August 20, 2002

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Partial Israeli Pullout – Palestinians Skeptical  (4:30)
Early this morning the Israeli Defense Forces commenced a small-scale withdrawal from Bethlehem to the outskirts of the city where they now maintain a heavily reinforced military perimeter. This latest move has been dubbed the Bethlehem and Gaza First plan and comes after a three hour meeting late Sunday night in Tel Aviv between the Israeli Defense Minister, the Palestinian Interior Minister and other high level negotiators from Israel and Palestine. And as Tim Russo and Awad Duabes report from Bethlehem, while the agreement was met by applause from the Oval Office and some European Governments, skepticism, doubts and harsh criticism has abounded from Palestinians who have been rudely reminded of the Gaza-Jericho First plan drawn up in the 1993 Oslo-accords.

Students Can Read Book About Koran  (3:29)
Following a favorable court decision, entering students at the University of North Carolina went ahead with discussions of a book about the Koran. As Dave Lippman reports, the debate over the summer reading program’s choice of the book about the Koran climaxed yesterday with the university victory in the courts and reasoned discussion in the classrooms.

Activists Pressure Dow Chemical Over Bhopal  (4:08)
Last Friday, Diane Wilson, a South Texas fisherwoman and environmental activist ended a 30-day hunger fast outside the Dow chemical plant in Seadrift, Texas. Her efforts were part of an international campaign to hold Dow accountable for Union Carbide’s role in the 1984 poison gas release in Bhopal India, which killed 8,000 people. Dow bought Union Carbide last year and refuses to accept the liabilities with the merger. Jackson Allers of Houston Pacifica affiliate, KPFT, reports from Seadrift on how Dow’s actions are affecting both Bhopal survivors and Seadrift area.

SF Janitors in Corporate CleanUp Month  (2:45)
South Bay Janitors and Labor activists have launched what they call “corporate cleanup month,” through the end of August. Campaigners, or mop and broom brigades, will be arriving unannounced at corporations whom they charge with hiring irresponsible cleaning contractors. The actions will draw attention to the subpar working conditions many of the valley’s janitors say they face. Max Pringle reports.

More Welfare Money to Marry   (4:38)
Coming soon to a welfare office near you: the White House Marriage Initiative. President Bush’s plan to use four hundred million federal welfare dollars to encourage poor people to get married faces an uncertain fate in congress. Advocates for the poor say the marriage initiative is unrealistic, and a waste of federal resources. But some states are already spending taxpayer dollars on church-based marriage programs, including, as reporter Josh Chaffin found out, the District of Columbia.

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