February 18, 2002

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The Refugees of Northern Afghanistan (4:51)
Over six million people from Afghanistan have been displaced by the past 22 years of war. Despite the routing of the Taliban almost three months ago and the creation of an interim government, the conditions of the people stuck inside the country remains desperate, according to this report filed by Pratap Chatterjee from Mazar i Sharif in northern Afghanistan.

The Burning Question of Nerve Gas in Alabama (3:47)
Host Nell Abram speaks with Brenda Lindell from Families Concerned About Nerve Gas Incineration about the federal government’s plan to burn deadly sarin and mustard gas in Alabama.

University Tuition Doubles (3:15)
150 protesting university students silently crammed into the room holding a meeting of the regents of University of Washington. The regents want to raise tuition; they also support legislation to give them unlimited control of tuition rates, tried first in 1999 by Governor Gary Locke. This deregulation model is gaining popularity across the US and Canada as provincial and state governments face major budget deficits. Thousands of Canadian students on February 6th participated in a national day of protest against student tuition hikes. British Columbia’s Liberal government just ended the tuition freeze, leading to protests at Simon Fraiser University last week. In the US, since 1989, tuition has increased by about 100%, while inflation increased by 43%. In Canada, since 1990, tuition has increased by 126%, while inflation increased by 21%. Thatcher Collins reports from Seattle:

Scientologists “Want to Help” With Psychology (3:57)
The Church of Scientology is launching a national billboard campaign this week. The signs are targeted at people with emotional problems and promise help from volunteer Scientology ministers. The ads are coming under fire from the National Mental Health Association. It says the Church isn’t qualified to be counseling people with serious problems. From St. Petersburg, Florida, Sally Watt reports.

Railing Against the Rodeo (3:36)
Rodeos have been a mainstay of southwestern culture in the United States for centuries.  Though not official events, calf roping and saddle bronc riding were featured as Command Performances in Salt Lake City’s 2002 Olympic games.  Now, the world’s largest livestock show and rodeo is making its annual three-week run in Houston. While recognized for the amount of money it raises for scholarships and charities, the rodeo has also attracted attention from activists concerned about animal injuries. Renee Feltz reports from Houston.

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