May 10, 2005
VP Keeps Secret Notes Secret
A federal appeals court struck another blow to the lawsuit filed by the Sierra Club and Judicial Watch to obtain meeting minutes from Vice President Dick Cheney’s Energy Task Force. The court sided with the Vice President ruling that “There is nothing to indicate that nonfederal employees had a right to vote on committee matters or exercise a veto over committee proposals.” The two advocacy groups had tried to obtain the notes and minutes from the meetings claiming the records should be open to public scrutiny because they were the basis for the nation’s energy policy. Sierra Club and Judicial Watch also charge that the Energy Task Force was staffed with industry insiders without any participation from environmental or consumer groups. The meetings in 2001 led to a report that encouraged the opening of public lands to oil and gas drilling and other recommendations that now appear in legislation being considered by Congress.
Permanent Abolition of Inheritance Tax
Senators made their move to permanently protect the nation’s wealthiest from paying inheritance tax. David Koppel reports from Capitol Hill.
United Airlines Wants to Chop Union Pensions
Three unions are defending their pensions and contracts against United Airlines in bankruptcy hearings that start today. Doug Cunningham has the story from the Workers Independent News Service.
Colombian Government Wants Another 130-million from US
Colombian government officials requested an additional 130 million US dollars in next years US aid package on top of the already earmarked 700-million to intensify the fumigation of coca and poppy crops. From Bogotá, Nicole Karsin has more.
US Senate Ready To Approve Immigration Measure (4:05)
Over a hundred immigrants demonstrated in front of both the Republican National and the Democratic National Committees’ headquarters today in Washington D.C. They protested to demand legalization for the millions of undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. and against the controversial immigration bill the Real ID Act. The Senate is poised to stamp Congress’s final approval on the ACT some time tonight as part of the 82 billion dollar supplemental war request. Mitch Jeserich reports.
Support for Free Trade Pact Flounders In Congress (3:11)
Opposing sides argued their positions on Capitol Hill today over the Dominican Republic and Central America and Free Trade Agreement, or DR-CAFTA. After what some called a disastrous Senate finance committee meeting last week, support for the free trade pact seems to be retracting in Congress, with President Bush now reportedly preparing for a full-court press on the issue. Darby Hickey reports on the latest developments from DC.
War Resistors Rally Across the Country(3:19)
On Wednesday the military begins its court martials of Navy petty officer 3rd class Pablo Paredes and Army Sergeant Kevin Benderman for refusing to deploy to the middle east. From Montana to Vermont to San Diego, communities across the country are engaging in a national day of action to support military personnel who are resisting the war. Sarah Olsen reports:
U.S./Indonesian Joint Military Excercizes Focus on Piracy. (2:30)
Tensions between Indonesian independence movements and authorities are still simmering. In Papua, Indonesia’s easternmost province, a riot broke out after a local court sentenced a pro-independence supporter to one year in jail for raising a Free Papua flag. And Indonesia’s Naval Commander is accusing the Free Aceh Movement or GAM of committing ship piracy in one of the world’s busiest waterways. Just last week, THE US Asia-Pacific Naval Commander William J. Fallon met WITH Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono for talks about the revival of US military aid. Although that aid is still awaiting Congressional approval, a joint military training took place on Monday. The exercise focused on how to handle ship hijackings and possible terrorist attacks in the Strait of Malacca. From Jakarta, Meggy Margiyono has more.
Connecticut Scheduled for First Execution in 45 Years (3:35)
The first execution to take place in all of New England in 45 years is set for this Friday, when Michael Ross, convicted of murdering eight young women — after raping most of them — is set to die by lethal injection. Ross has waived his remaining appeals and a judge has twice ruled he is competent to do so, despite suffering from several forms of mental illness. Efforts by public defenders failed to convince the judge that Ross suffers from “death row syndrome” — a condition in which he would welcome death as a release from 20 years of solitary confinement on death row. Opponents of capital punishment in Connecticut began a 30-mile walk on Sunday from Hartford to the death house at Osborn Correctional facility, even as new information came to light showing that lethal injection may be cruel and unusual punishment. Melinda Tuhus reports from Hartford.
Paris Commemorates Algerian Massacres(2:26)
Commemorations became tense in France over the weekend as French of West and North African descent also commemorated what they called the crimes of colonization. A younger generation of French Africans says modern French society treats them like their parents were treated in former colonies. From Paris, Khaled Sid Mohand files this report.