March 14, 2002

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Zinni Arrives in the Middle East (1:59)
U.S. special envoy Anthony Zinni arrived today in the Middle East and met immediately with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. As Zinni arrived, Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer ordered a gradual pullback of Israeli troops from the West Bank town of Ramallah, where fighting earlier in today killed four Palestinians. Ben-Eliezer provided no details on the timing or extent of the withdrawal. Palestinian Authority officials say they will not take part in any peace talks without a comprehensive Israeli withdrawal from Palestinian cities and refugee camps. Rafael Krafft is in the Gaza Strip.

The Confirmation of Charles Pickering (3:39)
The contentious confirmation of Charles Pickering to the bench of the Fifth Circuit court of appeals heated up again yesterday when President Bush called upon Senate Leaders to remove Pickering’s confirmation vote from the Judiciary committee and send it to the Senate floor. During the past two weeks, republican leaders twice postponed a vote on Pickering’s confirmation while they lobbied for support. Today the Senate Judiciary Committee is finally scheduled to vote. Civil Rights Advocates decry the Pickering’s nomination calling his civil rights record abominable. Pickering has previously supported criminal penalties for interracial marriage, and attempted to overturn Roe v. Wade. Kata Mester has more from Capital Hill

Otto Reich: Another Iran Contra Official in the Bush Administration (4:47)
The Bush administration’s newly appointed State Department Representative for the Western Hemisphere made his first appearance in Washington Tuesday. Otto Reich’s appointment by President Bush during a congressional recess was controversial. Under President Ronald Reagan, Reich ran a covert propaganda campaign to sell the American people, the media and congress on the administrations Campaign Against Central American Leftists. Joshua Chaffin attended Reich’s address.

Florida Police to Get INS Powers (3:47)
For years, critics of illegal immigration argued that local law enforcement should be granted powers to arrest and detain undocumented immigrants. Currently, only the Federal Government – specifically the Immigration and Naturalization Service — has that power. But that could soon change. Florida expects to become the first state in the Union to get authorization to detain people on immigration violations. Florida law enforcement says this is a necessary tool for ‘domestic security’, but others fear it could create a new level of racial profiling. Mitch Perry reports from Tampa.

Bush and Bunker Busting Mini-Nukes (5:00)
Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico are testing small earth penetrating weapons that could be equipped with a new nuclear warhead. Sandia officials say developing the bomb is in keeping with the laboratory’s focus on the war on terrorism. And, as Leslie Clark reports, President Bush yesterday made clear he wants to keep his nuclear options open.

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