June 07, 2005

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The U.S. Senate kept its promise on judicial nominee Janice Rogers Brown and closed discussion in a 64-32 vote.  Civil rights and environmental groups oppose the presidential nominee saying she has issued rulings that are hostile to affirmative action, basic principles of fairness and who even conservative columnist George Will considers “out of the mainstream.”  The Senate is expected to grant a lifetime appointment to Brown tomorrow for what many consider to be the second highest court in the country.

A Chilean court has lifted the immunity from former dictator Augusto Pinochet. Jorge Garretón reports from Santiago.

Multinational oil giant Chevron-Texaco was granted a construction permit by the Mexican government to build a major facility on environmentally sensitive land. Luz Ruiz reports from Chiapas.

On National Hunger  Awareness Day here in the U.S., hundreds of people rallied against hunger in a demonstration organized by America’s Second Harvest.  According to organizers, 36 million Americans, a large percentage of whom are children, still constantly struggle to obtain their daily bread.  And, from People Without Borders at KPFK in Los Angeles, Dan Fritz reports on how hunger adversely affects Californians and people of color.

A Los Alamos whistle blower was beaten, according to him, in an attempt to discourage him from testifying about alleged corruption at the national nuclear lab. Leslie Clark has more from Albuquerque.


Bolivian President Resigns under Mass Pressure from Social Movements  (3:43)
The Organization of American States, or OAS, continues its meeting in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It is the first time in over 20 years that the US has hosted the meeting- although this year marks the first time ever a non-US backed Secretary General, Jose Miguel Insulza, is heading the group. George Bush addressed the OAS today, stressing the need for Free Trade in the region, particularly through the Dominican Republic Central American Free Trade Agreement, or DR-CAFTA.

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The parliaments of the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua have yet to pass the Agreement. The OAS is also considering ways to aid Bolivia in its current crisis. Last night Bolivian President Carlos Mesa announced his resignation after 18 months in office- in a move that has been rumored for weeks. Yesterday marches and blockades that have shaken the country for almost three weeks increased in intensity when hundreds of thousands of protestors filled the streets of the capital city of La Paz. Linda Farthing reports.

Zalmay Khalizad Senate Confirmation Hearing  (3:26)
Zalmay Khalilzad testified at his Senatorial confirmation hearing today to become US Ambassador to Iraq. In front the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Khalilzad pledged to help break the back of the Iraqi resistance. A former advisor to oil giant UnoCal, Khalilzad has served as US Ambassador to Afghanistan since 2003.  If confirmed he will become the top US civilian official in Baghdad. Mitch Jeserich reports from Capitol Hill.

A Look at the Medhi Army in Iraq  (4:04)
In Iraq, four bombs went off within minutes of each other Today in the troubled town of Hawija, about 40 miles south of Kirkuk. The attacks appeared to be coordinated and were aimed at checkpoints manned by Iraqi forces. Meanwhile, Iraqi Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr said he will stay away from Iraqi politics as long as the U.S. troops remain. We’re joined by Isam Rasheed, an independent Iraqi journalist in Baghdad, and Mr. Basheer al-Helli with the Sader office in Baghdad.

Caspian Pipeline Open Amid Controversy  (3:06)
The Baku – Tbilisi – Ceyhan, or BTC oil pipeline recently started operations. The project is a result of efforts by oil corporations through the support of US, British and regional governments. The opening ceremony was attended by presidents from Azerbaijan,  Kazakhstan, Georgia and Turkey, and by US Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman. FSRN’s Anastasia Gnezditskaia reports on the significance and controversy surrounding the pipeline.

Republicans Oppose Tearing Down Snake River Dams in Washington  (3:52)
A recent court’s ruling that the federal government’s $6 billion Northwest Salmon Recovery Plan violated the endangered species act, along with an unexpectedly low number of salmon returning from the sea this year, has resulted in renewed discussions about tearing down four Snake River dams in Southwestern Washington State. However, some of the region’s Republican lawmakers are trying their best to keep dam-breaching off the table. Leigh Robartes has more.

Student Loan Interest Rates to Increase  (2:09)
Starting July 1, student loan interest rates will increase by close to 2 percent. In order for student borrowers to receive low interest rates, student and consumer groups are urging students, particularly recent graduates, to consolidate their education loans by June 30. These same groups are also calling on Congress to oppose bills that would eliminate the fixed rate option in student loan consolidation altogether. Selina Musuta has more from Capitol Hill.


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