January 16, 2003

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White House Against UMich’s Affirmative Action
The White House will submit a brief to the Supreme Court today against the University of Michigan’s affirmative action program in what is being called the most decisive affirmative action case in a generation. University officials say that the President was ill-informed and that the statement he made yesterday about the University’s affirmative action program was wrong. More with the story in Washington is Gareth Schweitzer.

Activists Prepare for Weekend Anti-War Protest
U.N. inspectors today found 11 empty chemical warheads in what they described as “excellent” condition. The empty warheads were found at an ammunition storage area just outside of Baghdad. Meanwhile, a war on Iraq will disproportionately effect people of color in the US. People of color not only make up a significant proportion of the US troops that may be sent in to battle, the costs of war on the home front will hit poor people of color hardest. And as people across the nation mobilize for this weekends scheduled anti-war rallies planned for major cities like San Francisco, Washington DC, Houston and New Mexico, to name but a few, Evan Davis brings us the story of how marginalized communities in the US, particularly communities of color, are preparing to travel from Cleveland, Ohio to make their voices heard this weekend.

FCC Holds Hearing on Media Ownership
Last year, the Federal Communications Commission or FCC announced plans to relax media ownership rules that would uncap the number of TV or radio stations that can be owned in a single market, allow broadcasters to own TV stations that reach more than 35% of U.S. homes and would allow corporations to own more than one of the four major networks. FCC Chair, Michael Powell has argued that the current ownership rules are unnecessary because of the many media outlets such as cable, satellite and the Internet. However, more than 40 national and local consumer, civil rights and media advocacy groups fear that relaxing these rules threatens media diversity and democracy and have demanded hearings on the FCC plans. One of those hearings was held today at NY’s Columbia University Law School. Dred-Scott Keyes reports.

Venezuela’s Opposition Run Media
As we reported in the headlines, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez arrived Yesterday, Brazilian left-wing president Lula D’Silva, along with the United States, Chile, Spain, Mexico, Portugal joined the “Friends of Venezuela” group to find a peaceful solution to the crisis. Meanwhile, in Venezuela, the opposition’s crippling shutdown of most Venezuelan commerce seems to be weakening, although small groups still takes to the streets each day calling for Chavez to resign. And the media here in Venezuela also remains extremely polarized, with the majority of television, radio and print owned by the opposition forces. Deepa Fernandes reports from Caracas.

FSRN Reporter Interviews FARC Leader
This week in Washington DC the first US trial against a member of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the FARC was postponed. The first member of the FARC extradited from Colombia, Carlos Bolas, will soon be tried for drug trafficking and terrorism. In Colombia, the government plans to sit down with leaders of the right United Self Defense Forces of Colombia to work on guidelines for future dialogues. Meanwhile, President Uribe says he will only speak to the FARC through the mediation of the United Nations, a condition the FARC has always rejected. Almost a year has passed since the Colombian government broke the dialogue process with the guerilla group that has been waging war for 39 years, and since then the campaign to finish off what the US and Colombian governments call the narco-terrorists  continues to escalate. In an exclusive interview, Nicole Karsin sat down with one of the FARC’s top commanders and she has this report.

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