Midday Roundup: NATO meets amid worldwide instability
by Lynde Langdon
Posted 9/04/14, 12:07 pm
Evolving challenges. The conflicts in Northern Iraq and Ukraine top the agenda at a critical NATO meeting that starts today in Wales. U.S. President Barack Obama and U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron are hoping to build an international coalition to fight back against ISIS, also known as the Islamic State, which is terrorizing Northern Iraq and has beheaded two U.S. journalists. NATO also is expressing its support for Ukraine, which is working to push back Russian troops supporting rebels along Ukraine’s eastern border. Obama and Cameron published a joint op-ed piece in The Times of London ahead of the summit, saying, “We meet at a time when the world faces many dangerous and evolving challenges. To the east, Russia has ripped up the rulebook with its illegal, self-declared annexation of Crimea and its troops on Ukrainian soil threatening a sovereign nation. To the south, there is an arc of instability from North Africa and the Sahel to the Middle East.”
Heartland politics. Democrat Chad Taylor has dropped out of the Senate race in Kansas, leaving Independent Greg Orman to try to take the seat from incumbent Republican Pat Roberts. Taylor did not give a reason for ending his campaign, but Orman has a strong foothold in the Kansas race. A late August poll showed him holding 20 percent of voters with Roberts getting 37 percent. This week, Traditional Republicans for Common Sense, a group of Kansas moderates, endorsed Orman over Roberts. The same group has endorsed Democrat Paul Davis for governor in lieu of incumbent Republican Sam Brownback.
Super-sized protests. Fast food workers are protesting around the country today, asking companies to increase their wages to $15 an hour. In this round of demonstrations, organizers said they plan to use nonviolent civil disobedience to bring attention to their demands. Police have arrested dozens of protesters in New York and Detroit for blocking streets near McDonalds’ restaurants. In front of a McDonald’s in Chicago, a couple of buses unloaded a group chanting “Stand up. Fight Back,” while 100 people crowded the sidewalk.
Vein attempt. The problems during the April execution of an Oklahoma inmate who took 43 minutes to die came from a poorly functioning IV, not the lethal drugs used, a review has concluded. Instead of depositing the drugs into convicted murderer Clayton Lockett’s bloodstream, the medications went into surrounding tissue. A paramedic and a physician made numerous attempts to start an IV before deciding to put the line in Lockett’s femoral artery. The report notes the prison did not have the physician’s preferred equipment for a femoral line, so he had to make due with the materials on hand. The report recommends further training for personnel conducting executions.
Youth riot. A violent disturbance broke out Wednesday night at a Tennessee youth detention center where two days earlier a group of offenders managed to escape. About 28 residents kicked out metal panels underneath the windows in a common area to reach the yard, where they waved sticks, assaulted an adult, and sprayed fire extinguishers. This time, police formed a ring around the center’s perimeter fence to prevent another escape. Officials said two staff members suffered minor injuries.
It wasn’t worth the leg room. A man involved in an in-flight spat over a reclining seat said he regrets his role in the argument that forced a plane en route from Newark to Denver to land early about two weeks ago. “I’m pretty ashamed and embarrassed by what happened,” James Beach said Wednesday. “I could have handled it so much better.” Beach, who is more than 6 feet tall, was using a Knee Defender device to prevent the seat ahead of him from reclining. Though he initially agreed to remove it when the passenger in front of him complained, he tried to put it back on after she supposedly slammed her seat back. In the conflict that followed, the woman threw a soda at Beach, who lobbed a few choice words at the flight attendant.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.