June 11, 2003

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More Israeli and Palestinian Attacks
Israel is defending its policy of pre-emptive strikes against opponents after rare criticism of the policy from the US– the rebuke came after Israel yesterday  tried – but failed – to kill Hamas spokesman Abdul Aziz Rantisi in Gaza. As Hamas vowed to avenge the attack – a suicide bomber detonated a huge bomb on a bus in Jerusalem just hours ago killing 17 and wounding scores more – with Israel an hour later attacking Hamas leaders in Gaza city, killing six. The Palestinian president Yasser Arafat made a brief statement live on Palestinian television today in which he denounced the Jerusalem bombing as a terrorist attack against Israeli civilians, he also condemned the attempted assassination of Rantisi and called on Palestinian factions to “live up to their responsibilities towards the Palestinian people and not get carried away by the provocations of the Israelis”. Commentators in Gaza say the strike couldn’t have been retaliation to the suicide bombing, because the it happened less than an hour after the bombing in Jerusalem, and such a strike needs a longer planning and reaction time. Irris Makler reports from Gaza City.

Where are the WMD’s? – Pressure Mounts on Administration
A new national poll by the Program on International Policy Attitudes finds as much as 40 percent of the American public believes the US has found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. But with the possible exception of a pair of suspected mobile chemical laboratories, no evidence of such programs have been uncovered so far. Republicans were on the defensive today as a few Democrats are questioning the intelligence used to justify the invasion. Josh Chaffin reports from the capitol.

Part 1: Roots of Congo Crisis
As Britain announced today that they will be sending a sizeable contingent of troops to the Congo, French forces on the ground have begun to set up checkpoints in an attempt to bring the violence under control. The war in the Democratic Republic of Congo has killed an estimated four million people since it began in 1998. It is the deadliest war since WWII and the deadliest war ever on the African Continent.  Recently the war has begun to gain media attention because of a UN sponsored peacekeeping intervention aimed at calming tensions between ethnic Hema and Lendu in the Eastern city of Bunia. But what is not being reported is that many  Congolese say the root cause of the crisis in the Congo is largely being ignored. The exploitation of one of the wealthiest countries in the world in terms of natural resources is fueling the war and attracting a large contingent of international individuals and corporations involved in the illegal export of gold, coltan, diamonds and timber of the Congo. FSRN’s Dena Montegue has recently returned from an investigative reporting trip to the Congo and she has this first of three part special series examining the crisis in the Congo.

Kurds in Turkey Elect New Leader
Over the weekend Kurds belonging to the Democratic People’s Party, or DEHAP, met in Ankara to elect a new leader. This as the outgoing leader of DEHAP, Mehmet Abbasoglu urged the Turkish Government to allow Kurdish fighters to return to Turkey without any penalties. FSRN’s Ozlem Sariyildiz reports form the Conference in Ankara, Turkey.

Where to Now for Peace Movement?
Hundreds of activists are returning this week to their local communities from an historic national convention held over the weekend in Chicago by the country’s largest peace and social justice coalition, United For Peace and Justice. More than 500 Delegates from local peace groups, unions, churches, immigrant rights and civil rights organizations gathered for the three day conference to decide the future direction for the coalition and how best to build the movement. Evan Davis was there and filed this report.


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