February 06, 2004

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Pentagon Dumps Internet Voting
The Pentagon has decided to dump their internet voting system for military personnel and overseas civilians. A panel of experts reported last week hackers could break into the system and potentially change election results. Overseas voters will be able to test out the system in elections this year.

UN Meets on Liberia
United Nations officials are leading the reconstruction of another war-ravaged nation – Liberia. Secretary General Kofi Annan is critical of nations and media coverage focused on Iraq while there is so much work to be done globally. Haider Rizvi reports from the UN.

Bhopal Activist Home in TX
An activist for justice in Bhopal is back home today after an 8 day hunger strike in a Victoria Texas jail cell. From KPFT in Houston, Erika MacDonald reports.

FTAA Protestors Sue Miami
Activists and civil liberties advocates denounced an internal review done by the Miami Police of the department’s handling of the November 2003 Free Trade of the Americas conference. A coalition of protestors filed suit against the city for the officials alleged roll in their brutalization. Mitch Perry has more.

Venezuelans Celebrate Rebellion
This week, Venezuelans took to the streets to celebrate the 12th anniversary of the February 4th rebellion. The march elevated Hugo Chavez onto the national stage and eventually to become president. According to William Comocado, an activist who just returned from Venezuela, the rebellion was an empowering moment for the population that at the time was highly critical of their corrupt government and what he called 40 years of a pseudo-democracy. Comocado says the signs are on the wall indicating the Bush administration is preparing to overthrow Chavez.

Bush Announces Iraq Intelligence Investigation Team  (4:13)
Today President George Bush announced 7 of the 9 members who will serve on a commission to investigate what happened to pre invasion intelligence that dubiously painted Iraq as having weapons of mass destruction. The co-chairs of the committee are former Democratic Governor of Virginia Chuck Robb and Republican former US Court of Appeals Judge Laurence Silberman. Bush said the commission will look at intelligence efforts relating to weapons of mass destruction and other 21st century threats. He said the commission will compare what the Iraqi Survey Groups learns with the intelligence presented before the invasion. Bush made no mention of examining how the White House used the information. The deadline for the commissions report is March 31st of next year, far after the elections. Mitch Jeserich has more.

UN to Send Assessment Team to Iraq  (3:17)
The United Nations may be sending a team to Iraq as early as today to assess the feasibility of holding nationwide elections by the end of May. The Bush administration favors a system of hand-picked caucuses to select members of a provisional Iraqi government, but Shiite clerics have objected to the plan and called for direct elections. Publicly, the administration is sticking to its July 1st timetable for what it says will be a transfer of sovereignty. But UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has questioned that deadline, and published reports indicate the administration may be considering major changes to its plan. Susan Wood has more from the UN.

Press Freedom Under Question in Britain  (3:23)
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today released a report harshly criticizing the “abject failure” of the Pentagon to adequately explain why journalists died on the April 8th attack by United States military on a Baghdad hotel filled with foreign journalists. The IFJ also declared that the one year anniversary of the attack, April 8 of this year, will be a day of mourning and protest over the killings of journalists. The IFJ says the lack of investigation raises serious questions about press freedom, among other issues. Meanwhile in Britain, press freedom is also being hotly debated as a result of the recent Hutton Inquiry report, which attacked the BBC for it’s reporting, management and editorial controls. FSRN’s Naomi Fowler reports.

4th Anniversary of Police Invasion During UNAM Strike           (4:10)
Today marks the fourth year since Mexican federal police ended the longest student strike in the history of Latin America. The strike began in April of 1999 in response to unconstitutional attempts to charge tuition at Mexico’s Autonomous National University – the hemisphere’s oldest and largest institution of higher education. In the early morning hours of February 6, 2000 – hundreds of police took the central campus, surrounded the auditorium where the General Strike Council held assemblies, and arrested over 700 students. In Mexico City, Vladimir Flores speaks to students who remember that day – because students are concerned about retribution from the university and law enforcement they asked not to be identified by their real names in this report. FSRN Editorial guarantees the authenticity of the students quoted.

Wall Street Grocery Worker Protests   (3:52)
The picket lines that have greeted shoppers outside southern California grocery stores since October spread to Wall Street yesterday. The United Food and Commercial Workers and other unions rallied outside the New York Stock Exchange, calling on supermarket chains to give up their bid to squeeze hundreds of millions of dollars of labor costs from grocery employees. Pressure is mounting on the Albertson’s, Kroger, and Safeway supermarket chains, which have lost market share and a combined billion dollars in sales since the strike and lockout began. John Hamilton reports from New York’s financial district.


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