March 21, 2005

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Nepal Locked Down Tight
The streets of Katmandu remain unusually quiet as taxies, trucks, rickshaws and the thousands of motorcycles that usually fill the streets are virtually absent.  About two-dozen student and youth leaders were arrested in the Kathmandu Valley after staging rallies last week demanding the restoration of democracy. Many of the leaders of the major political parties remain in jail or under house-arrest.  On February-1 the king of Nepal issued a Royal Proclamation suspending all civil liberties in the Hindu Kingdom. All rights of assembly, political protest, broadcast, publication, by individuals, political parties, student, professional or trade organizations have been met with brutal repression.  Maoists vow to continue their People’s War and control approximately 80-percent of the nation.  They are also threatening to cut off supplies to the capital in April. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louis Arbor, reporting on the situation in Nepal, at the Convention of UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva said “continued viability of the national human rights institution had come under question.” Michael Van De Veer provided that report from Kathmandu, Nepal.

CA Energy Company to Pay Claims, Admits No Responsibility
California Energy giant Unocal still denies responsibility for alleged human rights violations but plaintiffs will be compensated in a settlement announced today. Lisa Wu has more from KPFA in Berkeley.

UK Attorney General Stalls Prosecution for Iraqi’s Death
Lawyers are threatening to take the British Attorney General to court because of his failure to prosecute soldiers involved in the death of an Iraqi in custody. Naomi Fowler reports from London.


Disability Rights Groups Support Keeping Terri Shiavo Alive
In the wee hours of the morning, Congress passed, and President Bush signed, a measure to require a federal judge to review whether a feeding tube should be reinserted into Terry Shiavo. Critics of the measure say that Congress has overstepped its bounds by meddling into family matters and violating state rights as well as the rights of Terry Shaivo, whose husband claims she would not want to live in a persistent vegetative state. But about 26 disability rights groups support keeping Shaivo alive, saying pulling her feeding tube perpetuates a standard of legal medical killing of people with severe disabilities. Mitch Jeserich reports from Washington.

Kofi Annan Says United Nations Needs Overhaul
Calling for the boldest changes since the implementation of the United Nations 60 years ago, Secretary General Kofi Annan urged world leaders today to adopt a reform package to overhaul the organization. Included in Annan’s report are expanding the Security Council, reforming the Human Rights Commission, clearly defining terrorism and setting new rules on when military force should be used. Joining us to talk about Anna’s report is Phyllis Bennis, a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies.

Protestors in Hollywood Demonstrate Against War
Some 10,000 protestors marched through Hollywood this weekend joining worldwide demonstrations to commemorate the anniversary of the invasion of Iraq and demand an end to war. From KPFK in Los Angeles, FSRN’s Page Getz files this sound collage.

Protest in Boston Leads to 5 Arrests
Protestors this weekend often came up against confrontations with police. Two- to-three-thousand people rallied on the Boston Common on Sunday afternoon. Afterward, several hundred marched through downtown Boston in an un-permitted protest that ended with five arrests. Melinda Tuhus reports.

20,000 People Demonstrate in Istanbul
Rallies against the invasion and ongoing occupation of Iraq where staged around the world- marking a global day of action. About 20,000 people demonstrated in Istanbul. FSRN’s Ozhan Onder has more.

Supreme Court Will Not Hear Appeal in the Case of Zaccarias Moussaoui
The Supreme Court today declined to hear an appeal in the case of Zaccarias Moussaoui, letting stand a lower court’s decision to deny Moussaoui’s attorneys access to potential witnesses in US detention. Moussaoui is the first person accused of involvement in the September 11th 2001 hijackings being tried in US courts. From our DC Bureau, Darby Hickey reports.

Alternative to an Oil Driven Society
As the US Congress took a step forward to open up oil exploration in Alaska’s National Wildlife Refuge last week, crude oil prices reached an all-time high of $57 per barrel on the world market. The ripple effect can be seen at gas stations around the US. FSRN’s Vinny Lombardo looks at the causes and examines some alternatives to an oil driven society.

American Doctors Reflect on Injuries Sustained in Iraq
According to the Department of Defense, over 14,000 U.S. troops have been wounded in Iraq. Engaged in a war with no front lines and heavy use of explosives, young soldiers who enter battle in prime physical condition leave with severe injuries. Upon return to the U.S., soldiers often face precarious medical treatment. Two American doctors who have treated patients in Afghanistan, Germany, Kuwait and near the combat zone in Iraq have now returned to their home base in Denver, Colorado. Maria Callier has more.


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