State, nation and world news Feb. 23, 2011


Around the State: Florida teachers are following suit to the rallies in Wisconsin

Opposition is heating up as Florida Legislature closes in on big changes to the teaching profession. Florida teachers are demanding better rights and are pushing to descend on the state Capitol. In Wisconsin, tens of thousands of protesters have already done so. Protesters say teachers and state workers are constantly “bullied” and they want it to cease. “Our students don’t understand the constant bullying of their teachers and neither do we,” said one protester in Pinellas. Many Wisconsin schools have closed because teachers are attending the rallies. So far, legislation to curb collective bargaining rights has not surfaced in Florida. Rick Scott’s education transition team recommended teacher evaluations be removed from the bargaining process, and bargaining be limited to salaries and benefits. The Florida Constitution, however, recognizes the right of employees to bargain collectively.

Around the Nation: Gulf oil spill effects still undetermined, ‘may not be seen for a decade’

BP says the Gulf of Mexico will recover from the oil spill by 2012, but a scientist from the American Association for the Advancement of Science disagrees. Marine life was “devastated” by the spill, Samantha Joye said. In some places, there is a layer of dead animals and oil 10 centimeters thick. The layer was deposited between June and September 2010, and there’s no sign of sea life on the ocean floor Joye observed in May. “Filter-feeding organisms, invertebrate worms, corals, sea fans—all of those were substantially impacted—and by impacted, I mean essentially killed,” she said. “Another critical point is that detrital feeders like sea cucumbers, brittle stars that wander around the bottom, I didn’t see a living (sea cucumber) around on any of the wellhead dives. They’re typically everywhere, and we saw none.”

Around the World: Thousands of Moroccans battle in the streets for their civil liberties

Moroccans joined in the battle for Middle Eastern democracy Feb. 20, as thousands of demonstrators in major cities showed their support. In Rabat, the capital, and in Casablanca, the largest city, there were an estimated 3,000-5,000 protesters, and smaller demonstrations were reported in Marrakesh, Tangier and other cities. While most of the demonstrations were peaceful, there were reports of some violence in Marrakesh. Since taking over in 1999, Morocco’s king, Mohammed VI, has instituted reform, but many Moroccans are calling for a more legitimate democracy. Many of the factors inspiring Moroccans to take to the streets—high unemployment, illiteracy and corruption—are similar to those in Egypt and Tunisia.

Compiled by Spinnaker and Wire Services