August 30, 2005

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Headlines (5:38)
Rescue teams are beginning to deploy along the gulf coast in the wake of hurricane Katrina. Floodwater is still rising in New Orleans, and the death count is expected to number in the hundreds. From Houston, Smiley Maddox has more.

In Iraq today U.S. warplanes launched three airstrikes near the Syrian border. The military says it killed a known Al Qaeda militant. A local hospital official says at least 46 other people were killed as well. Meanwhile insurgent attacks killed two Iraqi police colonels in Baghdad and Kirkuk, and a suicide car bomber killed two officers in a police patrol in Samarra. The U.S. military is still holding a cameraman for the Reuters news agency, two days after an incident in which U.S. troops shot and killed his cameraman.

The Bush administration and Arab League diplomats are urging Iraqis to amend the constitution that Shiite negotiators have presented as a final offer. Prominent Sunni leaders are calling on their followers to reject the proposed constitution in an October 15 referendum, citing measures that crack down on the Baath party and a proposed federal system that could cut Sunnis off from the nation’s oil wealth.

A U.S. army whistleblower has announced she’ll sue the army for demoting her. Bunny Greenhouse, the army corps of engineers’ top contracting official, exposed contract abuses involving Halliburton subsidiary Kellog, Brown, and Root.

In India, a coalition of Muslim organizations has come together to speak out against growing problems of discrimination. From New Delhi, Vinod K. Jose reports.

In what is being called the largest criminal tax case ever filed, KPMG has admitted to helping its clients evade billions of dollars in capital gains and income taxes. The accounting firm brokered a deal to pay $456 million in fines, restitution and penalties to keep the Justice Department and the Internal Revenue Service from shutting it down. From the nation’s capital, Wendy Wang has more:

New census data shows the U.S. poverty rate rose for the fourth year in a row during 2004. The number of people living beneath the poverty line rose 1.1 million to 12.7 % of the population. This despite the fact that the economy has been in a recovery since 2001–analysts say that’s because rising inequality is leaving low-income Americans worse off. Chris Tilley is a professor of regional economic and social development at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell.

Tilley: “Wages are stagnating. The kinds of income support programs that we used to have–at least up until the 1990s–are gone. The minimum wage is at a level we haven’t seen consistently since the 1950s-it’s that low once you control for inflation. So all the things that might help people get ahead are not really helping them at this point.”

The census data also shows the number of people without health insurance grew by 800,000, but did not increase as a percentage of the population.

Growing Opposition Towards John Roberts Nomination to Supreme Court (3:21)
Liberal advocacy group Alliance for Justice and the disability rights group A.D.A. Watch added their names to the growing list of groups opposing the nomination of John Roberts to the Supreme Court today. Both the NAACP and the National Women’s Law Center are expected to announce similar positions tomorrow. The organizations join several other groups who have also announced their opposition to Roberts, including the gay rights group Human Rights Campaign, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights and NARAL. The announcements come just one week short of Roberts’ confirmation hearing. Mitch Jeserich has more from Washington.

Luis Posada Carriles’ Immigration Case (3:00)
The immigration hearing of alleged terrorist and former CIA agent, Luis Posada Carriles continues in El Paso, Texas today. Posada Carriles has been under detention since May after he was apprehended while attempting to leave the United States. He escaped from a Venezuelan prison in 1985 while awaiting sentencing after being tried by a civilian court for masterminding the bombing of a Cuban airliner in 1976 that killed 73 people. On Monday, Judge William Lee Abbott agreed that if deported, Posada Carriles will be sent to Venezuela. FSRN’s Dolores M. Bernal attended the immigration hearings, where several protestors rallied outside the immigration courthouse to demand Posada Carriles’ extradition to Caracas.

Philippines President Faces Possible Impeachment (2:34)
A bid to impeach Philippines President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo headed for defeat in the House of Representatives after opposition lawmakers walked out of the hearings. Arroyo’s opponents vow to take the fight to the streets if her allies succeed in blocking the efforts to unseat her. Girlie Linao reports from Manila.

A New Wave of Haitian Massacres Ahead of Presidential Elections (4:04)
A bloody crackdown carried out by police and machete-wielding civilians in Haiti at a U.S.-government sponsored event is fueling fears of state-sponsored terror as presidential balloting in November draws near. The killings appear to be a new and more terrifying tactic employed by the Haitian national police, which has been accused of summary executions and other human rights abuses in the poor neighborhoods of Port-au-Prince since interim Prime Minister Gerard Latortue assumed office in March 2004. No police officer has been brought to justice for these crimes and a United Nations peacekeeping mission mandated with protecting human rights has done little to investigate alleged violations. Reed Lindsay reports from Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

More African Immigrants Dead in New Paris Housing Blaze (4:35)
A fire in a Paris tenement killed seven African immigrants – including one child, last night. It’s the second such tragedy in four days.17 Africans, 14 of them children, were killed when the building they were living in went up in flames last Friday, leaving about 110 survivors. Last night’s fire struck a building housing 40 people from the West African country of Côte d’Ivoire. Both blazes seem to have been the result of the rundown buildings and have led some to consider the way France’s housing policy affects its immigrants. Tony Cross reports from Paris.

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