November 25, 2002

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Gutierrez is Ecuador’s New President
Yesterday, Ecuadorians chose the ex-colonel, Lucio Gutierrez, as their new president. Gutierrez beat the banana billionaire Alvaro Noboa in the runoff election with his promise to end poverty and invest in education and health, but his battle has just begun as he inherits a country steeped in economic crisis, unemployment, corruption, and the cynicism of many citizens who distrust the government. Gutierrez does not have the support of Congress, which is composed of traditional political parties. His left-of-center tendencies and alliances have endeared him with the indigenous peoples and social sectors in Ecuador, but Washington is not likely to be pleased. Nicole Karsin reports from Quito.

Postcard From a New NATO Member – Slovenia
President Bush today signed legislation creating the new Department of Homeland Security with Tom Ridge named as the department’s first secretary. This sweeping of new legislation will swallow 22 existing agencies, have a budget of $40 billion and employ 170,000 people. We will be taking a closer look at certain facets of this new department in the days to come on FSRN. Meanwhile President Bush wrapped up his five-day, four-nation tour of Eastern Europe this past weekend, coming on the back of last week’s NATO meetings in Prague in which seven new countries were inducted in the NATO military alliance. James Smoot files this report from Slovenia where the average Slovenian citizen does not see the apparent benefits of EU and NATO membership.

Israel: Will a Wall Solve the Problem?
The United Nations voiced anger and dismissed the Israeli army assertion that Palestinian gunmen fired from inside a UN compound in the West bank City of Jenin when Ian Hook, a UN British relief worker was shot dead by the Israeli military.  The United Nations has begun an investigation into the killing. Meanwhile last week’s bus bombing provoked a series of attacks by angry Jews against Arabs and their property in Jerusalem. Saturday evening, dozens of Israeli youths stormed an Arab-owned bakery near the site of the bombing, while others had earlier tossed a firebomb into the building. The Israeli government has also begun to implement another of its so-called “solutions” – the construction of a wall to keep Palestinians out of Israel. Palestinians say this wall has very little to do with security ? and is mostly a land grab ? because it is not being built along the 1967 green line  – while international volunteers who join the Palestinians in peaceful protest are being arrested and deported. Irris Makler reports from Jayous on the West Bank.

Settlement: Canadians Wronged Indigenous People
The Canadian Government & the Anglican Church of Canada have recently struck a deal to share the costs of the over 12,000 of law suits filed by indigenous people who were abused at residential schools. The deal will force the Anglican Church to pay 30 per cent of the settlements amounting to over $25-million dollars, Ottawa will pay the other 70 percent. Stefan Cristoff reports from Montreal, Canada.

Prep for WTO Showdowns 2003
Recently more than two hundred people from seventeen countries representing dozens of non-governmental organizations, popular and campesino movements from around the world, met in Mexico City for the “First Meeting of Social Movements Resisting the World Trade Organization, 2003.” The gathering, came weeks after the recent meetings against the Free Trade Area of the Americas in Quito, Ecuador  and aimed to springboard organizing strategies and educational campaigns about the September 2003 World Trade Organization (WTO) meetings in Cancun, Mexico. Tim Russo was at the gathering in Mexico.

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