May 23, 2001

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U.S. Republican senator considers defecting to Democrats

Long time maverick Republican James Jeffords of Vermont has the White House holding its breath for another day as he contemplates defecting from the GOP. Such a move would tilt the delicate balance of power in the Senate from the Republicans to the Democrats. To analyze more closely the ramifications of this move, we spoke with political analyst John Nichols, editorial page editor for the Capital Times in Madison, Wisconsin and contributing columnist to The Nation magazine.
Israeli ceasefire crumbles following tank raids on Gaza Strip

Israel’s unilateral ceasefire, declared yesterday in response to former U.S. Ambassador Mitchell’s plan for peace in the Middle East, has crumbled. The Israeli Army reportedly launched tank raids on three Palestinian-controlled areas in the Gaza Strip. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said on Tuesday that he had instructed the Army not to take offensive action against the Palestinians and to open fire only in cases of life-threatening danger. The Palestinians responded by dismissing the ceasefire as a trick. From Gaza, Free Speech Radio News correspondent Raphaël Krafft reports from the ground the ceasefire is largely an illusion.
California city narrowly passes unprecedented living wage law

In a meeting that lasted into the wee hours of the night this, the city council of Santa Monica, California, voted five to one to approve an unprecedented living wage law, the first in the nation to apply to private employers who don’t have direct economic ties with the city. Robin Yurovich was there and files this report.
Yugoslav forces prepare to take back ethnic Albanian villages occupied by rebel groups

In the South of Serbia, Yugoslav forces are preparing to take ethnic Albanian villages that for more than a year have been occupied by armed Albanian militants intent on annexing the area and uniting them with Kosovo. Tensions remain high, despite this week’s NATO brokered commitment by the rebels to lay down their arms. Albanian civilians say they are afraid of tomorrow’s reentry of Yugoslav forces into their villages. Jeremy Scahill is in the South of Serbia and has been talking to Albanians in one village, where Serb forces battled Albanian militants for two days before retaking the village. From the South of Serbia, he files this report.
Environmental activists plan to attend Maxam Corporation stockholder’s meeting

Today, Houston-based Maxam Corporation holds its annual stockholder’s meeting on its home turf in Texas. Far to the west, the corporation has become mired in controversy over the cutting of old growth redwoods in the Pacific Northwest forest of its subsidiary, Pacific Lumber. Maxam has also come under fire for its treatment of striking steel workers at Kaiser Aluminum plants. While protests continue against the corporation, some of its strongest critics have traveled across the country to attend the stockholder’s meeting. Among them, Darryl Cherney of Earth First! Estelle Fennell has this report.


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