May 18, 2004

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19 Palestinians are now dead in what some are calling the worst Israeli invasion into the occupied territories since 1967. Dozens of Israeli tanks and hundreds of troops are moving through the refugee camp in Rafah. An Israeli military officer says “Operation Rainbow” is to seek out and destroy tunnels that run from Egypt into Gaza, used in part to transport weapons. The army sealed off Rafah and the streets were deserted today. Reportedly, gunfire could be heard non-stop throughout the camp. The armed resistance wings of various Palestinian groups wrote in a statement that they would “fight until the last drop of blood and the last bullet.”

The family member set to re-institute the Gandhi dynasty in India, is rejecting the call to lead. Binu Alex reports from Ahmedabad.

Australian and US trade representatives will sign a deal that worries some media critics and patients who regularly need regular pharmaceuticals. Christine Baker reports from Sydney.

More than 200 Legal Aid attorneys and support staff who provide free legal services for New York City’s working class and poor residents were notified yesterday that they will be laid off as of June 30. Gail Walker has more.

The governor of Texas will decide the fate of a diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic scheduled to be executed by the state today. Erika McDonald reports from KPFT in Houston.

Accountability Sought over Reconstruction Contracts
On Capitol Hill, Congressional members mobilized to hold the Bush administration accountable for oversight of Iraq reconstruction contracts.  Also, soaring gas prices have policymakers seeking immediate energy reforms. DC Radio Co-op’s Selina Musuta and Karen Mitchell bring us this Capitol Hill round up.

Iraqi’s Splitting over Support for Al-Sadr?
British and American troops have continued to fight rebel cleric Moqtada al-Sadr’s Mehdi militia in Karbala and Amarra over the last couple of days. In Najaf, U-S military officials say militiamen attacked the local police headquarters. As the insurrection continues, Iraqi’s with similar interests are offering al-Sadr support while others are comparing him to Saddam Hussein. FSRN’s David Enders files this report from Najaf.

Spanish Troops Arrive Home
Just a few weeks in office and Spain’s new Socialist government is making waves internationally. The Socialist Prime Minister Zapatero, who calls himself a ‘radical feminist’, gave an inaugural speech full of promises of reform and radical change. The first act of Spain’s new government was to fulfill its electoral promise to withdraw Spanish troops from Iraq and the last of the troops returned home at the weekend from an invasion and a war that was always overwhelmingly opposed by the Spanish people. Naomi Fowler brings us more from Madrid.

Coffee Farmers on Protest March in Nicaragua
A protest involving thousands of landless coffee farmers is underway in Nicaragua. The protestors include scores of entire families marching from their mountainous home state of Matagalpa to the lowland capital city of Managua, a distance of more than 70 miles. The protestors are demanding land that was once theirs, which the government now controls and promised two years ago to return. Negotiations are currently underway to resolve the dispute. As a condition of negotiations the protestors have paused their descent to Managua and are presently camped along the ‘Cerro Largo’ section of the Pan-American highway, about 10 miles outside of the city of Matagalpa.  Brian Garcia filed this report.

CA Controversy Over Biopharm Rice
California is in the midst of controversy surrounding genetically modified rice. Recently, Ventria Bioscience, a small biotech firm in Sacramento, California, tried to get approval from the state to grow biopharm rice on a commercial rather than research basis. The process of using living organisms to produce drugs is call ‘biopharming’, spelled with a PH instead of an F. ExpressTec rice, which is genetically modified to produce two human proteins, would have been California’s first genetically modified commercial crop. Ventria failed to get the necessary state approval for this years planting season, nor does it yet have a permit from the US Department of Agriculture to grow its rice commercially. But that doesn’t mean that Ventria’s efforts, or the controversy surrounding biopharming in California, is over. Kéllia Ramares of KPFA in Berkeley filed this report.

Remembering Chicana Feminist Poet
On a sad note, the Chicano community is mourning the loss of Chicana writer and feminist Gloria Anzaldua who passed away on Saturday due to diabetes-related complications. She was 61. One of the first openly lesbian Chicana writers, Anzaldua’s books of poetry and prose, liberated many young minds across many continents. Perhaps best known for the book she co-edited with Cherrie Moraga back in 1981 called This Bridge Called My Back: Writings By Radical Women of Color, Anzaldua is credited with really pushing white feminist circles to listen to and address the issues of women of color while pushing the Chicano community to tackle its sexism. FSRN will present a tribute to Gloria Anzaldua in the coming days.


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