April 14, 2003

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Latest from Baghdad
Reporters Without Borders has voiced its concern that a CNN crew’s security escort returned fire with an automatic weapon when the crew, traveling in several vehicles, came under fire today at the entrance to the northern Iraqi town of Tikrit. The use of firearms is a practice contrary to all the rules of the profession, the organization said. Meanwhile, lawlessness continues to rein in Baghdad as Independent Journalist Urban Hamid tells Deepa Fernandes.

White House Takes Hard Line on Syria
As military operations are slowing in Iraq, attention is being focused on neighboring Syria. Washington accuses Bashar Al Assad’s regime of giving safe heaven to top Iraqi officials, developing weapons of Mass destruction, and harboring what the US administration calls terrorist organizations like Hezbollah in Lebanon. Raphael Krafft files this report from Cairo.

Protests Continue Worldwide
Hundreds of thousands marched in some sixty countries this weekend in protest of the US occupation of Iraq…and against the US threat to invade neighboring Arab nations. Half a million marched in Rome, according to organizers, with smaller actions across Latin America, Europe, and the United States. Thousands braved the rain to march in San Francisco and LA.  The anti-war march in DC coincided with the Spring meeting of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, attracting tens of thousands. Meredith DeFrancesco with Josh Chaffin report from the District of Columbia.

Jamaican Economy Suffers from War
Even though the war in Iraq is miles away from Caribbean shores, the region has begun to feel the negative affects of the fighting in the Middle East. Jamaica’s national airline, Air Jamaica announced it has reduced a number of its flights to America and its employees have taken a pay cut in order to save 15 million dollars. Jamaican hoteliers say many of their guests have cancelled their vacations to the island because of the war. In addition to that Jamaicans are already paying more at the pumps for petrol. But many political analysts here believe that Jamaica could continue to suffer even after the war because of its anti-war position. Patrick Scudder has more in this report.

One Year Since Venezuela Coup
One year ago today, on April 14, 2002, the Venezuelan people, together with support from the military, defeated a coup attempt against Venezuela’s President Chavez. In honor of this anniversary, an international solidarity conference took place this past weekend in Caracas. The conference attracted progressives and left intellectuals from all around the world to learn about the attempted coup and the transformation occurring in Venezuela today. Greg Wilpert reports on the anniversary and the conference from Caracas, Venezuela.

Cuba Executes Hijackers
As Amnesty International released a report Friday condemning the death penalty and highlighting that China, Iran and the USA accounted for 81 per cent of all known executions in 2002, the Cuban government executed three of the 10 ferry boat hijackers after a rapid trial. This after issuing a strongly worded statement Friday morning condemning the release on bail by U.S. authorities of the last hijackers of an aircraft from the Isle of Youth to the Florida keys, saying that this tempted others to take similar action to reach the U.S. Joseph Mutti reports from Havana.


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