August 24, 2004

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The Israeli attorney general recommends that his government should finally refer to operations in the Palestinian territories as an occupation and fall in line with international law. Laila El-Haddad has more from Gaza.

Activists gathered today to raise awareness that the vestiges of slavery still exist and that reparations are the answer. Grace Anderson reports from D.C.

17-hundred health care workers are on strike at the nation’s oldest HMO in Washington. Sarah Turner with the Workers Independent News Service has the story.

The highest military court in the nation has skirted the issue of whether laws against consensual homosexual sex are unconstitutional. In yesterday’s unanimous ruling, the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces denied an appeal based on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision that essentially overturned state sodomy laws, Lawrence vs. Texas. The military case centered on a former Air Force sergeant who was convicted in military court four years ago on charges that included consensual sodomy but focused on having sex with subordinate men in his chain of command – considered a more serious breach of military conduct. One Airman testified that Sergeant Eric Marcum “might have taken advantage of him.” The court said that any constitutional protections are therefore inapplicable. The court’s decision leaves Article 125, the military ban on sodomy, in tact. There are at least nine other related military cases under appeal.


Guantanamo Tribunal Begins (3:22)
Pre-trial hearings for one of the four terrorism suspects being held in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba took place today. Human rights organizations and journalists have been allowed to witness proceedings, although access has been restricted. Selina Musuta reports more on these controversial hearings.

Top Military Officials Faulted for Prisoner Abuse (4:10)
Today a high level panel of former Pentagon officials released a report that criticized top current leaders for creating an environment that led to abuses at detainment centers in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantanamo Bay. The panel did not find, however, that abuse was directly ordered by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld or Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Richard Meyers. Mitch Jeserich reports from Washington DC.

Update from Central Baghdad (4:19)
Muqtada Al Sadr and his Mehdi army continue to resist against Iraqi National Guardsmen, who are in day 20 of their attack on the holy city of Najaf. As the US-appointed interim government struggles to sieze the region, Iraq’s education and environmental ministers have been targeted in separate car bomb attacks. Both attacks happened simultaneously in Baghdad, and although neither of the ministers were hurt, at least 4 other people were killed as a result. A band of insurgents linked to Abu Musab al-Zarqaei claimed responsibility for the strike against the environmental minister. Peggy Nish works with the Christian Peacemakers Team. She joins us today from Central Baghdad.

Guatemala’s Hydroelectric Project (4:05)
Guatemala has big plans for reducing its dependence on petroleum by turning its abundant rivers into a hydroelectric goldmine. But, as the government proudly unveils plans for building three large dams, a heated conflict in rural, eastern Guatemala is forcing the nation to think twice about hydro projects. Jill Replogle reports from Rio Hondo, Zapaca, Guatemala.

Texas Lawmaker Seeks to Take Child from Parents (3:30)
A custody battle between an African couple and a Texas lawmaker came to a close on Monday. The lawmaker had cited ethnicity, immigration status and poverty as reasons he and his wife sought permanent custody of the couple’s child. From KFPT in Houston, Renee Feltz reports.


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