June 05, 2003

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Iraq: Instability and Demonstrations
Today, Chief UN arms Inspector, Hans Blix released a report that states that while UN inspectors were in Iraq, they did not discover evidence of the continuation or the resumption of ” weapons of mass destruction” programs. While visiting troops in Qatar, President Bush stated that he would uncover the truth about weapons of mass destruction. And later, he flew in an Air Force One jet, for an hour over Iraq on his way back to the United States. On the ground, in the wake of deteriorating instability, anti-American feelings are growing among Iraqis in Baghdad. Eight American soldiers were killed this week, in separate incidents, while the number of demonstrations against the occupying forces increased. Fariba Nawa reports form Baghdad.

More on “Roadmap To Peace”
Today is the 36th Anniversary of the Israeli Occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. As George Bush acknowledged the commitment to his roadmap from Israeli and Palestinian Prime Ministers at the summit in Akaba, Jordan, in The Occupied Territories and Israel, reaction was less positive. Thousands of hard-line Jewish settlers protested in the center of Jerusalem, and the military wing of Hamas rejected a ceasefire. Irris Makler reports from Jerusalem and Ramallah.

More on Mideast Summit
President George W. Bush brokered the Mid-East summit in Jordan yesterday, during which the Prime Ministers of Israel and the Palestinian National Authority made concessions regarding the Israeli dismantling of settlements in the occupied territories and the Palestinian crackdown on what Israelis term as terrorist activity.  However, today on the 36th anniversary of the Israeli occupation of The west bank and Gaza Strip – the Israeli daily Haaretz reported that Israeli defense minister Shaul Mofaz told the Israeli military today not to ease restrictions on Palestinians, despite pledges made by Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon at the Mid-east Summit with George Bush. Oula Farawati takes a closer look at provisions of the mid east summit.

Hip Hop Community Responds To Rockefeller Laws
On Wednesday afternoon, 60,000 people crowded the streets around New York City Hall to support Hip-hop superstars like Sean P. Diddy Combs, Jay Z, and the Beastie Boys in calling for the repeal of New York state’s Rockefeller Drug Laws, – so named for New York governor Nelson Rockefeller’s support of the 1973 laws – which hand out lengthy mandatory sentences to first time, non-violent drug offenders. Flanked by state and city legislators who also seek a repeal of the laws, co-organizer of the event, rap mogul – and founder of the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network, Russell Simmons, said the event was meant to put pressure on current New York Governor, George Pataki and state legislators who have not been able to put aside partisan politics, to deal with what critics say are racist drug laws that target poor African-Americans and Latinos. From Pacifica station WBAI in New York City, Jackson Allers reports.

Medical Marijuana Activist Sentenced
A packed courtroom erupted in cheers when federal judge Charles Breyer sentenced Ed Rosenthal, the medical marijuana activist to one day in prison. Rosenthal – who was convicted in February, for growing and distributing marijuana for medical users – could have faced up to 60 years in prison under California’s compassionate use law, the voter approved Proposition 215. Christopher Martinez files this report:

World Hunger Day: Food Banks
Today, June 5, is National Hunger Awareness Day in the United States, yet hunger is on the rise across the country. In the last decade, hunger-relief agencies have found that the greatest increase in hunger has been among the working poor. Over the past two decades, the poverty rate among working families has increased by nearly 50%. During the Reagan presidency, the poor lost tremendous ground. And during the Clinton presidency, the rich did well. Under Bush’s new Gilded Age, the economic disparity between the rich and poor has been earmarked for expansion. The following story is about Washington State’s largest private food bank, but it could just as easily be about the strains food banks are feeling in communities around the nation. Correspondent Martha Baskin, has this story.


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