November 18, 2003

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Headlines by Randi Zimmerman
Gay Marriage in MA
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has ruled it is unconstitutional to deny the right of marriage to same-sex couples. Dave Goodman reports from Boston.

Protestors in UK Prepare for Bush
President Bush is due to arrive in London this evening for three days of meetings with British Leaders, intended to demonstrate the strength of the British American alliance. England remains a country deeply skeptical of Bush and his foreign policy leading to the mobilization of massive protests. Brendan Sweeney reports from London.

Deregulation of Nuke Waste Disposal
A coalition of environmental and health groups is opposing the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to deregulate nuclear waste disposal. Kéllia Ramares has the story.

US Military Tear Down Iraqi Suspects’ Homes
The U.S. military has started to evacuate and destroy the homes of people who they suspect are involved in attacking US and other coalition forces in Iraq. In a move echoing Israeli military tactics in occupied Palestine, so-called Operation Ivy Cyclone II has swept through Tikrit, taking down 15 homes with heavy weaponry including tanks and Apache helicopter fire. Reportedly, the family members in one house were given 5 minutes to evacuate.

Hundreds of US soldiers have been killed or seriously injured, including permanently maimed since George W. Bush declared an end to the hostilities. Human rights groups are reporting 10’s of thousands of Iraqi soldiers and civilians have received the same fate.

UNHCR Leaving Afghanistan
Officials at the United Nations High Commission for Refugees say they will pull more aid workers out of Afghanistan. Haider Risvi explains from the U.N.

Energy Bill faces House & Senate Vote
Last night a congressional conference committee passed an energy bill that will forge the nation’s energy policy for the next decade. The bill does not relieve the country from its dependency on middle eastern oil, while it does keep intact an SUV tax credit. The House of Representatives is scheduled to vote and pass the bill by the end of the day, but it is still unclear whether it will get through the Senate. The energy bill will shield oil companies from having to pay the clean up costs of water that has been contaminated with the gasoline additive MTBE. The measure also does little to protect the air. And, as Mitch Jeserich reports, dirty water and dirty air is most prevalent in low income communities.

Profiting from Public Parks?
Meanwhile, part of the energy bill entails opening public lands for resource exploration. Although national parks would never be open to such exploitation, the parks are still open to private profit. The non-profit environmental group Campaign to Protect America’s Land recently released the results of a survey of 1,300 National Park Service employees. According to CPAL, the survey shows overwhelming internal concerns among Park Service employees about the political interference and special-interest deals that threaten national parks and public lands under the Bush Administration and the Interior Department headed by Gale Norton. Patrick Nayliss reports from Boulder.

Arnold Schwarzenegger Inaugurated
Hollywood movie star Arnold Schwarzenegger was inaugurated yesterday as the 38th Governor of California. He kept his campaign promise by immediately repealing the increase to the vehicle license fee which will take over $4 billion dollars out of the hands of local government. As KPFA’s Christopher Martinez reports, the inauguration took place before an invitation only crowd while outside protesters called for a formal investigation into the allegations of groping.

Protests to FTAA in Miami
Thousands of delegates from the 34 countries involved in the Free Trade Area of the Americas, or FTAA, negotiations are arriving in Miami for the Summit of the Americas. Also in Miami are thousands of people who will be in the streets to voice their concerns about this regional free trade agreement. Almost a decade after the introduction of the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, the FTAA promises expand the mandate of NAFTA. One group of grassroots organizations that is in Miami to show their opposition to the FTAA is called Roots Cause. Roots Cause unites migrant farmers, low income organizers from Miami, and groups representing minority people from across the United States. They are on a 34 mile march from Fort Lauderdale to downtown Miami to bring attention to how the FTAA will negatively impact their groups. From Miami, Patrick Beckett has more.

Corpwatch Story: BAE Accused of Fraud
Europe’s biggest supplier of military equipment, BAE, has been accused of fraud. The British newspaper the Guardian is reporting that BAE officials entertained Saudi arms dealers with everything from prostitutes to gambling, using an illegal slush fund worth some $30million. In collaboration with Corpwatch, Anastasia Kershaw has more from London.


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