March 04, 2004

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Carribean Leaders Want Haiti Investigation
Caribbean leaders are calling for a full-scale investigation into the departure of Haitian president Jean Bertrand Aristide. Patrick Scudder reports from Jamaica.

Bus Strike in Twin Cities
Public transport in Minneapolis-St. Paul ground to a halt today as 2,200 drivers, mechanics, bus cleaners and clerical workers with the Twin cities’ Metro Transit walked out on strike. With the Workers Independent News Service, John Hamilton reports.

CA Loses Big Dollars for AIDS
California AIDS activists are highly critical of the recent Bush administration cuts to programs that help poor people living with HIV.  Max Pringle reports from KPFA.

HRW Accuses South Africa of Poor AIDS Policy
HRW accuses the South African government of undermining its own initiative to provide HIV drugs to prevent infections resulting from AIDS. Na’eem Jinah reports from Johannesburg.

Venezuelan Ambassador Resigns
Venezuelan ambassador to the United Nations, Milos Alcalay, is resigning and charging his government with human rights abuses after the beating of an anti-Chavez protestor was videotaped. This week, the National Electoral Council ruled the political opposition failed to collect enough valid signatures to obtain a mid-term recall vote on President Hugo Chavez. After further review, that decision may be overturned at the end of the month. Carter Center and Organization of American States observers criticized the council’s decision, leading to the protests.


Haiti Next Afghanistan?
2000 Aristide supporters took to the streets of Port Au Prince protesting the ouster of the former President. Many church leaders are calling for the population to rise up and demand the return of Aristide, but the self-declared military authority is warning against congregating in the streets.  People in the Northern Haitian city of Cape Haitian where the military is now in total control are accusing these newly uniformed men of extortion. Meanwhile, 1000 U.S. Marines are patrolling the streets of Port Au Prince and 200 French troops are also on the ground in Haiti. FSRN’s Deepa Fernandes and Kody Emmanuel report from Cape Haitian that  – as the U.S. presence is asserted more forcefully, people on the ground are saying Haiti will be the next Afghanistan.

Bioweapons: Part 1
The American Society of Microbiologists is holding a biodefense meeting in Baltimore this weekend. Presenters will include representatives of the Centers for Disease Control, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, and USAMRIID, the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Disease. In the first of this two part series, Kellia Ramares looks at the biological research being conducted by these agencies as well as ethical questions being raised by those skeptical of current biological research trends.

Haitian Detainees and Black Caucus Members Grill Roger Noriega
Human Rights organizations are blasting the Bush administration for using war ships to intercept fleeing Haitians and returning them to Haiti where they fear persecution for supporting deposed President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. The Bush administration claims it will not accept refugees while other neighboring countries keep their borders  closed as well. Mitch Jeserich reports from DC.

Guarani Indians Occupy Farmer’s Land in Brazil
In the aftermath of the paraguay war, Brazil began seizing lands from Paraguay in 1928, much of which was inhabited by the indigenous Guaranis-Kaiwas people. During the course of the twentieth-century, those lands were taken over by farmers and all of the indigenous people were displaced and sent to reservations– an area groups like UNICEF say lacks the basic resources needed for survival. Environmentalists point to the deforestation and to the destruction of soy crops as cattle ranchers usurp land, leaving the Guarani people without a place to hunt, live or practice their culture. Religious agencies say suicide rates among the Guarani youth are among the highest in the world. Today, the Guarani are maintaining a two-month old occupation of some farms on colonized lands. FSRN’s Toya Mileno reports.

Report on Pakistan: Aftermath of Attacks on Shia’s in Quetta
Tens of thousands of Shia Muslims in Pakistan’s violence-hit city of Quetta took to the streets as curfew was briefly lifted today for the mass burial of the nearly 50 people killed in a sectarian attack on Tuesday. The mourners are demanding removal of government officials responsible for law and order. At least 47 people, including six policemen, died after gunmen threw grenades at a procession of Muslims aimed at the Shia minority, sparking mob violence and rioting. Parts of Pakistan are tense; schools have been closed for three days and the city of Quetta is once again under curfew and . Although General Pervez Musharaff has ordered a judicial inquiry, the incident will have serious repercussions for peace in the region. Masror Hussain reports from Islamabad.


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