November 19, 2003

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Headlines by Nell Abram
Protests continue throughout London today in response to the Official State visit of President George Bush. Brendan Sweeney reports from London.

Mexico fired it’s ambassador to the United Nations – Haider Risvi reports from the UN

The house reopened today amid uproar after a suspension of two weeks by the hostile president as part of her power grab action during the first week of November. Ponniah Manikavasagam from Vavuniya – Sri Lanka reports:

Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri today signed the order extending martial law in the oil rich province of Acheh for another six months. From Jakarta, Aaron Glantz

Four homes belonging to members of the Onieda nation face the threat of demolition today. The threat has been hanging over the dissident Oneida Nation members for many years in the ongoing battle with the US-backed renegade leader of the Oneida Indian Nation of Central NY – Ray Halbritter. Yesterday, Halbritter announced there would be no more negotiations and that demolitions would move forward today. Diane Shenedoah is one of the Oneida members facing the razing of her home:

Shenedoah and the three other homeowners are awaiting a last ditch judicial ruling they hope will save their homes.

Same Sex Marriages Legal in Massachusetts
Yesterday the Massachusetts’ Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional to deny same-sex couples the right to a civil marriage. The court’s decision extends full and equal marriage rights to gay, lesbian and bisexual couples in the state of Massachusetts. Gary Chalmers and Richard Linnell, one of the seven same sex couples who are petitioners in the Massachusetts case speak to Deepa Fernandes.

Congress to Dramatically Change Medicare
Congress is poised to act on a bill that would make the largest changes to Medicare since its inception in 1965. Medicare, the only national health care program, provides health care coverage for seniors and people with disabilities. A Republican backed proposal would for the first time offer prescription drugs under the Medicare program. While the largest senior’s advocacy and lobbying group AARP supports the proposal calling a good first step, other senior organizations, disability rights groups and labor unions are calling it a sell off of a vital social welfare program to pharmaceutical companies and HMO’s. Mitch Jeserich has more.

Special Report: Part 1: Regime Change in North Korea?
The UN’s nuclear watchdog opens a two-day meeting in Vienna this week in an atmosphere of crisis. The international atomic energy agency’s governing body is scheduled to take up the situations of North Korea and Iran. The US has accused Iran of having a covert nuclear weapons program, which the country denies. The U.S. made similar charges against North Korea last year, and the resulting standoff has heightened nuclear tensions on the Korean peninsula. Today we begin a two-part series that will look at how the U.S. is using the nuclear issue in its drive for regime change in these two countries, which president bush has dubbed part of the “axis of evil”. We look first at North Korea. Susan wood has this report from the United Nations.

FTAA Meetings Underway in Miami
As we go to air, news is coming in from Miami that negotiators trying to turn the Western Hemisphere into the world’s largest free-trade zone have adopted a draft text that would allow countries to opt out of parts of the agreement. The draft proposal, pushed by the Brazil and the United States, will be finalized by trade ministers from the 34 nations in the Americas, excluding Cuba, during two days of meetings starting tomorrow. The FTAA agreement, if passed, will eliminate or reduce trade barriers among all nations in the Western Hemisphere except Cuba. Yet despite its rhetoric on free trade, Washington is refusing to negotiate on the elimination of agricultural subsidies, and today reports have emerged that the US is sharply limiting imports of Chinese textiles capping imports of dressing gowns, robes, knit fabrics and bras. This, and other issues could spell a collapse of talks, or might lead to the sort of watered-down agreement that many observers have dubbed, “FTAA lite”. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of protesters have hit the streets to press demands for worker, farmer, and environmental justice; John Hamilton has more from Miami.

Voices of Courage & Dissent – Pacifica Archives Fundraiser
The Pacifica network’s collection of historic sound is currently holding a fundraiser to help secure its place in the future. The archives include rare recordings of speeches and interviews with some of the most influential and controversial thinkers and cultural figures of the past 50 years, including Malcolm X, Fannie Lou Hamer, John Coltrane, Jacques Cousteau, Rachel Carson, Paul Robeson, and Edward Said. The 15 hour marathon national broadcast – called “voices of courage and dissent” is airing on the 5 Pacifica stations today, highlighting the value of the archive’s 47,000 irreplaceable recordings. The archives are based in Los Angeles – at member station KPFK – where Patrick Burke files this report.


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