Iranians rallied in Tehran to protest the collapse of the country’s currency. The rial has hit an all-time low amidst a worsening financial crisis brought upon by Western sanctions, falling 40 percent against the dollar in just one week. Iranian forces reportedly clashed with the demonstrators and fired gas to disperse them. In Washington, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the Iranian government only has itself to blame for its economic problems.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: "I think the Iranian government deserves responsibility for what is going on inside Iran, and that is who should be held accountable, and they have made their own government decisions having nothing to do with the sanctions that have had an impact on the economic conditions inside the country and of course the sanctions have had an impact as well, but those could be remedied in short order if the Iranian government were willing to work with the P5+1 and the rest of the international community in a sincere manner."

Israel to Skip U.N. Meeting on Nuke-Free Middle East
The British, French and German governments are expected to push for a further tightening of sanctions on Iran by the end of the month. Israel meanwhile is drawing little attention for refusing to take part in an upcoming conference on the establishment of a nuclear-free Middle East. The gathering is scheduled for December in Finland under the auspices of the International Atomic Energy Agency. But at a recent meeting, Israeli nuclear chief Shaul Horev told diplomats that any deal for a nuclear-free zone under the U.N. would amount to "external coercion," as opposed to "local initiative."

Iraq: Prison Attack Kills At Least 12, Frees Dozens of Prisoners
An attack at a prison in the Iraqi city of Tikrit killed at least a dozen people and freed more than 80 prisoners. Reports on the details vary. A local official told the Associated Press prisoners had seized weapons from a prison storeroom, while other sources said militants attacked from the outside. A gun battle reportedly stretched for at least eight hours before authorities regained control. The prison houses inmates with ties to al-Qaeda, and some were awaiting execution.

Ahmadinejad Says Israel "Map" Remark Refers to "Occupation"
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is among the world leaders who recently addressed to the General Assembly today. In an interview with CNN’s Piers Morgan ahead of his speech, Ahmadinejad was asked about the oft-reported claim that he has called for "wiping Israel off the map."

Piers Morgan: "Should Israel be wiped off the face of the map? Is that your desire?"

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: "When we say 'to be wiped,' we say for occupation to be wiped off from this world, for war seeking to be wiped off and eradicated, the killing of women and children to be eradicated. And we propose the way. We propose the path. The path is to recognize the right of the Palestinians to self-governance."

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