June 09, 2005

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Headlines (5:57)
Some US Representatives are seeking to slow down the quickly diminishing national pension fund as corporate giants cash in employee accounts to stave off the consequences of bankruptcy.  Kate Paulman reports from D.C.

Another round of strikes by hotel workers started today. Kelly Barnes with the People Without Borders Collective at KPFK in Los Angeles.

The Philippine military steps up alert in the capital seriously considering fresh rumors of a coup plot against the President. Girlie Linao reports from Manila.

Human rights groups in Montreal and Toronto held 24-hour vigils against Canadians being deported to face torture in other countries, as the inquiry into the case of Maher Arar continues. Kristen Schwartz has more from CKLN in Toronto.

The capitol of Ethiopia was mostly locked down today after yesterday’s riots over May elections. At least 22 people were killed as police fired into crowds of protestors, who were mostly students.  Protestors, who broke a government decree against public demonstrations, said the ruling party rigged legislative elections.  Also, several hundred people have been arrested over the past few days.  Ethiopian government officials said election results will be held up another month, until sometime in July. Human Rights Watch researcher Chris Albin-Lackey says the opposition party did better than expected.  TAPE (0:12) Albin-Lackey also  criticized the US and UK response to the situation.  TAPE (0:15)  The United States provides considerable military assistance to Ethiopia to fight what is considered a terrorist threat from Somalia.


House Considers Resolution for the US to Withdraw from the WTO (3:30)
The Chair of the Federal Reserve Board, Alan Greenspan, told a Congressional Committee today that the economy was on firm footing and that interest rates could continue to rise to keep pace.  But, Greenspan also indicated that the ever increasing divide between the rich and the rest of society is a threat to both US Democracy and Capitalism. Meanwhile, the House of Representatives debated a resolution calling for the US to withdraw from the World Trade Organization. Supporters of such a withdrawal say the divergence in wages between the rich and the rest can, in part, be attributed to what they say are WTO policies that support the bottom line of multinational corporations. Mitch Jeserich reports from Washington.

Consumer Groups Question the High Fee of Bank Overdraft Charges (3:03)
A bomb exploded outside of a Hilton Hotel that also houses a branch of Citibank in Quayaquil, Ecuador yesterday, shattering windows and causing structural damage. No injuries were reported. The People’s Combatant Group, or GCP for its Spanish acronym, took responsibility for the blast, in opposition to the tenth round of free trade talks being held in Ecuador between that country, Peru, Colombia and the United States. The GCP maintains that free trade will ruin the working classes, lead to greater unemployment and poverty, while benefiting banks and US-based multinationals. The group targeted Citibank in particular, calling it the Yankee Vampires. Meanwhile, in the United States, overdraft protection for checking accounts called “courtesy loans” are costing cash-strapped consumers more than traditional contractual transfer protections, and are reaping big profits for the banking industry. According to consumer interest groups, the vast majority of big banks are moving into these more expensive overdraft protection programs, while hiding the true costs from consumers. Jenny Johnson reports.

Sunni Arab Leaders Demanding Representation on Committee to Draft Iraqi Constitution (2:55)
Top Sunni Arab leaders have demanded major representation on a 55-member committee to draft the Iraqi Constitution. At a news conference in Baghdad, Shi’a and Kurdish groups who currently dominate the committee, have announced that they are interested in working with Sunnis to achieve sovereignty and security in Iraq. But Sunnis, who have been excluded since they boycotted elections in January, are threatening to boycott the process is their demands are not met. Eliana Kaya has the story.

Protests Continue in Bolivia (3:35)
In Bolivia, the National Congress is still attempting to reach an agreement to accept President Carlos Mesa’s resignation. The special session in Congress should decide an outcome by this evening. For weeks, tens of thousands of protestors have been demanding the full nationalization of oil and gas, the resignation of President Mesa, who tendered his resignation to Congress this week, and the total closure of the national Congress, with a call for early elections and a constitutional assembly. We’re joined on the line by independent journalist Luis Gomez, who is in La Paz.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan Visits (3:37)
Washington George Bush hailed Turkey as a democratic example in the Middle East as he met with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the White House yesterday in what is being described as a global kiss and make up session after the Turkish Parliament’s refusal to allow the United States to launch a Northern front against Iraq in the Spring of 2003. FSRN’s Aaron Glantz reports.

California Peace Activists Protests Lockheed Martin (1:57)
A small group of peace activists assembled in Bonny Doon, CA early this morning, outside the main gate of Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest weapons contractor. Located behind a wrought iron gate and barbed wire fences on 4,400 acres of pristine woodlands in rural Santa Cruz County, sits a sprawling complex of warehouses, and laboratories. The facilities are used to test components and subsystems of the US Navy’s Trident II missile. Vinny Lombardo reports.


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