September 18, 2002

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Pro-Life Court Nominee Seeks To Overturn Roe vs.Wade
As Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld came to Capitol Hill today to testify and try and sway lawmakers to push for war in Iraq, an important nomination hearing for 10th circuit court of appeals began. President Bush’s nominee to the court has drawn fire from both pro-choice and church/state separation advocates, some of whom came together yesterday in Washington to express their opposition to Michael McConnell’s nomination. McConnell endorsed a statement of principles titled “the America we seek: A statement of pro-life principle and concern,” which called for a constitutional amendment overturning Roe v. Wade and sought constitutional protection for unborn embryos. Gareth Schweitzer has more from Washington.

French Court Suspends Sentence for WWII Nazi
Today a French Court of Appeals granted an early release to Maurice Papon. Convicted of complicity in Nazi war crimes, Papon had served only 3 years of a 10 year sentence.  As chief of police in Bordeaux during the German Occupation of France, Papon oversaw the deportation of 1600 Jews from France to Nazi death camps between 1942 and 1944.  He was finally brought to trial and convicted in April 1998.  His 6 month trial revived painful memories of French collaboration with the Nazis.  In granting Papon’s release, the Court applied a legal provision passed earlier this year that permits the suspension of a sentence in cases where two doctors agree that a prisoner is too sick to complete the sentence. Mr. Papon is 92 and in failing health. Anti-racism groups and representatives of Holocaust victims’ families have condemned the court’s decision. Nick Champeaux reports from Paris.

Medical Marijuana Distributed in Defiance of CA Crackdown
In defiance of the Drug Enforcement Agency, several Santa Cruz city officials and about 1,200 onlookers hosted a medical marijuana distribution Tuesday at City Hall. The event was in solidarity with the Women’s Alliance for Medical Marijuana, or WAMM, whose facilities federal agents raided September 5 as part of a crackdown on Medical marijuana operations. Max Pringle reports from Santa Cruz.

Wisconsin Welfare Reform Reap Corporate Profit
September is the fifth anniversary of the beginning of Wisconsin Works, or W-2, a so-called “welfare reform” program put into place by Republican Governor Tommy Thompson. W-2 followed on the heels of federal welfare reform legislation signed in 1996 by Democratic president Bill Clinton. In Milwaukee county, where eighty percent of the state’s welfare caseload resides, private corporations have replaced county government as the welfare agent. Overseen by the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, these private corporations receive state and federal funding for W2. The private agencies also receive millions of dollars from the state in unrestricted profits in the form of “performance bonuses.” From Milwaukee, David Giffey reports.

Colombian Campesinos Demonstrate
This past week has seen students, workers and campesinos in Colombia declare a 24-hour strike to protest several new pieces of legislation affecting their communities. Nearly 7,000 people marched through the historic center of Bogotá on Monday, while many others from different states who attempted to travel to the capital and participate in the march were impeded by the army and paramilitary forces. The national strike marked 40 days of President Alvaro Uribe’s administration, with the protestors demanding a negotiated solution to the armed conflict while calling for an end to Uribe’s repressive measures. Nicole Karsin reports from Bogotá.

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