Apr 27 2015

Newsflash: 3,800 Dead in Nepal, Obama Waives Guidelines for Pakistan Drone Program, Freddie Gray to Be Laid to Rest

Daily News Flash | Published 27 Apr 2015, 10:45 am | Comments Off on Newsflash: 3,800 Dead in Nepal, Obama Waives Guidelines for Pakistan Drone Program, Freddie Gray to Be Laid to Rest -

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

The death toll from Saturday’s devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Nepal has risen to 3,800, more than double the initial estimate. Tens of thousands of people remain homeless and concerns are increasing of emergency food and water supplies running out. Bodies are still being pulled out of the wreckage caused by the massive quake, the likes of which had not been experienced in Nepal for about 80 years. The quake caused an avalanche on Mount Everest, and tremors were felt as far away as the Indian cities of Mumbai and Chennai. UNICEF is warning that hundreds of thousands of children are particularly vulnerable to water-borne diseases in the aftermath of the crisis. More aftershocks are expected and a terrified population is spending nights out in the open. The Guardian newspaper pointed out that Nepal’s earthquake was all the more devastating because of pre-existing poverty: “Their ability to cope with a major disaster is crippled by the lack of economic and social infrastructure that people in richer nations take for granted.” Click HERE for a NYTimes article and HERE for a The Guardian article on this story.

The Wall Street Journal has reported that the Obama Administration has been operating under more lax standards in its drone program in Pakistan than in other countries. Anonymous officials told the journal that the President secretly signed a waiver authorizing the CIA to forego new rules for the Pakistan drone program that were conceived to minimize casualties. The guidelines, issued in 2013, were a response to widespread international condemnation of the drone war, and a number of reports showing that strikes amounted to extrajudicial assassinations. The government officially concluded last week that a January 15th drone strike on an Al Qaeda compound in Pakistan inadvertently killed two foreign captives. President Obama took full responsibility for those killings. Adam Entous, writing in the Wall Street Journal said, “If the exemption [of the new rules] had not been in place for Pakistan, the CIA might have been required to gather more intelligence before that strike.” It is not clear if the tighter guidelines have been implemented even in other parts of the world where the US conducts drone warfare. Click HERE for a WSJ.com article on this story.

More than 2 weeks after a young African American man named Freddie Gray was first arrested by police in Baltimore, Maryland, he is being laid to rest. In addition to family and friends, Gray’s funeral today is expected to draw officials from the White House as well as loved ones of other police victims. Gray died just over a week ago after slipping into a coma. His neck was nearly severed after a violent arrest by police. The Baltimore Police Department has admitted that Gray was delayed in receiving the immediate medical treatment that he needed. Major protests over Gray’s arrest and death over the weekend resulted in the arrest of 34 people. Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake shot back at protests that apparently turned violent, saying she was, “profoundly disappointed.” Media coverage has focused on the theft of a purse that took place during the protests. But there has been little attention to the story of a newspaper photographer who was on the scene of the protests and was beaten by police. Click HERE for a CNN.com story, HERE for a Chicagotribune.com article, and HERE for a newsnet5.com story on this news segment.

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