April 05, 2004

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President George W. Bush is sticking with the party denial that he or anyone in his administration knew about the possibility that Al-Queda cells were planning to hijack planes and crash them into buildings. However, commissioners on the administration’s hand picked investigation committee say otherwise. Ellen Ratner reports from D.C.

Four out of nine soldiers, from a New York Army National Guard company serving in Iraq are contaminated with depleted uranium poisoning. Ama Buadi has more.

Sri Lankan elections leave the president and the peace process less secure. Ponniah Manikavasagam reports from Vavuniya, Sri Lanka.

Over the weekend, the suspects in Spain’s deadly train bombing from last month were cornered and then reportedly blew themselves up. David Oancia was there in Madrid.

In major cities across Europe on Saturday, hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets in a day of action against reforms to their national welfare systems. Guy Degen has more from Cologne.

Shi’te violence in Iraq – report from Baghdad
After a bloody weekend in Iraq in which more than 10 American troops were killed and many wounded, the timetable for the handover of Iraq back to Iraqi’s is today being questioned by Senate Republicans, while a growing number are questioning why the US remains in Iraq at all. President Bush said today that he intends to stick to the June 30 deadline. Paul Bremer who was due in Washington tomorrow to brief senators at the Capitol announced today that he has cancelled his trip. And as Aaron Glantz reports from the streets of Baghdad, with less than 90 days until the declared hand-over date, the anti-American sentiment shows no signs of quelling as this latest Shiite violence illustrates. (For more reports from Aaron Glantz, visit Pacifica Radio’s website where Aaron is posting regular dispatches: www.pacifica.org.

US to Try Aristide for Drug Trafficking?
Today Secretary of State Collin Powell made his first trip to Haiti since the overthrow of former Haitian President Jean Bertrand Aristide. The State Department says Powell will urge the new Haitian government not to appoint the criminals who participated in the coup to any government posts. Meanwhile, speculation is growing that the U.S. government may indict Aristide on drug trafficking charges. Mitch Jeserich has more from DC.

Ciudad Juárez Activists: Gov. Must Resign!
According to a report by the United Nation’s Commission for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, published in part in the French newspaper “Le Monde”, the Mexican government has falsified evidence and used torture to obtain confessions in the femicide cases in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua. The report accuses the police of negligence and complicity. Activists in Mexico’s capital are now calling for the resignation of the governor of Chihuahua. Vladimir Flores has the story from Mexico City.

South Africa Elections
South Africans are looking forward to their third national democratic election on April 14. Posters, television ads and newspaper masthead logos celebrate Ten Years of Freedom, since Nelson Mandela first took the African National Congress to power in 1994. In that time the government has extended the benefits of full citizenship to the nine-tenths of its 45 million people who are non-white. This represents a seismic shift through which all other issues must be understood. But, as a capitalist party, the ANC has also enacted policies that many critics charge promote the interests of the country¹s OVERWHELMINGLY WHITE businesses and wealthy elites over those of the majority of citizens. A few blacks have become wealthy, and a growing number of middle class blacks now own the kind of homes and hold the kind of jobs that were inconceivable just over a decade ago. But most black South Africans, while making some progress, are still desperately poor, and the unemployment rate has soared above 40 percent.

Update from Picket Line: Chicago Hotel Workers Continue Strike
Last Friday, Congress Hotel employees held a boisterous rally in front of the Chicago hotel with other Local 1 members of the Hotel and Restaurant Employees to mark more than nine months on the picket line, in what has turned into one of Chicago’s most bitter strikes in recent memory. Local 1 has stepped up the pressure on Congress’ principle investor, apparel manufacturer Albert Nasser, and will be in court next month to support a raft of complaints against management by the National Labor Relations Board. Chris Geovanis reports from Chicago.

36 Years Since Assassination of MLK Jr.
And finally, on this, the day after the 36th anniversary of the assassination of the great civil rights leader, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, we remember his message of nearly four decades ago – still so relevant today.


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