December 16, 2003

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Free Speech Radio News Headlines by Randi Zimmerman
Saddam Called Into Court
According to U.S. officials, Saddam Hussein will likely be denied a quick trial as he undergoes further questioning.  But, a 9/11 widow, Ellen Mariani, is seeking to gain testimony from Saddam Hussein in her civil corruption suit against George W. Bush and others.  Kellia Ramares reports.
Israelis Preparing to Leave Gaza
Israeli newspapers report Prime Minister Ariel Sharon says Israel will soon be out of Gaza.  But as Mohammed Ghalayini reports from Gaza City, incursions continue elsewhere.
No Blanket Amnesty for Undocumented Immigrants
At President Bush’s press conference yesterday he squelched implications made by Homeland Security chief Tom Ridge in Miami last week about the potential for amnesty for undocumented immigrants. Bush said that he is firmly against blanket amnesty. Prior to the 2001 attack, Mexican President Vicente Fox and Bush met hoping to find ways to legalize the estimated 3-million undocumented Mexicans living in the U.S.  But since the invasion of Iraq, U.S.-Mexican relations have been strained after Fox refused to support the offensive. During Bush’s comments on immigration, he also said he wants to create a policy that helps match a willing employer with a willing employee.
IBM Moving Thousands of Jobs Overseas
IBM will move forward on their plans to outsource more than 47-hundred high paying jobs. Before June Big Blue is expected to send as many as a thousand jobs to China and India.
TX Quick to Reschedule Execution
A Texas judge wasted no time on resetting an execution date stayed last week by the U.S. Supreme Court.  Renee Feltz reports from KPFT.
NYC Council Tries Lead Paint Law
The New York City Council approved the nation’s most strict lead-paint legislation over threats of a mayoral veto and criticism of landlords. Ama Buadi reports from WBAI in New York.

UN Office to Reopen in Baghdad?  (1:49)
Iraq’s U.S.-appointed interim foreign minister today told the United Nations that while next year will see a referendum on a new Iraqi constitution, elections will not be held until December 2005. The move comes as US officials voiced hope that Saddam Hussein’s capture would crystallize support for Washington’s planned transformation of the Iraqi economy.  But many UN member nations, as well as Secretary-General Kofi Annan, want to see swifter progress toward a full restoration of Iraqi sovereignty.  And at the United Nations today, a member of the U.S.-sponsored Iraqi governing council clashed sharply with UN secretary-general Kofi Annan over the prospects for reopening the UN office in Baghdad.  Susan Wood reports from the UN.

More on Iraqi Contracts  (4:15)
After meeting with French President Jacques Chirac, U.S. special envoy James Baker said the two countries agree that Iraq’s 120 billion dollar debt should be restructured. Baker, who is a former Secretary of State and is a senior counselor to the defense investment company the Carlyle Group, is now in Germany where he’ll meet with Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder concerning Iraq’s debt. The meetings come just days after the Pentagon announced that corporations from countries opposed to the Iraqi invasion, like France and Germany, were ineligible for prime contracts of Iraqi reconstruction money.  However, since the announcement the Pentagon has delayed the contract bidding process.  Still, as Mitch Jeserich reports in collaboration with Corpwatch, the U.S. government and transnational corporations are moving quickly in building an open market economy even before there is a democratic Iraqi government to ensure that such an economic system has the blessing of the Iraqi people.

Military Families Speak Out  (5:27)
Despite yesterday’s arrest of Saddam Hussein the US still face major problems in Iraq. A group of veterans and military families recently traveled to Iraq to visit their children and see for themselves what conditions are like both for US soldiers and for Iraqi civilians. Tom Gomez files this report.

Son of Prop 187  (3:51)
During Arnold Schwarzenegger’s recent bid for governor of California, he made repealing a bill that would have granted driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants a top priority. After winning the election, the bill was quickly scrapped – although anti-immigrant sentiment wasn’t. California’s voters may soon decide on a measure that will bar undocumented immigrants from obtaining essential services. Dubbed the “Son of 187”, which refers to a similar measure passed by California voters in 1994, the petition drive to gather signatures for the initiative is grabbing the attention of immigrant rights advocates. From KPFK, Aura Bogado has more.

Protests Against Cincinnati Police Brutality  (4:08)
More protests were held in Cincinnati this week in the wake of the police killing of an unarmed African American man, Nathaniel Jones, as high school students staged a walkout and brought their complaints to the city administration. Evan Davis has more.

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