August 28, 2002

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UN Earth Summit Underway in Johannesburg (4:49)
Environmentalists expressed outrage yesterday as the United States, Saudi Arabia and other nations at the UN summit for Sustainable Development worked to water down promises to rapidly expand the use of clean, renewable energy technologies around the globe. The Summit also heard that the billion-dollars-a-day subsidies that have enriched farmers  in developed countries is helping to cripple their counterparts in the developing world. And outside the Summit, South African security officials are honoring their promise to clamp down on any protesters demonstrating at the summit without government approval. Authorities deployed about 8,000 security officers to patrol the summit and the police have already come under fire for breaking up a protest of about 300 people Saturday night, firing three stun grenades into the crowd and arresting one person when demonstrators attempted to march without permission. Na’eem Jinah has more from Johannesburg.

Iranians Seek Democracy within Islamic Rule (5:39)
The State Department today issued a warning to Iran against providing al-Qaida members with a safe haven. Spokesman Richard Boucher said the U-S believes some al-Qaida members have escaped Afghanistan and sought safety in Iran. Iran is vigorously denying the reports. This as Iranian President Mohammad Khatami today announced that he will present a bill to parliament that would give him the power to push through reforms. Yet as Pejmun Haghighi reports, the country has many more obstacles to overcome on the road to democracy as Iranians seek freedom within Islamic rule.

Innocence Project Winning Freedom (4:58)
In Savannah Georgia this week, prosecutors refused to meet a hearing deadline to release two innocent men from the threat of prosecution. Thanks to the Innocence Project and the Southern Center for Human Rights, Samuel Scott and Douglas Echols are now freed from prison and probation, but have to wait until October to have charges against them dropped that DNA evidence proves they did not deserve. Meanwhile, in Michigan, the Innocence Project has exploded another bombshell—prosecutors eighteen years ago coerced a confession from a mental patient who had nothing to do with the series of brutal murders that his confession convicted him of committing. Reporting on the IP’s work in Georgia, Jack Hickey filed this report.

Nuclear Plant Workers Seek Compensation (5:14)
For years Department of Energy workers at nuclear sites across the country have been promised compensation for illnesses they contracted while working with toxic substances. This summer, Congress is drafting legislation to close loopholes in the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Program act passed two years ago. In the meantime, the Health and Human Services department is proposing new rules for implementing the act. As KUNM’s Leslie Clark reports, HHS is gathering comments from federal workers and others interested in the rule changes.

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