January 24, 2006 – Capitol Hill was preparing to vote on the confirmation of Samuel Alito, nominated by President Bush to replace retiring SCOTUS Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. The Senate Judiciary Committee vote was expected to yield no surprises, going straight along party lines. The vote, once passed, would be sent along to the full Senate for confirmation. Despite a few ripples and questions of conflict of interest, confirmation was expected to pass.
In other news – according to a Swiss investigator, there was evidence that the U.S. was outsourcing torture to other countries. Reports indicated that other countries knew about it. The investigation was part of a probe into alleged CIA secret prisons in Europe. The report was being presented to The Council of Europe, a human rights watchdog group. The report went on to say more than 100 suspected terrorists may have been transferred to many countries where they faced torture or ill-treatment in recent years. The report said however, that was no “formal and indisputable evidence” that such prisons existed anywhere in Europe. The New York based Human Rights Watch said there prisons in Rumania and Poland were possible sites for U.S.-run detention facilities.
And reacting quickly to two deadly incidents over the previous three weeks, the Virginia State legislature passed a law requiring the rapid reporting of mine accidents. After the Sego Mine explosion, and the fire at the Alma One Mine, the coal companies took some two hours to get in touch with Federal Mine safety officials. The new law was to connect mine rescue to local 24-hour emergency services – it also required mine operators to call within 15 minutes of an emergency, or face a fine of up to $100,000. Governor Joe Manchin said the new law, passed through the legislature in a single day, should serve as a national model.
All that and news about the stop-and-start Saddam Hussein trial made up the flurry of reports from January 24, 2006 as reported by National Public Radio’s Hourly News.