October 31, 2002

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Sharon’s Government Collapses (4:14)
Israel’s nineteen month old coalition government fell apart today with the withdrawal of the Labour party and the resignation of key Labour ministers. Irris Makler in Jerusalem looks ahead — to the impact of the collapse of the government on Israeli politics and the wider regional conflict.

Ecuador protests FTAA  (2:40)
Today, thousands march in Quito, the capital of Ecuador, where business leaders and trade ministers from North and South America met this week to continue negotiations for the hemisphere – wide Free Trade Area of the Americas. The FTAA would create the world’s largest free market zone – affecting 650 million people and $9 trillion in capital, and would allow corporations to bypass democratically adopted environmental or worker protection laws. Unions, students, rural workers, and especially indigenous people are converging on the city from all over Ecuador in caravans.  These groups are responsible for the protests that removed the last elected president of Ecuador, who was caught in a banking scandal, and also protests that stymied price hikes and policies driven by the International Monetary Fund.  Nathan Gove and Thatcher Collins followed the Northern Caravan from the Colombian border to Quito.

Russia launches US – Style Terror War Against Chechens (3:58)
Russian President Vladimir Putin is launching a U.S.-style war on terrorism in the wake of last weekend’s hostage crises in Moscow. Now Putin promises to go beyond the borders of Russia to stop what he is calling a terrorist threat and Russia has asked the US to add the Chechen rebels to its list of terrorist organizations. There are reports emerging of increased police harassment of Chechens in Moscow. But the main opposition in Chechnya is struggling for a political solution to the conflict with Russia.  And at an international Chechen conference this week, the deputy Prime Minister of Chechnya offered to open unconditional peace talks with Moscow. The next day, he was arrested by Danish police in Copenhagen. Now a Chechen diplomat is saying the hostages were to be released alive – and the Russians knew it. Patrick Beckett has more from Copenhagen.

Part 1: Profile of a Detainee  (3:58)
Today we begin a two-part special series looking into the life on one man, James Ujaama who is currently under near 24 hour lock down in a detention center in Seattle. Indicted for conspiracy, Ujaama’s story is yet another illustration of the racial and ethnic profiling conducted openly by the Justice Department post September 11. Martha Baskin takes us inside the case of James Ujaama.

Advertising Campaign to Kill GM Food Labeling Ballot Initiative (4:06)
State Department spokesman Richard Boucher today criticized Zambia for not accepting US imported genetically modified grains to help feed its starving population. The Zambian government stood firm in the face of US and UN pressure to accept the GM corn and decided on the ban after Zambian scientists conducted studies on genetically modified foods in the United States, Europe and South Africa and reported that insufficient evidence was available to demonstrate their safety. Meanwhile in Oregon, over 5 million dollars has been spent by the food and biotech industries in an effort to try and defeat a Ballot measure that would make it mandatory to label all genetically engineered foods.  Before the pre-election advertising blitz began, polls showed the measure would likely pass by a 2 to 1 margin, but with radio and TV ads running constantly throughout October, 8 page color mailings being sent out to voters all over the state, and celebrity endorsements, the debate over the issue of labeling foods is in danger of becoming a war of advertisements, and not of ideas. From Portland, Oregon, Andrew Stelzer has this story.

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