June 25, 2003

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Headlines:Produced by Nell Abrahm.

Update on Palestine Awad Duabes reports.

Congress on Hiring for Religious Groups James Collum reports.

Enron Under Fire Again Christopher Martinez reports.

Toxic Portable Classrooms Kellia Ramares reports.

Congress Forgets Child Tax Credit for Poor
In Congress debate continues on a prescription drug benefit for Medicare recipients. Everyone agrees prescription drugs should be covered under Medicare, at least in part, but Democrats accuse the GOP of using the prescription drug issue to partly privatize the Medicare system. Meanwhile as the July 4th recess looms, Congress may or may not finish a bill to extend the child tax credit to millions of low income families left out of the budget signed last month. Josh Chaffin reports from the Capitol.

Press Freedoms Curbed in Iraq
Britain’s defense minister today said the British government is considering sending more troops to Iraq on the heels of yesterday’s attack on British soldiers in the southern Iraqi town of Majar al-Kabir. Six soldiers died as they opened fire onto a protesting crowd. Reports say demonstrators had been protesting against aggressive and heavy-handed British tactics during a sweep of the area for weapons. One report said British soldiers first fired rubber bullets – and then live ammunition – into the crowd. Prior to yesterday’s attack, no British soldiers had been killed since May 1. Meanwhile, the US has curbed press freedom in Iraq threatening to punish any publications that incites violence against US & UK troops. Fariba Nawa reports from Baghdad.

Same Sex Marriages Allowed in Ontario
Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean told NBC’s “Meet the Press” this past Sunday that if elected, he would “insist that every state find a way to recognize the same legal rights for gay couples as they do for everybody else.” This as the Massachusetts Supreme Court is set to rule on the issue of legalizing gay marriage in a few weeks and a similar case has been filed in New Jersey. The issue has also gained momentum with a bill introduced in Congress by Sen. Hillary Clinton, that gives gay couples the same rights as heterosexual couples. This as Toronto is gearing up for its annual Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride celebrations this weekend, with an added cause for celebration: Same-sex couples now have the right to marry in Ontario. Kristin Schwartz reports from Toronto.

Seeds of Resistance: Against Biotech Crops
As the U.S. tries to force Europe to accept biotech crops at the Sacramento WTO ministerial, the future for both uncontaminated seed and for the small farmer may seem quite bleak. Companies such as Monsanto enjoy profits from genetically-engineered products such as Roundup Ready Canola oil which now dominate supermarkets. As Ingrid Evjen-Elias reports from Berkeley, seeds of resistance to genetic engineering and monoculture are sprouting not only at this week’s protests, but at over 3,100 farmer’s markets around the country. Crop diversification and seed saving, she reports, is a boon to not only struggling farmers domestically, but could be key for farmers around the globe.

Rape: A Weapon in Kashmir
Continuing his meetings with US President George Bush, Pakistan’s leader, General Pervez Musharraf, today said he had asked Bush to involve himself in a roadmap style peace plan between India and Pakistan over Kashmir. This as tomorrow the Indian President, is set to arrive in the capital of Indian administered Kashmir amid heightened security. Last week, police fired into a mob in Indian administered Kashmir, as they protested the alleged molestation of five girls by Indian security forces. The demonstrators say the security forces in Kashmir held the women hostage and molested them. the security forces deny the allegation. Human rights groups say rapes and molestations are common in the region ridden by conflict for the last 13 years. Twelve years ago security forces entered a village to search for militants and raped dozens of women. From Kunanpushpora, Kashmir, Shahnawaz Khan reports that the village is still suffering.


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