News Wrap: Judge Orders Injunction for ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’
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HARI SREENIVASAN: A federal judge in Southern California ordered the U.S. military today to stop enforcing its ban on openly gay troops. U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips issued a worldwide injunction against the policy known as don’t ask, don’t tell.
She had already declared the ban unconstitutional. The Justice Department has argued Congress, and not the courts, should decide the issue. The department has 60 days to appeal.
Another NATO soldier has been killed in Southern Afghanistan. It’s the 28th fatality this month. Elsewhere, insurgents fired a grenade into a NATO helicopter, killing an interpreter. And a civilian cargo plane crashed near Kabul, killing all seven people on board. There was no word on the cause.
Opening statements began today in the first civilian trial of a Guantanamo detainee. Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani is being tried in federal court in New York. He’s charged in the bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa in 1998 — 224 people were killed, including 12 Americans. Ghailani allegedly plotted the bombings with Osama bin Laden and others. The judge has barred the government’s top witness because the CIA used extreme interrogation methods on Ghailani to get the name.
More than a million people joined a nationwide strike across France today against pension reforms. They protested a move to raise the retirement age from 60 to 62 as part of broader cost-cutting moves.
We have a report narrated by Samira Ahmed of Independent Television News.
SAMIRA AHMED: These pension reforms have already been passed by Parliament, but the huge turnout for this latest strike in Paris and in many other cities shows many people are still fighting the most radical changes to France’s work and pension system for decades.
Students like these in Paris closed and blockaded 50 schools and colleges across the country.
WOMAN (through translator): Older people won’t get jobs because companies will not want to employ people of 60. Even if they would, it’s the young people who won’t be able to get jobs, because there will be none left.
WOMAN (through translator): I don’t think it is going to change much, this strike. We have to find a solution if we want to keep our pension system. So, I think it’s inevitable we will have to do the same as other European countries and retire at 67.
SAMIRA AHMED: The trades’ unions still insist stopping the changes possible. But President Sarkozy has staked his legacy on seeing these pension reforms through.
HARI SREENIVASAN: French unions are planning another round of protests on Saturday.
Internet giant Google is expanding into the wind farm business off the U.S. East Coast. The company announced it is investing in a network of deepwater transmission lines from Virginia to New Jersey. They would deliver energy from wind turbines as far as 20 miles offshore. The cost over 10 years could reach $5 billion, and Google will own more than a third of the project.
Wall Street had another day of modest gains. The Dow Jones industrial average added 10 points to close above 11020. The Nasdaq rose 15 points to close near 2418.
Those are some of the day’s major stories.