March 28, 2002

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The Arab League Summit and the Palestinian Right of Return
The Arab League summit in Beirut unanimously endorsed a Saudi-inspired plan for Middle East peace today, offering Israel normal ties and full peace in exchange for complete withdrawal from occupied Arab land, a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital and a fair solution for Palestinian refugees. The declaration calls for Israel’s agreement to a “just solution” to the Palestinian refugee problem in line with a 1948 UN resolution that calls for repatriation and compensation. In return the Arab countries would “consider the Arab-Israeli conflict ended and enter into a peace agreement with Israel establishing normal relations. Aides to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon rejected full withdrawal from occupies territories, said the term “normal relations” was too vague and rejected any right of return for refugees. Lebanon’s President Emile Lahoud demanded the Declaration mention that his country’s constitution rejects any settlement of Palestinian refugees on its territory. The Beirut Declaration also demands the lifting of UN sanctions on Iraq imposed for its 1990 invasion of Kuwait. The statement goes on to stress total rejection of any attack on Iraq. Rafael Krafft is in Beirut and concludes his three part series with the issue of the Palestinian right of return.

More US Pressure on India for Enron
Enron has asked a federal agency to pay a huge insurance claim on an idled power plant in India, a project financed in part by a still outstanding government backed loan. The relationship between Enron and the little known Overseas Private Investment Corp demonstrates the company’s two-prong government-relations strategy. While domestically Enron pushed for deregulation of the power sector, internationally it sought and received government help in the form of loans and insurance protection. India is however resisting pressure that it continues to stand by the project. Sputnik Kilambi has details from India.

Report Links Militia to Terrorists
A new report by the Southern Poverty Law Center documents ties between segments of the racists right and Muslim extremists. Titled The Swastika and the Crescent, the reports says the connections have increased in recent years and the events of September 11 have shed new light on them. Leigh Robartes has more.

Organic Lawns on Long Island
The crusade for the perfect American lawn, golf course and playing field has led to increased use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers. This can create health problems for individuals and environmental problems for ecosystems. Melinda Tuhus reports on a unique effort by one organization to promote organic land care close to home, while promoting jobs for its members.

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