US Continues Haiti Deportations
The US government has resumed deporting Haitian immigrants, who have allegedly committed crimes, back to their home country, despite a cholera epidemic and an unstable political climate, New America Media says. Cheryl Little, co-founder and executive director of the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center, said many of those defined as criminals have committed nothing more than a traffic infraction. “What they told us at the time [that they announced the new policy] was that they were going to be deporting the worst kind of criminal offenders – axe murderers, rapists, that kind of things. We subsequently learned that anybody who is labeled a criminal – and in Florida, for example, if you’re driving with an expired driver’s license for four months, you’ve committed a crime – that individuals like that could be subject to removal under this new policy.”
Protests Erupt in Bahrain
The Taunton Daily Gazette reports that thousands of protesters took over the main square of Bahrain in a rebellion that parallels Egypt’s anti-government demonstrations. Two protesters have died over the past two days as security forces crack down on opposition groups calling for political reforms, particularly in the strict state controls over media and the Internet. In response to the uprising, Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa addressed the country in a televised speech, promising to implement reforms and investigate the deaths of the protesters.
“Innovation Agenda” Will Get Small, but Important, Spending Increase
President Obama’s “innovation agenda,” a part of his 2012 budget that pledges to increase research, development, education and infrastructure spending, will only receive $772 million in funds, McClatchy Newspapers said. That calculates to approximately half a percent of the budget. However, Obama promised that the majority of the funds would go toward early-stage research, where the potential for innovative discovery is at its greatest. “What really drives propensity is earlier-stage research like the research that the government supported that created the Internet,” said Rob Atkinson, president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation.
Half of GOP Are Birthers
Politico reports that 51 percent of likely GOP primary voters nationwide believe President Obama wasn’t born in the United States. Public Policy Polling surveyed 400 Republican primary voters to discover that the majority ascribes to the birther conspiracy theory that President Obama was not born in Hawaii, while 21 percent aren’t sure. Among those who don’t think Obama is US-born is Sarah Palin, with 83 percent favorability ratings.
Chevron Ordered to Pay $8.6 Billion in Environmental Damages to Ecuador
A court in Ecuador ordered oil company Chevron to pay $8.6 billion in environmental damages to Ecuador after dumping billions of gallons of toxic waste into the country’s rainforests, according to Democracy Now!. The court’s judgment is one of the largest ever handed down for cases involving environmental contamination. After the ruling, Chevron said it would appeal.