August 31, 2005

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Headlines (6:15)
At least 800 Shiite Iraqi’s died today during a stampede on a bridge over the Tigris River. The crowds were traveling to a religious ceremony in Northern Baghdad when people started frantically running because of rumors that a suicide bomber was about to detonate a bomb. People were trampled over while others began jumping over the bridge into the river. Eventually the bridge fell. Many of the dead are women and children. The Shiites were celebrating the martyr Musa Al-Kadhim, a religious symbol among Shiites.

Prime Minister Ibrahim Jafaari declared three days of national mourning for the dead. The stampede comes as tensions between different religious groups are high amidst disagreements over the Iraqi constitution.

Today the NAACP announced its opposition to the nomination of John Roberts to the Supreme Court. The long time civil rights organization says Roberts has a track record of deciphering civil rights laws. Mitch Jeserich reports.

An opposition attempt to impeach Philippine president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo over vote-rigging allegations was shot down today. Her opponents, however, are not giving up the fight. Girlie Linao in Manila reports.

In a breakthrough in diplomacy, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh invited the moderate faction of Kashmiri separatist alliance, the All parties Hurriyat Conference, for peace talks. Shahnawaz Khan reports.

Parliament in Zimbabwe has approved sweeping constitutional changes that tighten government control in that country. Restrictions include decreased property rights and the ability to deny passports to government opponents. Joshua Kyalimpa reports.

A senior Food and Drug Administration official resigned today over the government’s stance on emergency contraception, known as the morning after pill. Susan Wood, director of the FDA’s office of Women’s Health wrote in an email statement she could no longer work at a place when scientific and expert advise is overruled. The FDA postponed a vote on Friday that would decide whether or not to offer the drug over the counter.

Hurricane Katrina Refugees Head West (3:38)
Emergency workers hope to empty New Orleans of its final evacuees by the end of the day, as flood waters continue to rise there. Many of the refugees are heading west to the nearest major city. Renee Feltz has the latest from KPFT in Houston.

US Announces Release of Emergency Oil Stock (2:15)
The US government announced that it will release oil from the country’s emergency stocks to help offset production cuts caused by Hurricane Katrina. Yet the issue of high gasoline prices remains on the agenda, since the decision does not help to alleviate problems with the refinery. Anastasia Gnezditskaia in DC has more.

Rising Oil Prices Takes Toll on the Poor in the Philippines (3:44)
With some analysts predicting global oil prices could soon top $80 a barrel, the impact is being felt across the world, especially in countries dependent on imports for their fuel. As Rupert Cook reports from the Philippines, it’s often the poor who are hit the hardest.

Homeland Security Makes Case Against Posada Carriles (2:47)
Alleged terrorist and CIA asset, Luis Posada Carriles faced a second day of hearings yesterday on his request for asylum in the US. The Department of Homeland Security, which is prosecuting the case, presented evidence to the judge that Posada Carriles had failed to write-in in one his previous applications for asylum that he had used aliases and different passports in the past – a move that could result in perjury and a denial of asylum. FSRN’s Dolores M. Bernal reports from the hearings at El Paso.

Netenyahu and Sharon Row Over Likud Party Leadership (2:34)
Right wing Israeli politician Benjamin Netenyahu has challenged Prime Minister Ariel Sharon for the leadership of the Likud Party. The former treasurer launched a blistering attack on Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza, and accused Sharon of adopting leftist policies and endangering Israel’s security. Irris Makler reports from Jerusalem.

25th Anniversary of Literacy Campaign in Nicaragua (3:52)
When the Nicaraguan people overthrew the Somoza Dictatorship in 1979, the first task of the new revolution was to teach the people to read and write. This month, Nicaraguans are celebrating the twenty-fifth anniversary of their world renowned literacy campaign. Nan McCurdy has more from Niquinohomo, birth place of Nicaraguan national hero, Augusto Sandino.

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