January 25, 2002

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Senate Debates Big Tax Cuts for Big Donors
In the wake of the collapse of Enron, the Texas based energy corporation which donated liberally to Republicans and Democrats in recent years. The House of Representatives has taken the unusual step of forcing a vote on campaign finance reform, despite opposition from Republican party leaders. Last Spring the Senate passed its own version of campaign finance reform banning soft money contributions, but the house proposal remained stalled in committee. while campaign finance reform may now come up for a house vote within two weeks. Today the Democratic controlled Senate once again began discussion of an economic stimulus package which in the Bush Administration’s proposed version could give massive tax breaks to large corporations, including Enron. Kata Mester reports from Capital Hill.

More Peacekeepers for Afghanistan
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, on a visit to Kabul today, says he favors doubling the number of foreign troops acting as peace-keepers inside Afghanistan from 25- hundred to 5 thousand troops. Meantime, the number two United Nations’ official in Afghanistan says he favors an international force of 30,000 patrolling the country. Free Speech Radio News Correspondent Prathap Chaterjee is in Mazar e-Shareef in Northern Afghanistan. he says what’s really needed is — not more troops — but demilitarization.

India Tests Nuclear Capable Missile
With troops, ballistic missiles and tanks facing off on the Indian-Pakistani border, India tested what it what it said was a new version of its most powerful nuclear capable missile today. The missile test adds to the tension between the nuclear armed Southeast Asian countries. But Indian officials said today the test had been long planned, and was not related to the standoff with Pakistan over Kashmir. Joining us is Free Speech Radio News Correspondent Sputnik Kilambi, who’s in Kashmir, where gunfire across the so-called line of control has become a daily occurrence.

The Politics of Vieques
Today residents of Vieques, Puerto Rico where scheduled to vote in a federal referendum on the US Navy’s continued use of the Vieques bombing range. Navy Secretary Gordon England canceled that vote. Citing President Bush’s pledge that the Navy will  leave the island municipality by may of 2003. But the Vieques passive resistance is skeptical. In a Commonwealth sponsored referendum held last summer, 70% of Vieques residents voted for the Navy’s immediate withdrawal. Today we begin a special three part report examining the driving forces of the Vieques movement. High cancer rates, and violations of human and civil rights are at the forefront. Today, Shannon Novak files the first of three reports reports on Vieques.

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