August 04, 2004

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Iraq Update
12 Iraqis have been killed and 26 wounded in gun battles today in Mosul. Witnesses report that dozens of masked fighters with assault rifles and rocket propelled grenade launchers moved through the streets. Soon after, police headed to the area and set up roadblocks. Sporadic violence occurred throughout the city and the provincial government imposed a curfew. Also today in Iraq a government official says an amnesty offer for rebels won’t cover fighters who’ve killed. The government originally proposed the amnesty as an incentive for fighter to put down their guns. Those who cooperated would be forgiven, while those who continued killing could face execution. But the amnesty has been repeatedly delayed, and each new version narrows the list of those eligible.

Massive Protests in Khartoum
Tens of thousands of people took to the streets in Khartoum in protest of possible military intervention by the United Nations. Haider Rizvi reports from the UN that diplomats there say this kind of move is not imminent.

Former Gitmo Detainees Release Scathing Report
Three British citizens released from Guantanamo Bay without charge in March released a 115-page report today that details their first full account of their ordeal as terror suspects. Naomi Fowler has more from London:

SEC Fines Halliburton
The Securities and Exchange Commission announced today that drug giant Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. has been fined $150 million to settle federal regulators’ charges that it manipulated its inventory of medicines in a fraudulent scheme to inflate earnings. In other action by the SEC – the Commission subpoenaed documents from Halliburton and expanded a probe of payments related to a $5 billion construction contract in Nigeria when U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney led the company. The SEC also levied a 7.5 million dollar fine against Halliburton. Aaron Glantz reports.

Oaxacan Elections
In the Governors race in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca, Ulises Ruiz Ortiz, the candidate for the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), has been named the “virtual winner” until the Federal Electoral Institute declares final results. The PRI has held the Oaxacan governorship for 75 years. Luz Ruiz reports from Chiapas.

Same Gender Marriage Banned in Missouri
Missouri voters overwhelmingly approved a state constitutional amendment yesterday that bans same gender marriages. Voters in at least nine other states — and perhaps as many as 12 — are expected to consider similar amendments this fall.

Discussion on 9/11’s Recommendations
Hearings continued today at Capitol Hill on the 9/11 Commission’s recommendations to decrease the chance of a terrorist attack in the United States. Congressional Democrats are calling for the quick implementation of many of the recommendations. However concerns still linger. Former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds, who was fired alter questioning FBI tactics and then silenced by the Justice Department, wrote an open letter to the Commission in which she accuses it of omitting important information. Mitch Jeserich has more

Gaza Update
The US State Department has warned Israel to stop a plan to build hundreds of new housing units in the West Bank and honor its commitment to end expansions in the area. Meanwhile, Yasser Arafat marks his birthday today with a crisis within his own Fatah movement. For that reason, Egypt has postponed inter-Palestinian dialogue until the situation has cleared. Dr. Hasam Abu Libdeh, is the Cabinet Secretary of the Palestinian Authority. FSRN talked to Dr. Abu Libdeh today about the situation in Palestine and Israel.

The World Bank and Enviromental Defense
The World Bank issued its reaction to an internal review of its investments in oil, mining and gas sectors. While the Bank has made many proposals that move toward revising its current practices, it has refused to take up the most serious of the review’s conclusions of phasing out investment in extractive industries altogether. To critics, the Bank’s reaction means the persistence of business as usual. FSRN’s Jenny Johnson reports.

SisterSpace Bookstore Evicted by US Marshals
After a long battle, US Marshals evicted African-American owned business Sisterspace and Books from a historically black community in Washington, DC yesterday. Local community activists and supporters claim Sisterspace and Books is the latest victim of the U Street corridor gentrification. Karen Mitchell has more.

Terrorist Intelligence and Threat to NY
As questions of validity have risen about the terror alerts in New York City, New Jersey, and Washington DC, so have questions of civil liberties as heavily armed officers infiltrate the streets of the densely populated areas. From, WBAI in New York, FSRN’s Leigh Ann Caldwell has more.

Civilian Repression by Police in Argentina
The Argentine Human Rights group Coordinated against Police and Institutional Repression, or CORREPI for its Spanish acronym, released a report last year that states one person is murdered by authorities in that country every 60 hours. This year, civilian assassinations at the hands of authorities, a phenomenon known as “gatillo facil” or “happy trigger” are still on the rise. From Buenos Aires, Mat Goldin And Zula Wuarken have more.


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