August 19, 2005

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Two rockets were fired at 2 US warships docked in Jordan’s Red Sea Aqaba port. The rockets missed, instead hitting a warehouse, a hospital and the Israeli port of Eliat, killing one Jordanian soldier. Jordanian security said they believe al Qaeda is responsible for the attack.

A Moroccan man accused of aiding an al Qaeda cell in Hamburg that committed the September 11th attacks in the United States, was convicted by a German court today and sentenced to seven years in prison. Cinnamon Nippard reports from Berlin:

Ecuador has stopped oil production and Defense Minister Solon Espinoza resigned amid protests over the distribution of oil profits. In two Amazon regions, protestors blocked highways and interrupted oil production. They are demanding that foreign oil companies pay for the use of their land. Appointed President Alfredo Palacio declared a state of emergency, which restricts peoples expression and mobility and censures the media. Oil exportation is Ecuador’s largest economic supplier. And the disruption has caused the price of oil to rise by one dollar.

Norwegian officials confirmed that the Sri Lankan government and the Tamil Tiger rebels have agreed to hold talks to review the endangered 2002 cease-fire agreement. Ponniah Manikavasagam in Sri Lanka, reports.

Burundi’s parliament has elected a new president in the final step of a deal to end 12 years of war between Hutu rebels and the Tutsi army. 300,000 people are estimated to have been killed during the civil war. Joshua Kyalimpa reports

A strike by public health workers in Argentina completes week 3. Factory workers show their support by bearing gifts. Marie Trigona has more from Buenos Aires.

LGBT Seniors Face Obstacles in Nursing Homes
Discrimination, neglect and abuse towards lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender seniors by insensitive and homophobic nursing home staff are common across the country – leaving many in this population isolated. The New Mexican city of Santa Fe, which has the second largest number of single sex households in the country, is beginning to look at the state’s LGBT senior population and the treatment they are receiving at these facilities by talking and teaching about this grave issue. Dolores M. Bernal reports from New Mexico.

Coca Cola Faces Another Battle in India
Coca Cola is once again in the firing line in India. Despite a court order in its favor, Coke is not able to reopen the production of its largest plant in the country due to public pressure. India’s Pollution Control Board slapped a notice on the company today, saying the soda processing plant doesn’t comply with regulation standards. FSRN Correspondent Binu Alex has more.

Catholic World Church Day Ignores High Unemployment Rate in Host Country of Germany
About half a million young people have made their way to Cologne, Germany this week for the Catholic Church’s World Youth Day on Sunday. But while Germany has put out the welcome mat for Pope Benedict XVI, critics say this massive Catholic festival comes at time when more than half a million young Germans are unemployed and their prospects are looking increasingly bleak. From Cologne, Guy Degen reports.

Rights Groups Demand Documents Surrounding John Roberts
Several civil and women’s rights groups reiterated their call today for the Bush administration to release internal documents on Supreme Court nominee John Roberts’ time as Deputy Solicitor General under the first President Bush. They want the memos from 16 cases the administration argued to the Supreme Court in the early 1990’s that span from affirmative action to reproductive rights. The call comes just a day after 38,000 pages of documents were released on Roberts’ time from 1982 to 1986 as associate counsel to Ronald Reagan. So far, those documents reveal a John Roberts who opposed any Equal Rights Amendment to enforce equal pay for women, calling it anti-capitalist and could encourage homemakers to become lawyers. Mitch Jeserich has more from Washington.

National Labor Committee
The National Labor Committee (NLC) released explosive reports this week documenting labor abuses at Disney book printing factories in China. FSRN correspondent Sarah Turner reports on the NLC’s findings, including unpaid overtime and unsafe working conditions.

Israeli Evacuation of Gaza Strip Nears Completion
Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas is praising Israel’s evacuation of the Gaza Strip, and is promising Palestinians Gazans their long-awaited freedom of movement. Meanwhile, the Israeli army continued its evacuation of illegal settlements in occupied Gaza today, as it closed a Gaza checkpoint and built a trench around the largest settlement bloc of Gush Qatif. FSRN Lalia El-Haddad has more.

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