June 13, 2005

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Headlines (5:08)

The U.S. Supreme Court refuses to hear the appeal by big broadcasters and the Federal Communications Commission on media deregulation.  The decision upholds a ruling by a lower court that tossed out the FCC’s revised ownership rules calling them irrational and against the public interest.  Critics of the FCC regulations said the new guidelines would consolidate the public airwaves into fewer and more powerful hands.  The FCC has already announced that they are drafting new ownership rules that will meet the court’s standards.

In an 8-1 ruling, the Supreme Court decided that California prosecutors’ dismissal of potential black jurors was unconstitutional under a previous 1986 high court ruling. Justice Clarence Thomas was the lone dissenting vote.

In another case, a 6-3 ruling by the US Supreme Court confirms racism tainted the jury selection process in a Texas Death Row prisoner’s trial. From KFPT in Houston, Renee Feltz reports.

Self proclaimed international terrorist, Luis Posada Carriles was spared extradition to Venezuela, angering protestors who were waiting for today’s decision. Leslie Clark reports from El Paso.

Another new document leaked over the weekend from Britain reaffirms the so-called Downing Street memo that the Bush administration prepared to invade Iraq in early 2002. Darby Hickey reports from DC.

An officer with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees has publicly attacked the British government raising more concerns about the state of human rights in the country. From London, Naomi Fowler has more.


G8 Decides on Debt Relief for World’s Poorest Nations (4:10)
Finance Ministers from the world’s 8 richest nations, known as the G-8, announced an agreement this weekend to cancel the debts of 18 heavily indebted countries in Africa and Latin America worth 40 billion dollars. The G-8 also announced that an additional 20 heavily indebted nations could become eligible for debt cancellation if they enact economic reforms such as opening up their markets to private investments. Activists for debt relief cautiously call the announcement a good first step to deal with global poverty, but they also say the conditions required for countries to obtain debt cancellation, who were not chosen last weekend, could further deteriorate living conditions for the people there. Mitch Jeserich has more from Washington.

Iranians Ready to Head to Polls (3:08)
On June 17, Iranians will vote for their favorite candidates in the ninth presidential election since the revolution. The last two bombings in Iran, just a few days before the election were unexpected, and it is unclear how the bombings may affect the outcome. Nevertheless, Iran is unique in the Middle East in that it is both a theocracy and a democracy. Candidates for office are vetted by the Guardian Council – unelected officials appointed by the supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei. Initially, the Council disqualified more than a thousand candidates, include 93 women. But this year, bowing to pressure from students dissatisfied with the hard-line Guardian Council, Ayatollah Khamenei re-instated two popular reform candidates, over ruling the Guardians. In Tehran, FSRN correspondent Saeedeh Jamshidi reports.

Los Angeles Area Janitors Prepare for Strike (3:29)
Aerospace and Defense industry janitors in the Los Angeles area are making history as they authorize a strike for the first time in their sector in California. They are demanding pay increases and health care benefits comparable to other janitors in the LA area. As FSRN correspondent Dan Fritz reports, their struggle has come up against firm resistance, including reports of harassment and intimidation at the hands of employers.

Italians Vote on National Referendum on Assisted Fertility Law (1:49)
Italians voters trickled into polls the last two days, voting in a contested referendum to change the assisted fertility law. The referendum was largely seen as a test between the secular state and the power of the Catholic Church to determine social policy. FSRN’s Diletta Varlese reports.

French Journalist and Translator Held Hostage in Iraq Released (3:27)
Since the war in Iraq began in March of 2003, 33 journalists have been taken hostage. Of those, 3 have been killed, and 30 released. Today, French residents are celebrating the safe return of journalist Florence Aubenas after she was held hostage in Iraq for the past 5 months. Tony Cross has more.

Federal Management Decides Fate of Sarasota Public Housing (4:06)
In Florida, the Sarasota Public Housing Authority has become the fifth housing agency in the country to be taken over by the Federal government.  Now, the new federal management is deciding what to do with the city’s crumbling housing projects, and residents are waiting to hear their fate. Anna Sussman has the story.


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