March 29, 2005

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Bank Launders Money for Pinochet Pays Fine
The bank that helped the former Chilean dictator launder money will pay one of the largest fines in U.S. history. Kelly Giddens reports from D.C.

Canadian Seal Hunt Begins
Canada’s annual seal hunt begins today, and animal-rights activists in 30 countries are protesting at Canadian embassies, in a campaign launched by the Humane Society of the United States. Kristen Schwartz has more from CKLN in Toronto.

Lebanese President to Resign
The Lebanese political landscape is about to become less stable as the President resigns again. Mohammed Shublaq reports from Beirut.

FL Reporter Works for State Agencies
A veteran Florida reporter is acknowledging that he has earned hundreds of thousands of dollars on the side from the government agencies he covered for the news. Mitch Perry has the story from WMNF in Tampa.

Demonstrations in Nepal
Daily demonstrations in Nepal show no sign of abating.  Over 1-thousand leaders and activists have been arrested since February 1st when the King of the Hindu kingdom clamped down on virtually all freedoms.  Radio stations have been stopped from broadcasting any news or current events.  Television stations have been barred from broadcasting any criticism of the government.  Newspaper and print journalists are being intimidated, assaulted and arrested.  The South Asian Free Media Association demanded the immediate release of all journalists from detention and the restoration of freedom of the press.  An 11 day general strike is being planned for April 2nd and political parties have announced rallies and protests to coincide with the 15th anniversary of the mass action that forcibly seized power from the current king’s father. Michael Van De Veer provided that report from Kathmandu.


The Supreme Court & MP3s  (4:04)
The US Supreme Court heard oral arguments today of a case that could have a major impact on the legality of sharing computer files.  The case has the entertainment giant MGM accusing Grokster, an online file sharing company, of being liable for when its users share copyrighted materials such as music and movie files. Selina Musuta of the DC radio coop was at the hearing and she brings us this report.

Kofi Annan Cleared from Oil for Food Scandal  (1:06)
Today United Nation Secretary General Kofi Annan was cleared from involvement in the awarding of a 10 million dollar a year contract under the Iraqi Oil for Food Program to a company that his on, Kojo Annan, worked for.  Still the independent inquiry, lead by former US Federal Reserve Chair Paul Volcker, criticized Annan for not properly investigating potential conflicts on interests. Annan addressed reporters after the release of the report. (AUDIO) The report did say that an assistant to Annan’s Chief of Staff, who retired in December, shredded documents that related to the Oil for Food Inquiry. The report also said that Annan’s son deliberately deceived him about the matter. Annan said he would not step down as Secretary General though some US Republican lawmakers have called on him to do so.

Iraqi Assembly Delayed  (4:00)
Pressure is building on the newly elected Iraqi Assembly for not yet having chose a Speaker to the body.  Without a speaker, the Iraqi Assembly cannot move forward with its task of drawing up a new constitution.  The two major parties in the Assembly, the Shiite’s United Iraqi Alliance and the Kurdish Coalition, indicated the desire to select an Iraqi Sunni to become Speaker in an effort of inclusion which they hope would calm the Sunni lead resistance. But with other political ambitions, the two leading candidates, the current interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi and interim President Gazi al-Yawar, withdrew their candidacies saying they want to remain with the opposition party, thus leaving the Assembly scrambling to find another candidate.  Reporters were kicked out of  today’s session.  The Assembly will meet again on Sunday.  Speaking from the Rose Garden at the White House, President Bush was optimistic that the Assembly would move forward. (AUDIO) Now joining us by telephone from Baghdad is Khaled Jarrar who writes an online blog about the US presence in Iraq. Khaled Jarrar thanks for joining us. President Bush was optimistic about the Iraqi Assembly, now two months after the elections how do you feel about it.

Update on the Indonesia Earthquake  (1:24)
So far there have been over 330 confirmed deaths in Indonesia after yesterday’s 8.5 earthquake. Officials still say the death toll could reach over a thousand. The quake was also felt in Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore.  The damaged to electrical and telephone lines and airports are making evacuations difficult in the hardest hit area of Sumatra.  Still, hundreds of emergency aid teams from Indonesia and abroad have arrived at the island. From Jakarta, Indonesia, Meggy Margiyono has more.

Indians Living with HIV/AIDS (3:41)
In February, India began its first AIDS vaccine trials on humans to prevent the spread of the disease. Though the event is being marked as historic in a country with a high HIV rate, some activists feel there is little being done for people currently carrying the virus. FSRN correspondent, Binu Alex reports from Mumbai.

Fair Elections in Mexico?  (2:29)
A vote scheduled for this week in Mexico’s Congress may determine the fate of the country’s next presidential election. The candidate favored to win the presidency in 2006 may be prevented from campaigning. In Oaxaca, Mexico. Shannon Young has the story.

Dangerous Bio-lab Planned for Black Neighborhood  (3:48)
Boston University is planning to build a level 4 bio-lab in the Roxbury neighborhood of the city. According to the National Institute of Health, Bio-safety Level 4 is required for work with dangerous and exotic agents that pose high individual risks of infections and life-threatening disease. Critics have cried foul, claiming it is environmental racism to locate the facility in a predominantly neighborhood. They also cite the Universities poor safety record and its ability to handle deadly organisms like Anthrax and Ebola. Some allegations go even further, saying that the proposed lab will also conduct bio-weapons research. Though such plans are unconfirmed, much of the funding for the project comes from the Pentagon. Chuck Rosina has more.


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