Massachusetts’ highest court ruled today that a question asking voters to repeal the state’s casino law can go on the November ballot. It sets up what promises to be a hard-fought campaign to decide the fate of the fledgling gambling industry in Massachusetts.
The Mayor of Springfield, Massachusetts has renewed a call for an end to new refugee resettlements in Springfield. Massachusetts Congressman Richard Neal said the mayor has raised concerns that need to be addressed.
Mayor Domenic Sarno first called for a moratorium on refugee resettlements in Springfield 10 months ago, but then backed off amid criticism from social service providers and advocates for immigrants. Sarno said his office recently learned that up to 70 refugees will be settled in Springfield in the coming year.
Originally published on Tue June 24, 2014 12:10 pm
The most influential man in Iraq has been speaking up again after a period of relative quiet. It's not Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, or the head of the ISIS militants who are taking over much of the west and north of the country. It's an aged cleric, the Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, who can be compared to something like a pope for the country's majority Shiite Muslims.
There's a lot of work yet to be done before a minor league baseball stadium in the state's capital city becomes a reality. For starters, it has to be approved by the Hartford city council, and that won't likely happen until later this summer.
Mayor Pedro Segarra, however, isn’t waiting around for the city council to act.
Well, the U.S. couldn't do it until the Iraqi government gave U.S. soldiers immunity from prosecution, through what's called a "diplomatic note." If those U.S. soldiers committed any crimes or had any legal troubles while advising Iraqis, the U.S. wanted to handle any prosecutions.
The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has released a long-secret memo in which the Obama administration lays out its legal reasoning for launching a drone attack on an American citizen overseas.
The legal justification concerns the drone strike that killed Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S. citizen who the United States claims was tied to plots against the U.S. and played a key role in al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.
As Sunni militants make gains against Iraq's Shiite-led central government, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry paid a previously unannounced visit to Baghdad to meet with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on Monday.
Maliki has been criticized for not being more inclusive of Sunnis and Kurds in his government — a change the Obama administration is calling for as part of any plans for military support.
Each year, the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center honors people whose writing advances social justice and inspires action. This year, the two winners of the Student Stowe Prize crafted essays on two issues that are very important in 2014.
Madeline Sachs, a high school student from Chicago, spoke on the inequity of juvenile sentencing standards, an issue that’s important as Connecticut lawmakers grapple with -- and still fail to implement -- a new law to come into compliance with a Supreme Court ruling on the issue. We hear some of her presentation and talk with a civil rights lawyer.
The Family Medical Leave Act's benefits will be extend to married same-sex couples in all of the U.S., under a White House announced today. The change comes as the Obama administration alters federal policies to fit the Supreme Court's repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act last June.
President Barack Obama said the U.S. is prepared to take targeted military actions in Iraq if they would help fight a growing threat from extremist militants. He also said the U.S. is ready to send as many as 300 military advisers to Iraq.
The Second Amendment is just 27 words long, but it has caused more debate than just about anything else in the Constitution. "It’s confusing and self-contradictory and we spend a lot of time trying to figure out what its clauses and commas mean," said Michael Waldman, author of the new book The Second Amendment: A Biography. We talk to him about the history and odd syntax of this Amendment and the debate over it that was renewed by the tragedy in Newtown.
In an attempt to stop the juggernaut advance of the Sunni extremist group ISIS, Iraq's central government says the fight for the country's largest oil refinery is far from over. A military official says 40 militants have been killed.
"Iraqi government officials say an elite special operations force is holding off ISIS militants at the Beiji refinery 160 miles north of the capital," NPR's Deborah Amos reports from Erbil. "But local police report ISIS is tightening a grip on the facility."
This post was updated at 9:40 p.m. ET to reflect the Obama administration's pressure on the Iraqi government.
A week ago, it would have been difficult to find anyone in the U.S. arguing for renewed U.S. military action in Iraq. Now there's a furious debate about what the U.S. should, or shouldn't, do in the latest Iraqi crisis.
The drama seemed to erupt out of nowhere as Islamist extremists captured Mosul, one of the country's largest and most important cities, and kept pushing south toward the capital Baghdad.
This week, the endorsed Democratic and Republican candidates for governor addressed the AFL-CIO political convention. Not surprisingly, incumbent Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy won the union's endorsement. Notably absent from the convention was new third-party candidate Jonathan Pelto, who said he asked to address the candidates, but was ignored.
This hour, on our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse, we take a look at the role of labor unions in Connecticut politics.
Originally published on Tue June 17, 2014 12:34 pm
The city of Springfield, Massachusetts has a budget in place for the fiscal year that begins July 1st. The city’s elected officials are in agreement that following years of recession-forced spending cuts, the budget for fiscal year 2015 moves the city forward.
The $581.9 million budget recommended by Mayor Domenic Sarno was adopted by the Springfield City Council Monday night by an 11-0 vote with two councilors absent. The vote wrapped up the least contentious budget season in the state’s third- largest city in recent years.
Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra and his people have said that their negotiations to move the minor league New Britain Rock Cats to Hartford had to be confidential, because speaking about them publicly could have risked the whole thing and pushed the team out of state.
Originally published on Tue June 17, 2014 11:35 am
The extremist group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria is tightening control of Iraq's Sunni Muslim heartland, attacking the strategic city of Baqouba, less than 40 miles from Baghdad. The U.S. is sending up to 275 military personnel to bolster its embassy in the capital; President Obama is also reportedly weighing airstrikes.
Throughout the U.S. occupation of Iraq, there was concern about what would happen to the country when combat forces left. Over the last year, militant extremists have slowly taken over the country and now President Barack Obama is weighing his options. "We will not be sending U.S. troops back into combat in Iraq, but I have asked my national security team to prepare a range of other options that could help support Iraqi security forces," Obama said on Friday.
President Obama has ruled out the use of ground troops in Iraq, saying any action will be "targeted and precise" but must be accompanied by political action by Iraqis to end sectarian divisions.
"We will not be sending U.S. troops back into combat in Iraq, but I have asked my national security team to prepare a range of other options that could help support Iraq's security forces," Obama said from the south lawn of the White House.
Republican candidate for governor Tom Foley said the legislative response to the Newtown school shootings didn't address the underlying problems, but he doesn't think the new gun control laws will be repealed.