January 20, 2003

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Iraq’s Warheads Questioned
Iraq today promised more cooperation with UN weapons inspectors, agreeing to allow private interviews with Iraqi scientists and to enact laws banning weapons of mass destruction. The move comes as the UN’s chief Inspectors wrap up a two-day visit to Baghdad, described as a last-ditch effort to avoid war.  The U.S. is stepping up military preparations ahead of the inspectors’ report to the security council next week on Iraq’s compliance with disarmament demands. Susan Wood has more from the United Nations.

Mass Demonstration Against War in DC
Over the Martin Luther King Day weekend, hundreds of thousands of people gathered across the United States and the world to demonstrate against what they see as an imminent US-led war on Iraq. Key rallies in the US were held in San Francisco and Washington DC. It is estimated that between two hundred and five hundred thousand people gathered in the Nation’s capital and the overall message was one of tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr with a determined call for no war on Iraq. Matt Bradley brings us this report from the WBIX/WPFW Radio Co-op and the Independent Media Center in Washington

New Mexicans Protest War
New Mexicans converged on military research facilities by the thousands this weekend. They took their anti-war protests to Albuquerque’s Kirtland Air Force Base where nuclear research and weapons development receive massive funding. Joe Gardner Wessely reports on the largest gathering of protestors outside the base in decades.

US-Pakistan Friction
As we reported in the headlines, late last night, the nuclear arms race in South Asia sped on as the Indian Defense Minister’s buying spree lead to the leasing of more Russian bombers and submarines able to launch nuclear weapons. And as the world’s eyes remain focused on the Persian Gulf and the USA’s desperate attempts to find a smoking gun in Iraq, little attention has been paid to recent skirmishes between the United States and Pakistan along the border with Afghanistan.  Media reports say the region is extremely volatile and that a major uprising against US troops stationed there cannot be ruled out. Relations between the US and Pakistan, its regional frontline state in the so-called war against terror, are also strained over stringent new immigration rules for citizens from some 25 countries, all but one predominantly Muslim. More from Sputnik Kilambi.

MLK’s Life Honored
On this, the birthday of Dr Martin Luther King Jr, the complexity of his life, as well as his profound legacy, will be remembered as the powerful Civil Rights leader is honored today, as he was this past weekend. Simba Russeau files this report.

Victory Against the INS
The Justice Department and INS received a legal set back last week when US District Judge Marsha Pechman ruled that the federal government’s policy of deporting people to war-torn Somalia is illegal. Pechman’s ruling grants class action protection to an estimated 2,747 Somali nationals. The ruling effectively protects Somalis from deportation, one of 13 foreign nationals required to come forward under the INS’s new “Special Registration”. Lawyers in Seattle filed the class action suit in December to block the imminent deportation of some 41 Somalis currently held in INS detention centers. Martha Baskin has this story.


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