January 19, 2004

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Israeli Barrier – Mohammed Ghalayini

Israeli PM Ariel Sharon has decided to challenge the authority of the International Court of Justice to rule on the legality of the separation barrier being built by Israel on the Occupied West Bank. Mohammed Ghalayini reports from Gaza.
Seattle Settles
The city of Seattle has agreed to pay $250,000 to 155 World Trade Organization protesters swept up in mass arrests in 1999. Mark Taylor-Canfield is with the Committee for Government Accountability – he says the settlement could have nationwide implications. The turning point in the lawsuit came when U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman ruled that the mass arrest had violated the constitutional mandate that arrests be made only when police have probable cause to believe a crime has been committed.
Alcohol on the Pine Ridge Reservation? – Jim Kent
The Oglala Sioux tribal council has suggested legalizing the sale of alcohol on the Pine Ridge Reservation to help balance the tribe’s budget. Supporters of the move say it would not only bring money to the tribe, but would also provide jobs. Opponents cite the historically devastating impact alcohol has had on Native Americans as a reason to look at other options. Jim Kent has the story.
Ban on Headscarves Protested Worldwide – Zeenat Hansrod
Thousands marched this weekend in France protesting a bill that will ban headscarves worn by Muslims attending State schools. Scores of Muslim women and girls demonstrated around the world echoing the protests of the French Muslims. From Paris, Zeenat Hansrod has more.

Iowa Caucus is Close  (3:31)
Tonight Iowans will be heading to their precincts to discuss and debate who will be their Democratic presidential candidate. Some polls are predicting a close finish between four of the candidates — Representative Richard Gephardt, Senators John Kerry and John Edwards, and former Governor Howard Dean. Senator Joe Lieberman and former General Wesley Clark are not participating in the Iowa caucus. Though Washington DC cast the first ballots a week and a half ago, Iowa will be the first state in choosing a presidential candidate to be recognized by the Democratic National Committee. Meanwhile, as tens of thousands of Iraqis march for their own elections, FSRN DC Editor Mitch Jesserich looks at what the candidates propose to do with continuing U.S. occupation of Iraq.

Sneaky Bush Appointment of Far-Right Judge  (1:15)
In what was described as an extraordinary step, some critics even calling it “sneaky”, late Friday President Bush named Charles Pickering Sr. to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals as a Congressional recess appointment. Deepa Fernandes reports.

Congress to Vote on 40 Hour Work Week  (2:58)
Lawmakers return to Capitol Hill tomorrow, and the first order of business for Senators is an omnibus spending bill that, among other things, will determine the future of the forty-hour work week for millions of Americans. The bill, which has already passed through the House of Representatives, no longer includes protections against new Labor Department regulations that would end overtime pay rights for a range of professions – everyone from IT and clerical workers to journalists, engineers, nurses, firefighters, and more. John Hamilton has the story from Washington DC.

US asks UN to Approve Hand-Picked Iraqi Leadership  (3:23)
The future of Iraq was the subject of closed-door talks at the United Nations today between Secretary-General Kofi Annan, American administrator Paul Bremer and members of the U.S.-appointed Iraqi governing council. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of Iraqis marched through Baghdad today demanding elections to choose a sovereign government. The Bush Administration is said to be considering political concessions in return for UN help in transferring power to a hand-picked Iraqi legislature. Susan Wood reports from the UN.

WSF Day 4 – Focus on Afghanistan  (2:45)
The 4th annual World Social Forum has been an opportunity for Afghan civil society organizations and government officials to participate for the first time. Over the weekend, WSF participants in the Indian city of Mumbai heard that years of conflict have hampered a speedy reconstruction and reconciliation process. Afghan delegates at the WSF said their country needed peace more than democracy, and as our correspondent Binu Alex reports from Mumbai, the delegates made it clear that they are more concerned about the future of Afghan women and children than the new buildings coming up in Kabul.

MLK Part 1: MLK Remembered in Venezuela  (2:59)
Today a national holiday was observed to commemorate the birthday of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He would have been 75. The country of Venezuela also marked the birthday of the civil rights leader by opening a school in the name of Dr. King and receiving a delegation of African American activists from the TransAfrica Forum to learn about the struggle for freedom and equality in the US. As FSRN correspondent Greg Wilpert reports, the Martin Luther King delegates are seeing first hand how the policies of country’s president, Hugo Chavez, have benefited Venezuela’s poor.

MLK Part 2: Police Killings in Austin  (3:15)
Austin’s celebration of the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is mixed with outrage, especially in the black community. Over a span of 13 months, 3 white law enforcement officers have shot and killed 3 African Americans and a judge dismissed the only police indictment last Thursday. Community leaders fault the DA’s office and point out deep racial divides in the city. Stacy Pettigrew reports from Austin.


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