January 14, 2003

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GE Workers form National Strike
A General Electric worker was struck by a police car and killed this morning as she walked a picket line outside her plant in suburban Louisville, Kentucky. The death came just hours into a national two-day strike by more than seventeen thousand GE employees, who are protesting escalating health care costs. John Hamilton has more.

Longest US Lockout Ends in Ohio
Steelworkers in Mansfield, Ohio began returning to work yesterday after a bitter 3 1/2 year lockout – the longest in the nation’s history. And as Evan Davis reports, the lock out appears to have ended.

Palestinians Respond to Israel Elections
While Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is fighting a public relations battle due to recent allegations of corruption complicating his bid to retain political control, the Labor Party is stepping up its campaign with a series of ads featuring the Godfather theme song. This after Ariel Sharon had the plug pulled on him during a televised press conference over the weekend. Meanwhile, today is the day that a Palestinian delegation was to meet in London with British diplomats to work on reforms within the Palestinian Authority.  Instead after Sharon barred the Palestinian delegates from attending the conference, the meeting convened via video conference. And as Awad Duaibes reports from Ramallah, Palestinians are frustrated that diplomatic efforts to reform the PA are being stymied.

Irradiated Meat Feeds America’s Kids
Students who participate in the federal school lunch program may soon find irradiated meat on the menu. An amendment to the 2002 Farm Security and Rural Investment Act requires the U.S.Department of Agriculture to repeal its prohibition on the purchase of irradiated foods for federal nutrition programs. In addition to the School Lunch Program, food distribution programs under the Food Stamp Act, the Emergency Food Assistance Act, the Child Nutrition Act of 1966, the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations and the Commodity Supplemental Food Program would also be opened to irradiated foods.  Repealing the prohibition would make the federal government the world’s largest distributor of irradiated food. Kellia Ramares has more.

Oregon Leads Case Against Pfizer
Pfizer, the largest pharmaceutical company in the world, has agreed to a pay 19 states a total of 6 million dollars, in order to avoid a lawsuit which included accusations of misleading advertising regarding Zithromax, the second most frequently prescribed antibiotic on the planet. The case was brought on by ads which misrepresented the effectiveness of Zithromax in comparing it to other antibiotics used to treat children’s ear infections, when several studies showed that Zithromax was in fact less effective than the basic cheap antibiotic amoxicillin. Oregon was the lead state in the case, and Oregon’s attorney general has said that pursuing pharmaceutical companies unethical practices is currently his top priority. This responsibility may now be falling to the states, as newly appointed senate majority leader Bill Frist has opposed legislation which puts restrictions on pharmaceutical advertising. From Portland, Oregon, Andrew Stelzer has this report.

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