August 12, 2004

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The California Supreme Court has ruled that San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom exceeded his authority when he ordered the City to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Kellia Ramares reports from Oakland.

Federal negotiators are reportedly working with the legal representative of Yassar Hamdi to possibly release the U.S. citizen that the Supreme Court ruled must be tried on U.S. soil rather than in a military tribunal. Grace Anderson reports from D.C.

The second highest court in Britain ruled that evidence obtained by torture could be used as long as British officials did not “procure” or “connive” the torture. One human rights lawyer said the decision is “tantamount to contracting out the torture.” The case involves ten men suspected of being involved with terrorists who are were being held without charge in what has been called Britain’s Guantanamo Bay. One of the judges supporting the decision said in a statement released yesterday, assuming the evidence came from torture or any other violation of human rights is “purely hypothetical.”

Today, British government officials are proposing more sweeping changes to police powers that many say continues the attack on civil liberties. Naomi Fowler has more from the United Kingdom.

Environmentalists charge the Bush administration with changing key legal safeguards and destroying thousands of acres of previously protected wetlands. Erika McDonald explains.

US Offensive Against Uprisings in Iraq
Today the U.S. Military, along with its Iraqi counterparts, began a major offensive against the forces of Cleric Muqtada Sadr in the Iraqi holy city of Najaf. Using tanks, helicopters, warplanes, and several thousand U.S. troops, the offensive, backed by the Iraqi interim government, is seeking to crush a rebellion that has disrupted oil exports in the southern region of Iraq. In the southern Iraqi city of Kut, over 72 people have been reportedly killed in US air raids, and another 25 people were killed in clashes in Baghdad. Thousands of people took to the streets to protest the offensive in Baghdad and in the southern city of Basra. This newest US led military intervention has lead some Iraqi Americans and peace activists to question if the US military is serious about building the peace. Mitch Jeserich has that story from Washington DC.

Halliburton Fails to Account for $2 Billion
A new Pentagon audit concludes Halliburton failed to adequately account for almost $2 billion of its work in Iraq and Kuwait. At least one critic says this latest news undermines original claims that privatization of military contracts could save taxpayers money. Renee Feltz reports.

Hate Crimes Legislation
Five years after a white supremacist went on a shooting spree injuring 5 people at a Jewish community center and killing a Filipino postal worker, some laws are beginning to change. In June, the US Senate passed legislation that broadened the categories of bias to include sexual orientation, gender and disability, in addition to race, religion and national origin. The bill would enable the Department of Justice to assist local hate crime prosecutions or carry out its own investigation and prosecution. In California, the State Legislature is considering a measure that would standardize the current hodge-podge of anti-hate crime provisions in the civil and penal codes. From KPFK in LA, FSRN’s Ngoc Nguyen reports.

Kerry Ambiguous About Gays in the Military
John Kerry has changed his campaign web-site to make his position on gays in the military more ambiguous. The campaign made the move after the Orlando Sentinel reported the Democratic candidate supports allowing gays and lesbians to serve. Before the change, the Web site said bringing gays into the military was one of Senator Kerry’s “priorities.” The page on sexual equality had gone on to say: [quote] “John Kerry opposed the Clinton administration’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Policy. He was one of the few senators to testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee and call on the president to rescind the ban on gay and lesbian service members.” [unquote]. Kerry does not mention the issue in his speeches, and the Democratic Party platform is mute on gays in the military. FSRN’s Aaron Glantz has more.

International World Youth Day
August 12 is International Youth Day. Worldwide, it is estimated that more than 300,000 children under the age of 18 are fighting in armed conflicts, and about 250,000 are engaged in child labor. At the third international gathering of the World Youth Festival, nearly 10,000 young people from around the world are meeting to share their ideas on how to push youth policies in their countries. FSRN’s Avishay Artsy files this report from Barcelona, Spain.


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