September 23, 2003

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Headlines by Randi Zimmerman
The American Civil Liberties Union is charging the Secret Service with discrimination against protestors and violating their free speech rights during Presidential appearances — Craig Murphy

Steelworkers rallied in the nation’s capital this morning in support of tariffs on foreign steel — John Hamilton

Hundreds in Bolivia are protesting the government’s decision to sell the nation’s natural gas to the United States and are attacking travelers as the demonstrations escalate — Ian Forrest

Today is the National “Opt out” Day, a campaign spearheaded by a Philadelphia group that challenges the part of the so-called No Child Left Behind Act requiring schools to give student information to the military for possible recruitment — Dante Toza

President Bush Addresses UN – (4.27)
President Bush today addressed the United Nations general assembly at the opening of its ministerial debate. Before a largely skeptical audience, bush defended the invasion and occupation of Iraq even though no evidence has been found to substantiate the justification given at the time. Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction and links to terrorism. The U.S. is seeking military and political support from the international community, but is seen by critics as increasingly isolated. Susan wood reports from the UN.

Ashcroft Decrees: Heavy Sentencing Only – (4.45)
Attorney General John Ashcroft yesterday ordered all federal prosecutors to pursue maximum criminal charges and sentences and to seek lesser penalties through plea bargains. The order came in the form of an Ashcroft memo sent to all 94 U.S. attorneys’ offices that effectively supersedes policy from the former attorney general Janet Reno’s tenure which allowed prosecutors greater individual discretion to determine if the charges and potential punishment fit the crime. Ashcroft said his intent is to bring greater consistency to criminal prosecutions around the country. Deepa Fernandes speaks to attorney Michael Ratner at the Center for Constitutional Rights in NYC.

Senate Confirmation Hearings Begin For New EPA Head – (4.30)
Senate confirmation hearings began today on President Bush’s appointment of Utah Governor Mike Leavitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency. Senate Republicans praised Leavitt with the ability to protect the environment without compromising the country’s economy. Some Senate Democrats threaten to delay the nomination, saying Leavitt may not be the person to curve Bush’s anti-environment policies. Mitch Jeserich has more from Washington D.C.

CA’s Recall Election Back On For Oct 7 – (2.56)
A federal appeals court in San Francisco says California.s controversial recall election will go on as scheduled on October 7. The court of appeals for the 9th circuit heard oral arguments yesterday over whether to delay the election until old punch-card voting machines, the same kind of machines that led to the Florida fiasco in the 2000 presidential election, are replaced. Christopher Martinez reports from KPFA in Berkeley.

Carrying On The Work Of Late Korean Farmer – (4.02)
After the former chairman of Korean Advanced Farmers Federation Lee Kyunghae killed himself at the 5th ministerial of the WTO on September 10 in Cancun, Mexico, the funeral of the late Lee was repressed severely by the Korean police. Every night since there have been candle light vigils throughout the country in memory of Lee. Korean farmers say the fact that the Korean police repressed the funeral so cruelly shows the Korean government has no pro-active policies to boost local agriculture and is also evidence of the government’s complicity with the WTO in driving farmers off their land and to starvation. And as Eunji Kang reports from Seoul, farmers across South Korea are declaring they will follow the example of the late Lee Kyunghae and fight against WTO and neoliberalism to protect farmers’ lives.


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