February 10, 2004

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An off-duty US customs officer who killed a Brooklyn man in a scuffle, may face an inquiry even though to date New York city police officers say one dead man is not sufficient evidence to arrest him. Ian Forrest reports from WBAI in New York.

Global food supplies face more scrutiny as cases of bird flu in Delaware causes china to reject poultry from the United States. Just yesterday the Department of Agriculture closed the investigation on US cases of mad cow disease. Mitch Jeserich has more from DC.

Today, an overwhelming majority of the French National Assembly voted to ban religious emblems in public schools. The proposal now goes to the senate. Zeenat Hansrod reports from Paris.

The nation’s largest group of lawyers failed to register an opinion on whether detainees at Guantanamo Bay can contest their captivity in US court. Renee Feltz reports from KPFT in Houston.

Death Sentence Stayed with Hours to Spare
A federal appeals court blocked the execution of Kevin Cooper yesterday, less than eight hours before he was to die by lethal injection in San Quentin Prison for the murders of two adults and two children in 1983. The 9-2 ruling by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco sends the case to a federal judge in San Diego for testing of evidence that Cooper claimed could demonstrate two things: his innocence and police wrongdoing. Louis Vandenberg reports.

A New Citizen Movement to Censure Bush
Move On.org says over 450,000 people have responded to its campaign to encourage Congress to censure President Bush over his claims that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.  Along with the National Coalition Win Without War, MoveOn.org unveiled their campaign to reprimand Bush for misleading the country into war. From our Washington, DC bureau, Selina Musuta reports.

Kirkuk to be Semi-Autonomous Kurdistan?
As Iraqis are still recovering from the detonation of two bombs in the offices of the two main Kurdish parties that killed more than a hundred people in the Kurdish city of Erbil last Sunday, the Iraqi Governing Council has agreed with the principle of a federalist structure for Iraq which would guarantee large autonomy for Kurds in three provinces in the north of Iraq. However the federalist aspirations of the Kurds are closely watched by neighboring Syria, Turkey and Iran. These countries have Kurdish minorities on their soils and wouldn’t accept a Kurdish declaration of an independent state. In the oil rich city of Kirkuk, violence has been ongoing between the various communities since the fall of the city in April last year. Arabs and Turcomans in the city are strongly opposed to the Kurds who claim Kirkuk should be included in a semi-autonomous Kurdistan. FSRN correspondent Rapahel Krafft reports from Kirkuk.

Boeing to close in the US?
Tensions at the Boeing Co.’s Wichita plant are intensifying with the vote on desertification of its second-largest union just days away. Nearly 3,500 technical and professional workers at the Wichita facility will decide Thursday whether to retain the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace. On Monday, union officials said the company revoked their access to the Wichita plant for lunchtime meetings with workers. Adding to worker’s woes is the possible sale of Boeing’s major manufacturing facility in Wichita. Following the lead of the auto, manufacturing and textile industries, Boeing has been gradually shifting parts production to outside contractors. Boeing also has plants in Washington, Oregon, California, Texas and Oklahoma which, as Martha Baskin reports, has workers at those plants fearing they will be next.

India: the Next Womb Renting Hub?
Last week a 43-year-old woman in India gave birth to her own twin grandchildren after lending out her womb.   The surrogate mother’s actions have caused great controversy in India where the booming fertility industry is meeting steep challenges within the various religious denominations. Yet as fewer and fewer babies are offered for adoption, surrogacy is gaining popularity, despite these controversial legal and ethical issues. In India there are no clear cut laws and many fear that the country could become a hub for poor women renting out their wombs. Binu Alex reports from Anand in Gujarat where the surrogate mother delivered the twins.


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