News Wrap: Supreme Court to Review Challenge of Voting Rights Act of 1965
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HARI SREENIVASAN: The U.S. Supreme Court announced today it will hear a constitutional challenge to parts of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The landmark law requires all or parts of 16 states with a history of racial discrimination to get federal approval for changes in election rules or districts.
Shelby County, Ala., has sued, contending there has been major progress over the years, and federal oversight is no longer needed. Arguments are expected early next year.
A JetBlue pilot who disrupted a cross-country flight will be set free. A federal judge in Texas decided today not to have Clayton Osbon committed to a psychiatric hospital. Passengers had to restrain Osbon last March, as his plane flew from New York to Las Vegas. They said he ran through the cabin yelling about Jesus and al-Qaida. Osbon was charged with interfering with a flight crew, but was found not guilty by reason of insanity.
He’s been undergoing a mental evaluation ever since. As a condition of his release, he will not be allowed to fly or board any plane without permission.
In Syria, the tide of refugees dramatically increased in the last 24 hours to 11,000. Many were escaping from Ras al-Ayn, a key border town where government forces and rebels are engaged in heavy fighting. The U.N.’s humanitarian agency said today that most of the refugees fled to nearby Turkey. In all, some 120,000 Syrians are now living there in camps.
Still, President Bashar Assad told Russian TV he has no regrets about his actions to crush the rebels, and he insisted it is not a civil war.
PRESIDENT BASHAR AL-ASSAD, Syria: It’s not about reconciling with the people. And it’s not about reconciliation between the Syrians and the Syria. Don’t have civil war. It’s about terrorism and support coming from abroad for terrorists to destabilize Syria. This is our war.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Meanwhile, a report in The New York Times depicted declining public support in Syria for the rebels. The Times said Syrian civilians are increasingly frustrated with the anti-Assad forces over unnecessary destruction and criminal behavior.
The U.S. Navy has reprimanded seven active-duty members of SEAL Team Six, including one involved in the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. All received letters of reprimand for allegedly sharing classified information with a video game maker. They have also been docked half their pay for two months. Four non-active-duty members of the team are also being investigated.
Federal prosecutors today dropped a sexual abuse investigation of Bernie Fine, a former basketball coach at Syracuse University. The U.S. attorney in Syracuse announced there’s not enough evidence to pursue claims that Fine molested a boy in 2002. Fine maintained his innocence, and his main accuser said at one point that he’d made up the claim.
Chrysler is recalling more than 900,000 Jeep SUVs worldwide because the air bags can inflate without warning. The affected models are Jeep Grand Cherokees from 2002 to 2004, and Jeep Libertys from 2002 and 2003. Chrysler will notify owners starting in January.
Wall Street ended the week on a quiet note, after one of its worst weeks of the year. The Dow Jones industrial average gained four points to close at 12,815. The Nasdaq rose nine points to close near 2,905. For the week, both the Dow and the S&P 500 lost 2 percent; the Nasdaq fell more than 2.5 percent.
Those are some of the day’s major stories.