News in Brief: Opposition Leader Returns to Bahrain, and More

Opposition Leader Returns to Bahrain

Democracy Now! reports that Bahrain’s protests continued today as Shiite opposition leader Hassan Mushaima returned from exile to the capital city on Manama. Mushaima received a royal pardon from the Bahraini monarchy after protests grew larger and larger. “Promising is not enough, we have to see something on the ground, just by talking – because different times, they promised before but they did not do anything for the nation of Bahrain,” Mushaima said upon his return.

Nebraska Reintroduces “Justifiable Homicide” Abortion Bill

A new, more expansive version of South Dakota’s “justifiable homicide” bill, which reproductive rights supporters believed would legalize the killing of abortion providers, has been reintroduced in Nebraska’s state legislature, Mother Jones reports. Introduced by state Sen. Mark Christensen, the bill reaches beyond South Dakota’s proposal of allowing a woman, her husband, or her family to commit “justifiable homicide” in defense of a fetus, and instead would apply those same protections to any third party. “LB 232 is really nothing more than an attempt to make sure a pregnant woman is not unnecessarily charged with a crime for using force to protect her unborn child from someone who means to bring harm to her unborn children,” Christensen said. ACLU lobbyist Alan Peterson said, “If they wanted it that narrow, they should have drafted it that way, and they did not. I have reasonable suspicion that the intent was at least to create a possible broad defense for attacks on abortion providers.”

Congress Will Likely Avoid Government Shutdown

According to McClatchy Newspapers, Congress is not likely to shut down this week despite difficulties compromising on how to continue funding the government for two weeks beyond Friday, March 4. The House of Representatives returned Monday morning to vote on an expedited measure that contains $4 billion in new spending cuts, several of which were already outlined in President Obama’s 2012 budget proposal. If approved, the measure would end arguments between the Republican-run House and the Democrat-run Senate, and avoid a federal shutdown that could cause widespread damage to government-funded programs. In 1996, a 21-day shutdown caused 475,000 employees to work without pay, while more than 600 toxic waste sites stopped clean-up, tourism and airlines industries suffered as passports ceased processing and 368 National Park Service sites closed.