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Russian President Vladimir Putin keeps insisting that he doesn't want the case of a fugitive American intelligence contractor to harm relations between Russia and the United States.

But Edward Snowden remains an irritant, stuck in diplomatic limbo in the transit area of a Moscow airport.

A Putin spokesman said Friday that the issue is being discussed by the Russian federal security service — the FSB — and the FBI, but it may be that Snowden has become a problem that can only be solved at the top of the two governments.

Army Pfc. Bradley Manning was not aiding the enemy when he leaked the largest cache of classified information in the history of the United States, the defense argued today during closing arguments of his military trial in Fort Meade, Maryland, today. Instead, he released the information in an attempt to spark debate about things he found troubling about war and American diplomacy.

A Tale Of Two Massive Rallies In Egypt

Jul 26, 2013

At the request of Egypt's army chief, Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, many Egyptians took to the street Friday to give him a mandate for what he calls a "war against terrorism" on Islamists.

His call drew a huge response from those opposed to Mohammed Morsi, but it also brought out large numbers of supporters of the ousted president who is allied with the Muslim Brotherhood.

As the following photographs show, anti-Morsi protesters rallied in Cairo's Tahrir Square ...

... while those allied with Morsi gathered near the Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque.

In the war over the right to vote in the U.S., the Justice Department's choice of Texas as the battleground for its first legal action following the Supreme Court's weakening of the Voting Rights Act has a feeling of inevitability.

Willie Louis may be one of the most celebrated but least-known figures in a pivotal point in American history: He testified against the men accused of kidnapping and murdering 14-year-old Emmett Till. He died July 18, but his wife, Juliet, announced his death this week.

Diane Orson

Yesterday’s landmark Supreme Court decision striking down the Defense of Marriage Act will allow same-sex couples to access hundreds of federal benefits.  One of those benefits will be to allow a U.S. citizen to help a fiancé or spouse get a green card.

Russ Hanoman is a systems engineer in Stamford. His finance lives in the Netherlands..

"I always had DOMA in the back of mind as an impediment to how this was eventually going to turn out."

Diane Orson

The US Supreme Court still has to rule on several major cases before the end of the term. Same-sex couples across the country are waiting for a decision on The Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA.  A report now on how the DOMA ruling may affect one Connecticut family.

Under Connecticut law, same-sex couples can marry and adopt children.  But under DOMA and in the eyes of the federal government same sex marriage is not valid.

"This is my room, the best room in the house because I sleep in it!"

Samaia Hernandez

Michelle Alexander’s book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness has been an unlikely and controversial best seller.

In it, Alexander makes the case that the prison system we have long filled with a disproportionate number of young black men is not just a byproduct of policy decisions, but an intentional effort to undo the civil rights movement.

Four Danbury police officers have been placed on administrative leave over the alleged verbal harassment of an undocumented driver. The traffic stop was recorded on a cell phone.

During a March 9th traffic stop, Danbury police allegedly subjected the driver -  an undocumented immigrant – to a long, verbally abusive tirade. A recording of the incident circulated among other police officers. Then in April, a complaint was filed.

After an internal investigation, Chief of Police Alan Baker says he referred four police officers to Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton.

Fair housing advocates are celebrating a victory. They recently won a settlement from a Hartford-area landlord who allegedly denied apartments to people using public assistance to pay their rent. The Connecticut Fair Housing Center claimed the landlord, Paul Rosow, discriminated against people who received disability checks and housing assistance.

Courtesy of State DOC

An inmate who has been on a hunger strike for more than six years was back in court Thursday. 

William Coleman, a native of Great Britain has completed an eight year sentence for spousal rape. Yet he's still in prison.

To find out more, WNPR's Lucy Nalpathanchil spoke with Christine Stuart, editor of the has covered Coleman's complicated case for years. 

Yale University has introduced new workshops for students aimed at reducing sexual misconduct and improving the sexual climate on campus. Many sexual misconduct and prevention programs for college students center on decision-making and consent.

But if you’re at the point where there’s a question about consent, then you already have a communication problem, says Yale student Matt Breuer. He’s a Communication and Consent educator at the university. He says Yale’s workshops begin with conversation about sexual pressure.  

Hartford Public Schools have signed an agreement with federal education authorities to improve supports and services for students who are English Language Learners.  

A complaint was filed with U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights in 2007 on behalf of Somali-Bantu, Liberian and Spanish-speaking students in the Hartford Public Schools.   

"Students did not have appropriate amounts of supports, accommodations and services so they could understand what was being asked of them."

Diane Orson

A huge crowd turned out last night for a transportation committee public hearing in New Haven. People testified in support of proposals to allow undocumented residents in Connecticut to obtain driver’s licenses. 

Close to 2,000 people crowded into Wilbur Cross High School. Angela Munoz of Bridgeport says she’s been driving for ten years without a license.  

"I want my driver’s license. Because I need it for pick up my children. And I need my car for my job, too."

She says her children live in fear that she’ll be arrested.

Photo montage by Kate Philbrick, 2009.

The state of Maine has never been considered a “diverse” place - the population of blacks has always been less than one percent. And as you can imagine, this minority group hasn’t always been treated well. Today we'll talk to a radio producer who dug into the history of one very small mixed race community - 45 adults and children  - who lived on Malaga Island in Southern Maine, after the Civil War to the turn of the 20th century. 

Ed Brambley (Flickr Creative Commons)

As the civil war continues to escalate, humanitarian organizations are struggling to get aide to refugees inside Syria. One Connecticut resident is working to smuggle in food and medical supplies.

It's dangerous for humanitarian groups to bring aide to those inside Syria. A lot of that aide is going to refugees that have fled into neighboring countries. But there are still 5 million people inside the war-torn country that need help.


Sep 21, 2012

“S. H. Waite, No. 271 Main Street, has taken an admirable photograph of Frederick Douglass, which may be seen in the store window of Geer & Pond’s, where copies (carte de visites) can be purchased.”

Courtesy of Flickr CC by JimmyWayne

Some needing legal help find that their only option is to represent themselves 

Earlier this week the Enfield Board of Education agreed to stop holding high school graduation ceremonies in a local Christian church. The settlement ends a lawsuit brought on behalf of two students and three parents.

Diane Orson / WNPR

The town of East Haven has begun a nationwide search for a new police chief. 

Local volunteers have been asked to help, and on Tuesday the mayor drew names of applicants out of a hat. Twenty four people out of 30,000 East Haven residents entered the drawing to help in the search for a new police chief . 

Standing outside his office, Mayor Joe Maturo, Jr. selected ten names.  

"Number fourteen, Jeffrey Cofrancesco. Number seven, Glenda Gonzalez."

John Brown of Connecticut

Apr 27, 2012

John Brown entered the world on May 9, 1800 in a little saltbox house in Torrington, Connecticut. Few people realize the famous abolitionist was born here; especially since the house was destroyed by fire many years later. Though his family moved out of the state when he was young, he later returned to Hartford to have his photograph taken by Augustus Washington, Hartford’s African-American photographer. He also purchased the pikes for his raid on Harper’s Ferry in Collinsville and Unionville.

State Department of Correction

The Connecticut Supreme Court has ruled that state prison officials can restrain and force-feed inmates to protect them from life-threatening dehydration and malnutrition. Meanwhile, as WNPR's Lucy Nalpathanchil reports, the inmate who filed suit against the Department of Correction for force-feeding him is on a hunger strike once again. 

New Haven Rejects Immigration Crackdown Program

Feb 20, 2012
Uma Ramiah

The federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency, or ICE, announced it will roll out a program called Secure Communities in the state this week. In New Haven, community leaders are calling on Governor Dannel Malloy to reject the initiative.

The federal government has agreed to settle a lawsuit by 11 illegal immigrants in Fair Haven who sued Immigration and Customs Enforcement for violating their civil rights. 

East Haven Police Officer Files to Dismiss Charges

Feb 10, 2012

The intense publicity surrounding the recent indictment of the East Haven Police Department has prompted a police officer to ask that charges against him be dismissed.

Late last month, the federal government arrested four East Haven Police officers for engaging in systematic discrimination of Latino residents in the city. All of them have pleaded not guilty to the charges. The arrests came in the aftermath of a much-publicized investigation by the Justice Department of the East Haven Police department beginning back in 2009.

Augustus Washington (1820 - 1875)

Feb 3, 2012

Augustus Washington was one of the most talented and successful photographers in mid-1800s Connecticut. He was also an African American. Washington lived in Hartford from 1844 until 1853 and was actively involved in the Abolitionist Movement and the life of Hartford’s free black community. Though his work depicts people of different classes and cultures, ironically, no portraits of African Americans survive from his years in Hartford. 

Diane Orson

The police commission in East Haven has voted unanimously - chief Len Gallo must go.

Chief Gallo had already said he was stepping down in the wake of an FBI investigation which resulted in four officers in the town being arrested for allegedly systematically terrorizing Latinos in the community.  

Mayor Joseph Maturo fanned the flames of this ugly chapter in East Haven history with his remarks about tacos...and now the national and international news has been focused on this shoreline community.

Thomas McMillan Photo

First Lennie Gallo, an aspiring New Haven police chief, was exiled to the animal shelter—because his boss said he couldn’t be trusted with humans. He reemerged as chief of next-door East Haven—where he’s now the center of a federal probe into alleged evidence-tampering that goes far beyond harassing Latinos.

Chion Wolf

Both socially and politically, blacks are the least trusting racial group in the U.S.

So says UConn political science professor Shayla Nunnally who’s written a new book exploring “Trust in Black America” - She says the African American legacy of experiencing racial discrimination makes them distant from and distrustful of the American political system, its institutions, and its politicians.

Following a federal investigation into civil rights violations by the East Haven Police Department, Connecticut legislators are calling for better enforcement of state racial profiling laws. WNPR’s Neena Satija reports.