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tv   Headline News  RT  September 19, 2013 4:00pm-4:31pm EDT

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coming up on r t the government seized a manhattan skyscraper they say was secretly owned and controlled by the iranian government the seizure comes as the u.s. and iran have toned down the rhetoric about a possible war bullock at what this means ahead. congress is debating the twenty fourteen budget and it could mean some americans might go hungry a proposed bill would cut millions of people from receiving food stamps a look at the issue coming up and on the net the scope of free speech just got bigger the court of appeals has declared that a facebook like is protected under the first amendment we'll tell you more about this change in today's tech report.
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it's thursday september nineteenth four pm in washington d.c. i'm that good lopez and you are watching r t well you might have heard about homes being seized by the government before but how about a skyscraper a federal judge authorized the u.s. to do just that after authorities discovered that it was secretly owned and controlled by the iranian government and that is a direct violation of federal money laundering laws and sanctions against iran correspondent marina porter naya tells us how this thirty six story giant somehow snuck under the radar for over thirty years the great empire and its favorite nemesis for decades relations between the u.s. and iran have been ice cold but in recent months out of two it's have been going as tehran and washington have taken steps to overcome years of hostility to begin with president hassan rouhani is appointment of foreign minute. mohamed it is
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a read was received positively by western officials this summer zarif a western educated former iranian ambassador to the u.n. has been called a worthy negotiating partner the appointment has been seen by some as an olive branch to the white house another optimistic development came in july when one hundred thirty one members of the u.s. house of representatives wrote a letter to u.s. president barack obama encouraging him to use the opportunity offered by president rouhani for the improvement of bilateral relations speaking of letters iran confirmed this week that president rouhani and president obama exchanged a written correspondence rare contact between the leaders of two nations that cut off diplomatic ties in one thousand nine hundred eighty in his letter mr obama indicated that the u.s. is ready to resolve the nuclear issue in a way that allows iran to demonstrate that its nuclear program is exclusively for peaceful purposes and on wednesday iranian officials released prominent iranian
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lawyer nasreen so today from prison after being jailed for three years for her human rights work in the past the u.s. actively force a today's release in addition iranian media reports that thirteen other political prisoners rounded up for involvement in the two thousand and nine anti-government protests had been released this comes as iran says new moderate leader who has promised more freedoms at home and constructive engagement with the world travels to new york for the united nations general assembly debate however on the heels of mr rouhani as a rival the u.s. government is preparing to seize a thirty six story meant heightened skyscraper that prosecutors say is secretly owned and controlled by the iranian government a u.s. judge has ruled that the owners of this fifth avenue building known as the alvey foundation and ask. corp transferred rental income and other funds to iranian
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state owned bank a violation of u.s. sanctions this seizure could not come at a worse time considering that the leaders of the u.s. and iran could possibly meet face to face next week reporting from new york during a fortnight r.t. and that's not the only news coming out from iran on the eve of the newly elected president hassan rouhani visit to the united states iranian authorities unexpectedly freed eleven of the country's most prominent political prisoners from jail melissa freed people includes journalists authors activists and attorneys most notably not serene so today a human rights lawyer who represented several activists who protested against the iranian government also out this week in an interview with n.b.c. news president rouhani pledge to tear down barriers that prevented iranians from surfing the internet freely he said he believes all people should have the right to
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access the free flow of information and have a platform for dialogue so a lot of changes here but is it change that we can believe in here to answer that is jamal obvious policy director at the national iranian american council jamal obviously a lot of changes are going on what should we make of it these are all extremely positive signs this could all be leading to a historic meeting between president obama and president rouhani at the u.n. general assembly next week rouhani since taking office six weeks ago. he said a lot of positive things a lot of people in washington were saying well that's all well and good but we don't know if he's actually going to be able to deliver prime minister of israel netanyahu said he smiling while he's building a bomb he's a wolf in sheep's clothing and yet what we found is that rouhani over the past six weeks has managed to convert these positive words into positive actions is demonstrating that he can deliver. he has
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a little bit of space right now he's not going to have an infinite infinite amount of time to do so because there are hard liners in iran who don't want any sort of approach model with the u.s. but there is time right now the question is is obama going to be able to do the same thing and hold off hardliners here in washington from sabotaging potential talks so he gave us examples of some of those physical things that he has actually changed or not the things that he's necessarily just talked about well you know one of the main campaign promises that he he made was in regard to human rights situation the securitized environment inside of iran and yesterday we saw this sort of landmark announcement that nasa and so today was released from prison along with ten other political prisoners this is a case that was raised by human rights organizations by president obama himself she was a major face of the crackdown against human rights defenders democracy defenders in iran in two thousand and nine she's now released rouhani made good on this promise he also said he was going to try to get the leaders of the green movement released
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as well and their file has now been transferred to the national security council which can now make the decision that actually release them very promising signs on the nuclear issue you know nothing is going to come outside of negotiations but already iran is converting some of its its higher and rich uranium to fuel purposes that can't be used for virtually can't be used for a nuclear weapon and they've they've taken other steps to signal willingness to put further caps on the nuclear program and i'm glad you brought that up jamal actually we have a clip from president rouhani speaking with n.b.c. news about this is this nuclear program are i think it's fox news. mr president these are israeli prime minister netanyahu has words not mine he has said about you his strategy is to be a wolf in sheep's clothing smile and build a bomb can you say now categorically then that iran will not build a nuclear weapon under any circumstances whatsoever. firstly an
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occupier and looser a government that does injustice to the people and has brought instability to the region that's war mongering policies shouldn't allow itself to give speeches about a democratically and freely elected government we have clearly stated that we are not nuclear weapons and will not follow him boot so do we have reason to to trust him and what can we do to trust him in the future well i think that you know this is a positive sign we can't you know nobody should operate on the assumption that we you know one side can trust the other side is about verifiable agreements but i think that there is reason for hope with rouhani because for one he actually has the backing of the supreme leader this is this is a pretty stunning development the supreme leader has had said look we need to be more flexible at the negotiating table iran needs to be prepared for compromise he's laying the groundwork for compromise the supreme leader has also allowed
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rouhani to basically take over authority of the nuclear negotiations something that previously was overseen by the supreme leader and bodies like the i or g c now it's in the president's domain and rouhani has been instrumental in pushing for a compromise on the nuclear program and has said pursuing a nuclear weapon is not in the strategic interest of iran and i think that's something that he clearly believes and we just have about a minute left but obviously the u.n. is coming up next week how are american politicians responding are they willing to listen well president obama did deserves a lot of credit actually he initiated a series of letter exchanges with rouhani rouhani said that these were positive exchanges he was happy to see these letters and it looks like there was some positive communication between the two sides now congress is a different story there. there to be a diplomatic off ramp they saw how the syria debate played out and saw that americans don't want war in the middle east on the other hand you have folks like
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senator lindsey lindsey graham who is saying he actually is going to meet all of this positively by iran with a resolution to authorize war against iran to basically threaten the country because he says they've been emboldened somehow so i don't think that lindsey graham and other folks are necessarily updating their talking points they're sort of acting as if you're on hasn't changed when the reality is there are all these positive signals and hopefully hopefully the white house is going to be able to take advantage of them hopefully the white house and also the iranian people jamal policy director at the national iranian american council thank you so much for joining me and my pleasure well if you're one of the forty seven million people currently using the federal supplemental nutrition assistance program to put food on your family's plate each night you're going to want to listen to this as you probably know right now congress is in the middle of debating the twenty fourteen budget and all the attention is focusing on republican plans to permanently defund obamacare but republicans in the house of representatives are also working on
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a problem and that would pass a bill to cut food stamp programs by nearly forty billion dollars over the next ten years the nutrition reform and work opportunity act would cut nearly twice as much as was originally proposed by the house farm bill if passed the congressional budget office says three point eight million people would be cut from the program by next year and numerous others would have there been a slashed as well. and all of this is an addition to significant cuts that already are set to begin in november joining me to talk about what this means and who specifically it affects let's bring in birch prom he's director of she's a director of the policy at advocacy and research at the federation of protestant welfare agencies thank you so much for joining me now lawmakers in the house today were vigorously debating whether the u.s. should continue feeding so many people how do their arguments play out you know the
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fact is we do have forty seven million in there who are hungry and in need they've lost their jobs during the great recession they have had their hours reduce the mini's had to declare bankruptcy as in then you of course you have the elderly who are impoverished has a very fixed income so really all these debates in the us about cutting such a lifeline in our country needs to be based upon the socks of who are the hungry and what the need the extensive need is out there and one of the major criticisms that republican lawmakers say is that there is rampant fraud and abuse for these snap programs first of all is there any proof of this major abuse and if so would cutting spending help solve that problem. now that is a complete myth it's untrue that federal government data has consistently
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shown that the food stamp or the supplemental nutrition assistance program has very very low fraud has a very high quality control measures and so that is not at all a fact to go on we have a situation where we the government data that just came out the census data shows about forty six point five million americans who are impoverished now that's roughly the same number forty seven million americans who rely on the food stamp program so the fact is is that the people who are in poverty who are in need based upon government data are the same ones that are receiving the supplemental nutrition assistance program and so there is anybody who's talking about frog is just not looking at the facts we you know we have a situation where not only do we want to make sure that this vital lifeline to hungry americans is maintained we also have the fact that food stamps help the
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economy there basically it's money going to people who are going to spend it in mediately to put food on the table for their children and themselves so it helps to keep the the slow recovery continuing if we cut forty billion dollars from this program you're going to have stores grocery stores. in these very struggling communities have the economic engine a source of in economic engine be be stopped immediately and that's just something that another sense of fair time however fox news interviewed a surfer who was using snap benefits to buy lobster and food she and that story got many many people riled up do you think that that is representative of how the food assistance program is being used. you know you always see conservatives bring out that one oddball case that one rare very rare case that usually gets caught
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by the various food and welfare agencies immediately they have very stringent rules and reporting requirements so i myself as a child was on food stamps with my family when we were immigrants or refugees from the war coming to this country and we had nothing but basically the clothes are back so we are much more representative of again the forty seven million people by the federal poverty data showing that these are people in need and and we can't be diverted from the immense need out there by one all odd case that is just not representative of the rest of the country and finally do you expect this bill to pass well we're very concerned because so many cuts have already happened at the federal level as well as the city and state level and so these are very very serious threats and it seems that some of the policymakers in washington d.c.
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are not seeing their neighbors and even within their extended family perhaps the hardships that they're going through so when you have that kind of policymaker who's out of touch with the real lives of people then then it's a real threat thank you so much for joining us in for weighing in because palm she is the director of policy advocacy and research at the federation of protestant welfare agencies thank you. rouser in the aisles of our local supermarket as americans we trust that when a certain meat is stamped with a u.s.d.a. inspection seal we can trust the for the safety of the food within but what if i told you that half of the u.s.d.a. inspectors and the industrial meat processing plants will soon be replaced by people who work for those meat companies themselves essentially privatizing inspection would you still trust that then well that's exactly what the u.s. department of agriculture is planning to do in the not too distant future article
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respondent i mean our david reports. it's the latest u.s.d.a. plan set to roll out across the country and meet inspection program allowing pork producers to cut the number of u.s.d.a. safety inspectors at plants in half replacing them with private inspectors hired by meat companies themselves this according to a new in-depth washington post report lays out how the government is neglecting to stop contaminated meat the pilot program was implemented fifteen years ago in five different pork plants nationwide but the results of the experimental program were staggering according to a report put out by the u.s.d.a. inspector general in may three of the five pork plants were on a top ten list of worst plants dealing with health and safety violations many of which included the outright failure to remove visible fecal matter it's a problem food safety advocates like alexis baden meyer say points to
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a serious lapse in regulation we're letting the companies do the job of the inspectors and even control the u.s.d.a. inspectors control where they stand on the line and control what access they have to the plant and how much authority they have a very dangerous situation when we already know we have food safety problems food safety problems indeed according to the center for disease control there are approximately seventy six million cases of food borne illness each year in the united states. it's three hundred twenty five thousand of them result in hospitalizations and five thousand of them in death. however those statistics haven't seemed to slow down the u.s.d.a. which is eager to implement this in over six hundred hog plants nationwide all despite the fact that the department has yet to study whether the program is even working tony corbo of watchdog organization food and water watch calls this lack of review disturbing it's obvious. in the last fifteen years whether it's the that the
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pilots that they've been running and trick in the turkey plants or in the hog plants that there has not been a thorough analysis and their data does not support the theory that this is going to improve food safety but it's not only food safety advocates that are concerned over this program it's a sentiment echoed by local butchers like brian malone who worry that the plant's bottom line will negatively impact him and his customers be a little bit leery about it. you know only because a lot of companies out isn't just worried about the bottom dollar. that i worry about the customers you know that i'm really worried about what they're feeding anybody so the u.s.d.a. being there is a big big help for all of us because you know they make sure everybody does a correctly and official from the u.s.d.a. argue that the increase in fecal matter findings is actually a sign that the program is working he said we do many more checks for fecal matter in pilot plans than we do in traditional plants so it is not surprising that we are
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finding more because that is what our inspection personnel are focusing on despite their insistence that the program is working the department has finally said it will conduct a review by march of next year with food safety advocates hinting on that as last hope of bringing this program to a halt in washington the mirror david r t. well six students at the city university of new york macko way honors college learned a tough lesson in civil disobedience this week when they are arrested while. testing at a fundraiser featuring former cia director and honor of college project professor david petraeus the new york daily news reports that about seventy five people were gathered outside tuesday protesting the university's decision to hire general petraeus when things got unruly the demonstration was organized by the ad hoc committee against the militarization of clooney but areas faced similar protests by students earlier this month the university faculty senate released a statement on friday condemning the student's behavior and defending the decision
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to hire the former cia director saying quote professor portray us and all members of coolies instructional staff how their right to teach without interference members of the university community must have the opportunity to express alternate views but in a manner that does not violate academic freedom all six protesters were arraigned in manhattan criminal court wednesday night they were charged with obstruction of governmental administration rioting resisting arrest and disorderly conduct though their attorney says the protests were peaceful the students are due back in court on october seventeenth. well all you facebook users out there get your computer mouse ready chances are that you are going to like this story the fourth u.s. circuit court of appeals ruled unanimously on wednesday that the like button is just like sticking a political sign in your front yard and therefore is protected by the first
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amendment as substantive free speech thrilling comes from a two thousand and nine case involving a virginia sheriff who ran for all real action only to have a number of his employees like the facebook of his opponents when he won he dismissed a number of them from duty and that is how this whole like button facebook debacle came about so will this pave the way for retreats or youtube likes or anything else to be constituted. as a free speech well let's get to the day's tech report matt been duras the producer of the majority report and he joins me now to weigh in thank you so much for being here can you go into a little bit more detail about this case sure megan basically the fourth circuit court overruled the lower court's decision that facebook likes did not constitute protection under the first amendment simply because i guess they felt clicking the like button is just in consequential or just not significant enough to fall under
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the protections of free speech but the fourth circuit court ruled that it is indeed an expression and like you said previously said that putting up a campaign sign also there has been you know political armbands statements burning a flag given these are all things protected under the first amendment and i see no reason why the first. facebook like shouldn't be protected the verse the moment so who exactly does this ruling affect the people from a private company like who negative posts about their bosses without a fear of repercussion. i mean with the private company it's always it's always i mean there's protections but there's always i mean there is still i guess you can say you know freedom of speech but not freedom from the consequences in this particular case though it was a deputy sheriff it was a public service so i mean. is this something to fire someone over i mean it seems
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like something petty between the the sheriff and the deputy sheriff and on top of that the lake is so it's so vague the facebook like especially liking a page or even twitter when you're following someone i mean i follow donald trump on twitter i'm not a fan of donald trump i basically follow him to make sure i can see what he says so i can heckle him and hit him every now and then for his political views i mean he has over two million followers two million people do not like donald trump please it's basically you know you have to look at it as it is is it is it is the first amendment protects all forms of the speech is it doesn't or does it make the does it make a difference between how significant the speech is and it doesn't there's doesn't the first limit does not say you know it has to be sincere there must be sincerity behind that there must be some sort of significance if it's political speech you're protected by i'm glad that you brought up twitter although i'm not sure our founding fathers would have had any idea what how why and what do you think this
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paves the way for even if you're a company or the government doesn't agree with what you're really tweeting or how about you tube likes. i mean i definitely think that all these forms of social media interactions should definitely be covered by the first amendment because there are forms of expression i mean we're living in an era we're living in a narrow citizens united where money is speech i mean people who use the internet they get isn't anywhere they go to the library you don't need to have money to use the internet so this is a form of speech that maybe the the affluent to the politically connected or have access to that that others do too that others don't i mean i'm batting millions and billions of dollars of money with millions of likes. i mean if you can spread the word through activism on the internet and that transforms into on the street activism or political activism that changes laws creates laws i don't see
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a problem with that whatsoever but at the same time does this blurring the line between what is and what is not exactly speech. i don't think so i mean speech speeches mean like i said it's been covered under many forms of expressions simply because in this case the deputy sheriff didn't say that he liked this candidate outright he didn't say the words he didn't type those words out i mean if he was saying that over the phone and if he was writing it down and sending a snail mail these are all things that he would have the freedom to do so but simply because it's online i think the problem is that our laws or in this case how people are interpreted these laws haven't quite caught up with the time as the internet age i mean when you do something online or as there's some willy wonka chocolate factory a land of imagination where things don't really exist i mean things online or people say online this is what they believe this is what they say this is how they
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feel these are all legitimate interactions these are all legitimate forms of speech and matt finally the most important question that i have to ask you why is there no dislike button on facebook i wish there was a would make life a lot easier if you can dislike someone and still follow them and maybe this deputy sheriff maybe that's what he was doing maybe he was trying to help his boss out and follow his political opponents or get some dirt on him i don't know but yes maybe if they were less specific with the terms used when you want to follow someone so there their status is or tweets or video show up in your feed maybe would save people a lot of trouble thank you so much for weighing in matt bender producer for the majority reports thanks for having me meghan i really appreciate it. and that's going to do it for now for more on the stories we covered go to youtube dot com slash r t america and for the latest and greatest stories that we cover today and a few that we just did not have time to get to our to dot com slash usa and follow
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me on twitter at meghan underscore lopez i'll see you right back here at five pm. look the world. science technology innovation all the list of elements from around russia we've got the future covered wealthy british style the sun. spot on the tirelessly. led markets. it's going to find out what's really happening to the global economy with mike stronger for a no holds barred look at the global financial headlines tune into cars a report on our.
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place. it was a. very hard to take a look at once again on here is a plane flight pattern that has that would that hurt their feelings. about calling . those. lists. lists. safe. applause.
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the so. far army grieve the loss of every soldier. his mother father brothers and wife will forever read this loss. grief that was compounded by the failing of his army. we have a duty to all families of our fallen soldiers given the truth the best we know as fast as we can. was.


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