WWH/CJE Wednesday News Briefs
Judges to hear 5 cases of alleged torture
CHICAGO, Sept. 19 (UPI) — The cases of five men allegedly tortured by Chicago Police Cmdr. Jon Burge’s “midnight crew” of detectives were assigned to judges Tuesday, records show.
The Illinois Torture Relief and Inquiry Commission referred the cases of George Ellis Anderson, Darryl Christian, Shawn Whirl, David Randle and Gerald Reed to Chief Cook County Circuit Judge Timothy Evans after finding their claims of torture to be credible, the Chicago Tribune reported. The men, all African-Americans, were convicted of murders after Burge and his men extracted confessions through torture, prosecutors allege.
Reed’s initial allegations of torture in 1990 fell on deaf ears even after X-rays showed a steel rod in his leg had been broken after the alleged beating, but more than two decades later he is getting his day in court, the newspaper said. More…
CHICAGO STUDENTS RETURNING TO CLASS AS STRIKE ENDS
CHICAGO (AP) — Students prepared to return to class Wednesday after Chicago teachers voted to suspend their first strike in a quarter century, shutting 350,000 children out of school, disrupting the daily routines of thousands of families and making the city’s schoolyards a flashpoint for union rights and public school reforms across the country.
Union delegates voted overwhelmingly Tuesday night to suspend the walkout after discussing a proposed contract settlement with the nation’s third largest school district. They said the contract wasn’t perfect but included enough concessions – including on new teacher evaluations, recall rights for laid-off teachers and classroom conditions – to go back to work while they prepare to put it to a vote by more than 26,000 teachers and support staff in coming weeks. More…
Russia says U.S. aid mission tried to influence elections
(Reuters) – Russia accused the United States on Wednesday of using its aid mission in Moscow to try to influence Russian politics and the outcome of elections, one day after Washington announced Moscow had ordered the mission’s closure.
Moscow’s move, revealed by Washington on Tuesday, will add to tensions between the two U.N. Security Council permanent members that have been weighing on U.S. President Barack Obama’s drive to “reset” bilateral ties.
“It’s about attempts to influence political processes, including elections of various types, and institutions of civil society though the distribution of grants,” Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement. More…
French weekly publishes Mohammad cartoons
(Reuters) – French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo published cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad on Wednesday, a move criticized by the French authorities which sent riot police to protect the magazine’s offices.
Issues of the magazine hit newsstands with a front cover showing an Orthodox Jew pushing a turbaned figure in a wheelchair with several caricatures of the Prophet on its inside pages, including some of him naked.
The front page cartoon had the wheelchair-bound figure saying “You mustn’t mock” under the headline “Untouchable 2″, a reference to a hugely popular French movie about a paralyzed rich white man and his black assistant.
The publication came amid widespread outrage over a short film, made with private funds in the United States, that mocks the Prophet and has ignited days of sometimes deadly protests in the Arab world, Africa, Asia and some Western countries. More…
One irony that the protesters in the Middle East who burnt American flags likely didn’t realise is that if they had done this in the United States, they would have been guarded by the same government they were attacking. Leaving aside the clear violation of the diplomatic immunity of embassies, the violence and the destruction of property, the demonstrators could have destroyed the flag as part of a peaceful protest anywhere in the US. And the American government would have protected them.
The Constitution – as interpreted by an independent judiciary – prevents the US government from stopping this flag burning because it is a form of political expression given wide legal tolerance. Of course, the same Constitution also prevents the government, or anyone else, from halting the production and distribution of the anti-Muslim video that so many in the region find offensive.
That most of the demonstrators didn’t understand these constitutional limits are part of the cultural gap, too often inflated to a “clash of civilisations”, that bedevil relations between diverse peoples. The internet allows instant communications without an underlying understanding or sympathy for each other’s core beliefs. As a teacher of American government in an Arab country, it is a cause of special sadness. More…