May 23, 2005

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Top military officials in Iraq confirm reports that the U.S. is prepared to create 4 larger bases that will condense more than 100 sites currently being used.  However, officials reject the statement that they are creating a permanent presence in Iraq.  Rather the officials say the four super bases are part of the withdrawal plan.  Military officials also confirm that currently there is no timetable for when US forces will leave the country.  In a joint operation called “Squeeze Play,” US and Iraqi military soldiers rounded up nearly 300 people who are accused of attacks on the US detention facility in the Abu Ghraib region.

A secret Monsanto report shows the agribusiness giant hid findings of safety risks in their genetically modified corn. Patrick Beckett has more.

10’s of thousands protested in Bolivia today calling for the nationalization of gas resources.  Linda Farthings in La Paz has more.

Consumers would save money if the Bush administration insisted on an increase in the fuel economy standards for cars as part of the nation’s energy policy. Melinda Tuhus explains.

US Senators are preparing to meet late into the evening on Capitol Hill trying to negotiate an end to the controversy over judicial nominees and the filibuster.  Republican Majority leader Bill Frist has called in for sleeping cots.  About a dozen moderate Senators are trying to hammer out a compromise behind closed doors.  Democrats insist that the filibuster is a way to insure the rights of the minority are heard by being able to stop particularly egregious legislation or votes.  Republicans insist that all  presidential nominees should be given an up or down vote by the Senate and are threatening to get rid of the filibuster.  If no compromise is reached, Senators are scheduled to vote on one of the judicial nominees tomorrow.


Afghan President Hamid Karzai Visits Washington (4:44)
Afghan President Hamid Karzai and President George Bush met at the White House today where they reportedly talked about detainee abuse, the US military and economic assistance, poppy production, and the development of Afghanistan’s natural gas industry. Mitch Jeserich has more from Washington.

BBC Workers on Strike (3:27)
BBC staff staged the first of four planned days of strike action today against massive cuts proposed by the BBC’s Director General. The BBC wants to cut 4,000 jobs, which would save $585-million per year- money the BCC says it has to invest in order to keep up with its commercial competitors in the digital age. But BBC staff are worried that these cuts are the beginning of a privatization scheme that will see the end of public service broadcasting in Britain. FSRN correspondent Naomi Fowler reports from London.

Demonstrations Planned Against AIPAC Policy Conference (3:46)
The American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, the oldest and strongest pro-Israeli lobby in the US, started its annual policy conference yesterday. Today, Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice spoke to the attendees, while protestors finalized plans for a demonstration outside the conference site in Washington DC this evening. Darby Hickey has more.

Mining Effect on the Philippines’ Marinduque Island (4:02)
Almost a decade after the Philippines’ worst man-made disaster, the people of the small island province of Marinduque say that they have yet to be adequately compensated. Contaminated tailings from over thirty years of copper and gold mining remain strewn about the island, poisoning major waterways, the air, and the surrounding ocean. The Canadian mining company responsible for the situation claimed as early as 2001 that all contaminated environments had been rehabilitated and all affected residents had been compensated. This past March, the last rehabilitation payment was made. Communities in Marinduque, however, are just now learning the extent to which their lands have been poisoned. From the Philippines, FSRN’s Carey Biron has this story.

Property Disputes Over India and Pakistan Administered Kashmir (3:58)
Bus Service between the capitals of India and Pakistan administered Kashmir initiated last month has stirred up controversy regarding the properties of people who have migrated from one side to the other. The controversy started when a passenger from Pakistan administered Kashmir claimed her ancestral property on the Indian administered side. The left over properties of people who mostly migrated at the time of the partition of India in 1947 are currently managed by The Custodian Department of the state. FSRN’s Shanawaz Kahn reports.


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