In brief | Nation & world | 8-20-14


US to change how travelers can protest placement on government’s no-fly list

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is promising to change the way travelers can ask to be removed from its no-fly list of suspected terrorists banned from air travel.

The decision comes after a federal judge’s ruling that there was no meaningful way to challenge the designation, a situation deemed unconstitutional. In response, the Justice Department said the U.S. will change the process during the next six months. As of late last summer, about 48,000 people were on the no-fly list.

The government’s policy is never to confirm or deny that a person actually is on the no-fly list, citing national security concerns. In most instances, travelers assume they are on the list because they are instructed to go through additional screening at airports or because they are told they can’t board their flights to, from or within the United States.

The no-fly list is one of the government’s most controversial post-9/11 counterterrorism programs because of its lack of due process, long criticized because people cannot know why they were placed on the list and lack a way to fight the decision. Changing how people can challenge their designation could amount to one of the government’s most significant adjustments to how it manages the list.

Tens of thousands of protesters break through barriers protecting Pakistan’s parliament

ISLAMABAD — Tens of thousands of protesters armed with wire cutters and backed by cranes broke through barriers protecting Pakistan’s parliament and other government buildings Tuesday night, demanding the country’s prime minister resign.

Government authorities had warned they would not allow protesters to enter Islamabad’s “Red Zone,” but the demonstrators met no immediate resistance from police or the hundreds of troops guarding the buildings.

Wearing masks and carrying makeshift shields, they hammered through barbed wire and locks connecting shipping containers that had been erected as a barrier around the zone, which also holds the president’s and prime minister’s ceremonial homes and many diplomatic posts.

Demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, they shouted, “Go, Nawaz, go!” Excited young men and women made V-for-victory signs.

A government minister, Saad Rafiq, said the prime minister allowed the protesters to enter the sensitive area to avoid bloodshed.

Liberia’s president declares curfew, quarantine of large slum amid mounting Ebola death toll

MONROVIA, Liberia — Liberia’s president declared a curfew and ordered security forces to quarantine a slum home to at least 50,000 people late Tuesday as the West African country battled to stop the spread of Ebola in the capital.

The measures came as authorities said that three health workers in the country who received an experimental drug for the disease are showing signs of recovery, though medical experts caution it is not certain if the drug is effective.

At least 1,229 people have died of Ebola in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria in the current outbreak, and more than 2,240 have been sickened, according to the World Health Organization. The fastest rising number of cases has been reported in Liberia, with at least 466 dead.

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf announced late Tuesday that a curfew is going into place from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. Security forces also will be ensuring no one goes in or out of West Point, a slum in the capital where angry residents attacked an Ebola observation center over the weekend.

Ukrainian forces press attacks on rebel-held cities while pushing ahead on diplomatic efforts

DONETSK, Ukraine — Government troops pressed attacks Tuesday in the two largest cities held by pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine, while Kiev also pursued diplomatic efforts to resolve the conflict that has killed more than 2,000 and displaced another 300,000.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko prepared to host German Chancellor Angela Merkel this weekend before heading to a meeting next week with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The next two weeks “will be crucial for finding the way to move from war to peace,” said Valery Chaly, the deputy head of Poroshenko’s administration.

He said in a televised briefing that Kiev sees a “clear diplomatic roadmap” ahead and expressed hope that a new approach could be found to end the war.

Poroshenko’s efforts to quell the insurgency have been focused on encircling Donetsk, the largest rebel-controlled city and a regional capital. Fighting began in mid-April after Russia annexed Crimea, a peninsula on the Black Sea, while Kiev’s forces have recaptured significant amounts of territory from the separatists.

By wire sources