News in Brief: Pakistan Governor Assassinated, and More

Pakistan Governor Assassinated

McClatchy Newspapers reports that a senior Pakistani official was assassinated Tuesday by one of his own guards in an apparent protest against the governor’s support of blasphemy law reform. Salman Taseer had campaigned for the blasphemy law to be changed after a Christian woman was sentenced to death for allegedly dishonoring the name of the prophet Muhammad. A police commando said that Taseer’s death will likely be a setback for the country’s more progressive politicians, such as the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), with whom Taseer had also been associated. PPP leader Benazir Bhutto was also assassinated for her liberal views in 2007.

Gays Most Targeted by Hate Crimes

A Southern Poverty Law Center Intelligence Report reveals that gay people, or those perceived as gay by their community, are the main target of hate crimes in America. An Intelligence Report analysis of 14 years of hate-crime data showed that they are more than twice as likely to be attacked violently than Jews or blacks, more than four times as likely as Muslims and 14 times as likely as Latinos. Some of the prejudices against the gay community, the Intelligence Report said, are exacerbated by the outspoken religious right leaders such as Matt Barber of the Liberty Council, who said that Christians are the “real victims” of gay teens committing suicide, and Family Research Council president Tony Perkins, a vocal critic of anti-bullying programs.

Schumer Tells GOP Congress to Decline Health Coverage

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-New York) is pushing for Republican members of Congress who oppose the health care law to decline health coverage for themselves and their families, according to Politico. House GOP leaders announced recently that one of their biggest goals this session will be to repeal the legislation, while Democrats have said that the Republicans’ acceptance of federal health benefits is hypocritical. “It seems unfair that House Republicans want to deprive middle-class Americans of the same health care as members of Congress but to keep it for themselves,” Schumer said. Rep.-elect Joe Walsh (R-Illinois) is among a few of the incoming Republican Congress members to forgo health benefits, telling CNN that he will not accept federal coverage even despite his wife’s pre-existing condition.

Amount of Oil in Gulf May Never Be Known

A Congressional report released Monday revealed that the amount of oil left in the Gulf of Mexico after the BP spill may never be known, The Hill reports. “It is debatable whether the fate of the remaining oil will ever be established conclusively,” the Congressional Research Service report stated. Despite a substantial portion having been removed, “a greater portion remained, in some form, in the Gulf.” Determining the amount of oil left behind is important because it could help in the effort to create legislation on oil spills, which the Senate has yet to pass.