October 06, 2003

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Headlines by Nell Abram
Arafat appoints emergency cabinet — Mohammed Ghalayni
UN emergency meeting on Israeli assault on Syria — Haider Risvi
Former pharmaceutical CEO to head HIV/AIDS division — Mitch Jesserich
United Auto Workers — John Hamilton

After Suicide Bombing, Will Israel Assassinate Arafat?
After a deadly suicide bombing on Saturday at a busy café left 19 people dead in Haifa, Israel stepped up its attacks in the Gaza Strip and also launched an air strike on a training camp in Syria which the IDF says was used by Islamic Jihad and Hamas. Both Syria and the Palestinian organizations have denied the Israeli charges. Meanwhile, on this Jewish high holiday of Yom Kippur, and in the aftermath of the tragic suicide bombing in Haifa, foreign and Israeli peace activists have formed a 24 hour protective shield around Palestinian president Yasser Arafat in the hope of stopping an Israeli assassination attempt, as Israeli activist Uri Avnery, from the pacifist movement Gush Shalom explains to Deepa Fernandes.

WTO Failed, US Moves on CAFTA
U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Robert Zoellich, applied typical carrot and stick diplomacy in Central America last week. In San Jose, Costa Rica, Zoellich’s gave the Costa Rican government an ultimatum; privatize the national telecommunications company or be left out of CAFTA, the Central America Free Trade Agreement with the United States. Meanwhile, in El Salvador, Zoellich slapped the hands of Guatemala and Costa Rica for joining the Group of 22 developing countries, lead by Brazil, who demanded the U.S. totally eliminate agricultural subsidies in the World Trade Organization conference in Cancun last month. In a communication distributed by the U.S. embassy in Costa Rica, Zoellich, once member of Enron’s Advisory Council, declared, that given what occurred in Cancun, the establishment of free trade, bilaterally, through CAFTA, is more important than ever. Nan McCurdy has more from Managua.

Immigrants: Let Freedom Ring!
Over the weekend, about 100,000 immigrants, labor activists and immigrants rights advocates gathered at Flushing Meadows Park in New York City as the two-week long Immigrant Workers Freedom ride ended. Organizers called it the beginning of a new civil rights movement in this country. 18 buses with 900 plus riders, many of them undocumented, made their way from cities across the country to demand an end to exclusion for the millions of immigrants working and paying taxes in the US. Speakers from Capitol Hill and from labor unions around the country called for the Bush Administration to acknowledge and change what Freedom Ride Organizers characterize as “out of touch and outdated immigration policies.” From Queens, New York, Jackson Allers files this report.

Clear Channel Dominates NAB Meetings
The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) wrapped up its annual meetings at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in the heart of downtown Philadelphia. The NAB is the strongest lobby group for the radio industry and the conference was attended by hundreds of corporate broadcasters paying an average $500 a ticket to attend. The theme, “Come together, Revolutionize radio“, centered on business strategies and the recent FCC decision to weaken media consolidation. One of the major corporate players, Clear Channel, which has acquired some 1200 radio stations nationwide over the past years, was a big presence at the meetings, and as Dante Toza reports from Pennsylvania Convention Center, Clear Channel has set its sights on buying more radio stations.

Workers Sue IBM
A Judge in California’s Santa Clara County ruled last week that two former IBM workers can proceed with a lawsuit alleging they got cancer from chemical poisoning that IBM knew was happening at one of the computer giant’s San Jose manufacturing plants. But County Superior court judge Robert Baines also threw out similar claims brought by two other plaintiffs in the case, citing insufficient evidence that they suffered systemic poisoning. As case heads to court, Max Pringle has this report.


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