April 18, 2003

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Chaos in Baghdad (1:56)
Tens of thousands of Iraqis took to the streets of Baghdad today following morning prayers to protest the US occupation as the United states works to install an interim military government. The Guardian reports that Iranian President Mohammad Kahatmi accused the United States of “taking an aggressive stance” saying that Tehran “ will not recognize a US installed administration in Iraq.” This, on the heels of a discovery of a mass grave, containing at least 1500 bodies outside of the northern Iraqi town of Kirkukk. Human rights groups suspect the graves hold the bodies of Kurds. Meanwhile Baghdad is in chaos, most of the population don’t have water or electricity, US bombing has destroyed the telephone networks and many public buildings, and looting has destroyed much of what was left. Tony Cross reports from the wreck on the Iraq capital.

Bush Administration and Muslims (4:20)
Today Good Friday religious services at the Pentagon were delivered by the Christian Evangelist Franklin Graham, the Son of the Reverend Billy Graham. Many Muslim groups have expressed outrage at what they say amounts to a government endorsement of an influential religious leader who claimed shortly after the September 11th attacks that Islam is a ” very evil and wicked religion”. Nadja Middleton looks at the difficulties the US government is having in winning over the hearts and minds of Muslims.

Nigerian Elections Tomorrow (4:58)
Tomorrow Presidential elections will be held in Nigeria. The two Presidential front runners, current President Olusegun Obasanjo and Muhammadu Buhari are both former military rulers of Nigeria. Their prominence in these elections has spurred criticism that democracy has yet to take root in Nigeria.   Although Nigeria is the 6th largest exporter of oil in the world, the country is among the 25 poorest countries in the world. And has some of the lowest living standards in Africa. Nigeria depends on crude oil exports for more the 95% of its export income. The revenue produced in Nigeria stays mainly in the hands of a small elite, which as Dena Montague reports from Lagos, makes many Nigerians wonder if oil politics will lead to the failure of democracy.

IMF Squeezing Turkey (4:43)
The IMF’s executive board met today to approve a new installment of 700 million dollars to Turkey as part of the $1.6 billion IMF agreement. Signed last week, Turkey agreed to stick to economic reforms demanded by the IMF which many have said will force Turkey to privatize public utilities,  sell off forests and cut jobs. While the agreement is meant to pull the country out of recession after two serious financial crises, as Ozlem Sariyildiz reports from Ankara, Turks are worried this IMF deal will hit the poor hardest.

Terrorist Charges Dismissed Against Seattle Man (3:40)
In a surprising about face, Justice Department lawyers this week dismissed all terrorist conspiracy charges against James Ujaama, an African-American held in a Seattle federal detention center since last summer. In exchange for a plea agreement, the government charged Ujaama with what he’d admitted doing all along – providing support for a girl’s school and other charitable causes within  Afghanistan. The law the prosecution relied on, the International Economic Emergency Powers Act, was not raised in the case until recently. The law was amended in 1999 to make it a crime for US citizens to contribute goods, technology or other services directly to Taliban controlled Afghanistan. From Seattle, Martha Baskin has this story.

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