June 12, 2003

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More Violence in the Middle East (4:19)
Israeli army radio announced that the Israeli Military has been ordered to “completely wipe out” Hamas. The announcement came after a suicide bomber blew up a downtown Jerusalem bus killing 16.  Over the past two days- 5 separate Israeli airstrikes have killed some 14 Palestinians. And as Mohammed Ghalayni reports from Gaza City the mood of Palestinians is increasingly grim.

Increasing Costs of Medicare (3:38)
Congress has started work on a bill to reform the medicare system, with the goal to finish by the Fourth of July. Opponents of the current proposals charge the White House is out to destroy the popular program and replace it with one that costs more, and puts private hospitals and drug companies needs over the needs of patients. Josh Chaffin reports from DC.

US Immunity to the International Criminal Court? (3:29)
The United Nations Security Council today renewed a 1-year exemption for U.S. peacekeeping troops from prosecution by the International Criminal Court.  The vote on the U.S.-sponsored draft resolution was 12 to 0; france, germany and syria abstained.   The vote was preceded by an open debate in which dozens of nations took part.  Most disputed the u.s. claim that the court could be used for frivolous or politically motivated prosecutions. While the outcome of today’s action was never in doubt, human rights activists are hailing the breadth of support for the court expressed in the public debate.  They say it points to a growing awareness of the need to end impunity for massive human rights violations, and a rejection of the notion that any country is above the law.  Susan wood has more from the UN.

Scream-Out Rally in New York (3:35)
The anti-choice movement scored a victory last week when the House approved legislation banning certain medical procedures used to terminate pregnancies. The Senate approved the same bill in March. Although promoted as narrowly focused on a single late-term abortion procedure, the  wording of the so-called partial birth abortion ban adds up to a sweeping prohibition that would, in effect, overturn Roe v. Wade. The ban criminalizes the most common procedures used after the first trimester, but well before fetal viability. The measure replicates the key defects that led the Supreme Court to reject a strikingly similar state law a mere three years ago. In addition to its deceptively broad sweep, the bill unconstitutionally omits an exception to protect the health of the woman. President Bush is expected to sign the bill into law soon, but women’s groups across that country say this most recent assault on reproductive rights may be his last as they are joining forces to mobilize a massive pro-choice march on Washington in April 2004. A series of smaller actions will precede the march, like the SCREAM OUT performance protest held this week in New York that linked women’s rights to the nation’s fight to protect civil liberties. WBAI’s Ginger Otis has more on the story.

Part 2: Roots of Congo Crisis (3:47)
250 Peacekeeping soldiers out of approximately 1500 troops authorized by the UN have arrived in the war torn city of Bunia, in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo. These peacekeeping troops are in addition to the 5500 UN mandated troops already present throughout the DRC prior to alarm over the recent ethnic conflict in Bunia. Yet, after approximately five years of war in a country about the size of Western Europe, Dena Montegue brings us part two of a three part special series on the Congo Crisis reporting today that there is outrage among many Congolese over the lack of international attention the world’s deadliest war since World War II.

Remembering Civil Rights Leader Medgar Evers (0:51)
Today we remember Civil Rights leader Medgar Evers who was murdered 40 years ago today. Also on that day in 1963, Alabama Segregationist Governor George Wallace stood on the steps of the state’s all white University and tried to block the admission of two black students. Throughout his life Evers fought for the rights of black students, he was well known for his struggle to register black voters and he led business boycotts. We go out with Medgar Evers speaking about a protest to fight the Jim Crow laws shortly before he was killed 40 years ago.


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