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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Chinese Owned Wind Farm Company Sues Obama

The Chinese owned Company Ralls Corp. filed suit against U.S. President Barack Obama today. The President prevented the privately owned company from building a large array of windmills near a Navy installation in Oregon. This marks the first time a president has blocked a private transaction on national security grounds in 22 years. The U.S. Department of the Treasury, in an unusual statement on Friday said, the ruling “is specific to this transaction and is not a precedent with regard to any other foreign direct investment from China or any other country.” Ralls Corp. already owns the land for the wind farm, but has been barred from developing it by the President. The lands are under restricted airspace; the federal government’s Committee on Foreign Investments in the U.S. (CFIUS) recommended against allowing the foreign company to develop the land citing national security risks.

Georgian President’s Party Defeated in Parliamentary Elections

Following the Georgian parliamentary elections yesterday, the leader of the opposition coalition Georgian Dream, Bidzina Ivanishivili, has announced victory. His party expects to control two-thirds of the parliament which will in turn put an end to President Mikheil Saakashvili’s planed transition to the Prime Minster role. These election results were likely influenced by the disastrous five-day war against Russia in 2008, which saw the loss of two northern Georgian provinces. Video showcasing police brutality were also released ahead of the elections undermining Saakashvili’s record as a reformer and democratic champion.

Judge Delays Pennsylvania Voter ID Law

Pennsylvania Judge Robert Simpson ruled today that the state’s new Voter ID law cannot go into effect until further provisions are met. The voter ID law requires that all Pennsylvania residents acquire a government issued voting card. Judge Simpson’s ruling indicated that access to these cards is not yet ubiquitous enough to meet federally mandated “liberal access” requirements. This ruling relies on testimony heard from 12 people detailing the various hardships endured by them in their attempts to gain a Voter ID. Proponents of the Voter ID say these IDs are necessary to prevent voter fraud, while opponents suggest the requirements disenfranchise senior citizens, the poor and minority citizens. There has never been a case of in-person voter fraud in the state of Pennsylvania. With this ruling, the Voter IDs will not be required in order to vote in the coming presidential elections.

Nigerian MEND Leader on Trial in South Africa

Henry Okah, former leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), is on trial in Johannesburg, South Africa for the 2010 car bombings that claimed the lives of 12 in Abuja, the capital of Nigeria. MEND’s activities in the Niger Delta against Dutch Royal Shell oil operations have diminished since 2009′s amnesty deal for the militants. Some factions did not accept the amnesty and have continued to attack government and oil related targets in the capital. Okah’s faction also neglected to participate in the government’s amnesty scheme, but has been nominally inactive. While a faction of MEND did claim responsibility for the car bombings, Okah denies his own involvement; he’s been a resident of South Africa since 2003 and recently became a citizen. Nigeria’s minister of the Niger Delta Godsday Orubebe, said Okah is a “key figure in the Niger Delta struggle and the militants had a lot of respect for him.” Orubebe took the stand in Johannesburg describing the history of the Delta conflict, “The Niger Delta was neglected in terms of development. There was environmental pollution and economic deprivation. People never had the opportunity to be involved in the economic affairs and had no say in terms of what was to be done with the revenue.”

7 Arrested in Hong Kong After Ferry Crash

Seven people were arrested today as police in Hong Kong opened their investigation into the ferry collision that left at least 38 dead last night. A boat carrying 120 people collided with a commuter ferry late Monday evening while en route to a fireworks display. Both vessels’ captains were detained as well as five other crew members, all were later released on bail. The Hong Kong Fire and Police departments worked overnight to recover the dead. One of the companies involved in the collision, Power Assets, is managed by the son of Hong Kong’s richest man, Li Ka-Shing. The company has pledged to create a fund for victims and their families, while Li has personally visited the injured and announced the donation of HKD30 Million ($3.8 million) to those affected by the disaster. This is Hong Kong’s worst maritime accident since typhoon Roe capsized a ferry in 1971.

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