April 30, 2002

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Postcard from Gaza (2:58)
South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu has accused Israel of practicing apartheid in its policies towards the Palestinians. The Nobel Peace Laureate said he was “very deeply distressed” by a visit to the Holy Land, adding that “it reminded me so much of what happened to us black people in South Africa”. The Israeli military, meanwhile, began withdrawing from the West Bank town of Hebron today, a day after troops entered the Palestinian city, killing nine Palestinians and arresting dozens. A dozen armored vehicles were seen driving away from Hebron, and Israeli radio reports said all troops will have left by nightfall. This as a group of Palestinians have left the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, which has been besieged by Israeli troops since the 2nd of April. Twenty-six people were escorted out of the church by a monk and taken into Israeli custody for questioning. Israel has offered them trial or exile, but Palestinian negotiators reject this and propose they be sent to Gaza. With more from Gaza is International Peace observer, Kristen Shurr.

Pakistani General Seeks Popular Mandate (3:42)
Counting is under way after Pakistanis voted in a controversial referendum on whether to grant another five years in office to President Pervez Musharraf, who seized power in a coup in 1999. Some polling booths reported brisk voting, but many were said to be almost deserted as an opposition call to boycott the referendum and voter apathy apparently kept people away from the polls. Deepa Fernandes speaks with Rahim Oohal Yusufai, a reporter for the News in Pesuah tell us that the polls have closed and the results are slowly trickling in.

South Carolina May Execute Innocent Man (3:11)
This Friday, the State of South Carolina is set to execute a man many say is innocent of the crime for which he was convicted. Unless the Courts intervene, Richard Charles Johnson will be killed by lethal injection for the 1986shooting of State Tooper Bruce Small — even though another person on the scene has confessed to the crime.  Dave Lippman reports.

Navy Bombs Birds, Wants To Make It Legal (4:25)
The Defense Department is pressing Congress for exemptions from many of the nation’s most important environmental laws, arguing that the restrictions seriously hamper military readiness and training after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. If the Pentagon prevails, many training and bombing exercises would be exempt from an array of laws governing endangered species, marine mammals, migratory birds, clean air and hazardous-waste cleanup. A House Armed Services subcommittee on military readiness last week adopted two of the proposed exemptions, relating to endangered species and migratory birds, as part of a 2003 defense authorization bill. The full committee is likely to consider other changes when it begins action on the bill today. On March 13, Judge Emmit G. Sullivan, a US District court judge for the district of Columbia, granted summary judgment establishing that the Navy and the Department of Defense are in violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act by bombing and shelling a small island in the Pacific Ocean and killing birds that are protected. From member station WERU in Blue Hill, Maine, Emily Bernhard has this report.

Western Shoshone Protest Yucca Mountain Dump (3:27)
The Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste dump is back on the fast track. Members of a House subcommittee voted 24 to 2 on yesterday and the full Energy Committee gave its support for the dump with a 41 to 6 vote last Thursday In the face of those votes, the Native peoples of rural Nevada continue to fight. Independent Media Center reporter Jenka files this report from ancestral lands of the Western Shoshone Nation.

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