June 01, 2004

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Today a federal judge agreed with Planned Parenthood and ruled that a ban on a certain type of abortion is unconstitutional. The federal government argued in court that the procedure they call “partial birth abortion” “blurs the line of abortion and infanticide.” But, the judge ruled any infringement on a woman’s right to choose is illegal. The attorney for Planned Parenthood said the government has no right to intrude on private and sensitive medical decisions. There are two more challenges pending to the federal law in Nebraska and New York.

A Pentagon email shows Vice President Dick Cheney had direct involvement in coordinating the no-bid Halliburton contracts for Iraqi reconstruction. Jenny Johnson has more on the story from D.C.

3-fourths of public lands leased for oil and gas development are producing no oil or gas. The Associated Press performed a computer analysis of records from the Bureau of Land Management.

Crude oil price contracts for July hit a record of $42 per barrel today on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The price slightly dropped later on. More from Kellia Ramares.

Violence continued for a second day in Pakistan’s port city where people attending the funeral of 18 Shia Muslims killed in Monday’s bomb blast pelted rocks at police and put up bonfires on roads. Masror Hussain reports from Islamabad.

Two more so-called faith-based centers are being established by the Bush administration in three more government agencies. Bush wants to help religious charities compete for and win tax dollars to then provide social services. Much of the legislation supporting the President’s proposals are stalled in Congress, where legislators charge it is too much of a breach of the separation between church and state. Today the President said that religious groups get results and shouldn’t be discriminated against to help others in need. The new faith based centers will be established in the Veterans Administration, the Commerce Department and the Small Business Administration.

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a juvenile’s confession can be used as evidence against him even if he never was read his Miranda rights. Allison Koler reports from D.C.

Iraq’s New President Named
Iraqis today reacted with some satisfaction as the new interim president was announced. Despite news reports yesterday the interim president would be former foreign minister Adnan Pachahi, the Iraqi Governing Council apparently managed to force the selection of one of its other members, Shiekh Ghazi Al-Yawar. Despite multiple car bombings in the country today, many expressed hope that this is a step in the right direction. David Enders has more in from Baghdad.

Mexican Police Accused of Abusing Protesters
Last week, the Mexican city of Guadalajara hosted the third economic summit between Latin American and Caribbean countries and the European Union. Protestors from around Mexico came to protest the meeting that they view as a European version of Free Trade Area of the Americas negotiations. A demonstration on Friday afternoon resulted in over 100 arrests, dozens wounded, and now – allegations of police abuse inside of the jails. Vladimir Flores has the story from Mexico City.

Venezuelan Re-call Signatures Re-Certified
Venezuela’s opposition parties, which have been trying to oust the country’s Democratically elected leftist President, Hugo Chavez, ever since he was elected, Completed a major milestone in their efforts this past weekend when signatures for a recall referendum petition were re-certified by the signers. The process went smoothly, but not without incidents. Greg Wilpert has the story from Caracas, Venezuela.

Democrats Strive To Keep Nadar Off the Ballot
With just 4 months until the Presidential election, John Kerry and George Bush are in a statistical dead heat throughout numerous election polls; even while President Bush’s job approval rating has plummeted. One study indicates that independent candidate Ralph Nader has tilted the balance in Bush’s favor in 33 of 37 the polls examined. A Democratic party supported anti Nader group conducted the study. And as Mitch Jeserich reports, well-funded pro-Kerry groups are spending money, possibly reaching into the millions, to keep Nader off of the ballots in several states.

Voting Machines – Part 1: Conflicts of Interest
As the United States nears November elections; the specter of election fraud hangs heavy in the air. This week Free Speech Radio News will air a four part series as FSRN reporters take an in depth look at several issues involving voting machines. The series will examine ownership, flaws in recent elections, certification of the machines and citizen action taken against the machines. We begin with a look at various conflicts of interest and ownership within the electronic voting machine companies like as Diebold and Elections Systems & Software. When just a few layers of ownership are peeled back, it¹s revealed that some of the prominent voting machine companies have connections with global firms, defense contractors, and even a tax sheltered Saudi Arabian company. Conflicts of interest abound within state and local governments between voting machine companies and public officials. From New York, Geoff Brady has this report.

Mumia: Free the Five
And now a commentary from Free Speech radio news correspondent Mumia Abu-Jamal from his cell on Pennsylvania’s death row.


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