April 15, 2003

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Rebuilding Iraq – US Style (3:06)
The Pentagon says the major military operations are winding down in Iraq, and their attention now turns to rebuilding the country. The United Nations hasn’t been invited to the party, and some Iraqis are protesting the unilateral process of choosing leaders for their embattled nation. While the Bush Administration suggests Syria could be the next target, Josh Chaffin reports.

From the Ground in Baghdad
Baghdad’s National Library burned yesterday, destroying centuries-old manuscripts. The National Museum has been looted of artifacts from the ancient Sumerian, Babylonian and Assyrian civilizations. The deputy director-general of the UN cultural body UNESCO calls the losses “a catastrophe for the cultural heritage of Iraq”. FSRN correspondent in Baghdad, Urban Hamid has been speaking with Iraqis who have been coming to the Hotel Palestine to try and get messages out to the world.

Tax Day (3:39)
President Bush today demanded at least $550 billion in tax cuts over 10 years, a retreat from his original proposal of more than $700 billion that reflected congressional reluctance to run up bigger deficits in wartime. This as today, the deadline for Americans to submit their income taxes, will be used by anti-war groups as an opportunity to raise awareness about war tax resistance. Groups such as the Iraq Peace Team, Iraq Pledge of Resistance, and the War Resisters League, claim US military aggression could be stopped if thousands of Americans who oppose the war in Iraq, engage in some form of tax resistance. Ingrid Drake reports from DC.

Janitor’s Strike (3:13)
In more than twenty cities across the United States, janitors are seeking justice on the job as contracts covering more than a hundred thousand custodians expire this year. Janitors with the Service Employees International Union typically earn much more than their non-union counterparts, but the union is struggling to win employer-paid health insurance for its mostly uninsured members. And as John Hamilton reports from Washington, D.C., the union is also working to organize new members as it fights for a better contract.

Attack on Zapatista Land (3:37)
Late Friday, news reached the southern Mexican highlands town San Cristóbol de las Casas that Zapatista support base communities situated in the depths of the Montes Azules Ecological Reserve of the Lacandon Jungle were being threatened with forced displacement. Tim Russo brings us this report from Chiapas, Mexico.

Refugee Crisis in Senegal (3:32)
In the last few days the UN High Commission for Refugees has stated that with the world’s attention focused on Iraq the refugee crisis in Africa is worsening. Early this month, the Senegalese president launched an official call asking refugees from Casamance to come back home and participate in the development of the region. Four days later in a short visit in Paris he received the UNESCO Gold Medal for efforts devoted to solving conflicts and developing democracy in Africa. But as the West lauds President Wade, civilian populations in Senegal have harshly criticized him for not doing much to end poverty and the conditions that keep refuges from returning home. From Senegal, Ndiaga Seck reports.

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