March 04, 2003

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Intensified Bombing in Iraq (3:51)
The Bush Administration is attempting to exempt the Pentagon’s controversial National Missile Defense System from operational testing which is legally required of every new weapons system in order to deploy it by 2004. This information was buried in the White House’s proposed FY2004 budget. Meanwhile, as Iraq continues to destroy it’s Al-Samoud missiles and has promised to deliver a detailed report on what happened to stocks of Anthrax and VX nerve gas agents early next week, the United States has stepped up its bombing of the so-called No Fly Zone area in the recent days. The Iraqi government says that the latest bombing has caused the death of 6 civilians and the injury of fifteen. And as Nadja Middleton reports, some military analysts see this recent bombing intensification as an indication that a US led war against Iraq has already begun.

Troops on Kuwaiti Border (4:02)
Meanwhile, Iraqi president Saddam Hussein has issued an order for Iraq’s security forces to intensify their emergency preparedness training ahead of a likely all out US war on the country. He has also ordered the governors of Iraq’s 18 provinces to tell all Iraqi citizens to begin digging trenches. As the total number of US troops in the gulf just passed the 200,000 mark, Iraq’s forces at the border with neighboring Kuwait are facing some 90, 000 US troops just a few miles from their positions. FSRN correspondent Jeremy Scahill filed this report from the Iraqi village of Safwan on the Kuwaiti border.

Bush’s Medicare “Reform” (3:40)
The White House released a plan today for what the president calls medicare reform.  Critics say the plan was written to satisfy the pharmaceutical industry, who donate heavily republican political candidates, and to the private healthcare industry, who’s most famous son is Senate majority leader Bill Frist.  Josh Chaffin reports from DC.

Bikini Atoll Anniversary (4:05)
After US officials announced yesterday that North Korea fighter jets had intercepted a US Air Force plane, top Japanese politicians today called the interception by North Korean fighters over the Sea of Japan “provocative” and “abnormal.” The Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said he suspected it was part of Pyongyang’s diplomatic brinkmanship. This as 49 years ago, the US government tested hydrogen bombs in the Marshall Islands, systematically disrupting the way of life for the indigenous people of the Bikini Atoll. Miles Ashdown reports from Yaizu, Japan.

Community Courts, Not Jail (4:06)
Accused sniper teenager John Malvo was in court again today, on trial for the spree of shootings last fall across 5 states and the District of Columbia. Malvo, although a minor, faces a possible death sentence after Attorney General John Ashcroft pushed to have the trial in the state of Virginia where minors can receive the death sentence. This comes as a growing movement is looking to alternatives to incarceration. Last September, Chief Justice Rufus King of the Washington, DC Superior Court, launched the District’s first Community Court, joining 30 cities across the United States. Community courts are promoted as a departure from the lock-em-up approach of the conventional court system because defendants are often sentenced to drug treatment or job training programs instead of incarceration. Critics of community courts say decision-making power is still in the hands of the criminal justice system and not within the community. Ingrid Drake from Washington, DC reports.

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