Enb #15 Dutch Torture, Disputed FL Election, Iraq Refugees, and Hong Kong Trading
Hello I’m Madge Weinstein and This is the Eclectic News Brief for Thursday, January 18, 2007, like I care. This podcast is sponsored by godaddy.com. You can save 10% or more on domain names using the discount codes insane1, insane2, or insane3 when you check out at godaddy.com. Well turday I’m finally back home in Chicago. While it’s very cold, it’s cumfarting to know that it still gets cold somewhere on this planet.
A Dutch court ruled last month that a terror suspect being held in the Netherlands could be handed over to the United States to face trial. The ruling concluded that he would not be at risk of being tortured in US custody, despite the undisputable fact that the US uses torture on detainees accused of terrorism. The defense had also argued that there was no garuntee of a fair trial for the man if he were handed over to American authorities.
The Dutch-Iraqi was accused of fighting against US troops in Fallujah in 2003, after he had returned to Iraq for his wedding. He has stated that he himself was kidnapped by Iraqi fighters and forced to do things such as film them while they planted roadside bombs. Before going to Iraq he also made headlines in Amsterdam after setting himself on fire as part of a demonstration.
The court’s decision means that the Justice Minister can now decide to hand him over to the United States, however, the new Dutch government is still in negotiation between many different parties about who will be part of the new cabinet, including justice minister.
A Florida court has ruled that corporate secrets are more important than transparent and fair elections. Presiding over the case, late last month, of Democratic Candidate Christine Jennings against Sarasota County, judge William Gary ruled that her request to have election results thrown out due to irregularities, was baseless and a violation of the company that built the electronic voting machines’ trade secrets.
Jennings filed the challenge after it was revealed that eighteen thousand ballots, cast on electronic machines in that county, did not record any votes for congress. According to state officials, this simply means that the eighteen thousand people skipped that race. Yet many citizens have come forward to complain about the ballot design, the computers, and that they had reason to believe their votes were not counted.
Despite the ongoing dispute and the looming questions about the election, Republican oppenent Vern Buchanon has already been certified the winner and the next Florida secretary of state, succeeding another politician with a troubled election record, Catherine Harris.
The maker of the computers, ELECTION SYSTEMS & SOFTWARE, has also filed a motion urging the court to ignore any requests by elected officials calling for the examination of the source code.
Thousands of Iraqi’s fleeing the disintegration of their country have settled in Sweden in the past three years. According to the New York Times, almost nine thousand Iraqi’s applied for asylum last year, a dramatic increase.. even over the previous year’s over two thousand applicants.
The article also cites UN statistics on the alarming refugee numbers entering Iraq’s neighboring countries as the nation’s condition continues to worsen. As many as 1 million Iraqi’s have fled to Syria, seven hundred thousand to Jordan, eighty thousand to Egypt, while Lebanon has seen as many as forty thousand refugees arriving in the country.
Interestingly, when compared with the number of Iraqi’s allowed to settle in the United States, Sweden, a nation of only 9 million people, has accepted far more refugees. This as the US president continues to travel around the country trying to convince Americans the his administration is doing everything in its power to help Iraqi’s and insisting that the invasion was good for both countries.
For Iraqi refugees that continue to arrive in Sweden, the government there is making the necessary adjustments to provide services like trauma counseling, language courses, and work related assistance.
The Heritage Foundation has released its rankings of the quote “freest economies in the world”, ranking Hong Kong as number one for the 13th year in a row.
Every year the conservative think tank and the Wall Street Journal release rankings based on aspects like trade freedom, investment freedom, property rights, labor freedom (unclear if thats freedom to exploit or freedom for people to work), and freedom from government. Hong Kong, famous for being a low-tax haven, was followed on the list by Singapore, Australia, the United States and New Zealand.
Hong Kong’s financial secretary responded to the latest report, saying that it was evidence of the quote “business friendly environment” the city provides.
However the US state department’s 2005 human rights report states, on the contrary, that the city has problems when it comes to labor, as workers are not allowed to organize and bargain collectively.
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This pogram was written by bicyclemark.
I’m madge weinstein and dit was het niews.