Aug 21 2014

Daily News Flash with Arun Gupta on ISIS Ransom Demands For Foley, Israel’s Assassination of Hamas Leaders, and BofA $17 b Settlement

Uprising’s guest expert Arun Gupta, Independent Journalist and regular contributor to the Guardian, In These Times, The Progressive, and Truthout, and co-founder of the Occupied Wall Street Journal and the Indypendent, analyzes today’s news headlines:

After confirmation of the American journalist James Foley’s beheading by ISIS, it is now revealed that the US refused to pay a ransom to his kidnappers. According to James Foley’s family, his captors were demanding a multi-million dollar pay-out before the US bombing of northern Iraq began. ISIS has now threatened to kill three more Americans still in their custody. Responding to criticism, the Obama administration revealed that it had tried, and failed, to rescue Foley. The US has a policy of not paying ransoms to international groups that hold citizens hostage, unlike several European countries that have paid out millions. According to the New York Times, “Kidnapping Europeans has become the main source of revenue for Al Qaeda and its affiliates, which have earned at least $125 million in ransom payments in the past five years alone.” Click here for a New York Times article about the story.

As Israel resumed its military operation in Gaza this week, the latest round of strikes has apparently killed three top Hamas leaders. The leaders were senior commanders in the armed faction, Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades. Two children and a human rights activist were also among the 19 people killed in the strikes. The Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz speculated that the assassinations could boost Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s standing among Israelis, as well as the international community. In an indication that the operation in Gaza may continue indefinitely, ten thousand new Israeli reservists have been called up after the strikes. Click here for a New York Times article about the story.

Bank of America has been fined nearly $17 billion by the Justice Department to settle the case over its role in selling subprime mortgages to homeowners. Seven billion dollars of that record breaking fine will be directly used to relieve consumers. As part of the settlement deal, the federal government will end its scrutiny of Bank of America. The settlement comes a month after Citigroup was fined $7 billion. Attorney General Eric Holder triumphantly announced the settlement, calling it “a historic step forward.” Click here for a article about the story.

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