May 06, 2003

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Garner Announces Iraqi Government
The EU Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, Poul Nielson, is in Iraq today. He is the first top level EU official to visit since the US occupation of the country began. And while the EU maintained it wouldn’t willingly pay for the reconstruction of Iraq if the U.S. failed to obtain United Nations authority for war, it appears that the world’s biggest aid donor is now keen on getting involved in efforts to rebuild the war-torn country. This on the heels of an announcement today by USAID, the government body charged with divvying up the reconstruction contracts, that a $2.5m contract to run the three largest commercial airports in Iraq was awarded to SkyLink, a US company with close ties to the Department of Defense. While the contract is initially worth $2.5m, reports say this could increase to $10.2m over 18 months, depending on how much work is required. And while the spoils of war are divided among the victors, as Nadja Middleton reports, US officials have now made public the first details of their plan for an interim Iraqi government.

Behind The 2004 Energy Bill (3:39)
Today is first day in what could be more than a month of congressional debate over the 2004 energy bill. Congress is still busy debating the Bush plan for tax cuts in the hundreds of billions of dollars, and Democrats presented an alternative tax model today. Josh Chaffin reports from DC.

Powell On Syria (4:10)
Two days after the US announced the end of its military war against Iraq, all the attention moved to Syria. Secretary of state Colin Powell paid a visit to Damascus over the weekend to tell Syria that it is being watched. Analysts see Powell’s visit as a final warning to Syria to abandon what Washington sees as a policy of harboring so-called ‘terrorists cells’ and supporting extremist factions. The US is serious, analysts believe, and this leaves Syria with few options. Oula Farawati reports from Amman.

West Pushes Road Map Peace Plan (3:54)
While Palestinians are living under the Israeli occupation, American and European diplomats are continuing their efforts aimed at promoting the so called ‘road map’ peace plan in the Middle East. Yesterday the American envoy William Burns held a meeting with the Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen, after a first meeting with the Palestinian Legislative Council Speaker Ahmad Quree. Awad Duaibes has more from Ramallah.

Latest Detainees Speak To FSRN (2:22)
On the heels of last week’s Supreme Court decision giving the Justice Department the full authority to indefinitely detain immigrants who are waiting to be deported, concerns are rising in immigrant communities across the country as news of the newly detained emerges. On April 25th nationals from Ethiopia and Indonesia were required to report for the program of ‘special registration’ and many never came out.  Simba Russeau has been investigating the cases of some of the detained and files this FSRN exclusive.

Walter Sisulu Dies (2:36)
South African freedom fighter Walter Sisulu died at 90 in his home in Johannesburg yesterday. While Sisulu was known as the quiet man of the struggle to end apartheid,  he was one of the greatest fighters for black freedom, and his life today is being remembered as an inspiration to South Africa and the whole world. Deepa Fernandes has this memorial.


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