May 06, 2002

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Aung San Suu Kyi Free
The Burmese pro-democracy leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, has been released from nearly 20 months of house arrest by the military junta who has power in Burma. Thousands of cheering supporters mobbed her as she arrived at the headquarters of her party, the National League for Democracy (NLD). According to Suu Kyi herself, in a statement made hours ago, her release is unconditional and she is free to go anywhere she wants.

Inside the Church of the Nativity
The Director of the United Nations Development Program in the West Bank and Gaza Strip today estimated that it would cost between $300 million and $400 million to repair the damage done by Israel’s recent large-scale military offensive against the Palestinian Authority. The Israeli military declined comment. The UN said it would take a year to 18 months to complete repair work.

Meantime, the stand-off at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem continues with the CIA now playing a roll in negotiating an end to Israel’s siege of the church where Jesus was born. At issue, how many of the people taking refuge inside the Church will be exiled from Israel and the Occupied Territories. Palestinian leaders want no more than eight of those in the church sent into exile in Italy, but Israel wants many more to deported.  International Peace Observer Kristen Schurr is inside the Church of the Nativity. She says conditions inside the church remain dire.

Ariel Sharon to Washington
President Bush met with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon today in Washington. Sharon says he’ll outline his plan for peace tomorrow. But Israel says it can’t peacefully coexist with the Palestinians while Yassir Arafat is their leader. In Michigan, President Bush told reporters he understood Ariel Sharon’s reticence to work with Arafat saying Arafat has also quote: “disappointed me”. Meanwhile the US state department is taking criticism from American Jews and Muslims for its handling of the crisis in the Middle East. Joshua Chaffin reports.

Mumia Abu Jamal on the Middle East
With Palestinian villages crumbled under the tread of American made, Israeli manned tanks, and thousands held in detention, the tiny area of earth now called Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank is on the minds of millions the world over. What the world is witnessing is the primacy of arms over words. While the airwaves, teletypes, and newsprint of the worlds media dutifully reports the sweet words of diplomatic double speak about resolution 242, peace, occupied territories and the like, the tank and troops of Sharon, the former Israeli general, seen by many Arabs as the butcher of Beirut, are writing a new pact in the blood, tears, and bile, of the Palestinian people.

South Carolina Executes Possibly Innocent Man
The state of South Carolina executed Richard Johnson Friday evening, even though another person had confessed to the murder for which he was put to do death. Dave Lippman has the story.

Workers of the Southwest Vote on UNITE
Around the Southwest laundry workers for Mission Linen Supply are voting to decide whether they want union representation. If the unionizing drive is successful, it promises to bring together a workforce composed mostly of Spanish-speaking immigrants. Joe Gardner Wessely has more from New Mexico.

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