May 09, 2003

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Wiretaps and Tax Cuts in DC (3:49)
Some in Washington call it a compromise.  The Senate has rejected attempts to make permanent the Patriot Act’s limits on civil liberties.  But the Senate did pass a bill that will likely increase the use of wiretaps against foreigners on US soil, namely in cases where so-called terrorist suspects can’t be connected to a larger group.  Also on Capitol Hill, the wrangling over the president’s tax cut package continues. Josh Chaffin reports from DC.

Comparing Epidemics in China (3:40)
As the SARS infection rates continue to climb in China,  the world’s largest populous country is struggling with the epidemic. 20 years ago, China had to face several epidemic diseases leading critics to charge the country was more concerned about it’s image than the health of its own citizens. AIDS has been for China what SARS is today, yet some argue, the stigma that comes with AIDS has made that disease even more deadly. Last August, Dr Wan Yanhai, a Chinese AIDS activist and supporter of health issues concerning lesbian, gay men and sex workers in China was arrested by the police after coming form a gay and lesbian film screening. In playing a prominent role in publicizing the extent of the spread of AIDS throughout China, highlighting the connection between blood transfusions and HIV/AIDS in the central province of Henan, Yanhai was targeted. Alain Lefkowicz reports from Beijing where the Chinese government’s track record with AIDS in rural Chinese provinces may shed some light on how the government is handling SARS.

Capital Punishment in Texas (3:00)
Earlier this week, the State of Texas executed Roger Dale Vaughn, for the 1991 robbery and slaying of Dora Watkins.  Vaughn was the 14th Texas inmate executed this year and the 303rd person to receive a lethal injection since Texas resumed capital punishment in 1984. Although several Texas lawmakers have filed bills this year calling for a moratorium on the states death penalty or for a study of the states system of capital punishment, the Republican dominated state legislature has killed every attempt at such measures. But one judge near the state capitol is taking a political risk for sponsoring a moratorium on Texas death penalty cases until a study can be conducted. Eric Thompson of Houston Pacifica station KPFT covers the story from outside of the death chamber in Huntsville, Texas.

Protecting Baghdad University (3:42)
After the US military detained an Iraqi academic on Monday, her US publishers today said that the arrest of Dr Huda Ammash may be politically motivated. Dr Ammash, author of “Toxic Pollution, the Gulf War, and Sanctions” for South End Press is accused by the military of overseeing Iraq’s purported development of biological weapons. And from Baghdad, Rafael Krafft has this reports on university system in Baghdad.

Racism in Immigration (3:07)
Immigrants are confronting a rising tide of anti immigrant racism in American society- that has targeted all immigrants rich and poor. Over a dozen organizations from the AFL CIO to the council of Latino Agencies for Northern Virginia gathered in Washington DC to map out a national strategy to protect low income immigrants. Immigrant rights advocates say the Bush administrations war on terror is becoming a war on US immigrants, legal and illegal. Right wing hate groups like the clan have used the tragedy of September 11th to mobilize in conservative communities. And as Tom Gomez reports from DC, evidence is mounting that these anti immigrant organizations have the support of the INS.

Chiapas International Forum on US Militarization (3:23)
This week in Chiapas Mexico, people from some 35 countries have gathered in the first hemispheric forum against the increasing militarization worldwide to develop strategies to counter the politics of war, faced by the world’s majority. Luz Ruiz and Tim Russo report on the often censored stories exposed in the event that concluded today.


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