January 14, 2004

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A vigil was held this afternoon in England to honor the memory of Tom Hurndall and call for action by the British Government. Hurndall, a photographer and peace activist, was shot in the head while trying to shield Palestinian children from Israeli bullets. He died yesterday – after nine months in a persistent vegetative state. After an initial IDF investigation that fully exonerated the Israeli soldier – new evidence was considered and he was indicted this week on six charges – including aggravated assault, a lesser charge than attempted murder. Those charges will likely be amended now that Hurndall has died – but his family says nothing short of murder charges will satisfy them. Carl Arindell is the family’s spokesperson.

The UN has called a meeting for next Monday with officials of the Iraqi Governing Council and the so-called coalition led by the US – Haider Risvi is at the UN.

President Bush is asking for a $1 Billion Increase in NASA’s Budget to Fund space mission to Marts and to the moon. And the federal agency that insures US private pension plans is post a ten billion dollar deficit when it releases new financial data tomorrow. John Hamilton has more.

The two-day Special Summit of the Americas closed last night in Monterrey with the signing of the “Declaration of Nuevo León.” Vladimir Flores reports from Monterrey.

Israeli incursion into Tulkarem
This morning a Palestinian woman killed herself and four Israeli soldiers when she blew herself up at the entrance to an Israeli industrial Zone in the Gaza Strip.   The bomber, a 22 year old mother of two from Gaza was the first female suicide bomber who belonged to the Palestinian militant group Hamas. The bombing led the Israeli army to close the industrial zone near the Eretz border crossing between Gaza and Israel and send hundreds of Palestinian day laborers home. Last night the Israeli army ended a 2 day incursion into the West Bank town of Tulkarem. There have also been other incursions into Nablus, Rafah, Ramallah and Hebron. We begin our coverage with FSRN correspondent Mohammed Ghalayini speaking to a member of the International Solidarity Movement Flo Raznowsky in Tulkarem.

IDF Denies doctor entry to Nablus
Meanwhile early this morning On WBAI’s “Wake Up Call” program, Bernard White and Deepa Fernandes were interviewing Dr Alan Myers about the lockdown of the Nablus camp by the Israeli military where Dr Myers and other members of the Jewish Medical Project were giving medical attention to sick Palestinians. Dr Myers was stopped and waiting at checkpoint to enter the camp for hours where he was speaking to WBAI, when, in the middle of the interview, a soldier ordered him out of the ambulance he was traveling in.

Candidates on Energy and the Environment
Though ignored by the Democratic Party, the first votes were cast yesterday in Washington DC for the Democratic presidential nominee. Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean won the DC non-binding primary with 43% of the vote. The Reverend Al Sharpton came in second with 34% of the vote while former U.S. Senator Carol Mosley Braun finished 3rd with 12% and Representative Dennis Kucinich landed 4th with 8% of the vote. The remaining democratic nominees did not participate in the DC primary. While only 16% of Democrats in DC voted, it was still a higher turnout than previous presidential primaries.  Voting rights groups in DC moved the primary to before the Iowa Caucus so as to highlight the lack of representation of DC’s citizens in Congress.  Meanwhile, a coalition of energy conservation and environmental groups released a survey depicting the presidential candidates views on energy policies and the environment. Mitch Jeserich reports.

Schwarzenegger wants cuts to AIDS Drug Program
AIDS Drug Assistance programs (ADAP’s), are the last safety net, even below Medicaid, for the poor, uninsured and underinsured who cannot afford the expensive, lifelong regimen of drugs needed to sustain life with AIDS. The ADAPS are about 80% funded by the Federal Government through the Ryan White Care Act. But they are run by the states, which add funding and set patient eligibility requirements. Approximately 25% of the 40,000 Americans newly diagnosed with HIV each year will need to access an ADAP. California’s ADAP has been among the nation’s most generous. But now Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is proposing to cap the number of patients the programs serve to save money. It’s a proposal that people living with AIDS say will cost lives. Kellia Ramares filed this report from Pacifica station KPFA in Berkeley.

US Responsible to Prolonging Uganda Conflict?
It’s claimed thousands of lives in northern Uganda, but a new study on the Lords’s resistance rebellion, has blamed the US for causing the prolonging of the conflict in Uganda that has raged for 17 years. The report was compiled by the Human Rights and Peace center of Makerere University in Uganda, with the assistance from the Canadian based Institute of Global Issues, the Norwegian Refugee Council, the African Study Centre and other human rights organizations based in northern Uganda. The report says that US support of Uganda in fighting the Islamist regime in Sudan, and Uganda’s support to SPLA rebels in southern Sudan is what motivated the Sudanese government to give military assistance to the Lord’s resistance army in northern Uganda. FSRN’s Joshua Kyalimpa reports.

A look at Israel’s WMD’s.
After the US-led invasion and occupation of Iraq, the term “weapons of mass destruction” has become common place in the daily media debate, especially in relation to Saddam Hussein’s fallen regime. And while the Bush Administration talks about the WMDs of other nations in the Middle East like Syria and Iran, our correspondent Peter Graff asks, what about Israel?


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