November 22, 2004
More than 10-thousand Ukrainians went to Independence Square in Kiev today to demonstrate against the pending election results. According to officially released numbers, the current Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, backed by Russian leaders, is in the lead for the presidency. However, supporters of Viktor Yushchenko say the elections were rigged and refuse to leave the square until their candidate is declared the winner. International election observers including contingents from the European Parliament, NATO and a U.S. delegation led by Senator Richard Lugar, agree that the incumbent government helped rig the vote in favor of the Prime Minister.
Israeli officials say they will remove travel restrictions and other obstacles to Palestinian elections in the occupied territories. Officials in Ramallah and elsewhere in Palestine are preparing for the upcoming elections. Awad Duabes has more.
More than 20-thousand people, many of them Muslim, took to the streets in Germany to protest against violence directed against Muslim communities and terrorism. Guy Degen reports from Cologne.
16-thousand protestors marched in front of what is commonly called the “School of the Assassins” at a U.S. military base in Georgia. At least 20 peaceful demonstrators were arrested. WZRD’s Johnny Hap was there.
California’s Attorney General stands ready to sue the Bush Administration if the US Forest Service does not change it’s plans to allow more logging in the Sierra Nevada. More from Kellia Ramares in Oakland.
Update from Baghdad
An influential member of the Sunni clerics’ group the Association of Muslim Scholars (AMS) was assassinated just a day after Iraqi officials announced elections would take place on January 30th. The AMS had called for a boycott of national elections. Shaikh Faidh Muhammad Amin al-Faidhi was reportedly leaving a place of worship when he was killed in Mosul. The AMS says it is the target of US and Iraqi forces and has armed Sunni fighters to strike back. Meanwhile, US-installed Prime Minister Ayad Allawi said that media in Iraq is failing to report the real situation in Fallujah. FSRN correspondents Salam Talib and Dahr Jamail report from Baghdad.
Controversial Spending Bill Passes Congress
On Saturday negotiations on the 9/11 Intelligence reform bill fell apart due to objections of the House Armed Services Committee and the Pentagon, even after President Bush asked for its approval. Also on Saturday Congress passed an omnibus spending bill that makes significant cuts to education, environmental protections, and low income housing assistance. Another provision stuck in the 3,000 page bill, that lawmakers had less than 24 hours to review, allows health care providers to mandate its doctors and hospitals to deny abortion services. Mitch Jeserich reports from Capitol Hill.
Ohio Elex Results goes Before Courts ~ FSRN Questions Kerry
The official results of the 2004 presidential race are hanging in the balance while vote counting in Ohio continues amid widespread controversy over whether the election was fair. Questions still remain as to whether the votes of many Ohioans were accurately recorded. Several lawsuits are being filed, including one by a coalition of public-interest lawyers which will go before the state’s Supreme Court, challenging Ohio’s reported vote tally. The Democrats have come under fire for not leading the charge to uncover what happened on election day and FSRN’s Mitch Jeserich caught up with Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry.
Ohio Elex Full of Fraud and Disenfranchisement
Numerous investigations in to possible fraud and voter disenfranchisement are also currently underway. Evan Davis investigates from Columbus.
End in Site for Locked Out Hotel Workers?
An end to the long running labor dispute that has locked out hotel workers in California looks likely. About 4,300 UNITE HERE, Local 2 members, who’ve been locked out since October 1, will be returning to work while contract talks continue. On Saturday, as hundreds gathered in San Francisco’s Union Square for a rally in solidarity with the locked out workers, Mayor Gavin Newsome announced, at his office across town, that a deal had been reached to suspend the stalemate for a 60 day cooling off period. FSRN’s Vinny Lombardo has more.
Bush Visits Colombia
Today President Bush visited Colombia to meet with his staunchest Latin American supporter in the war against terrorism, President Alavro Uribe. Among other topics, Uribe and Bush discussed the Free Trade Agreement currently being negotiated, the extension of the Plan Colombia, and the counter-drug program that uses aerial fumigations — due to expire in 2005. Meanwhile, analysts say the 10-month-old counter-insurgent offensive being supported by US military against Colombia’s 40-year-old rebels is doomed. From Bogotá, Nicole Karsin has more.