August 25, 2004

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Today is being called a National Day of Conscience by as many as 3-thousand hunger strikers hoping to bring attention to the crisis in Sudan. Catherine Komp has more.

An Israeli judge is ordering the deportation of a journalist on the grounds that her political beliefs make her more likely to be used by terrorists. Naomi Fowler has more from London.

Usage of so-called non-lethal weapons at the U.S. Mexican border is being questioned by some in the Mexican parliament. Vladamir Flores reports from Oaxaca City.

Nigeria’s senate has directed the multinational oil company Shell Petroleum to pay 1 point 5 billion dollars as compensation to communities in the Niger Delta. Sam Olukoya reports from Lagos.

Today, Iraq’s top Shi’a leader reached country through Basra. Grand Ayat Allah Ali al-Sistani left a London hospital earlier in the week and encouraged followers to march to Najaf with him. U.S. occupational forces along with some Iraqi troops are clamping down hard on Najaf against fighters who say they are defending cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. Al-Sadr has refused to stand down his army until all foreign armies leave Iraq. Under a heavy barrage of tank fire and air strikes, Sadr supporters barricaded themselves in the Imam Ali shrine – one of their holiest of sites as glass shards and dust flew around them in a nearby mausoleum. Tens of thousands of Iraqis from Baghdad and southern Iraq pledged to answer the ayatollah’s call to march on the holy city to help resolve the crisis peacefully.

Fish Mercury Levels – 3:47
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, fish caught in nearly all lakes and rivers within the United States are contaminated with Mercury, a toxic material that interferes with the brain and nervous system and poses a particular health risk to pregnant women and children. Mitch Jeserich reports from Washington DC.

Immigrants in NYC Losing Drivers Licenses – 3:34
Authorities around the nation are cracking down on undocumented immigrants with drivers licenses. The Department of Motor Vehicles in New York is now taking a role in assisting federal immigration agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security, to monitor immigrants. Leigh Ann Caldwell has more from WBAI in New York City.

Health Cost Recovery in Africa – 4:24
In recent years, donors and international financial institutions have pushed for the cost-recovery of national health expenditure across Africa. In many often impoverished, African countries health costs have become unsustainable. The idea is that every patient should have to pay for treatment, regardless of their personal financial situation, but with the theoretical safeguard of free treatment for those who can’t afford to pay. Yet, in practice, in countries where the vast majority of people live in abject poverty, governments don’t yet have the capacity to provide universal means-testing – which in turn entails that thousands go without health-care. The impact is especially acute in those countries where years of conflict have devastated the national infrastructure. Rupert Cook reports.

Senegalese Businessmen Respond to Chinese Merchants – 3:33
Since 1998, Chinese shops are opening in growing numbers in Senegal’s capital Dakar. The phenomenon has triggered the anger of national businessmen who complain about illegal settlement and illegal competition. But the Chinese know the support of Senegal people, consumers, trade unionists and human rights groups as they rallied last week to contest what Senegalese press dubbed terrorism of Senegalese businessmen against Chinese commerce. The thin line between safeguarding national interest and xenophobia is yet to cross, which would break Senegal’s image of a hospitable country. Human rights activists press the alarm button to draw the authorities’ attention. Can Senegal’s 10 million market support People’s Republic of China? The answer is yet to come. From Senegal, Ndiaga Seck reports.

German Expellee Restitution Claims – 3:25
Those are words of Charles de Gaule 60 years ago, declaring that Paris is destroyed, but Paris is liberated. Tanks lined the French capital’s Place de la Concorde today, as it celebrates the 60-year anniversary of its liberation from the Nazis. The liberation was seen as a largely symbolic event that culminated in the end of French cooperation with the Nazis. Meanwhile, the league of German Expellees headed by Erika Steinbach is made up of people forced from their homes in Eastern Europe after World War II. The league’s membership said they were willing to drop any financial claims against Poland if the German government clears up legal ambiguities. Meanwhile, “Prussian Trust”, a right-wing organization representing Germans resettled from Poland on Stalin’s orders in 1946, has announced it will file ten lawsuits in Polish and international courts demanding the return of German expellees’ property left in Poland after World War II. This conflicts with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder’s statement that Germany would argue against such cases in international tribunals, and Berlin’s belief that there are no legal foundations for such claims towards Poland and that the lawsuits have no chance for success. Although analysts welcomed Schroeder’s stance and apology for “German shame” during the Warsaw Uprising, they say that much needs to be done to undone damage done by expellees’ organizations on the way to full reconciliation. Danuta Szafraniec reports from Warsaw.


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