September 22, 2004

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Headlines (5:58)
UN General Assembly Continues — Susan Wood
World leaders gathered at the United Nations General Assembly are condemning the unilateral use of force and calling for the UN to play a greater role in resolving political conflicts. Susan Wood has more from the UN.

White House Proposes Cuts to Housing Assistance — Leigh Ann Caldwell
The Bush administration has proposed a decrease in the value of vouchers for subsidized housing for the poor in some areas of the country. FSRN’s Leigh Ann Caldwell reports from New York City.

Air Quality Unsafe for Kids — Erika McDonald
Air pollution from power plants is making it dangerous for children in large cities to enjoy summer days outdoors, according to an Environmental Defense study released yesterday. From Houston, Erika McDonald reports.

Israel’s General Strike Ends
Israel’s labor unions ended a general strike today. The two-day action grounded international air traffic, closed financial markets and shut down halted public services in a dispute over unpaid wages. The move came after a labor court ordered some 400,000 public sector workers back to work and told the government to pay months of back salaries.

Mazen al-Najjar Deported — Mitch Perry
A former professor at the University of South Florida who was deported 2 years ago after being detained by the government for years on the basis of secret evidence has now been indicted. Mitch Perry reports from Tampa


Democrats Unveil Republican-esque Pledge (4:15)
Today Democrats in the House of Representatives unveiled a pledge to US voters called the New Partnership for America’s Future, which relies on 6 principles, the top two being prosperity and national security. House Republicans applauded the Democrats new pledge, saying that imitation is the highest form of flattery. Mitch Jeserich reports from Capitol Hill.

Iraqi’s React to Hostage Crisis (3:52)
After the second beheading in two days of a US contract worker in Iraq, the government today announced that it is going to free an Iraqi woman prisoner, a weapons specialist held by the US who the Americans call Dr Germ. The move comes as hostage takers demanded the release of all Iraqi women from detention. Meanwhile a third foreigner, Kenneth Bigley of Britain is also threatened with execution. FSRN Host Deepa Fernandes asked computer analyst Salam Talib in Baghdad to tell us how Iraqi’s are reacting to the news of the kidnapping.

Airlines to Hand Over Private Passenger Lists to Government? (3:54)
The Transportation Security Authority has announced its latest program to pre-screen passengers on US flights. Testing will begin on the database technology by utilizing previously private passenger information from airline carriers, if airlines will hand over the information. Jenny Johnson reports.

Nigeria to Raise Petroleum Prices (3:36)
As Nigeria’s high court is hearing a case calling to question the government’s legislative move to outlaw picketing and criminalize strikes by workers, another move was announced that will hit hard Nigeria’s poor. While this African nation is the world’s sixth largest oil producer, the government says that it plans to increase the domestic prices of petroleum products. Workers are the strongest opponents of the Nigerian government. They are at the forefront of a campaign aimed at stopping the government from increasing fuel prices in line with the demands of international financial institutions like the World Bank and the International Monetary fund, IMF. Both institutions want the government to remove local fuel subsidies so that Nigeria will have more money to pay back huge debts owed western countries. Sam Olukoya reports from Lagos.

Sri Lankan Peace Process to Restart? (3:11)
Sri Lanka today strongly supported India’s candidature for a permanent seat on the expanded UN Security Council, saying New Delhi along with Brazil, Germany and Japan fulfill the objective criteria for taking its place on the powerful body. This signals strong relations between Sri Lanka and the new Indian Congress government that many say could play a role in the Sri Lankan peace process which has been at a standstill for months. Meanwhile, the traditional mediator in the Sri Lanka conflict, Norway, has been at the receiving end of angry demonstrations outside the Norwegian Embassy this week when a coffin with the dead body of a Tamil politician was placed outside the Embassy. The demonstrators from the ruling EPDP party demanded that Norway should do something in order to re-start the stalled peace process. The Norwegian-brokered peace negotiations between the Colombo Central Government and the LTTE guerillas in the north have been frozen since April last year. And as FSRN’s Ponniah Manikavasagam reports, Norway has sent a special envoy to Sri Lanka to attempt to get the peace talk re-started.


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