June 18, 2003

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Protests in Paris
In Paris, three people set themselves on fire today in a day-long protest against the round ups of Iranian exiles allegedly affiliated with the people’s Mudjahidin. According to Associated Press reports, Washington and Teheran have welcomed the raids -which took place in Paris on Tuesday, and saw more than 150 people arrested. The majority of those arrested have now been freed, but demonstrators are asking for the release of the group’s figurehead, Maryam Radjavi. Nick Champeaux reports from Paris.

Medicare and Estate Tax
In Washington, today the House of Representatives looked ready to vote for a repeal on the Estate Tax, a tax on a small fraction of wealthy Americans that’s often called the “Death Tax” by Republicans.  A vote to repeal the tax in the Senate looks increasingly unlikely. The Senate spent the day today on the Medicare bill, specifically the proposal to add a prescription drug benefit to the federal health insurance program. And as Congress debates the cost of drug coverage to seniors, a new study finds it might make economic sense for the government to cover healthcare for everyone who doesn’t have it. Josh Chaffin has more from the Capitol.

Indian Business and Iraq
The United States seems likely to convince the Indian administration to get 17,000 troops to aid what it describes as its reconstruction effort. A high level Pentagon delegation is on a “clarification” mission in New Delhi at the moment, convincing Indian officials to send their troops. While the opposition parties in India have expressed their dissent over Indian troops working under US Central Command, they don’t seem to by the United Nations. Confederation of Indian Industries estimates $500 billion in business over the next 8 years. From New Delhi, our correspondent Vinod K. Jose files this story.

Ethnic Profiling Laws
Guidelines issued yesterday by the US department of Justice are calling for the ban of racial and ethnic profiling – except in cases involving national security or border issues. The ban will affect federal agencies and about 120 thousand law enforcement officers – including those from the FBI and the dept of homeland security. But critics of the ban say these justice dept guidelines give the government a green light to profile Arab and South Asian immigrants. Max Pringle reports.

North and South Korea
Leaders from South Korea, Japan and the United States met in Hawaii last weekend to discuss the Korean Peninsula roadmap. The three nations agreed to crackdown on what they say is Pyongyang’s trade in illegal drugs and counterfeit money and demanded that North Korea abandon its nuclear program. Meanwhile, civic groups from both North and South Korea, along with an international delegation, held celebrations to commemorate the June 15, 2000 summit between former South Korean President Kim Dae-Jung and North Korean President Kim Jong-il. Simba Russeau files this report from the border of North and South Korea.


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