January 13, 2004

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Today’s Headlines

US Military Kills Iraqi Civilians
Witnesses in Iraq say U.S. soldiers have shot and killed four civilians. U.S. soldiers, posted at city hall in Fallujah, were fired upon with rocket- propelled grenades. Police and hospital staff agree that a man and woman were killed when the military fired back. Four other people were injured.  At a checkpoint in Baghdad yesterday a man and 10-year-old boy were shot and killed when U.S. soldiers started shooting after a bomb went off along the roadside. The bomb killed one U.S. soldier.

Military Lawyers Challenge Tribunals at Gitmo
U.S. military attorneys are challenging the constitutionality of the military tribunals in which they themselves are involved. Joshua Wiersma reports from D.C.

Anger Over Jerusalem Wall
Palestinians living and working in Jerusalem are angry over the rising wall in the city. Israeli officials say the 28-foot barrier bares no resemblance to the Berlin Wall to which it is being compared. Rather they say it is a reversible security measure. Michael Tarazi, a negotiator with the Palestinian Authority says the PA would support a fence, but objects to the location. Palestinians and business owners say the wall separates them from their work, families and the constant flow of regular traffic that supports their community.

First Primary in DC Today
The first votes of the presidential primary season were cast today in Washington D.C., where residents do not have voting representation in Congress.  The vote will be non-binding, after the Democratic National Committee local leaders to bow to the tradition of keeping Iowa and New Hampshire first. Five Democratic presidential hopefuls even had their names removed from the ballot. The D.C. City Council moved the District’s primary to the second Tuesday in January to protest D.C.’s lack of voting rights. Until 1964 District residents couldn’t vote for president, and only in the past decades has D.C. gained the right to limited self-rule. Local leaders say they believe moving the primary is another step towards gaining equal voting rights for the District. This report is filed by Darby Hickey in D.C.

Invisible VP Appears at Fundraisers
Vice President Dick Cheney can expect a warm welcome on his fundraising stops in Seattle and Portland, including from activists upset with the administration’s energy policy. From KBOO in Portland, Andrew Stelzer reports.


ADA Before the Supreme Court
Today people with disabilities across the country left their wheelchairs and crawled up the stairs of court houses in solidarity with a Tennessee disabled man who was arrested for not showing up to court because it was located up two flight of stairs and the court did not have an accessible entrance for the disabled.  The demonstration comes as the U.S. Supreme Court hears that and another case to decide whether Congress overstepped its authority in requiring states to abide by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Mitch Jeserich reports from the Supreme Court.

Summit of America’s Wraps Up in Mexico
Representatives from the thirty-four countries of the Organization of American States are in northern Mexico this week to participate in what is being called the Special Summit of the Americas. The conference is guarded by an estimated four thousand Mexican police officers from the local, state, and federal level. Largest protests are set to take place this afternoon during the Summit closing ceremonies. Tensions between the Bush administration and Latin American nations including Venezuela and Brazil have been high during the meetings with Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez castigating the various head’s of state for their focus on free trade with out taking social issues into account. Vladimir Flores files this report from Monterrey.

Italian Transport Workers Strike
Transport workers continue to strike in the Italian cities of Genoa and Milan after air traffic controllers restarted their protests late last week. An estimated 1 million people took to the streets in a national demonstration last month to denounce proposed changes on salary contracts. Despite a contract deal, Italian transport workers continued a series of strikes leading up to the Christmas holidays bringing buses, trams and trains to a halt in several major cities. FSRN’s Diletta Varlese reports from Italy.

Journalists Called “Traitors” in Aceh
Last week the International Red Cross Committee (ICRC) arrived in Indonesia’s conflict province of Aceh to facilitate the release of hostages held by the separatist rebels. Among the hostages is a camera person. The Indonesia army is accused of killing his colleague, a TV reporter, when the rebels tried to release him. The Indonesian army calls journalists who meet the rebels ‘traitors’ and the army recently jailed an American freelance journalist, William Nessen, after he interviewed the rebel group.  The Indonesian army says Nessen is a spy. Meggy Margiyono from Indonesia has the story.

From the Streets of Port Au-Prince
Recent anti-government demonstrations in Haiti culminated yesterday in one of the largest demonstrations to date with the protestors calling for the immediate resignation of the country’s President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. The march came as Haiti’s parliament became powerless yesterday as the terms of most legislators expired. The opposition has refused to participate in new elections unless Aristide resigns which he has refused to do. Aristide meanwhile has been participating in the Summit of the Americas in Mexico. Yet as Kody Emmanuel reports from Port-au Prince, while the nation remains divided, there are some factors that untie the Haitian people.


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