April 13, 2001
CURFEWS AND KILLER COPS IN CINCINNATI
Scores of youth took to the streets of Cincinnati this week, throwing stones, breaking windows, and assaulting motorists following Saturday’s police killing of Timothy Thomas, an unarmed nineteen year-old African-American man. Thomas fled after police officer Stephen Roach attempted to arrest him for failing to appear in court on misdemeanor charges and traffic violations. Roach pursued Thomas into an alley, where the officer shot him in the chest. The officer said he feared for his life when Thomas reached toward his waist. On Monday night, following peaceful protests and a City Council meeting devoted to the killing, the Over-the Rhine neighborhood where Thomas was killed erupted in rioting and looting which has continued each night through the week. In response, Cincinnati Mayor Charles Luken has imposed a curfew in the city from 8 p.m. until 6 a.m. and says he may ask the National Guard to come into the city this weekend. Meanwhile, the FBI is investigating the Thomas killing for possible civil rights violations and NAACP President Kweisi Mfume has come to Cincinnati to meet with local leaders. Pastor Damon Lynch III, President of Cincinnati’s Black United Front, spoke with host Matt Martin. Lynch says the Cincinnati Police Department’s long-standing pattern of racially-motivated abuse and misconduct has fueled the outrage following the Thomas killing. Since 1995, Cincinnati police have killed 15 people, all of them African-American men. Four of those deaths have come since November, and just last month a coalition of civil rights groups to filed a class action suit against the city for racial profiling.
LATINO POWER IN L.A. MAYOR’S RACE
On Tuesday, Los Angeles voters went to the polls to decide among other things, who will be the next Mayor. The race turned out to be the most expensive in the city’s history, over $17.2 million. But as Fernando Velazquez reports, the record expenditures have attracted less attention than the emergence of Latino power in the city’s politics.
FREE TRADE VS. PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Canada’s Quebec City is bracing itself to host the Summit of the America’s from April 20-22. The summit will bring 34 heads of state and over 9000 delegates to Quebec City for the third in a series of meetings aiming to unite the economies of the Western Hemisphere. The agreement to be negotiated in Quebec City is the FTAA – the Free Trade Area of the Americas. The draft of the official agreement has not yet been made public, and opponents say the heads of state are keeping it secret because if its content were known, it would lead to even more opposition. Prior to the official summit meeting, on April 17th and 18th, a parallel forum will be conducted by opponents of the official summit. The Peoples’ Summit will include teach-ins, concerts, demonstrations, and public forums. And the largest forum – with 250 delegates from the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Central and South America – is one being organized to discuss how to preserve quality public education in the face of a global push for privatization which has already affected vital public goods from health care to water supplies. From Montreal, Stephen Cooperman reports on why education has become such an important issue for opponents of the FTAA:
WILL THE GLOBAL WARMING PACT MELT DOWN?
George W. Bush’s first budget as President was released this week, and it included cuts in funding for research into energy conservation. The conservation cuts will likely add to the disappointment and frustration of international governments set off by the Bush administration’s declaration two weeks ago that it would withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol on greenhouse gases two weeks ago. Although the survival of the treaty, if not the climate, is in question, the European Union is now facing an opportunity to show its commitment and leadership to save it. While some say that the European Commission and its president, Romano Prodi, have reached their hour of reckoning, the real question the world must face is whether the Kyoto treaty is dead. From London, Patrick Beckett reports.
THOUSANDS RALLY FOR PALESTINIAN RIGHT OF RETURN
Israel escalated its attacks against Palestinians in the Occupied Territories to a new level this week as ground troops entered the town of Khan Younis in the Gaza Strip and bulldozed 35 houses, leaving at least 200 Palestinians homeless. Israel justified the bulldozings as a “security” measure against recent gunfire on Israeli soldiers. But to Palestinians, the house demolitions were the same kind of collective punishment Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has inflicted on Palestinians throughout his military and political career. Some of those whose homes were bulldozed were driven from homes in Palestine when hundreds of thousands of Arab inhabitants were displaced after the proclamation of the State of Israel. Many were expelled, and others fled in fear as armed Jewish settler occupied their towns and villages. Today there are almost 5 million Palestinian refugees. One fifth of them are living in camps in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, like the camp at Khan Younis, and in neighboring Arab states. Their fate remains in the hands of the Israeli government, which refuses to allow them to return although the United Nations has repeatedly affirmed their right to do so. At one of dozens of demonstrations around the world, thousands of protesters rallied in support of the Palestinian right to return outside the Israeli Mission to the United Nations in New York. Susan Wood was there and files this report.