Jun 18 2014

Daily News Flash with Rahul Mahajan on Iraq Violence, Racist Washington Football Team Name, and Rape Kit Backlog

Uprising’s guest expert Rahul Mahajan, a sociologist and news analyst and author of Full Spectrum Dominance: US Power in Iraq and Beyond, analyzes today’s news headlines:

Sunni militants attempted to take over Iraq’s largest oil refinery last night leaving dozens of people dead and parts of the plant on fire. The group calling itself the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), fought a major battle with Iraqi Armed forces last night near the city of Baiji in a failed attempt to take over a major oil refining plant. Meanwhile Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani has offered ground support to Iraq’s Shia dominated government. President Obama is seriously considering targeted drone strikes which may begin within the next few weeks. The New York Times reported that “such a campaign… could last for a prolonged period… and would hinge on the United States’ gathering adequate intelligence about the location of the militants, who are intermingled with the civilian population.” Click here for a Commondreams news article about the story.

In a major upset for NFL team owner Dan Snyder, the US Patent and Trademark Office has canceled registrations for the name of his team, the Washington Redskins, claiming that the term used is “disparaging to Native Americans.” The ruling was made in response to a suit brought eight years ago by plaintiff Amanda Blackhorse who called today’s decision “a great victory for Native Americans and for all Americans,” because the term in question was “racist and derogatory.” Click here for a Think Progress report about the story.

Congress is likely to approve millions of dollars in grants to process tens of thousands of rape kits across the nation that have languished untested for years. Rape kits are packets of evidence gathered by law enforcement when a victim reports having been raped, and usually include DNA evidence. The city of Memphis, Tennessee alone has 12,000 untested kits, while, Detroit, Michigan has 11,000 kits in need of processing. The problem has been years in the making, and advocacy organizations are finally hopeful that the backlog may slowly be addressed. Click here for a Guardian newspaper article about the story.

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