June 29, 2004

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Israeli MIlitary Hits the Gaza Strip
More Israeli military tanks rolled into the occupied Gaza strip today. Israeli government officials say it is in response to a Palestinian rocket attack in a town just on the other side of the Gaza border.  In that attack, two Israelis were killed, including a 3-year-old boy on his way to kindergarten.  Early this morning, Israeli helicopter gunships launched four missiles at a media building in the center of Gaza City. Laila El-Haddad reports from Gaza.

Canadian Elections
Canadian election results will force the ruling Liberal Party to negotiate with other parties to pass legislation, possibly the right, as voters give seats in small numbers to more leftist groups. From CKLN, Kristen Schwartz has the story.

Latinos/as Face Greater Environmental Risks
Latinos and Latinas face greater environmental risks in large part because they live in poorer neighborhoods. Betsy DeSitter explains from D.C.

Rice Production Drops
Production of the world’s most important food crop is dropping due to global warming according to a just released report.  The International Rice Research Institute wrote the report along with the Agricultural division of the University of Nebraska.  Scientists at the Institute’s farm in Indonesia studied 12 years of rice field yields along with climate data.  17-year studies in the United States also show that corn and soybean yields slow down with rising temperatures. Scientists theorize “the hotter nights make the plants work harder just to maintain themselves, diverting energy from growth.”  The report showed that rice production decreased “by 10 percent for each one degree Celsius increase in minimum night time temperature.”  In combination with increasing daytime temperatures, the report shows that overall rice production is down 15-percent more than scientists have predicted with global climate models.


Sadr City Update (2:52)
Interim Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi said today that Saddam Hussein would be released in Iraqi custody tomorrow. Recent polls show Hussein, if he were allowed to stand in an Iraqi presidential election tomorrow, would capture at least half the vote. It’s not hard to figure out why — the lack of reconstruction in the country continues to alienate everyday Iraqis from the occupation authorities and newly appointed governments. Salam Talib and David Enders have this report from Sadr City.

Supreme Court Round Up (3:56)
Today the U.S. Supreme Court narrowed but upheld the Alien Tort Claims Act that allows foreigners to bring human rights cases against corporations or people residing in the United States. The court also announced it will take up a case concerning whether the Bush administration can prosecute people who use medical marijuana. Mitch Jeserich brings us this Supreme Court roundup.

EPA Seeks to Weaken Clean Air Standards (3:00)
Today is the deadline for public comment on the Bush administration’s proposal to deal with toxic mercury in the air. The EPA expects that by the end of the day more than 600,000 members of the public will have responded – most in opposition – in what is by far the biggest response to any Environmental Protection Agency proposal. They want the EPA instead to just implement existing regulations in the Clean Air Act. That would reduce six-fold the amount of mercury from power plant emissions over the industry’s proposal, which is the one the EPA supports. Melinda Tuhus reports from New Haven, Connecticut.

Toys Containing Mercury (Anchor Read)
Kellogg’s is putting a toy containing mercury in several of its children’s cereals, in a battery to illuminate a Spiderman wrist gadget.  Keebler, an affiliate, is offering a similar toy through a mail-in offer. However, in Connecticut, sales and free distribution of Mercury-added novelties were banned as of July 1, 2003. The state’s Attorney General, Richard Blumenthal, is holding a news conference tomorrow calling for Kellogg’s to remove the toy from the food shelves.

Supreme Court Rules on Online Pornography (Anchor Read)
In addition to the Supreme Court decisions covered earlier in our newscast – the High Court also ruled today that a law aimed at shielding children form on-line pornography is probably an unconstitutional muzzle on free speech. The majority sent the case back to a lower court for a trial.  Writing for the majority, Justice Kennedy wrote that for now, the law, known as the Child Online Protection Act, sweeps with too broad a brush saying there is a potential for extraordinary harm and a serious chill upon protected speech.  The 1998 law, which never took effect, would have authorized fines up to $50,000 for the crime of placing material that is “harmful to minors” within the easy reach of children on the Internet.

Sex Film Industry Deals with HIV/AIDS (4:00)
*WARNING* This story contains graphic content some may find offensive
A recent HIV outbreak in California’s adult film industry left five porn performers infected with the virus. The HIV scare captured worldwide media attention and raised questions about the porn industry’s ability to continue policing itself. The state wants to step in and mandate condoms during filming, but many performers aren’t sure that will make the industry any safer. This story does contain graphic language. From Los Angeles, Ngoc Nguyen has this first in a two part series on health and labor rights in the sex film industry.

Grassroots Radio Conference Reports on Micro Radio (3:53)
As average Americans grow increasingly dissatisfied with corporate media, some activists hope to create an alternative media source through micro radio. Corporate radio tends to marginalize community voices and critics of government and industry. Micro radio stands to offer all of these voices and more — as Cheryll Roberts discovered at this year’s 9th annual grassroots radio conference in Los Olivos, California.


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