August 26, 2004

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Former Chilean dictator General Augusto Pinochet has lost his immunity by order of the country’s Supreme Court. Pinochet overthrew democratically elected socialist President Salvador Allende and ruled Chile from 1973 to 1990. Over charges he knew about the deaths and disappearances of thousands of leftists, Pinochet previously received immunity as a head of state in Chilean courts. Last December the former dictator gave an interview to a Miami television station that seems to counter his lawyers claims that he suffers from dementia. This month the U.S. Senate released a report showing that Pinochet has as much as 8-million dollars in secret off shore accounts. Again, the Chilean Supreme Court voted 9-8 to strip Augusto Pinochet of immunity from being charged with crimes he may have committed during his dictatorship.Argentina’s Supreme Court has ruled that there is no time limit for prosecuting crimes against humanity. Mat Goldin reports from Buenos Aires.

United for Peace and Justice organizers say they will go ahead with their march in New York City despite a judge’s ruling against their proposed Central Park rally site. Sarah Turner has the story from New York.

A federal judge says he will grant bail to two Muslim men in jail on charges of conspiring to launder money because the FBI admits their chief piece of evidence was mistranslated. Catherine Komp has the story.

The U.S. government is moving ahead with plans to arm commercial airliners with anti-missile defense systems and has handed out two 45-million dollar contracts. From D.C., Emily Schmall reports.


State of Poverty and Social Services 4:02
Poverty and income inequality for various groups in the United States increased or remained stagnant from 2002 to 2003 according to annual data released today by the Census Bureau. Some critics are accusing the Bush-appointed Census Director of publishing the information earlier than usual, in order to benefit the Bush campaign less than a week ahead of the Republican National Convention. FSRN’s Nell Geiser takes a look at the numbers and the impact of the Bush administration’s policies on working families.

GOP Platform 3:40
In more news ahead of next week’s Republican National Convention, the GOP Platform Committee in New York adopted language that supports a constitutional ban on same sex marriage in the 2004 Platform that delegates will consider at the convention next week. The GOP is quickly moving to form a platform that they say promotes a culture of life, which includes further restrictions on abortion and on stem cell research.  However, as Mitch Jeserich reports, there are some factions that are trying to get the GOP to adopt more moderate views on those issues, while others are trying to bring the GOP further to the right.

Iraq Update 4:29
A US General has admitted that torture was used at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison. 35 soldiers and civilian contractors have been found to be particularly to blame for the detainee abuse. Two of the unnamed contractors work for CACI and TITAN. Meanwhile, a 24-hour ceasefire has been declared in Najaf, just hours after several journalists were detained by Iraqi Police under dubious circumstances. Chris Toesing is the Executive Director at the Middle East Research Information Project, as well as the Editor of the Middle East Report. He joins us today from Washington DC.

Israeli Bedouin Villages 2:30
Israeli troops sectioned the Gaza Strip into three parts today after Palestinian militants fired rockets and mortars at Israeli settlements in and outside of Gaza. Away from the fighting, however, Israeli Bedouins in a pair of small towns in southern Israel have gone without water for most of the long, hot summer. David Enders has this report from the Negev.

Gujarat Victims 4:42
The victims of the 2002 Hindu-Muslim violence in the western Indian state of Gujarat are a grim reminder of the past failure of civil society. Victims believe no punishment is enough to compensate the miseries they endured. As threats and intimidation continue, a ray of hope has emerged by way of the Indian Supreme Court that has severely reprimanded the investigating authorities and has ordered them to review as many as two thousand cases which were closed. However, there are hundreds of people whose cases were never filed and therefore are ineligible to come under review.  From Panchmahals, Binu Alex has more.

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