December 01, 2003

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Headlines by Nell Abram
Steel Tariffs – John Hamilton
The White House is preparing to announce a complete repeal on tariffs charged to imported steel. John Hamilton has the story.

Colorado Redistricting – Patrick Nayliss
The Colorado Supreme Court ruled in a gerrymandering case that may have national implications. Patrick Nayliss reports form Denver.

UC Strikes – Vanessa Tait
Graduate student employees at the University of California’s 9 campuses statewide are set to strike this week over what they say are management’s unfair bargaining practices. From Berkeley, Vanessa Tait reports.

World AIDS Day Rally – Joann Hong
At a World AIDS Day rally today, religious leaders urged the U.S. government to increase support for AIDS relief. Joann Hong is in D.C.

Venezuela Recall Petition – Gregory Wilpert
After failing to oust President Hugo Chavez through a coup and employer- supported general strikes, Venezuela’s opposition is now trying via a recall referendum. The petition drive for qualifying the ballot issue ends today amidst contradictory charges of fraud, failure, and success. Greg Wilpert reports from Caracas.

AIDS special: Behind the Bush Administration Domestic policy
Today is World AIDS day and internationally people are organizing demonstrations to call on the world’s leaders and pharmaceutical companies to do more to prevent the spread of AIDS. We at FSRN begin special coverage focusing on the AIDS pandemic – first we look at the Bush Administration’s domestic HIV/AIDS policy. Last week over 1000 people, marched on the White House with banners reading “Voters Want AIDS Action, Not Weapons of Mass Deception”. Paul Seldman from the National Association of People with AIDS tells Deepa Fernandes that the Bush Administration has been divesting in effective strategies for HIV prevention while clamping down on scientific research into the disease.

AIDS Special: Rwanda
Most of the tens of millions of Africans living with HIV/AIDS have no access to potentially life-saving anti-retroviral treatment. In Rwanda though, calls are increasingly being made to provide one section of the community with medicine as a priority – female survivors of the 1994 Rwandan genocide in which a million mainly Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed by army and militia loyal to the then Hutu extremist government. Rupert Cook reports.

100 to be released from Guantanamo Bay?
The U.S. Military says it killed 54 Iraqi resistance fighters on Sunday after two U.S. convoys were attacked in the Iraqi city of Samsarra, north of Baghdad. Eyewitnesses say at least 8 of the 54 killed were civilians. The BBC is reporting that buildings in Samsarra are full of bullet holes, the streets are full of burned out cars, and civilians are full of anger calling the U.S.’s response to the attacks as indiscriminate and unnecessary. A U.S. Military spokesperson said the military is sending a clear message that anyone who attacks U.S. convoys will pay the price. Over a dozen foreigners were killed in Iraq over the weekend which includes 7 Spanish officers, 2 Japanese diplomats, 2 South Korean workers and a Columbian contractor. The month of November was the bloodiest for coalition forces since the invasion as 111 soldiers were killed, 79 of which were from the United States. Meanwhile, Time Magazine is reporting that the U.S. is planning to release over 100 detainees out of Guantanamo Bay, where several hundred detainees have been held without legal representation for two years. Mitch Jeserich brings us this story from Washington D.C.

EPA not Protecting Children?
The Environmental Protection Agency is considering an important rule change that would allow the nuclear industry to store low-level radioactive material in ordinary landfills and hazardous waste sites. The EPA has invited public comments on this proposal through March 17, 2004. Meanwhile, a dozen environmental, religious, health and farm worker organizations are suing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for what they say is the EPA¹s failure to protect children from substantial health threats posed by 5 high-risk pesticides. New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Connecticut, have filed a similar suit. Kellia Ramares filed this report.

FSRN-Corpwatch Exclusive: Benetton land-grabs in Argentina
To the Mapuche Indigenous peoples in Southern Argentina, the Italian Clothing Manufacturer Benetton is the newest conquistador in the 10,000 year old land struggle in Patagonia. Benetton, in cooperation with the state of Argentina, is accused of squeezing out the Mapuche from their native lands for commercial interests. Benetton is the largest landholder in Argentina, owning 2.2 million acres in the resource rich region of Patagonia. With 9% of Patagonia’s most cultivatable land, their holdings amount to 40 times the size of the capital city of Buenos Aires, the second largest city in Latin America. In collaboration with Corpwatch, Pauline Bartolone travelled to Patagonia has this story about the most recent cases of land grabbing by Benetton.


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