December 03, 2004
The Ukrainian Supreme Court ruled today that the most recent round of elections in the country are invalid, essentially calling for a “do-over.” The judges agreed that there was widespread systemic fraud. They also ruled that elections should be held again three weeks after December 5th or on December 26th. The decision is a blow to current prime minister and government declared winner Viktor Yanukovich. Russian leaders and Ukrainians in the eastern part of the country have also backed Yanukovich. President Vladamir Putin campaigned for him twice in the Ukraine. But, even before election results were announced and accusations of gross fraud were rampant, supporters of opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko filled the streets in Kiev demanding a recount. Political analysts say the revote will likely go to Yushchenko who is heavily supported by Western nations.
Election activists in Ohio are struggling to convince judges that a recount in the state must take place and take place quickly. Evan Davis reports from Columbus.
Tommy Thompson, the Secretary of Health and Human Services has officially resigned today. Heather Buchheim has more from D.C.
The nation’s largest retailer is fighting the nation’s largest private discrimination suit by trying to get class action status removed. More from Kellia Ramares in Oakland.
Former Chilean dictator, Augusto Pinochet has been stripped of immunity from prosecution for his alleged role in the 1974 car bombing of an exiled general and his wife. A former Chilean agent has already been tried and convicted for the crime. But to date, Pinochet has eluded a number of attempts to bring him to justice for abuses during his 17-year reign. Lawyers continually claim he has health problems. Just this week, the current President of Chile, Ricardo Lagos announced that the government would pay out up to $190 per month to victims of torture during Pinochet’s rule. Also, victims and their relatives will receive free education, housing and health benefits.
Bernard Kerik Nominated to lead Homeland Security -3:02
President Bush has nominated former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik as the new Secretary of the Homeland Security Department. Kerik spent time in Iraq helping to rebuild its police force, and before joining the New York City Police Department, Kerik oversaw security for the royal family in Saudi Arabia. But, as Mitch Jeserich reports, Bush’s nominee is also a defendant in a civil case for detaining anti-police brutality demonstrators for a prolonged period of time.
Resistance in Iraq continues ~ Report from Baghdad -2:48
A US soldier, Jeremy Hinzman, will go before Canada’s refugee board on Monday to plea for asylum in Canada. Hinzman arrived in Canada on Jan. 3, 2004 with his wife and child after fleeing his army unit, the 82nd Airborne Regiment, just days before it was to depart for Iraq. Hinzman was an army specialist who had already served in Afghanistan. He had applied to be discharged or reassigned as a conscientious objector but the military denied his request. Earlier this year, two conscientious objectors who deserted, Camilo Mejia and Stephen Funk were each sentenced to one year in jail by military courts-martial. Meanwhile, today, 750 elite paratroopers, the first of some 1500 new troops to be sent to Iraq, left Fort Bragg as part of the 82nd Airborne Division. Yet despite the new rotation of troops, as FSRN’s Baghdad correspondents Salam Talib and Dahr Jamail report, the resistance to the US occupation escalates.
Berenson Loses Last Appeal ~ 11 More years in Peruvian Jail -2:15
Today the highest human rights court in the Americas condemned New-Yorker Lori Berenson to a further 11 years in a Peruvian prison. Berenson was imprisoned in Peru 9 years ago for allegedly being a leader of the now defunct, urban leftist guerrilla group called Revolutionary Movement Tupac Amaru, MRTA. She was accused of helping to plan an attack against Peru’s Congress, although she maintains her innocence. The Inter American Court on Human Rights was Berenson’s last legal shot at freedom but it upheld Peru’s conviction and 20-year sentence, condemning Berenson to another 11 years in Peruvian prisons. Nicole Karsin has more.
Bopal: Still a Disaster Site 20 Years Later -4:02
On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of one of the world’s worst environmental disasters at Bhopal where upwards of 15,000 people died, there are unconfirmed reports that the federal government has asked an Indian company to carry out a survey of the site to assess the extent of the lingering problem. An estimated 25,000 tonnes of toxic waste is said to be still strewn around the disaster site after 40 tonnes were leaked. 20 years later, the site still remains a poisonous toxic area where children play. The Indian government says it is waiting for the outcome of a US court hearing on whether Michigan-based Dow Chemicals, which took over the plant from its subsidiary Union Carbide, should be asked to clean up the site. But the survivors say nothing less than justice is acceptable to them especially as the incidences of respiratory illness continue. Our Correspondent Binu Alex reports from Bhopal.
Relaxing of Dirty Bomb Clean Up Rules -2:10
A broad coalition of public interest organizations is sounding the alarm over a plan by the Department of Homeland Security to dramatically weaken requirements for cleaning up radioactivity after a dirty bomb attack. They say the new standards put public health at risk, and will likely be used by the nuclear industry to secure lower standards for other cleanups. From KPFA in Berkeley, Brian Edwards-Tiekert reports.
DRC Deploys Troops to Expel Rwandan Forces -2:41
Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila says he is deploying some 10,000 troops to expel Rwandan forces from the East of his country. President Kabila has accused Rwanda of invading to loot Congo’s natural resources. A spokesman for the UN mission in Congo (MONUC) says the UN helicopter reconnaissance patrols have taken photos of well equipped soldiers, apparently Rwandan, who are moving in DRC lands with new uniforms and materials. But Rwanda is denying it has forces inside Congo. Joshua Kyalimpa reports from neighboring Uganda
World’s Indigenous Call for Self Determination -2:03
In Geneva Switzerland this week, indigenous groups from the United States and abroad held a vigil and hunger strike for four days outside the United Nations, to draw attention to a draft declaration on the rights of indigenous people. As Anne Keala Kelly reports, the working group has spent ten years drafting the declaration and hope their vigil will focus the world on the importance of self determination for indigenous peoples .