May 04, 2004

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Yesterday, the Georgia Supreme Court overturned the aggravated child molestation conviction and the 10-year prison sentence of the 18-year-old student, Marcus Dixon for having consensual sex with a younger classmate. The court ruled that Dixon should have been prosecuted with the lesser charge of misdemeanor rape than aggravated child molestation. Dixon had planned to attend university on a football scholarship, but the funds were revoked after his arrest.

This week, The US military filed criminal charges against six of its soldiers accused of abusing Iraqi prisoners. In the wake of these reported abuses, – U.S. officials today ordered a halt to using hoods to blindfold Iraqi prisoners.
Meanwhile, the British government today launched an inquiry into the publication of pictures that allegedly show UK troops abusing an Iraqi by the national paper ‘The Daily Mirror’.

Some military personnel have questioned the authenticity of the pictures; the newspaper insists they are genuine.
British Armed Forces Minister, Adam Ingram told parliament the details of the investigation:
The so-called ‘quartet of Middle East diplomats met at the United Nations today, hoping to revive their dormant peace plan. Susan Wood reports from the UN.

Today, former US diplomats are criticizing what they call “the Bush administration’s endorsement of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s unilateral plan to reject the rights of three million Palestinians’. Sogomon Tarontsi has more:

At the midway point in the Indian elections, exit poll results indicate that the ruling National Democratic Alliance may end up losing their position. Biju Mathew reports:

A new medical report shows that those exposed to the air at ground zero – including rescue workers and expectant mothers – may have long term health consequences. Gail Walker has more:

Detainee Abuse Is More Widespread Than Previously Known
After a closed hearing on Capitol Hill today with Pentagon officials, lawmakers indicated that abuses to Iraqi detainees may go beyond the recent revelations in Abu Ghraib prison and into other facilities throughout Iraq and Afghanistan.  Human rights groups say there are clear indications that the abuses are systemic and can be traced to President Bush’s policies of denying basic rights to detainees that began with his war on terrorism. Mitch Jeserich reports from the Capitol.

US Military to Extend Occupation As Violence Rises In Iraq
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld announced today that U.S. military commanders in Iraq have decided they need to keep an expanded force in Iraq beyond June which totals some 47,000 GI’s. Rumsfeld also said the US will send an extra 10,000 active-duty Army and Marine Corps troops for one-year tours. Meanwhile in Iraq, Reuters is reporting that Iraqi Shi’ite political leaders called on Moqtada al-Sadr to disarm. But as Aaron Glantz reports, tensions are rising following the killing and detentions of Sadr followers during a meeting in a human rights office in Hilla by the US army.

Iraqi’s Tend To Fallujah’s Dead
Meanwhile, the refugee camp that was set up in Baghdad last month to house refugees from Fallujah has been dismantled as it appears that US Marines are allowing almost all of the city’s residents to return to their homes. But there is still the task of unearthing bodies buried in homes and buildings by the US army’s bombardment there last week. David Enders reports from Fallujah.

Farm-Workers Call for Rights in May Day March
There are more than three million migrant and seasonal farmers in the US, whose work supports a 28 billion dollar fruit and vegetable industry. Many of them work seven days a week, sometimes for 12 hours a day, and the majority aren’t protected by labor laws. In New York, farm workers used the May Day holiday to begin a 200 mile march to the state capital. Catherine Komp files this report.

Mexican Official Is Implicated In Narcotrafficking Scheme
In Mexico, the two top police chiefs of the state of Morelos have been arrested for trafficking cocaine and providing protection for the notorious Juarez drug cartel. The scandal threatens to bring down the governor of the state of Morelos, a member of President Vicente Fox’s National Action Party.  Although President Fox claims to have drug-traffickers on the run, the case has reminded Mexicans that organized crime cartels are still a threat to the nation’s democracy.  Today, Morelos state parliament is deliberating whether or not to pursue the impeachment of the Governor Estrada. Adam Saytanides has more.


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