June 02, 2004

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Today the New York Civil Liberties Union is taking the New York Police Department to court over what the NYCLU calls heavy-handed practices at the anti-war rally in February of 2003. Leigh Ann Caldwell reports from the district courthouse in New York City.

United Nations envoy Lakhdar Brahimi called the U-S administrator, Paul Bremer, essentially “the dictator of Iraq.” At the UN, the resolution on Iraq is floating around diplomatic circles for strong-arming and editing. Haider Rizvi reports from the U.N.

The Israeli Prime Minister, with strong support from the Bush administration, is touting his plan to withdraw from Gaza while the Israeli military re-invades Rafah to demolish houses. Laila El-Haddad reports from Gaza.

Florida’s attorney general is prosecuting a hotel owner for discrimination against African-Americans utilizing a new state hate crime law. WMNF’s Mitch Perry reports.

US Senate Begins Defense Budget Debate
Today the U.S. Senate began debate on the fiscal 2005 defense authorization bill that will likely include the President’s 25 billion dollar supplemental request for the military’s continued presence in Iraq. The defense bill also includes millions for the Bush administration’s advanced nuclear weapons program and billions for other big-ticket weaponry that critics say haven’t been proved to work. Mitch Jeserich reports

India’s “Anti-Terror” Law
Political observers in India agree that the religious sentiments of Indians were never more exploited than they were under the power of the previous Hindu nationalist BJP party. The BJP is accused by many to have excessively used the country’s anti-terror law, Prevention of Terrorism Act or POTA to fuel anti-Muslim sentiment. Now the act is under scrutiny and faces repeal. Yesterday Gujarat home minister Amit Shah said on the floor of the legislative assembly that the state’s BJP government will protest against every step taken to repeal POTA. Statistics tell a story of how POTA has been misused to target one community, Muslims, especially in the western state of Gujarat. Families of those detained under the law allege that the conditions in which they are being held are even worse than those incarcerated in Iraqi prisons. FSRN Correspondent, Binu Alex speaks to some of the families of the POTA accused to learn how they feel about a possible repeal of the act.

Security Certificates in Canada
The recently released Amnesty International Annual Report for 2004 outlined a harsh criticism of the use of “Security Certificates” by the Canadian government. Security Certificates increasingly used after September 11th, allow the indefinite detention and ultimately deportation of foreign nationals, who the Canadian government deems a serious risk to national security of the country. Stefan Christoff reports.

Voting Machines-Part 2: New Electronics Machines
As the hanging chads of the Florida 2000 election fade, a shiny new “solution” to voting irregularities is being marketed and phased in across the country. Will the new voting machines being rushed in actually correct the problems of the 2000 election, or will they throw the foundation of American democracy from the frying pan, into the fire? In this, the second of our series, we examine the design and safeguards of the new electronic voting machines. Do they work like a dream — or, a nightmare? Pokey Anderson reports.

California Budget
According to the results of a new survey released by the Public Policy Institute of California, nearly three-fourths of California residents are worried about the state’s economic forecast. In mid-May, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger unveiled plans for a $103 billion budget which, he says, will solve the state’s financial crunch without raising taxes. Though scaled back slightly from an earlier draft, the governor’s new proposal sees massive borrowing, and cuts in education, welfare and public health spending, as a solution to the state’s woes. This translates into less money for California cities and counties. Last Tuesday, a coalition of seniors, mental health workers, and labor & religious leaders, rallied at the Santa Cruz County Government Center decrying the state cuts and urging the Board of Supervisors to “Put People First,” in their upcoming budget hearings. FSRN’s Vinny Lombardo looks at one California county’s response to the proposed budget.


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