February 03, 2003

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Shuttle Columbia Accident  (2:29)
As NASA this morning warned that the debrief field from the Shuttle Columbia accident is larger than they originally thought, the nation mourned the 7 crew members, including an Israeli man, and an Indian and African-American Woman, who all died. Yet as Dr Michio Kaku, Professor of Theoretical Physics at the City University of NY told KPFA’s Chris Welch the accident could have been even more of a disaster.

Jordanians Protest Iraq War  (3:37)
U.S. Army spokesman said today that U.S. military instructors have begun training members of the “Iraqi opposition”  at a base in Hungary ahead of likely American-led war against Iraq. The spokesman said training will involve courses on self-defense, laws of armed conflict, human rights and ethical decision-making. This as Jordan and Greece said today that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein must cooperate fully with UN inspectors adding that Hussein has the key to defusing a looming war crisis. Meanwhile, Greek foreign Minister George Papandreou, whose  country holds the rotating European Union presidency, said in Amman that a war could have very negative consequences for the wider region and that the EU is working to achieve a diplomatic solution that would avert war. Oula Al-Farawati reports from Amman.

Work Stoppage Ends, Chavez Claims Victory  (3:20)
Yesterday, February 2nd, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and his supporters celebrated four years in office and the defeat of the two month opposition economic shut-down. On the same day, the opposition gathered its forces to launch another campaign to oust President Chavez from office, this time via a petition drive for a recall referendum and a constitutional amendment. Gregory Wilpert and Carol Delgado report from Caracas, Venezuela.

Healthcare Providers Resist Smallpox Vaccines  (3:30)
As Florida is about to begin the first phase of it Smallpox vaccination plan this week, healthcare providers, like the St Vincent Health System in Arkansas who today announced they will not participate in federal smallpox vaccinations, and many others around the country are resisting the federal plan. On January 24th, Connecticut became the first state to begin the voluntary vaccinations. Only 4 doctors came forward; eight nurses backed out at the last minute. At least 80 hospitals across the country have refused to take part in the program. Nurses unions are expressing concerns ranging from serious reservations to outright opposition. Kellia Ramares explores the reluctance of health care workers to participate in a program that has a goal of ultimately vaccinating ten and a half million people.

It’s 1984 Again  (3:24)
Last week the American Civil Liberties Union issued a report warning of a potential surveillance society – arguing surveillance powers are growing like a monster in our midst. Today, there are more surveillance cameras in New York City than in any other city in the nation. After Sept. 11, a growing infrastructure of video surveillance has increased in some of the most sacred public spaces and is now involving more private businesses. Many privacy advocates want to know what they’re watching. As Geoff Brady reports, weekly surveillance camera tours in New York City offer an open dialogue to the quiet build up of cameras in Manhattan neighborhoods.

Nuclear Reactor Active in Czech Republic  (3:23)
And as we look at the Shuttle Columbia accident and the growing links between space exploration and the nuclear arms race, Eastern Europe is one place where both industries are active as a result of the Cold War. However activists in Central Europe are continuing their fight against the Temeline Nuclear Power plant in the Southern Czech Republic. The plant is the last of the Soviet Chernobyl-type nuclear power stations to be built in Eastern Europe and many consider it to dangerous to operate. Groups of Austrian activists have taken up hunger strikes on the Czech-Austrian boarder near the site of the power station to protest the start-up of the second reactor at Temeline last month. FSRN’s Charles Michael Ray has this story.

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