August 02, 2005

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Headlines (4:44)
Saudi Arabian King Fahd was buried this morning in an unmarked grave alongside hundreds of other unmarked grave. Muslim leaders from around the world prayed with millions of Saudi Muslims. King Fahd ruled Saudi Arabia for 23 years, which is the world’s largest oil exporter and home to more than a billion Muslims. He died on Monday at the age of 83. Abdullah, the fifth son of Saudi Arabia’s founder, King Abdul-Aziz, will take the crown.

President Bush signed into law the Dominican Republic Central American Free Trade Agreement. He said it would advance peace and prosperity through out the region and spread democracy.

(Audio Cut of Bush)

The free trade agreement narrowly passed Congress last week in a vote of 217 to 215 in the House of Representatives. The agreement removes trade barriers and opens up US goods in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic.  It also strengthens protections for intellectual property and pharmaceuticals.

One day after threats to reopen a main nuclear plant, Iran said they will wait 2 more. They say it gives more time for the European Union to offer incentives for them to stop their nuclear program.A U.S. intelligence report shows that Iran is 10 years away from having a nuclear bomb, longer than the Administration officials have been proclaiming. Selyna Perez reports from Washington, D.C.

A tribal court in the Cherokee Indian nation is to decide if a lesbian couple’s marriage will be honored under tribal law. Kurt Gwartney has more from Oklahoma City.

The elderly in Great Britain experience inhumane treatment because of faulty oversight in their care, according to a national report released today. Helen Kelly has more from London.

Southern Iraqi Governors Calling for Greater Autonomy (3:54)
Women’s groups in Iraq met with US ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad today,and expressed concerns over the new constitution, saying that arbitrary interpretations of Islamic law may be used as a way to limit their rights under the new charter. Following a strict Sharia code could, for example, deny women equal rights to divorce and inheritance, and could roll back many of the rights they’ve enjoyed for decades that were secured under the secular 1959 civil law. Meanwhile today, and at least ten people, including a US soldier, were killed in violence in Baghdad, Baquba and Ramadi. The US military announced that six marines were killed on Sunday in the city of Hit. The chaos in central Iraq has led some southern governors to call for greater autonomy from the central government. The 9,000 British troops stationed around Basra are occasionally attacked, and British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said today that the troops would have to be fully withdrawn, as they are part of the security problem. In Basra, David Enders reports on the politics that have developed since the invasion.

Immigration Rights Advocates Denounce New Deportation Program (3:44)
El Salvador is experiencing its highest average daily murder rate in years. According to a preliminary report issued by the National Police Force, at least 375 people were assassinated in July, up nearly 40% from the same time last year. Over 2,000 people have been murdered so far this year, with most of the murders being committed by gang members,many of whom are deported to El Salvador from the United States. Meanwhile, in the US, immigrant rights groups and anti-community violence organizations are reacting with alarm over a new initiative from the Department of Homeland Security, or DHS, that is rounding up gang members who are undocumented immigrants and deporting them. According to the DHS itself, some of those who have been arrested have never been convicted of a criminal crime, and are merely suspected of being in a gang. For some, their only wrong doing was an immigration violation. Mitch Jeserich reports from Washington.

Connecticut to Close Scandal-Ridden Youth Facility (3:33)
The governor of Connecticut announced yesterday she is closing a scandal-ridden youth facility that is called a school but is, in reality, a high-security prison. She announced that smaller facilities will be built that provide more support to incarcerated youth. Melinda Tuhus reports from New Haven.

Bolton Begins New Job as UN Ambassador (1:42)
Bypassing a stalemate in the U.S. Senate on the nomination of John Bolton, President Bush appointed Bolton as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations yesterday during the Senate recess, and in time for the opening of the UN General Assembly session in September. U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan expressed tempered encouragement, as Bolton began his appointment to the international body that he once deemed irrelevant. Rebecca Myles reports.

New Political Tensions Brewing in Papua (2:28)
The U.S. House recently approved a bill for debate on Papua. If passed into law, the bill would likely increase international pressure on the government to allow the Papuan people to vote whether to remain a part of Indonesia or become an independent nation. Indonesian President Soesilo Bambang Yudoyono stated the bill is a kind of intervention against Indonesia’s sovereignty. In Papua, the Council of Indigenous People, a pro-Independent parliament, warned it will take power over Papua land on August 15, the day when Indonesia and the Free Ache Movement will sign their peace agreement. Media outlets in Jakarta are reporting today that political tension in Papua is rapidly rising. Monica Lopez reads for Meggy Margiyono from Jakarta.

University Students Demonstrate over Ford Foundation Funding (4:11)
The Ford Foundation began international philanthropy soon after World War II, and claims credit for reducing poverty and injustice worldwide. But, many progressive academics like James Petras, are vocal about the CIA using foundations such as Ford for covert action programs. Now university students in India are beginning to oppose Ford funding of their higher education. Vinod K. Jose has more from New Delhi.

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