December 04, 2003

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Free Speech Radio News Headlines by Randi Zimmerman
Bush Caves on Steel
Today President Bush caved in to international pressure and threats of billions of dollars in fines by finally announcing the lifting of U.S. tariffs on steel imports.  After raising nearly a million dollars in a fundraising sweep through steel producing states, Bush asked U.S. trade representative Robert Zoellick to break the news.  According to the Forbes, steel production in the United States continued its downward trend even while the tariffs were in place.
US Major Exporter of Torture Tools — Haider Risvi
The United States is a leading exporter of weapons of torture according to Amnesty International.
Random Drug Testing at Catholic School — Rita Sand
A Catholic high school in Chicago will randomly test all students for some illegal drugs beginning next fall.
CA Increases Penalties for Protestors Who Trespass  — Kellia Ramares
California joins other states in creating stiffer penalties for animal and environmental rights activists by calling them terrorists.
Conference and Study on Global Warming —
Russian officials, in an apparent flip, are signaling they may support the Kyoto protocol at a climate meeting now taking place in Milan, Italy. The protocol requires as much as 55-percent of the world’s carbon dioxide producers to sign on to the pact before it goes into effect. Russia accounts for an estimated 17-percent of green house global gas production. But, President Bush is adamantly refusing to sign on, even though the United States is the largest single polluter of the gas attributed to rapid global warming. Bush believes signing on to the Kyoto pact will hurt the financial interests of U.S. big business. And, two U.S. scientists confirm that green house gases produced by people, especially in the manufacturing sector, are responsible for accelerating global warming. The government scientists will have their findings published in the prestigious peer-reviewed journal Science on Friday.

Lawyers Granted to Two Gitmo Prisoners  (4:14)
In a brief filed yesterday to the U.S. Supreme Court, the Bush administration said that the courts should not be involved in any review of Presidential power to detain so called enemy combatants.  The brief is due to a case brought by the father of Yaser Esam Hamdi, a U.S. citizen who has been detained for two years after being captured in Afghanistan.  In the brief the Bush administration says it will allow Hamdi to have a lawyer.  The administration also announced the Australian detainee David Hick will be appointed a military lawyer for a pending military tribunal.  But it warned the moves are not a precedent for other detainees. Mitch Jeserich reports.

Refugee Crisis on Iraq-Jordan Border  (3:15)
President Bush held a meeting with Jordan’s King Abdullah today at the White House where the leaders were expected to discuss the situation in Iraq as well as Israel-Palestine issues. The meeting comes as today the United Nations Refugee Agency expressed concern about the fate of some 1,800 refugees who have been stranded for seven months in camps near the border between Iraq and Jordan. Jordan said it would close the camp last month and the deadline for the people to leave passed two days ago. And as the camp is now closed, as Oula Farawati reports from Amman, no country is accepting the refugees.

Strike Averted at UC Campuses  (3:53)
An expected strike today by teaching assistants, readers and tutors at the University of California has been averted. UC’s graduate student employees had planned to strike all 9 campuses statewide, and other unions representing staff employees had pledged their active support. While the usual issues of pay, benefits, and workload were on the table, the central dispute was over a principle:  the right of unions to support each other’s strikes. From Berkeley, Vanessa Tait has more.

AIDS Special: Indonesia  (3:57)
South Asian religious leaders are meeting in Nepal today to discuss how to tackle the rise of AIDS in the region. Organized by the United Nations agency for children, UNICEF, more than 100 leaders from five major faiths are at the conference. The Asian continent is home to a large percentage of those affected with the HIV virus, and as we continue our special series focusing on HIV/AIDS, today we look at Indonesia where the situation is critical. Indonesian society continues to stigmatize people with HIV / AIDS who are often discriminated against because they’re seen as both a threat to public health, and to public morals. Yet in the face of this marginalization, AIDS is spreading at an alarming rate throughout the country and critics charge that Indonesia’s government isn’t providing the resources needed to counter this spread. Radio 68 has this report from Jakarta.

Colombia’s AUC Disarms  (4:09)
Last week in Colombia’s second largest city of Medellin, more than 850 right-wing paramilitary combatants disarmed. This controversial ceremony was the first step in a peace process between the nearly15,000-strong illegal army of the United Self Defense Forces of Colombia, known as the AUC and the Colombian government.  Last year, the AUC initiated secret talks with the government that culminated in the signing of the Santa Fe de Ralito agreement last July when top AUC commanders agreed to demobilize 13,000 combatants by 2006. From Medellin, Nicole Karsin has more.


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