April 13, 2004

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Today the French foreign ministry confirmed that a French journalist has been taken hostage in Iraq. To date, 40 people from 12 nations are being held hostage there. A spokesperson for the U.S. installed governing coalition said the FBI is now working to find the hostage takers and the hostages. Also today, the United Nations Secretary General came close to an all out refusal to send staff to Iraq. Kofi Annan said the surge in violence and kidnappings has ruled out a UN delegation “for the foreseeable future.”

The ACLU charges that President Bush has exceeded his authority under the U.S. Constitution in a brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court. Sogomon Trantsi reports from D.C.

The head of the Coors brewing empire, Peter Coors has tossed his hat into the Colorado senate race. Coors will run as a Republican and already has the endorsements of Colorado’s governor, Lt. Gov., and the retiring senator he?s hoping to replace. Upon announcing his candidacy, Coors said he may not have much political experience but he knows how to create jobs. Dan Baum, author of “Citizen Coors: An American Dynasty”, describes how the brewery treats workers.

Dan Baum’s audio comes courtesy of KGNU in Boulder. The Colorado race is being closely watched. Currently the U.S. Senate slightly leans slightly towards Republicans 51 to 48, with one Independent.

Representatives from the presidential campaigns of the two dominating parties held the floor before Paralyzed Veterans of America to discuss what they offer the constituency. Stephen Lacey has more.

Dead Rot in Fallujah – is Najaf Next?
General John Abizaid, head of US Central Command, has called for 10,000 more US troops in Iraq as reports are emerging that U.S.-trained Iraqi soldiers and policemen are defecting to fight on the side of Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. Today the US moved 2,500 troops close to the Iraqi holy Shiite city of Najaf where al-Sadr is being protected by armed supporters, giving rise to fears that Najaf could turn into the next Fallujah if the US begins an attack in an attempt to fulfill it’s stated aim of capturing al-Sadr dead or alive. Meanwhile, Fallujah residents are fleeing the besieged city, and as FSRN’s Aaron Glantz tells Deepa Fernandes, there is no where to bury the hundreds of dead. (For Aaron’s dispatches from Iraq visit Pacifica’s web site: pacifica.org)

9/11 Hearings probe the FBI and Justice Dept.
The 9/11 Commission resumed hearings today on Capitol Hill by examining the Justice Department and the FBI in counterterrorism activities before, on, and after September 11th.  Our DC editor Mitch Jeserich brings us the story.

Palestinian Detainee and Radio Activist is Free!
As we reported yesterday, Palestinian activists and WBAI volunteer producer Farouk Abdel Muti, who was detained nearly two years ago and held without any charges being laid or a trail, is finally free and back in NY. Host Deepa Fernandes caught up with Farouk Abdel Muti just hours after he was released, but first we remember the imprisonment of Farouk as FSRN spoke with him very soon after he was detained.

Stunning Decision in India could mean Justice for Gujarat Victims
India’s Supreme Court’s unprecedented decision yesterday to reinvestigate the Gujarat massacre of Muslims in 2002, and also move cases from that state to a place where victims may get a fairer trial, is seen as a major victory for victims of the worst sectarian violence the state has ever seen. The government meanwhile is stunned by the strong indictment from India’s top court. FSRN Correspondent Binu Alex reports from Ahmedabad

World Bank must Revise Lending Standards
The World Bank has been told to revise its current lending standards, by it’s own review committee. The Extractive Industry Review was commissioned by the World Bank to assess its role in the funding of oil, gas and mining projects, and the findings recommend the adoption of numerous revisions to the Bank’s current lending standards. Civil society and other advocates support these increased human rights and environmental standards and are putting pressure on the Bank to follow the Review’s recommendations. Jenny Johnson has more.


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