January 13, 2005

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Headlines -5:08
Tsunami Relief Efforts in Sri Lanka
Sri Lankan local and international aid workers are engaged in relief efforts around the clock. Ponniah Manikavasagam reports from Vavuniya, Sri Lanka.

African Union Peace and Security Summit
African leaders are holding a security summit in an effort to end some of the continent’s worst armed conflicts. Sam Olukoya reports from Lagos.

Abu Ghraib Military Abuse Trial Continues
In the first trial related to the Abu Ghraib torture scandal, the defense team of Charles Graner presented testimony hoping to implicate others up the chain of command. From KPFT, Renee Feltz reports.

Indiana Governor Cancels Union Contracts
Indiana’s governor canceled the union contracts of almost 25-thousand state workers. Sevilla Mann reports from Richmond, Indiana.

Strikes in Bolivia Over Fuel Prices and More
The political crisis in Bolivia is escalating as a general strike by social justice activists and indigenous communities continues in the country’s two major cities. Fueling the uprisings is the presidential decree two weeks ago to raise petrol taxes. President Carlos Mesa said that Bolivians pay subsidized gas prices that they can ill afford and the prior policy encouraged shortages due to smuggling of the national resource. The activists are demanding sweeping reforms reminiscent of the issues that brought Mesa to power 15-months ago. President Mesa recently conceded to cancel a major water privatization contract with a French-owned company. Community activists said that the company was unable to provide drinking water to all residents – about 800-thousand people, mostly displaced peasants. Evo Morales, leader of the Movement to Socialism, who came in a close second in the last Presidential race, is calling for an immediate election for the presidency.

Supreme Court Rules on Deportation -3:54
A ruling by the Supreme Court could lead to the deportation of tens of thousands of people to countries that do not want them or to countries that have no recognized governments.  Human rights groups worry that the ruling could lead to the deportation of thousands of Somalis back to Somalia where they may be either harassed or abused. Mitch Jeserich has more from Washington DC.

HRW Watch releases 15th annual World Reports -2:30
In its fifteenth annual World Report released today, Human Rights Watch highlights two developments of global concern: the large-scale ethnic cleansing in Darfur, Sudan, and the torture of detainees by US forces. Jenny Johnson reports.

No WMD’s & Economic Situation Forces many into Corruption in Iraq -3:36
Guerillas today assassinated two representatives of Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani, Iraq’s senior Shiite cleric who has drawn fire for giving his approval of the electoral process. This comes as the Bush Administration has officially announced its search for WMD’s is over and yielded nothing. And as David Enders reports from Baghdad, the war that was supposed to stop the use of these WMD’s has left a country where chaos reigns and the economy continues to suffer.

Indonesia Moves to Eject all Foreigners from Aceh -4:04
The Indonesian vice president today announced that all foreign military involved in humanitarian operations in Aceh must leave the province in three months to avoid the appearance of a political intervention. The Indonesian authorities also laid out restrictions on civilian humanitarian volunteers working in the cities of Banda Aceh and Meulaboh, two of the most-destroyed cities. The government says the intensification of the armed clashes makes it too dangerous for foreign volunteers. The Indonesian government also re-applied the restrictive State of Civil Emergency procedures for humanitarian workers and journalists who want to visit Aceh, a procedure that had previously regulated foreign presence in Aceh but had been suspended for two weeks after the tsunami. From Aceh Meggy Margiyono has story.

Pro-independence Calls Intensify in Hawai’i -3:46
In Hawai’i, Senator John Mc Cain’s opposition to the Native Hawaiian Federal Recognition bill is meeting with mixed reactions.  Hawaiians supporting the bill through state agencies like Office of Hawaiian Affairs, are working with the Republican Governor, Linda Lingle to change McCain’s mind. But McCain’s remarks have spurred criticism from pro independence Hawaiians who are becoming more vocal about the violations of international law by the United States and the illegalities associated with the American presence in Hawai’i. FSRN’s Anne Keala Kelly reports.

Protesting Lack of Affordable Housing in DC -2:15
Across the United States low and moderate income households are having a harder time finding affordable housing.  In the last five years rental rates in Washington DC have increased four times faster than income levels, leading many out into the streets to protest. Amna Kazmi from the DC Radio Coop reports.


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