July 26, 2002

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Final Push for Fast Track
President Bush heads to the House of Representatives today to make an eleventh hour plea for votes to give him Fast Track trade authority. Bush wants the Right to negotiate trade treaties without congressional input, even when those trade deals threaten environmental, health and safety laws.  If the proposal gets out of the House tonight, the Senate is expected to pass it easily next week. Environmentalists, human rights and labor groups complain that with Fast Track authority, President Bush will establish a NAFTA style agreement for the entire Western Hemisphere, and beyond.  Joshua Chaffin reports from Capitol Hill.

Resistance in Chiapas: NAFTA and Beyond
If Fast Track is approved tonight, much of the trade policy that NAFTA has brought to Southern Mexico could be replicated around the world. In the Mexican state of Chiapas, large transnational corporations are displacing locals and extracting ecological resources from the jungle regions which are inhabited by indigenous people, most of whom are Zapatistas. The regions residents refuse to leave, arguing that historically Mayan people have inhabited the jungle and that they have historical rights to these lands.  The Mexican government accuses them of having deforested the majority of the Lacandon Jungle and plans to relocate them. At the same time, government officials have invited business groups to help manage the reserve. Mariana Mora files this story from the Zapatista community of Montes Azules.

Warlord Seeks to Retain Power in Afghanistan
In the Afghan province of Heart, armed Tajik fighters defending the provinces warlord governor Ismail Khan, today went door to door asking residents to sign a petition in favor of Khan staying on as governor instead of taking up a post in the Central Government in Kabul. Our correspondent in Herat, Fariba Nawa explains.

Children’s March in Gaza
Last night the Israeli army entered Gaza City, its first incursion into the Palestinian territories since a widely condemned bomb attack that killed a Hamas leader and nine children. A Palestinian intelligence position and a metal workshop were flattened by some seven tanks accompanied by a bulldozer. And in the West Bank, residents said Israeli forces destroyed a four-story building in Yamoun, a village near Jenin, and arrested five people. This, as today, over a hundred Palestinian children took to the streets to protest Israel’s bombing earlier this week. Kata Mester was at the protest.

Mall Boycott in NC
Reviving a 1960s civil rights campaign tactic, activists in Durham, North Carolina have taken a school district dispute into the business sector, launching a shopping boycott of Durham’s Northgate Mall.  From Durham, Dave Lippman has the story.

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