Archives for May, 2013

Obama defends drone program amid calls for oversight

Posted: May 23, 2013 | Tags: drones

President Obama has pledged to increase accountability for the administration’s controversial drone program in a speech today at the National Defense University. The administration has used the program in the killing of thousands of suspected terrorists overseas, including four American citizens.

The move is in response to growing public unease on both sides of the aisle surrounding the administration’s use of drones, and recent criticisms by the state department’s former legal adviser, Harold Koh. In a speech May 7 at Oxford University, Koh asserted that the administration’s lack of transparency regarding drone use has led to ...

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Solitary amendment passes Senate

Posted: May 22, 2013 | Tags: immigration

The Senate Judiciary Committee passed an amendment Monday to the  844-page immigration bill that would both better define and limit the use of solitary confinement at immigration detention centers. The changes cover those held in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) centers and other facilities around the country under contract with the government.

The amendment, sponsored by Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., was one of many to the bipartisan bill, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act. The committee voted 13-5 Tuesday to send the sweeping bill to the full Senate, and debate is expected to begin in June.

“We ...

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Reporting the aftermath of a crisis: journalism and accountability in Bangladesh

Posted: May 14, 2013 | Tags: journalism

With the death toll recently passing 1,127, the April 24th Rana Plaza factory collapse is now one of the largest industrial accidents in modern history. The factory employed thousands of garment workers and supplied several international firms operating within the country’s multibillion-dollar garment industry. The accident was the largest of more than 40 such accidents occurring over the past year in overcrowded factories across the country.

Since the tragedy, two engineers, a factory owner and the city’s mayor have been implicated on negligence charges. Under fire for profiting from the country's low wages and scant regulation ...

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Supreme Court says states can limit FOIA laws to citizens

Posted: May 1, 2013 | Tags: FOIA

The Supreme Court ruled this week that states are not required to extend their Freedom of Information act coverage to people who are not citizens of the state. The unanimous opinion also held, once again, that access to government information is not a fundamental right.

The case arose after two non-Virginians sought information under the Virginia FOIA law, which specifically says it applies to citizens of Virginia. One had sought access to information as to why the processing for a child support claim took so long. He was able to obtain much of the information under another provision of Virginia ...

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