May 05, 2003

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National Security Or Big Business?
National media focused this weekend on what they saw as a battle between the State Department and the Pentagon over the fate of the more than 600 so-called “enemy combatants” held at Guantanamo Bay, US-occupied Cuba. As the US works to keep nuclear weapons material from leaving North Korea, Washington may be preparing to restart its own nuclear weapons testing program. Meanwhile allegations swirl in Congress of pandering to the gun lobby and payoffs from the chemical industry to the detriment of Americans’ safety. Josh Chaffin has this roundup of DC stories.

Medical Situation In Iraq Is Critical
Radio Free Europe reported this morning that Poland announced that a coalition of 10 mostly European nations is preparing to send troops to Iraq as part of a stabilization force by the end of this month. Warsaw said it will share leadership of the force with the United States and Britain. This as 250 delegates representing rival ethnic groups in Iraq’s third largest city of Mosul today elected an interim council and a mayor to govern the northern city. While it is unclear just how the delegates themselves were chosen, and some have questioned the democratic nature of these first Iraqi elections, Mosul’s chief judge swore in Mayor Ghanam al-Basso, a former army general chosen from a field of three candidates. And across Iraq, the medical situation remains critical, as Aaron Glantz reports from Baghdad.

Kent State Anniversary
As a memorial was held on Sunday to mark  the 33rd anniversary of the shootings of four students at Kent State University by the Ohio National Guard new evidence has surfaced which rekindles old questions about whether the shootings may have been ordered by Ohio’s governor at the time and were perhaps part of the FBI’s “Cointelpro” program aimed at the anti-war movement. Evan Davis was there and has this report.

Cinco De Mayo Used By Alcohol Companies
Today is Cinco de Mayo, an important holiday for many Chicanos & Mexican Americans throughout the Southwestern United States. In the ’80s the alcohol industry initiated Cinco de Mayo promotions, turning this historic event into just another chance to drink. Over the years, celebrations in California communities have been increasingly infested with violence, crime, underage drinking, increased DUI citations and other problems caused, in part, by heavy alcohol consumption and inappropriate advertising targeted toward Latinos. This Cinco de Mayo a community organization hit back. Jovita Juarez is the Southern Chair of Latinos & Latinas for Health Justice, the group that initiated the campaign targeting alcohol and tobacco companies. She speaks with Deepa Fernandes.

LTTE and Child Soldiers
This week, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, or LTTE, pulled out of peace talks with the Sri Lankan government. After over a year of ceasefire, the tiny island of Sri Lanka is now poised to return to the civil war it fought for twenty years. Although the LTTE promises the move does not signal a return to war, many say the rebel group is desperate, having lost political leverage and legitimacy with the international community. One of the major issues dogging the LTTE is its  recruitment of child soldiers. From Kilinochchi, the political capital of the LTTE, Miranda Kennedy reports.


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