October 01, 2004

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First Uncensored Gitmo Prisoner Letter
Today, the first uncensored letter has been released from a British man being held by the U.S. military on Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. From London Naomi Fowler has more.

Niger Delta Group Seeks Independence
Military leaders in the Niger Delta are re-engaging in talks with the Nigerian government for greater independence. The group known as the Niger Delta Volunteer Force threatened to attack foreign oil workers in the Niger Delta if by today the Nigerian government does not grant autonomy to the people of the area.  This threat was partially responsible for the rise in oil prices to about fifty dollars per barrel on the international market. Western oil companies operating in the Niger Delta exploit more than two-million barrels of crude oil daily. Even though leaders of the rebel group have been holding peace talks with Nigeria’s president Olusegun Obasanjo in the last two days there is still uncertainly over whether an agreement can be reached. In the last weeks, the group and the Nigerian Army have been fighting in the creeks of the Niger Delta.  For Free Speech Radio News, this is Sam Olukoya in Port Harcourt.

US State Dept Numbers Wrong on Iraq Jobs
The State Department has rescinded initial figures on the number of Iraqis employed under U.S. aid programs.  Ed Stephen reports from D.C.

House Republican Leader Violated Ethics
The Republican leader in the House received a public reprimand by the Ethics Committee after a 6-month investigation. From KPFT in Houston, Renee Feltz reports.

Russia Moves Forward on Kyoto Protocols
The Russian cabinet has passed the Kyoto Protocols and the proposal now moves to the Parliament. The international treaty, that the U.S. has refused to sign, seeks to reduce global green house gas emissions. Political analysts interpret the move by the Russian government as an attempt to curry favor with the European Union for membership.  Other experts who study the environment say Russia could also reap up to 10-billion-dollars from the Kyoto Protocol’s trading schemes in carbon emissions. Under trading schemes, countries that produce less than the predetermined emissions levels may sell their allowance to countries that are over their limit. Alexei Kokorin, head of the Russian climate change program of the World Wildlife Fund, also described the ratification as a political move. He added, “It is a different matter that it is very good for the environment.”


Iraq Update  (4:33)
The US military, and Iraqi troops supported and trained by the US, attacked the Iraqi city of Samarra, about 95 kilometers north of Baghdad. The Pentagon reports that over 120 people were killed, at least 20 of them civilians with another 35 injured civilians. Iraq’s unelected government claims that it has taken control over most of Samarra. It appears attacks are the beginning of a larger offensive by the US military to take control of insurgency strongholds in Iraq before the scheduled January elections. Mitch Jeserich has more from Washington D.C.

Presidential Debate in FL: Voices from Inside and Out    (3:16)
Last night the first debate for the presidential campaign of 2004 took place at the University of Miami in Coral Gables. With third party candidates excluded from the prime time televised event, President Bush and Senator Kerry spoke about national security and foreign policy. Iraq dominated the 90 minute debate which was moderated by PBS’ Jim Leherer. Outside the university many gathered to protest, capping off a week of dissent in Miami that included a hip-hop event called Slam Bush. From Florida, FSRN hosts Nell Abram and Deepa Fernandes bring us this sound portrait from inside and outside last night’s debate.

Latin Issues Missing At Debate  (3:45)
This week, The Census Bureau announced that Florida now has the second highest Hispanic population of any state, behind only New York. Last night’s Presidential debate was held in Miami-Dade county, which now has the highest Latino population percentage wise in the entire United States. But in an hour and a half discussion on foreign policy, no Latin American country was mentioned even once; and particularly disappointing to many Floridians was the lack of discussion on Cuba. From WMNF radio in Tampa, Andrew Stelzer files this report.

G7 Meets in DC  (3:54)
Starting today, the group of seven major industrial countries also known as the G7, meet in Washington, DC followed by the International Monetary Fund and World Bank’s annual meeting.  Debt, the overvaluation of the U.S. dollar, and development will be a few of the issues discussed. Critics of the World Bank and IMF wonder if this weekend will be an opportunity for those organizations to shift their policies. WPFW’s Selina Musuta reports.

Repression of Indigenous Resistance in Oaxaca  (4:45)
On Sunday, hundreds of municipalities in two southern Mexican states will hold party system elections. This week, leading up to the elections in Oaxaca and Chiapas, four people associated with political parties have been killed. Although Mexican law recognizes the traditional indigenous method of community assemblies as a means by which to elect authorities, power struggles between the party system and the traditional elections have become a common and oftentimes violent occurrence. Vladimir Flores reports.


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