September 17, 2003

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Free Speech Radio News Headlines
Investors call for Grasso’s resignation — Kellia Ramares
Rally on Capitol Hill re: Medicaid cuts for cancer care — Jay Tamboli
US veto at the UN
Canadian same sex marriage safe — for now — Kristin Schwartz
Walmart illegally muzzled employees — John Hamilton

WTO to Regulate Media?
Yesterday’s Senate vote has many media democracy advocates across the US cheering as their elected officials chose to overturn the FCC’s recent easing of media ownership requirements.  However, an un-elected body could be given control over global media regulation if US Trade Representative Robert Zoellick continues his push for inclusion of media under the WTO.  Norm Stockwell was in Cancun and wraps up our WTO special coverage with this report.

Controversy surrounds Crazy Horse memorial
Hundreds of people, mostly non-Natives, gathered at South Dakota’s Crazy Horse Mountain last week to commemorate the anniversary of the Lakota leader’s 1877 death and the birthday of the late sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski. The 1939 completion of the Mount Rushmore Memorial prompted Lakota elder Henry Standing Bear to ask Ziolkowski to create an image that would “show the white man that the red man has heroes too.” But, as Jim Kent discovered, after 55 years of blasting, and with no end to the project in sight, Native Americans are mixed on their feelings toward the massive carving and the huge amount of money the Ziolkowski family collects from it every year.

Senate Votes to Fund Low Yield Nukes
Still without finding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the U.S. is now investigating reports that Saddam Hussein hid those weapons in Syria.  The Undersecretary of State for Arms Control, John Bolton, also told a House International Relations subcommittee that Syria supports hostile actions against U.S. troops in Iraq, and, that with the support of Iran and North Korea, Syria is developing medium range missiles that could unleash a chemical attack hundreds of miles from Syria’s borders.  Meanwhile, the U.S. Senate is moving forward with funding research in developing weapons of mass destruction that can be used against so called hostile countries.  With a 53 to 41 vote, the Senate rejected an amendment to block funding for development of low yield nuclear weapons. This puts the U.S. government on course to fund further research into bunker bombs and to pay for renovations at a Nevada nuclear weapons test site. The U.S. has not tested a nuclear bomb in a decade. Opposition to the funding say it is a step towards another arms race and will encourage more countries to develop a bomb of their own.  Mitch Jeserich reports from Washington D.C.

To Spend Saddam or Not To Spend
Former UN chief weapons inspector Hans Blix told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that Iraq destroyed most of its weapons of mass destruction 10 years ago. Blix said that the US and British teams now searching for weapons in Iraq would only find what he called some “documents of interest.” Meanwhile, as Iraqi’s continue to live without many basics months after the US bombing campaign, today the Turkish Energy Ministry announced that it has begun selling electricity to Iraq, it says to help relieve severe post-war power shortages with plans to begin supplying kerosene and water as well. Another major problem facing Iraqis is the state of the Iraqi currency. While many people do not have much financial means at all, there is growing concern that the money they do have is virtually worthless. The 10,000 Iraqi dinar bank note has the portrait of Saddam Hussein on it and while it is  the currency most Iraqi’s have, few are accepting it. The American  administration is doing little to solve this problem, since all the salaries of government workers are paid in the infamous 10,000 dinar bank note. Ahmed Al- Rawi reports from Baghdad

Coup in Guinea Bissau – Danger for the Casamance?
One the poorest countries in the world has experienced another coup. Last Sunday in Guinea Bissau, a group from within the military deposed of the legally elected president Kumba Yalla and assume power. The operation was bloodless but on the other side of the frontier, in Senegal, people are afraid that the coup in Guinea Bissau may fuel more troubles in the Casamance which now seems on a road to peace. From Senegal Ndiaga Seck reports.


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