April 12, 2004

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Reportedly, 12 hostages in Iraq have been released, seven of them Chinese. So far, more than 30 people from a variety of countries have been taken hostage in Iraq. In this most recent wave of hostage takeing, a dozen people from China. Severine Bardon reports from Beijing.

General John Abazaid has formerly made a request for 10-thousand U.S. soldiers to stay rather than come home in the area near Fallujah — the site of the most recent attacks against U.S. and coalition occupying forces. In public, military officials are expressing their disappointment over the performance of newly trained Iraqi security troops and the success of a tentative cease-fire in the region.

A Palestinian activist and WBAI producer is scheduled to be released today, even though his attorneys just found out he was relocated to a federal prison in Atlanta. From WBAI in New York, Ama Buadi has more.

Youth peace activists, promoting secular government for India in upcoming elections, were attacked in Gujurat by Vishwa Hindu Parishad supporters. The 27 young people from across the country were stormed by about 50 VHP members after they gave a press conference. And, India’s Supreme Court today announced they were going to overturn the acquital of people accused of murder in sectarian violence in Gujurat. Binu Alex has more from Ahmedabad.

Changes in federal tax laws over the past three decades means fewer of the nation’s rich and corporations are paying their share of taxes. Erika McDonald has more.

Massacre in Fallujah – Report from Iraq
Accusations are swirling around the international and Arab press of a US led massacre in the Iraqi city of Fallujah. While the Bush Administration and US army generals in Iraq continue to tout a cease-fire in the besieged city, civilians of Fallujah say they want the world to know that the proclamations of ceasefire is pure deception by the Bush Administration. The hospitals in Fallujah are full, mostly young children and women, victims of this latest US assault. And as our correspondent in Baghdad, Aaron Glantz reports, many Iraqi’s are being pushed to the brink as a new surge of resistance sweeps through country with mothers, families and friends, who are losing their loved ones to the American big-weapon onslaught, joining the struggle. (For Aaron’s dispatches from Iraq visit Pacifica’s web site: pacifica.org)

US Military Criticizes Al-Jazeera
Meanwhile, as U.S. Generals in Iraq are insisting that a tenuous so called “cease fire” in Fallujah is still in place, they warn the battle has not yet ended. They also told reporters that U.S. forces south of Baghdad were ready to attack forces loyal to the Shiite Muslim Cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, with orders to capture or kill him.   Mitch Jeserich has more from Washington.

Protests Against the Fallujah Onslaught Across the US
And around the country, the U-S offensive into Fallujah has prompted many small demonstrations, including one in front of the White House. David Enders reports from Washington DC.

IRS to Open Process of Presidential Debates?
An unlikely alliance from across the U.S. political spectrum announced today an effort to open the presidential debates. As Darby Hickey of our Washington Bureau reports, the group is seeking an unusual ally in the fight: the IRS.

Reflecting on the UN Role in Rwanda
The United Nations is expected to announce within days the appointment of a high-level adviser on prevention of genocide. That’s one of the measures UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan unveiled last week as the UN commemorated the tenth anniversary of the Rwanda genocide. At UN headquarters in New York, a minute of silence was observed at noon on April 7th. Symbolically, it marked the moment when Hutu extremists launched a premeditated campaign of murder, rape and mutilation against minority Tutsis and Hutus who opposed the slaughter. When it became clear that the small UN peacekeeping force in Rwanda was overwhelmed, rather than sending reinforcements, the Security Council, with the US and Britain in the lead, voted to reduce it to a few hundred troops. In just under 100 days, nearly one million people died. But while the UN’s focus now is on preventing future atrocities, some question whether anything has really changed. Susan Wood reports.

Controversy at US Army Resort in Disney World
The recent   reopening of the Shades of Green hotel, the U.S. Army’s resort at Disney World, is causing more than just some hard feelings among union employees who used to work there. They say the hotel failed to keep its agreement and didn’t give them a chance to get their jobs back. In St. Petersburg, Sally Watt reports.


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