- Blackwater gets kicked out of Iraq.
BAGHDAD — Blackwater Worldwide, the security firm whose guards killed 17 Iraqi civilians on a crowded Baghdad street in 2007, will not receive an operating license from the Iraqi government, a decision that will likely force American diplomats here to make new arrangements for their personal protection, officials said Thursday.Unlike many security contractors in Iraq, Blackwater has been operating without an Iraqi government license, although it had recently applied for one.The request was turned down during the past few weeks by the Iraqi government, officials said.“They presented their request, and we rejected it” said Ala’a Al-Taia, an official with Iraq’s Interior Ministry. “There are many marks against this company, specifically that they have a bad history and have been involved in the killing of so many civilians.”
- Judge refuses to delay Guantanamo trials, defying Obama’s executive order.
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – A military judge at Guantanamo on Thursday rejected a White House request to suspend a hearing for a USS Cole bombing suspect, creating an unexpected challenge for the Obama administration as it reviews the U.S. war-crimes trials process.
The judge, Army Col. James Pohl, said his decision was difficult but necessary to protect “the public interest in a speedy trial.” The ruling came in the case against Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, the alleged mastermind of the 2000 Navy destroyer bombing that killed 17 U.S. sailors in Yemen.
It seemed to take the Pentagon completely by surprise.
- Obama signs equal pay legislation.
WASHINGTON “" President Obama signed his first bill into law on Thursday, approving equal-pay legislation that he said would “send a clear message that making our economy work means making sure it works for everybody.”
Mr. Obama was surrounded by a group of beaming lawmakers, most but not all of them Democrats, in the East Room of the White House as he affixed his signature to the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, a law named for an Alabama woman who at the end of a 19-year career as a supervisor in a tire factory complained that she had been paid less than men.