August 28, 2003

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Headlines Produced by Randi Zimmerman
Jesse Jackson with Striking Yale Workers – Melinda Tuhus
Bush Won’t Give Raises – John Hamilton
Shell Workers on Strike in Nigeria – Sam Olokoya
India Confirms Pesticides in Coke and Pepsi – Vinod K. Jose

Halliburton Contracts Spent on Military Not Iraqis  (3:52)
The Washington Post gained the attention of the nation today with a front page story showing that Halliburton, the company formerly headed by Vice President Dick Cheney, has been awarded over 1.7 billion dollars under the Pentagon’s Operation Iraqi Freedom. Halliburton is also poised to receive hundreds of millions of dollars in no-bid contracts from the U.S. Army during the upcoming months. The Post reported that a 3rd of the 3.9 billion dollars a month that the U.S. spends in Iraq goes to private corporations that have close ties to the Bush administration, which along with Halliburton includes Bechtel, whose president at one time was former Secretary of State George Schultz. And, as Mitch Jeserich reports, the majority of money that Halliburton receives won’t be going to improve conditions of the Iraqi people, but to build the infrastructure to meet the needs of the U.S. Military.

Ashcroft Sells the Patriot Act  (3:58)
Attorney General John Ashcroft’s Patriot Act tour came to Boise this week, near the home of Butch Otter, the Republican Congressman who has lead the charge in the House for repealing parts of the act.  Critics believe by bringing the debate to Idaho, Ashcroft is targeting Otter. Otter’s bill prohibiting warrentless “sneak and peak” searches passed the house 309 to 118. Ashcroft’s tour so far has hit Philadelphia, Cleveland, Detroit and Des Moines.  If it’s successful, it may lead to the introduction of Senator Orin Hatch’s so-called Victory Act this fall, which contains many of the provisions found in the leaked version of the second Patriot Act. Leigh Robartes has more from Idaho.

Hamas Bank Accounts Frozen  (4:31)
Israeli Forces rolled into northern Gaza today with a bulldozer and 10 armored personal carriers after a “Qassam” rocket was launched from inside the territory and landed near Ashkelon. Israel says this is the northern most point a Qassam rocket has reached from Gaza.  Shortly after the rocket launch, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon ordered the Israeli military to take “all necessary steps” against those he described as militants. Earlier in the day, in a move welcomed by some in the Israeli government, the Palestinian authority called on all Palestinian banks to put a “pre-emptive freeze” on the assets of 6 Islamic charities and NGOs throughout the Gaza strip, saying at least two of the charities may be fronts for the military wing of Hamas. The move to freeze assets prompted protests throughout the Gaza Strip. In Gaza City some 2000 Palestinians protested calling Abbas an ”American agent” when they arrived at various welfare offices only to discover much needed aid will not be offered. Awad Duaibes has more from Ramallah on the political moves of Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas.

IMF Hurts Jordan’s Farmers  (2:57)
Massive street demonstrations have rocked the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa over the past few days as tens of thousands protest economic reforms the government is making; what the Honduran people say is to impress the International Monetary Fund. Honduras’ Congress last week passed a law allowing private companies to buy concessions in the state water sector and is planning a law to regulate the salaries of some 100,000 public sector employees in the poor Central American nation. Honduras’ President Ricardo Maduro says the measures will persuade the IMF to go ahead with a new credit line for Honduras that has been on hold since November. Eighty percent of Honduras’ 6.5 million people live in poverty. Meanwhile in Jordan, the farmers’ union has threatened to launch a nationwide strike to pressure the government to retract harsh water saving mechanisms that are threatening the lives of farmers. The price of vegetables has sharply decreased and many are quitting the profession because of the lack of marketing strategies. And as Oula Farawati reports from the Jordanian valley that borders Israel, a whole segment of society is being threatened by these IMF imposed economic policies.

Execution Set for Murderer of Abortion Doctor  (3:55)
State officials in Florida are preparing for the execution next week of a man convicted of killing a doctor who performed abortions and his security escort. This is the first execution in the country for the murder of an abortion doctor. The pending event has become a lightning rod for anti abortion and anti death penalty activists who say they’re afraid the execution will result in more violence. From St. Petersburg, Sally Watt reports.


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