October 05, 2005
NEW FDA RULES ON ANIMAL FEED
In an effort to prevent an outbreak of mad cow disease in the country, the Food and Drug Administration called for new rules to ban cow parts from being used in all animal feed. Katia Al Awwad reports from Washington D.C.
The new rule prohibits cattle brains and spinal cords in all animal feed. However, it does not ban the use other tissues that could bear the disease regardless of age. The FDA has been modifying rules since the first case of mad cow disease in the US was confirmed in December 2003. Critics feel the new regulations made on Tuesday fall short of previous promises made by the administration. For example, the new plan does not ban cow blood used at times as a substitute for milk to feed calves. The meat industry praised the new regulations saying that a stricter ban on tissues from cattle of all ages would have strained the industry in disposing of 1.4 billion pounds of material. For Free Speech Radio News, I’m Katia Al Awwad.
NICARAGUAN OPPOSITION TO CAFTA
A trade agreement between the United States, five Central American countries, and the Dominican Republic is facing opposition from the Nicaraguan National Assembly despite growing pressure from the United States. Nan McCurdy has more from Managua.
Yesterday Deputy Alba Palacios, president of the National Assembly’s labor affairs commission, announced at a press conference that the Assembly will not relent to U.S. pressure to ratify the free trade agreement, known as DR-CAFTA. Palacios said that President Enrique Bolanos himself confessed that he is under pressure from the U.S. to ensure CAFTA’s passage. Deputy Palacios said that the assembly is working to approve a package of laws that would protect farmers from the avalanche of subsidized U.S. agricultural products, eminent with the onset of CAFTA. Other pending bills include occupational safety regulations, environmental protection measures and the creation of a national bank that would provide credit to small farmers. Former U.S. Trade Representative and current deputy Secretary of State, Robert Zoellick, arrived in Nicaragua yesterday. Earlier this week, Zoellich warned that Nicaragua could lose important funding opportunities if it fails to ratify CAFTA. CAFTA is scheduled to take effect in January 2006 although Nicaragua and Costa Rica have not ratified the agreement. From Managua, for Free Speech Radio News, I’m Nan McCurdy.
ILLEGAL LOGGING IN CHILE
Environmental groups have accused Chile’s forestry service of ignoring the illegal logging of ancient protected forests in southern Chile. In Santiago Jorge Garretón explains.
Chile’s Greenpeace chapter says CONAF, Chile’s national forestry service, is turning a blind eye to illegal logging of the protected ancient Alerce tree by companies that later export the trees as softwood lumber to the U.S. The Alerce tree is an evergreen variety unique to Chile’s southern Andean region. Some specimens are over 3 thousand years-old and logging of the Alerce tree is prohibited under law. Greenpeace wants the government to fire the director of the forestry service, saying that he is ignoring charges of illegal logging and ineffective at protecting the ancient forests. Meanwhile the courts are prosecuting a group of loggers and local politicians – accused of illegally Alerce trees and exporting the wood to US-based construction companies. For FSRN, this is Jorge Garretón in Santiago.
COMPENSATION FOR LONDON VICTIMS
A British government agency has started to pay out compensation to victims of the London bombings – although the size of the compensation given so far is controversial. Naomi Fowler reports from London.
The July 7 attacks on three underground trains and one bus killed 52 passengers and left 750 wounded. Britain’s Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority has sent its first two compensation cheques this week. But some victims and bereaved families believe the process has been too slow and the size of the payments too small. Families of those killed are to receive around 20,000 dollars; they say that compares poorly with the one and a half million dollars the US authorities paid out to the victims of the September 11 attacks. One woman who lost her legs is expected to receive 200,000 dollars. Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority chief executive Howard Webber defended the level of payments describing the money as “a small token of public sympathy,”. But the lawyer representing 15 claimants Colin Ettinger says it’s just not enough. It must be understood, he said, that compensation needs to cover all expenses in particular for those who will need on-going care for the rest of their lives. This is Naomi Fowler in London for Free Speech Radio News.
NEW EVIDENCE IN GIULIANI CASE
New evidence could lead to the re-opening of the case of Carlo Guiliani – a protestor killed during a 2001 G8 summit in held in Genoa. Diletta Varlese files this report from Brescia.
Carlo Giuliani’s death was not accidental – according to the results of a recent autopsy investigation. The new evidence emerged yesterday as part of an ongoing trial of twenty-five demonstrators accused of property damage during a protest of a G8 summit meeting. The doctor who performed the autopsy concluded that the death was caused by a bullet carefully aimed at Giuliani’s head. The gunshot came from a police car that Carlo was in front of. The police officer, Mario Placanica, was aquitted in 2003 after arguing that he fired a warning shot without intent to hit Giuliani, but that a stone crossed the trajectory and the bullet ended up in his face. The Committee for Truth and Justice, led by Carlo’s mother, Heidi Guiliani, has been collecting evidence for the past two years in an attempt to re-open the case. Guiliani’s family lawyer is urging for new investigations. For FSRN, Diletta Varlese from Italy.
Supreme Court Considers Oregon Assisted Suicide Law (4:00)
For over 7 years, Oregon residents who are considered terminally ill have had the option of ending their life with the help of a doctor. The Justice Department has been fighting against the practice, saying that assisted suicide is not a legitimate reason for prescribing drugs. Patients’ rights advocates say this is an issue of states’ rights, while several disability rights groups, who rallied in front of the Supreme Court, filed friend of the court briefs in support of the Justice Department’s oral arguments before the Supreme Court today. Selina Musuta reports.
Tensions on the Rise between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (2:47)
The UN has begun sending troops to the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo in an attempt to disarm Ugandan rebels who crossed from the Sudan. The presence of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebels on Congolese territory has triggered a diplomatic row with Uganda. Last week, Uganda threatened to send its soldiers into DR Congo to hunt for the rebels. Joshua Kyalimpa has more.
US and India Sign Terror Treaty (3:02)
Four years after India and the United States inked an agreement to help each other investigate offences related to terrorism, narcotics and other organized crimes, the two countries brought the treaty into force on Monday. Pro-administration lobbyists call it a milestone in the war against terrorism that woos India closer to the wars the US fights. From New Delhi, Vinod K. Jose reports.
Bush Suggests Using Troops in Case of Pandemic (2:04)
President Bush proposed to use the military to enforce quarantine in case of avian flu outbreak. Experts say that even though this outbreak is possible, using the military will not serve the purpose, but will instead cause damage to civil liberties. Anastasia Gnezditskaia reports from DC.
The Case of Lisl Auman (4:20)
The life of a Denver woman who served 7-and-a-half years in prison because of her part in a crime spree that left a veteran Denver Police officer dead has taken a dramatic turn. Lisl Auman is now in a Denver County jail, but out of prison and looking forward to entering a halfway house. Maria Cecile Callier reports.
Mumia Abu Jamal:Lessons from Katrina, Rita and Beyond (3:24)