November 23, 2004

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100’s of Thousands of Ukrainians March for Fair Election
The Ukrainian opposition leader, Viktor Yushchenko took the presidential oath today in a symbolic move, then waved to hundreds of thousands of his supporters in a Kiev Square. Ukrainians continued to march for a second day on the Parliament. Today’s line stretched two miles out from the Parliamentary steps and continues to grow. International election observors from the European Union and the United States said yesterday that the current government rigged the elections in their favor. But, out-going President Kuchama said in a prepared press notice that such critical statements could lead to a deterioration of the situation in the Ukraine, implying civil war. Lawmakers in the antions’ parliament were unable to gain a quorum to move on a no-confidence vote declaring the elections invalid. While exit polls showed Yushchenko winning, official government results declared current Prime Minister Victor Yanukovych the winner. Russian leaders also back Yanukovych.

UN Report on HIV/AIDS
The United Nations report on global HIV/AIDS shows that women are becoming infected at an alarmingly high rate. Ellen Ratner has more.

EU Starts Own Army
The European Union announced the formation of a new army capable of deployment anywhere in the world on short notice independent of NATO, the UN, and other regional troops. Patrick Beckett has more from Copenhagen.

US Hate Crimes Mostly Against Blacks
More than half of all hate crimes, more than 74-hundred in the United States during the year 2003, were directed at African-Americans according to an FBI report. The statistics are a compilation of hate crimes as reported by barely 16-percent of law enforcement agencies nation-wide. Other human rights analysts say that many hate crimes go unreported because the victims fear more attacks by the perpetrators, agents of the government, or concern over their immigration status.

US Civil Rights Enforcement Down
The U.S. government’s enforcement of civil rights laws is declining, according to another report. Darby Hickey reports from D.C.

Update from Baghdad – 4:11
An international conference on the future of Iraq ended today in Egypt. While there was not much criticism of the US invasion of Iraq, Syria was the lone nation to express its outrage. The rest of the Arab League and the G8 nations gave their support for Iraqi elections to take place as scheduled on January 30. Meanwhile, in Iraq, US, British and Iraqi troops began another assault this morning, this time on the town of Jabella, just south of Baghdad. Many arrests were made, but casualty reports have not been given. And as the clean up of Fallujah continues, FSRN correspondents Dahr Jamail and Salam Talib bring us the latest from Baghdad.

New Budget Cuts from Pocket of the Poor – 4:04
Congress has eliminated funding for President Bush’s program to research the development of low-yield nuclear weapons, such as bunker busters, in the omnibus spending bill passed last Saturday.  Arms control advocates praise Republican Representative David Hobson for helping strip the administration’s 27 million dollar request out of the budget.   Bush administration officials have expressed interest in using such weapons on the battlefield.  However, the federal budget is not fairing so well for the poor.  Poverty based programs have either been cut or not adjusted to keep pace with inflation. And, as Mitch Jeserich reports from Washington DC, advocates for low income communities worry this is just the beginning.

People’s Victory for Environment? – 3:24
President Bush’s plan to revise a Clinton era rule for roadless areas of national forests may have hit a snag. The public comment period recently ended on the Bush plan to let governors decide if they want their state’s roadless areas protected from logging and mining. A staffer for senator Maria Cantwell of Washington reported that ninety-five percent of one-point-three million comments are opposed. Leigh Robartes of KRFP in Moscow, Idaho, has more.

Protesting Colonist Holidays – 2:04
Around 200 protestors from the Transform Columbus Day Alliance were in court in Denver last week. They were at their arraignment which stemmed from their arrest at the Columbus Day demonstrations in October. Maeve Conran looks at their case in light of upcoming protests this coming Thanksgiving weekend.

Gentrification on LA’s Belmont Tunnel – 3:04
This past weekend, local community members in LA’s Central West District protested outside a large lot of now fenced-up land. The lot is an historic train yard and it was recently purchased by Meta Housing Corporation. For the past 20 years, the lot, known by neighborhood residents as The Belmont Tunnel, has been an unofficial park to graffiti artists and immigrants who play a pre-Columbian ball game there. Although Meta Housing has not secured the permits to start demolishing the historic site, they illegally started demolition on the site last week. Critics call this a gentrification plan that is sure to displace the hundreds of people who have enjoyed Belmont for decades. Aura Bogado has more.


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