June 17, 2005
There were violent clashes in Kyrgyzstan today, after demonstrators stormed and occupied the government headquarters there. 1000 police took back the building, using teargas and clubs to dislodge the demonstrators, injuring 39, 12 of whom were hospitalized. The protesters say they’re supporters of would-be presidential candidate Urmat Baryktabasov, who was denied a spot on the ballot in next month’s presidential election because electoral officials say he has become a citizen of neighboring Kazakhstan. Baryktabasov is widely identified with former president Askar Akayev, who fled the country during a coup in March. Acting president Kurmanbek Bakiyev is overwhelmingly favored to win the presidency next month, but election officials say the riots could complicate the election, which is scheduled for July 10.
In Brazil, a high-ranking member of the President’s left-wing workers’ party has resigned over a growing bribery scandal. Natalia Viana reports from Sao Paulo:
By an overwhelming majority, the House of Representatives has passed a measure requiring the United Nations to undergo what the bill calls major reforms or have the US annual contribution to the UN of 500 million dollars cut by half. The White House opposes the measure and its fate in the Senate is still unknown.
Iraqi solidarity activists are training their sights on the war reparations that Iraq is still paying to Kuwait. Haider Rizve has more from the United Nations. We’ll have more on Iraq later in the newscast.
Public approval of President Bush has continued its downward slide. A poll released today by the New York Times and CBS News indicates issues like Iraq and Social Security are making Bush increasingly unpopular. Benjamin Freedland has more from the nation’s capital:
Myanmar’s pro-democracy opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi turns 60 this weekend. Supporters will be marking the date with protests in 12 countries demanding that she be released from house arrest. And they’ll be bolstered by a statement from the Nobel Prize Committee, which has taken the unprecedented step asking the Myanmar government to release Suu Kyi, who has won the Nobel Peace prize.
Iraqis Weary of Exit Strategy (3:48)
There were two separate attempts in Congress yesterday to force the Bush Administration to address withdrawing US Forces from Iraq. Neither attempt seems to have been successful, but it illustrates a growing discontent in Congress regarding the war. But as the debate over pull-out from Iraq heats up in DC, the Iraqi people themselves are taking a more cautious wait-and-see approach. Eric Klein has more.
Iranians Head to the Polls for Presidential Election (3:36)
Iranians headed to the polls today for a Presidential election. Out of the 7 candidates – who were cleared from a list of over 1,000 by the powerful General Council, it is unlikely that any one will get the 50% needed to win. A runoff is expected between former higher education minister Mostafa Moin, and moderate cleric Akbar Hashemi Rafjani. We’re joined the line with Free Speech Radio News correspondent Saeedeh Jamshidi, in Tehran.
EU Meets for First Time Since France and the Netherlands Reject Constitution (3:49)
EU leaders have been meeting in Brussels the past two days for the first time after France and the Netherlands rejected the draft of the EU constitution. Confrontational budget talks among the European Union’s 25 national leaders deadlocked and hopes faded for reaching an agreement on how much each member should pay into EU coffers and how the money should be spent. A number of EU leaders demanded that ratification of the constitution should continue while many countries postponed their ratification process until better times. Raphael Krafft reports from Paris.
How Debt Cancellation May Affect Local Ugandans (3:17)
The G-8 agreed to a $40 billion debt cancellation last week for the world’s poorest nations, including Uganda. But many wonder what the debt write off means for impoverished local communities. Joshua Kyalimpa reports from Kampala.
Indonesia and the United States Sign Debt Rescheduling Agreement (2:32)
The US and Indonesia signed an agreement yesterday to reschedule the payment of $212 million in debts, in order to free up funds for the rebuilding of the tsunami-ravaged areas of Aceh and North Sumatra. The amount is part of debts owed by Indonesia to members of the Paris Club, which groups 19 creditors. Indonesia is one of highest indebted countries – out of a $272 billion debt, about $48 billion is owed to the Paris Club alone. And some are wondering if debt rescheduling give positive impact to reconstruction in tsunami hit area? From Jakarta FSRN’s Meggy Margiyono has story.
House Committee Passes $100 Million Cut to Corporation for Public Broadcasting (3:58)
The Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee says he is confident the Senate will restore some of the funding to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting above the 100 million dollar cut that a House committee passed last night. However, if the House’s version of the bill were to be adopted, it would result in a significant loss in the budgets for most public radio and television stations. The cut is part of a spending bill that also contains significant reductions in the No Child Left Behind program. Mitch Jeserich reports from Capitol Hill.