What’s there — here


Detroit "radical" mosque leader Luqman Ameen Abdullah was killed in an FBI shootout. (Council on American-Islamic Relations photo)

Zimbabwe sliding into violence? Amnesty International believes that the troubled country is headed there. Tensions have risen significantly since Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangerai‘s MDC party ended cooperation with Robert Mugabe‘s Zanu PF party in the country’s coalition government. Most recently, the United Nation’s special rapporteur on torture, Manfred Nowak, was denied entry into the country. Also this week, the trial of MDC Treasurer Roy Bennett, the MDC’s treasurer who is now facing charges of “insurgence and terrorism.”

The United States GDP grew 3.5 percent in the third quarter, largely in step with analyst expectations. Being the first sign of expansion in over a year, the data suggests that the recession — defined as 2 consecutive quarters of GDP contraction — is now, well, over. Unofficially. [Reuters]

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi unveiled the “Affordable Healthcare for America Act” this morning.  This highly anticipated Democratic bill “[builds] on what works in today’s health care system, while repairing the aspects that are broken,” and boasts a price tag of $894 billion.  Along with a public option, this HR includes pre-exisiting condition denial reforms, such as prohibiting insurance companies from rejecting domestic abuse victims and eliminating lifetime limits.  House Dems remain divided on the final abortion language in the bill. (National Journal)  Read the full 1990 page resolution here, or scaled back briefing by Hon. George Miller.

Israel remembers slain Prime Minister Yitzak Rabin today. Rabin was assassinated fourteen years ago while at a rally supporting the Oslo Accords. His assassin was Yigal Amir, a right-winger unhappy with Rabin’s peace efforts which laid the foundation for Palestine as we know it today. In a commemoration ceremony at the Knesset, President Shimon Peres said, “The sense of loss experienced by the people of Israel was also personal … The image of Rabin had always been the image of Israel.” President Barack Obama sent a memorial video. Right winged groups, however, have been busy protesting Rabin’s legacy, handing out fliers at schools accusing Rabin of bringing… “upon the Oslo agreement as well as terror and bombings in the name of peace with our enemies.”

Hillary Clinton: bully? “I find it hard to believe that nobody in your government knows where they are and couldn’t get them if they really wanted to,” she told a group of newspaper editors during a meeting in Lahore, Pakistan. “Maybe they are not ‘get-at-able’. I don’t know,” she said. Hmm. [Reuters]

Iran has responded to the International Atomic Energy Association’s proposal that it export its uranium outside the country for enrichment. This proposal would dramatically reduce the need for Iran to have its own nuclear enrichment facilities, and is largely seen as a tactic to buy some time to consider the world’s options in terms of Iranian nuclear power. The Iranian government’s response submits two amendments to the initial proposal. Al Jazeera reporter Nazanine Moshiri considers the amendments an interim move on Iran’s part. “What this does is it buys time — the Iranians will still be able to enrich uranium at their Natanz plant and they will still be able to replace whatever they have sent abroad.”

The leader of a Detroit mosque was killed in a shootout with the FBI, which had charged him and 11 of his followers with arms violations and conspiracy to commit federal crimes. The shootout followed a raid by the FBI on a warehouse in which the imam refused to surrender and opened fire on agents. “Abdullah told his followers it is their duty to oppose the FBI and the government and it does not matter if they die,” FBI agent Gary Leone said in an affidavit unsealed Wednesday. [Detroit Free Press]

The U.N. climate office chief said rich nations must pledge funds toward the developing world in order to make progress in curbing global warming, echoing pleas from many poor countries ahead of December’s summit in Copenhagen. [NYT]

The Droid Phone. Verizon is poised to release the Droid, a Motorola phone that uses Google software, to rival Apple’s I-Phone. The gadget boasts a touch screen and full keyboard along with an impressive navigational system that makes use of Google’s geographical data.

Fun fact: Verizon had to pay George Lucas to use the word “Droid”


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