March 15, 2004

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DN! Exclusive from Jamaica
As we reported in the headlines, Haitian President Jean Bertrand Aristide has arrived in Jamaica. Joining us now is Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman who was one of only two journalists to travel with President Aristide from the Central African Republic to Jamaica.

Socialists Win Spanish Election: A Turn to the Left?
Spain has a new Prime Minister. José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, leader of the victorious Socialist Party that swept to power over the weekend, accepted victory by calling for a minute’s silence for those killed in last week’s train bombing in Madrid. Zapatero then went on to reproach President George Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair saying they “need to engage in some self-criticism” on their decision to engage in a war against Iraq. Deepa Fernandes reports.

Medicare Cost Cover-up?
Several Congressional members have asked the Department of Health and Human Services’ Inspector General to investigate whether officials from the department were threatened to remain silent on information that put the projected cost of the Medicare Bill 150 billion dollars over what the Bush administration claimed before the measure passed last November. Mitch Jeserich reports from Capitol Hill.

A Prescription Drug Alternative in Tampa
3 months after President Bush’s new Medicare plan was signed into law, many senior citizens are hoping that the plan will help them cope with the rising cost of prescription drugs. But they may be disappointed. Under the new plan, seniors in the middle-income bracket will pay almost 60 percent more than they paid in 2000, even after adjusting for inflation. By 2013 middle-income seniors will be paying more than two and a half times as much for prescription drugs as they did in 2000. Last week the General Accounting office found that the Bush Administration’s advertisements promoting the Medicare plan as the same but better, were misleading, but not quite illegal. Now residents of the Tampa bay area have new option—a non-profit pharmacy selling prescription drugs at wholesale. From WMNF radio Andrew Stelzer has the story.

Conscientious Objector is Court-Martialed
Stephen Funk is a gay, half-Filipino former Marine reservist who was court-martialed and sentenced to 6 months in a military prison for being absent without leave for 45 days while filling out a conscientious objector discharge request. He was the only conscientious objector to be prosecuted for his refusal to fight during the recent Iraq war, and he now carries a felony conviction with him, wherever he goes. Sarah Olson has more from Oakland, California.

Iraq’s Oil Workers are Underpaid
In the news last week was the fact that Iraqi’s main northern oil pipeline — closed for almost a year by sabotage — is ready to resume daily exports. That according to a US military official in charge of Iraq’s oil. The pipeline is currently controlled by Halliburton with security provided under a $39.5 million contract to ERINYS, a company with close links to Ahmed Chalabi of the Iraqi National Congress. But as Aaron Glantz reports from Kirkuk, despite the corporate profits, workers in Iraq’s northern oil fields are still underpaid.


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