from the free-beer dept.
Lopez was considered a top leader of the Armed Forces of National Liberation, or FALN, an ultranationalist Puerto Rican group that claimed responsibility for more than 100 bombings at government buildings, department stores, banks and restaurants in New York, Chicago, Washington and Puerto Rico during the 1970s and early '80s.
[...] former President Barack Obama commuted his sentence in January. Since then he has been on house arrest in Puerto Rico.
The National Review reports that he is to lead the Puerto Rican Day parade in June in New York City, and that
He’ll be granted the title of “National Freedom Hero,” a designation never before bestowed on anyone.
Chelsea Manning Released from Prison, Remains on Active Duty Pending Appeal
Puerto Rico Files for Biggest Ever U.S. Local Government Bankruptcy
Chelsea Manning Reportedly on Obama's Short List for Commutation; Assange Offers Himself in Trade
Puerto Rico: 1 Substation Fire; All 3.5 Million People Lose Power
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The World Socialist Web Site reports
The entire US territory of Puerto Rico suffered a blackout beginning [September 21] after a fire caused a substation to break down. The plant had not been repaired in decades and the cause of the fire is unclear, although a lightning storm is thought to be responsible.
Puerto Rico Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla told reporters Friday morning [September 23] that 75 percent of the island's 1.5 million homes and businesses had electricity restored, and that the entire system would be returned to normal only by Saturday, 72 hours after the power went out. During the press conference at the island's emergency management center, the lights went out briefly prompting laughter from the assembled reporters. Padilla was forced to admit that periodic blackouts and shortages would still occur as the demand for electricity increases.
The blackout shut down the entire island of 3.5 million people.
[...] Authorities warned that tropical storms could still knock out power lines and black out areas that had power restored. An estimated 250,000 people don't have access to water.
Temperatures were recorded at 100 degrees Fahrenheit on Friday, causing many Puerto Ricans to sleep outdoors for the third night in a row. Residents formed long lines outside of grocery stores to get ice, a precious commodity, and recharge their cell phones.
Hotels in the capital San Juan offered special rates to island residents but were soon booked up. At least one person died from carbon monoxide poisoning after fixing up a personal power generator in their home. An elderly man was also taken to the hospital after spending the night in a stuck elevator, and at least four police officer were hit by cars while trying to direct traffic; they are all expected to recover.
While local power outages are common in Puerto Rico, an island-wide blackout is extremely rare.
[...] The Electric Power Authority, which oversees the Aguirre power plant in the southern town of Salinas, is still investigating what caused the fire. Two transmission lines were knocked down, causing circuit breakers to automatically shut down as a safety measure, affecting the broader power grid.
It's no pardon, but it will do:
President Obama has put Chelsea Manning, the former Army intelligence analyst serving a 35-year sentence for leaking classified material, on his short list for a possible commutation, a Justice Department source told NBC News. A decision could come [...] for Manning, who has tried to commit suicide twice this year and went on a hunger strike in a bid for gender reassignment surgery.
"I have more hope right now than I have the entire time since she was sentenced," Manning's aunt, Deborah Manning, told NBC News.
[...] Manning's supporters believe the harshness of the sentence can be traced to another leaker; the scandal around former NSA contractor Edward Snowden was erupting around the same time. "I really believe the judge felt she needed to send some sort of message," the aunt said. "I think in a way she was a scapegoat for Edward Snowden." Snowden, who has asked Obama for clemency, tweeted his support of Manning shortly after NBC News' report about the commutation decision aired on TODAY on Wednesday morning.
Four former and current Army intelligence officers told NBC News the documents leaked by Manning pale in significance to highly classified top secret material released by Snowden. The officers, who would not allow their names to be used, said the Manning sentence seems excessive.
Also at The Hill.
Time magazine adds:
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will agree to be extradited to the U.S. if President Obama grants whistle-blower Chelsea Manning clemency before his term ends on Jan. 20, the organization has said.
In a tweet posted on the group's official account Thursday, WikiLeaks said Assange would not oppose extradition to the U.S. "despite [the] clear unconstitutionality" of any potential criminal complaints that the Justice Department may have against the whistle-blower website, if U.S. Army private Manning is released.
Puerto Rico announced a historic restructuring of its public debt on Wednesday, touching off what may be the biggest bankruptcy ever in the $3.8 trillion U.S. municipal bond market.
While it was not immediately clear just how much of Puerto Rico's $70 billion of debt would be included in the bankruptcy filing, the case is sure to dwarf Detroit's insolvency in 2013. The move comes a day after several major creditors sued Puerto Rico over defaults its bonds.
Bankruptcy may not immediately change the day-to-day lives of Puerto Rico's people, 45 percent of whom live in poverty, but it may lead to future cuts in pensions and worker benefits, and possibly a reduction in health and education services. The island's economy has been in recession for nearly 10 years, with an unemployment rate of about 11.0 percent, and the population has fallen by about 10 percent in the past decade.
The bankruptcy process will also give Puerto Rico the legal ability to impose drastic discounts on creditor recoveries, but could also spook investors and prolong the island's lack of access to debt markets.
The debt restructuring petition was filed by Puerto Rico's financial oversight board in the U.S. District Court in Puerto Rico on Wednesday, and was made under Title III of last year's U.S. Congressional rescue law known as PROMESA.
The Title III provision allows for a court debt restructuring process akin to U.S. bankruptcy protection. Puerto Rico is barred from a traditional municipal bankruptcy protection under Chapter 9 of the U.S. code.
The filing includes only Puerto Rico's central government, which owes some $18 billion in debt backed by the island's constitution. On paper, it does not include $17 billion of sales tax-backed debt, known as COFINA debt, or debt from other agencies.
But those debts are likely to be pulled into the bankruptcy, or included in separate bankruptcy proceedings in coming days, Elias Sanchez, an adviser to Governor Ricardo Rossello, told Reuters on Wednesday. Puerto Rico's massive pension debts will also likely get restructured in the bankruptcy. "Title III was especially compelled by the commonwealth's need to restructure $49 billion of pension liabilities," the oversight board said in Wednesday's filing.
-- submitted from IRC
Chelsea Manning has been freed from the Fort Leavenworth military prison, according to a US Army spokesperson:
In January she tweeted that she wanted to move to Maryland after being released, a state where she previously lived. On Monday she tweeted: "Two more days until the freedom of civilian life ^_^ Now hunting for private #healthcare like millions of Americans =P".
Manning will remain on active army duty while her military court conviction remains under appeal. She will have healthcare benefits but will be unpaid, the army says. An online campaign set up by her attorney has raised $150,000 (£115,725) to pay for her living expenses for the first year after her release. If the appeal is denied, she could be dishonourably discharged from the army, US media say.