May 30, 2003

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Israeli Palestinian Talks  (3:28)
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon met new Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas yesterday for a three hour meeting, ahead of a regional summit with President Bush next week. Inside Israel and the Occupied Territories there is  cautious optimism about restarting a dormant peace process as Irris Makler reports from Jerusalem.

Venezuelan Peace Deal  (3:11)
Yesterday, after seven months of negotiations that were facilitated by the secretary general of the Organization of American States, Venezuela’s government and its opposition reached an agreement to keep the peace, to abide by the constitution, and to hold a recall referendum for the president and other elected officials. Some hailed the agreement as a big step forward, while others are saying that it is nothing too significant. Gregory Wilpert has more from Caracas, Venezuela.

Police Killings in NYC  (3:36)
As two recent and shocking cases of police brutality from New York City continue to rock black communities, yesterday, an eyewitness came forward to give his version of what happened on the day that the west African father of two, Ousmande Zongo, died. His testimony contradicts that of Officer Bryan Conroy, the police officer who shot Zongo. The deaths of Zongo and Alberta Spuril, at the hands of NYPD, both innocent, law abiding citizens, has opened painful wounds for communities of color and is forcing authorities to take some action. Ama Buadi reports from NYC.

Growing calls for Reparations for Slavery  (3:13)
According to the Federal Freedmen’s Act of 1865, slaves were owed 40 acres of land as compensation for slavery. This was revoked by President Andrew Johnson. Now African-Americans are demanding settlement to an overdue payment. FSRN correspondent Ian Forest recently traveled to Capitol Hill with a group of African-American lobbyist seeking reparations for a debt they say is overdue.

FARC Member Extradited  (3:29)
This week, Nelson Vargas Rueda was the first alleged member of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the FARC, to be extradited to the US from Colombia. Rueda will be tried for the 1999 killing of three Americans who were helping the Uwa Indians in the state of Arauca, near the Venezuelan border.  The activists were working to support the Uwa’s struggle for land against Occidental Petroleum. As their Colombian visit ended in Feb. 1999, the three were kidnapped by members of the FARC and their bullet-ridden bodies were found across the border in Venezuela 5 days later. So far, Nelson Vargas Rueda is the only person Colombian authorities have caught in relation to these murders, but the lack of evidence against him has led many Colombians to wonder whether Vargas  really was a member of the FARC involved in this crime, or whether he became a convenient scapegoat. From Bogotá, Nicole Karsin has more.

Part 4: FCC Series: Behind Rupert Murdoch  (2:37)
On Monday the Federal Communications Commission will take a crucial vote to decide if US media ownership laws should be relaxed – including the important ownership of newspaper and television or radio stations in a single market.  This freedom could begin a spate of media mergers and acquisitions and could radically change the US media landscape. At the center of the debate is Rupert Murdoch – the media baron’s News Corporation wants to purchase DirecTV – the US’s largest satellite TV provider. This acquisition would assert News Corporations dominance in the American TV market as it has done with pay TV in Britain and to lesser extent in Asia and Australia. Murdoch has argued before the FCC that buying DirecTV would be in the public interest and says like other News Corp ventures it would bring new ideas and innovations to the medium. However, critics argues that US media ownership is already too concentrated and News Corporation’s dominance in any market reduces diversity of views and programming. In the final days of our FCC Special Series, from Rupert Murdoch’s home country, Australian Guy Degen brings us this timely profile and explores the global reach and dominance of News Corporation.


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