Briefs 9/20/12

NW Staff

State News
New Michigan legislation requires people convicted of three or more serious violent crimes to face a sentence of at least 25 years if they commit one more. The Michigan Senate voted 32 to 6 on Wednesday Sept. 19 to approve the bill. The issue was first raised by Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette. According to Schuette, the goal of the bill is to protect citizens by taking the most dangerous people off of the streets. Serious crimes the bill covers includes attempted murder, kidnapping and criminal sexual conduct.

National News
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is facing backlash this week following the leak of controversial remarks from a private fundraising event in Florida that took place in May of this year.
The recording, in which he dismissed nearly half of the electorate as people who are “living off government handouts,” was secretly recorded and published in Mother Jones magazine on Monday, Sept. 17. The video shows Romney speaking to a group of donors at a private home in Boca Raton, Fla., where he also voiced his opinion on the impossibility of Palestinian peace agreements and that supporters of President Barack Obama –– some 47 percent of Americans according to Romney –– believe the government has a responsibility to take care of them.
Romney is currently five points behind President Obama in a Reuters poll, trailing 48 to 43 percent in a daily-sampling of likely voters.

International News
Civilian aircrafts are being used by Iran to transport military personnel as well as large stockpiles of weapons to Syria by flying over Iraqi airspace to aid Syrian president Bashar al-Assad who is fighting an uprising against his government, as reported by a Western intelligence report. The uprising began in March 2011. John Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has threatened to review the aid given to Baghdad if Iraq does not cease giving supplies and soldiers to aid the militias and military that are fighting against rebels. Iraq states it prohibits any weapons passing through their airspace, but according to an intelligence report the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, an Iranian militia in charge of protecting their Islamic code, has organized the smuggling of such weapons. The U.N. panel had a report earlier in 2012, which said Iranian arms were being shipped to Syria through Turkey, not Iraq. A U.N. embargo prohibits the sale of arms by Iran, as part of a broader sanction against their nuclear program.

Weird News
Michigan prison officials deemed not responsible in federal court case over inmate’s dental problems. Inmate Jerry Flanory said he was denied access to toothpaste as punishment for failing to attend prison classes. Flanory claimed he lost a tooth and suffered gum disease because of this treatment. The corrections department refuted the claim saying that Flanory not only had access to toothpaste, but also that he entered prison with only five teeth to begin with. Flanory served as his own attorney in the case. The case was initially dismissed as frivolous in 2009, but was reinstated in appeals court.