News in Brief: Syrian Security Forces Open Fire on, and Kill, Peaceful Protesters, and More

Syrian Security Forces Open Fire on, and Kill, Peaceful Protesters

The Los Angeles Times reports that, in the past three days, nearly 25 peaceful protesters have been killed by forces allied with Syrian President Bashar Assad. As crowds filled the streets in protest on Monday and early on Tuesday, security forces opened fire after warning protesters to disperse. “Officially there are three martyrs,” said one observer to The Times. “But security forces arrested a number of wounded, as well. And we don't know how many were arrested.” Witnesses to the unrest in Syria predict that neither protesters nor the president are backing down.

New DNC Chief Wants Background Checks on All Gun Sales

Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Florida Congresswoman and new head of the Democratic National Committee, plans to introduce a proposal that screens for both commercial and private gun purchases, reports The Hill. “It is outrageous that gun buyers evade the background check system every day, even in broad daylight,” Wasserman Schultz said Monday at a gun reform rally in Miami sponsored by Mayors Against Illegal Guns. Sen. Charles Schumer (D- New York) has introduced legislation in the Senate and Rep. Carolyn McCarthy plans to introduce the House bill soon.

Activists Protest Tax Inequities on Tax Day

Activists around the nation protested tax inequities on Monday, the last day to file taxes for the year. The Charlotte Observer reports, “Charlotte-based Bank of America was a popular target Monday, with many of the rallies in the Carolinas and beyond staged at its corporate offices and branches.” Bank of America, because of a reported “tax 'benefit' of nearly $1 billion” did not pay federal income taxes in 2010. While the crowd in Charlotte chanted “Make them pay!” a group of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights activists across the US protested the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which requires the federal government to only recognize marriages between one man and woman. With DOMA, “same-sex couples must file their federal taxes separately, despite the fact that they may be legally married in their home state,” reports the Georgia Voice.

Pulitzer Prize Winners Announced

The Pulitzer Prizes for journalism, literature and music were announced Monday, reports Mediabistro's FishBowlNY blog. For the first time in Pulitzer history, a set of stories from online newsroom ProPublica “that never appeared in print” received a Pulitzer. The New York Times won two awards, one for international reporting and one for commentary, and The Los Angeles Times won in the coveted Public Service category. To see the full list, click here.