Sep 03 2014

Daily News Flash with Rahul Mahajan about Ukraine’s Hopes for a Ceasefire with Russia, A Second ISIS Beheading, and Two Black Men Exonerated

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:

Ukraine’s president Petro Poroshenko has announced he is making headway on a ceasefire with Russia. Following a phone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Ukrainian leader sounded optimistic, saying, “There was a mutual understanding achieved about steps that will promote the establishment of peace.” Poroshenko’s decision is likely to include conceding some parts of Ukraine to Russia. But US President Obama is having none of it, accusing Putin of deliberately foregoing diplomatic solutions. Obama’s condition for an end to the conflict is, in his own words, “a path that starts with Russia leaving Ukraine.” There will be a meeting on Friday in Belarus where Ukrainian and Russian negotiators plan to discuss terms of a ceasefire. Click here for a Washington Post article about the story.

A second videotaped beheading of a US journalist by ISIS rebels emerged yesterday. This time, the victim has been identified as Steven Sotloff, who was held captive alongside James Foley, the first American journalist to be beheaded on video by the group. Sotloff was only 31 years old and reported for such outlets as Time and Foreign Policy. He had been in captivity for a year. His murderer declared in the video, “Just as your missiles continue to strike our people, our knife will continue to strike the necks of your people.” President Obama authorized air strikes on ISIS in Northern Iraq starting some weeks ago, and is mulling expanding the strikes to Syria. He responded to Sotloff’s death by warning, “our reach is long and justice will be served.” Click here for an LA Times article about the story.

Two African American men aged 46 and 50, were just exonerated from North Carolina’s prison system after nearly 3 decades. Leon Brown and Henry McCollum were only 15 and 19 years old when they were arrested in 1983 for the rape and murder of an 11 year old girl. McCollum was on death row, while Brown, his half brother, was serving a life sentence. DNA evidence clearing them of involvement in the grisly crime led to their exoneration. In fact, evidence collected at the scene of the crime implicates a known sex offender living very close to where the girl was assaulted and killed. Apparently the attorneys for the two defendants were not made aware of the evidence collected, which remained hidden until a month ago. Click here for a Guardian newspaper article about the story.

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