June 28, 2002

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G8 & African AIDS Drugs
The Group of Eight concluded its two-day summit by endorsing the New Partnership for Africa’s Development, or NEPAD, offering billions of dollars in aid to nations that embrace capitalism.  Activists called the G8 agreement a revised version of the old model of foreigners dictating what others must do, backed by vague promises of aid that never materializes. Critics also say the G8 plan fails to emphasize the AIDS pandemic in Africa and that the only initiative regarding water involved privatization. President Bush, who last month signed a law increasing subsidies for U.S. farmers, refused to drop restrictions on bringing African goods into the United States. Canada unilaterally pledged to lift tariffs on goods from 48 poor countries, 34 of them in Africa, by January 1, 2003. Thatcher Collins has more from Calgary.

Indian Burial Grounds Dug Up
A federal judge is expected to rule today in a dispute between the Yangton Souix Nation, the US Army, and the State of South Dakota. The fight is over a Yangton burial ground called the North Point Gravesite. The North Point land is part of the traditional homeland of the Yangton Souix along the Missouri River, and holds the bones of their ancestors. US Army bulldozers and cranes are standing by, ready to dig up the site for a festival ground if the Judge lifts his restraining order. Amanda Holmes has the story.

Navy to Bomb Whales?
The House of Representatives and Senate passed separate bills Thursday that would give the Defense Department its biggest spending increase in decades. The moves came after the Senate agreed on spending for missile defense and both chambers voted to allow the Bush administration to kill the Army’s Crusader artillery system. The Senate bill, which totals $393 billion, doesn’t appropriate any money but does spell out how it should be spent. The $354.7 billion House version is the first of 13 appropriations bills needed to fund the federal government in upcoming fiscal year. The House version also grants the Defense Department complete immunity from the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and provides broad leeway for the Defense Department to ignore the Endangered Species Act that, among other things, requires protective measures for endangered marine mammals.  In New Brunswick, Maine the Navy has been conducting live bombing exercises that put endangered humpback whales, fin whales and right whales at serious risk. Emily Bernhard has this report.

Afghan Warlords Still Powerful
President Hamid Karzai vowed today to put Afghanistan’s warlords out of business and called for international peacekeepers to be deployed in the unruly north. He told reporters that quote: “everyone has a chance to take part in the political process and serve Afghanistan, but no one will be allowed to serve in the interest of his fiefdoms and try to establish his own self-rule.” It was a statement that surprised many observers. Afghanistan’s Loya Jirga was marred with allegations of war-lordism with Karzai appointing Northern Alliance warlords governorships of every province of Afghanistan. Free Speech Radio News Correspondent Fariba Nawa is in former Taliban stronghold of Khandahar. She takes a look at the province’s governor and warlord Golagha Shirzai.

Gay Rights in China Part 2
The United Nations says that China is on the brink of an HIV/AIDS catastrophe of unimaginable proportions in one of its harshest assessments yet of the country’s efforts to stem the spread of the deadly virus. In a report entitled HIV/AIDS: China’s Titanic Peril, the UN says that by the end of last year, 800,000 to 1.5 million Chinese were infected with HIV, the virus that can cause AIDS, reflecting an increase of more than a quarter of a million over the previous year. According to the UN report, China could have 10 million HIV sufferers by 2010 if no effective countermeasures are taken.  Chinese officials rejected the report today, calling the UN predictions inaccurate and saying the report cannot be fully trusted. The  report cites the most frequent modes of transmission as contaminated needles and illegal blood sales.  Critics say these figures are skewed because so many infected gay men and lesbians are afraid to reveal their sexual orientation. Alain Lefkowicz has the conclusion of a two-part report on gay rights in China.

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