May 11, 2001
NO ALOHA FOR THE ASIAN DEVELOPMENT BANK
In a precedent-setting anti-globalization protest, 1,000 peaceful marchers drummed, danced, and shouted in jubilee against the meeting of the Asian Development Bank, or ADB, held this week in Honolulu. Critics claim the ADB’s policies contribute to deforestation, indigenous displacement, the erosion of worker’s and human rights, water and air pollution, starvation, poverty, economic dependency, and civil strife. The ADB, founded in 1966, and based in Manila, has 59 member countries, but the two most powerful members, the U.S. and Japan, dominate its direction and policies. Chris Cottrell files this report from Honolulu.
BLACKOUTS, BIG BONDS AND BACKDOOR DEALS IN CALIFORNIA
More rolling blackouts in California this week, forcing the state’s governor Gray Davis to once again place highest priority on the state’s energy crisis. Davis held closed negotiations with the CEO’s of energy generators and tried to strike a deal to continue selling power to the state’s two major utilities. At the same time, California lawmakers also passed the biggest bond issue in U.S. history so the state can keep buying power. Kata Mester has more from Sacramento.
ROADLESS IN IDAHO
A federal judge in Idaho blocked a ban on road building in a quarter of national forest land on Thursday, saying the Clinton administration’s rule needed to be amended or it would cause “irreparable harm.” The decision by U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge came less than a week after the Bush Administration said it would allow the rule to take effect this Saturday. It’s now up to the Bush Administration to decide whether to fight the injunction, even though the U.S. Department of Agriculture had announced it would revise the rules to allow for more local input, a move expected to seriously weaken the road-building ban. Leigh Robartes has more on the controversy from Idaho.
WILL THERE BE A MORNING AFTER?
This week, the President of the American College of OB/GYN’s called for the so-called “morning after pill” to be made available to women without a prescription. For decades, emergency contraception was made available to women by physicians, but many women were unaware of the option because no major pharmaceutical company wanted to produce and market emergency contraceptives. In September of 1998, the first commercially produced emergency contraception was approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Since then, access to emergency contraception has become a public policy issue for local and state health officials around the country. Earlier this spring, in California’s San Bernadino County, the County Board of Supervisors voted four to one to halt the use of the contraceptive morning after pill in county health clinics. A state agency has suggested it will reject the supervisor’s request. But county supervisors say they plan to take their case to the Bush administration where they hope it will spark a change in national family planning policy. Robin Urevich reports from San Bernadino.
SOUTH DAKOTA CONSIDERS LEGAL INDUSTRIAL HEMP
During last year’s elections, seven states had measures on the ballot that dealt with reforming drug and marijuana laws. In Colorado, voters legalized the use of marijuana for medical purposes, while voters in Alaska chose not to pass a measure that would have legalized all forms and uses of marijuana. This year, organizers in South Dakota are already kicking off their petition drive to put the questions of medical marijuana and Industrial Hemp to a vote of the people next fall. If the measure is passed, South Dakota will be the first state to legalize Industrial Hemp by means of a citizen’s initiative. From Custer, South Dakota, Joshua Welsh reports:
THE NEW YORK CITY COUNCIL CHECKS INTO WBAI
The Civil Service and Labor Committee of the New York City Council held hearings this week on a resolution addressing the crisis at WBAI-FM, the New York station of Pacifica radio, the nation’s oldest and largest progressive radio network. The committee heard testimony about the censorship, firings, and bannings of staff at WBAI, as well as statements from Pacifica arguing that by looking into the affairs of the station, the City Council was improperly interfering in its internal affairs. Kevin Prichard reports from the New York Independent Media Center.