November 18, 2002

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Weapons Inspectors arrive in Iraq
A UN Weapons Inspection team lead by Hans Blix arrived in Baghdad today and met with Iraqi officials in the lead up to the resumption of the inspections for weapons of mass destruction that the US accuses Saddam Hussein of developing. Reuters is reporting that Blix has said he cannot guarantee that his team of inspectors is free of intelligence spies. Jacqueline Soohen of Big Noise Films has just returned from one month in Iraq and she says there is a sense of relief among Iraqi people that their government has permitted the weapons inspectors in to the country. She speaks with Host Deepa Fernandes.

Canadians say No to War!
From Vancouver to Montreal to Nova Scotia, Canadians took to the streets in 25 cities and towns across the country this past weekend, to denounce the economic sanctions and possible war against Iraq, and to call on the Canadian government to resist U.S. pressure to participate in a war. Kristen Schwartz of CKLN of Toronto has this report.

Sharon wants more of Hebron
The United Nation’s relief agency in the Middle East announced today that it will begin the region’s largest food aid program to help end a frightening increase in malnutrition in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) said it aimed to distribute food parcels to 1.3 million people in Palestine during the first half of next. Before the current Israeli incursions began, the agency was feeding just 11,000 families in the region. This comes as Israel’s Prime Minister Ariel Sharon says that now is the time to increase the area under Israeli control in the West Bank town of Hebron – following the ambush of Israeli soldiers guarding settlers on their way to pray at the tomb of the patriarchs in Hebron over the weekend. The Palestinian group Islamic Jihad has confirmed responsibility for the attack, claiming retribution for the Israeli military assassination of its leader Iyad Sawalha in Jenin late last week. According to Christian peacemaking teams in Hebron the Israeli military responded to the attack with several hours of firing at Palestinian area with machine guns, tanks, and helicopter-mounted artillery. Hebron is home to 140,000 Palestinians currently under 24 hour military imposed curfew. Four hundred Israeli settlers also live in Hebron guarded by 1500 Israeli troops. Irris Makler reports from Jerusalem.

Protestors arrested at SOA Requim for the Dead and Disappeared
Over 25,000 participants showed up in Columbus, Georgia this weekend with an unequivocal demand: Close the School of the Americas. The training ground for many of Latin America’s infamous dictators, the School of the America’s new name, the Western Hemispheric Institute for Security Cooperation, or “WINSEC” is meant to suggest new attitudes and protocols. Yet this weekend, in an act of civil disobedience, nearly 100 protestors crossed into Fort Benning and went to jail. Five nuns led the way. According to the organizers of the requiem for the dead and disappeared, each person arrested stands for as many as 10,000 victims of SOA graduates. Jack Hickey files this report.

Multiracial Labor Union in LA
More than 150 people turned out last Friday night in Koreatown Los Angeles to protest what they say are unfair and anti-union practices by one of the area’s largest supermarkets. The Korean-run Super Assi Market has been the ongoing target of a boycott by a multiracial coalition of workers, who say the store management mistreated and wrongly fired them for union organizing. Assi Market claims it suspended 50 Latino and 10 Korean workers, roughly half its workforce, because their work papers did not match Social Security administration records. In response, the workers formed the Immigrant Workers Union, and, once every month, they’ve taken to the streets to get the word out about the Assi boycott. It’s the first major union drive in the community. And, as Ngoc Nguyen reports, a sign that labor movements in the area are becoming increasingly multiracial.

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