June 24, 2003

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US Announces Plans for Iraq (3:48)
Following up on a story that FSRN was the first to cover in the United States back on February 6 of this year, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw today said that the intelligence dossier that was found to be plagiarized from a PHD student was an embarrassment for the government. Straw was giving evidence to the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, when he stated it was a “very substantial error that the sources of the document were not properly attributed.” Meanwhile, the US has now laid out it’s plan for post-Saddam Iraq. Oula Farawati reports.

Report from Biotech Summit in Sacramento (3:37)
Ministers from over 70 countries have gathered in Sacramento, California for the USDA backed conference on agriculture and biotechnology. Over two thousand people have also convened in Sacramento to protest the conference, calling it a platform for the Bush Administration to push genetically modified foods down the throats of developing nations. Those sentiments were echoed today by the EU trade commissioner Lamy, who said blaming the EU for pressuring some African countries into refusing to accept GMO food aid was just pushing the interest of US agribusiness and was inadmissible. (:30 long actuality) Meanwhile the Sacramento Biotech meetings have been the target of ongoing peaceful demonstrations, while a heavy presence of police officers in riot gear has kept protesters at least 2 blocks from the conference. The conference is strictly off limits to the public and accredited reporters have very little access inside and must be escorted by the conference’s PR staff when roaming the venue. The only open debate among supporters and opponents of genetically modified foods was not sponsored by the USDA, but by the activist and research groups Food First and the Pesticide Action Network. It was held last night in front a packed crowd in the historic Crest Theater in downtown Sacramento. Mitch Jeserich was there and he files this report.

EU Summit Ends in Greece (3:24)
The agenda of the just ended EU summit in Halkidiki, Greece had a depressing familiarity despite the hype surrounding the new draft constitution presented with a tear and a smile by former French President Valery Giscard d’Estaing to stem the influx of illegal immigrants, economic migrants and political refugees. Unfazed by thousands of protestors, kept well away from the summit by some15000 police officers, as Sputnik Kilambi reports, European leaders have set the stage for fortress Europe to continue.

Pakistani President in Washington (1:01)
Pakistani president Gen Pervez Musharraf met with President Bush in Washington today. After backing the US in it’s war on Afghanistan, Mnusharraf was in the US to secure military and financial assistance from Bush, who today pledged to put before Congress a $3 billion package for Pakistan. And according to Asad Isne, Toronto based write of International Politics, while the two leaders are talking about fighting terrorism, both states have questionable human rights records themselves. For more info: www.asadisne.ws

New EPA Head? (3:36)
As the Environmental Protection Agency released it’s “Report on the Environment” yesterday lauding the US for being greener than it was 30 years ago, EPA director Christine Todd Whitman will be stepping down this coming Friday. Idaho governor Dirk Kempthorne is being repeatedly mentioned as the top candidate to succeed her. Yet critics charge that during his tenure as governor, and in the US senate before that, Kempthorne has not made the environment a priority. Leigh Robartes has more.

Residents Protest Mountain Top Mining (3:26)
Coalfield residents from across West Virginia and Eastern Kentucky gathered in Charleston, West Virginia yesterday to protest a controversial mining practice known as “Mountain Top Removal”. Coal companies have been phasing out “deep” or “underground” mining and instead using MTR largely because it is much less labor intensive. It only takes 8 laborers to remove a mountain top to get at the coal as opposed to the hundreds of miners the industry used to employ. The top 600-800 feet of the mountains are blasted away and the resulting debris is pushed in to the valleys, which residents say makes for a toxic backyard. Evan Davis filed this report.

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