November 07, 2005
RIOTS STILL RAGE IN PARIS
France’s government presented a new plan for neglected low-income areas today after 11 nights of urban unrest. Tony Cross reports from Paris.
Chirac, who’s been practically silent since the unrest began, said that the police will take tougher action … but that measures will be taken to ensure justice and equal opportunities. After he spoke, more than one-thousand-400 vehicles were set ablaze, 30 police were attacked, some of them by shots from air-rifles, and 395 arrests made. And today, a 60-year-old man died from injuries received Friday when he was beaten up outside his home. This evening it’s the turn of prime minister Dominique de Villepin to address the nation. He’s said that as of tomorrow, local officials will be authorized to declare curfews in their areas. In the longer term, he said that mayors will be given more power to tackle social conditions and promised to reverse budget cuts of local social welfare groups and improve education and housing. Despite previous plans social deprivation and institutional racism are still there, made worse by budget cuts. Also today, the influential Union of Islamic Organizations in France issued a fatwa, or command to the faithful, forbidding participation in attacks on property or threats to people’s lives. For FSRN, I’m Tony Cross in Paris
FUJIMORI ARESTED IN CHILE
A Peruvian delegation is now in the Chilean capital to discuss the fate of exiled former president, Alberto Fujimori. FSRN’s Jorge Garretón reports from Santiago.
Chilean police arrested former Peruvian president Alberto Fujimori this morning in Santiago. Fujimori was hunkered down in a 5 star hotel after his arrival by private jet last night. Custom officials allowed his entry despite an international warrant for his arrest. After Chile informed Peru of Fujimori’s arrival, Peru quickly asked that he be arrested based on a bilateral treaty for wanted criminals. A Supreme Court Justice assigned to the hear a future extradition case says he will place Fujimori under house arrest at the 5 star hotel where the wanted former leader was captured. Fujimori is wanted for multiple charges including corruption and human rights abuse. Fujimori arrived in Santiago as his last stop before his announced return to Lima, where he plans to run in next April’s presidential election. For FSRN this is Jorge Garretón in Santiago.
GUANTANAMO BAY CASES
Three of six Bahraini nationals held at the US Naval base at Guantanamo Bay were released today. The men were detained for four years without ever being charged. This, as Supreme Court announced it will hear a case to determine whether the Bush administration can use military tribunals to try detainees at Guantanamo Bay. Mitch Jeserich reports from Washington DC.
The US Supreme Court ruled unanimously today to hear the case of Yemenese national Salim Ahmed Hamdan who is challenging his planned military tribunal at Guantanamo Bay. Hamdan is accused of being Osama bin Laden’s security guard and personal driver. His lawyers claim that the military tribunals violate the Geneva Convention protections for prisoners of war. The case is a direct challenge to the administration’s plan to deal with the some 500 detainees held at Guantanamo Bay. Last year the Supreme Court, in another case pertaining to detainees, said that the administration did not have a blank check in conducting its war on terror. Chief Justice John Roberts recused himself from the decision. Roberts ruled at the circuit level last year on the Hamdan case in favor of the administration. He has previously indicated he would not participate in cases he heard at the lower levels. However Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito, if confirmed by the Senate, would likely hear the case.
US-INDIA MILITARY EXERCISE
Thousands gathered in eastern India today to protest a joint US-India air force exercise as part of a 10-year agreement to strengthen defence ties and facilitate joint weapons production. Binu Alex has more from Ahmedabad.
A joint air force exercise in West Bengal was greeted by thousands of protesters on Monday who said the exercise and the growing military co-operation between India and US undermines India’s sovereignty. The street demonstration was led by Left wing parties critical of an agreement that permits the US as a joint partner in such exercises on domestic military bases. India’s Congress-led coalition government and the US have recently partnered in various military ventures opposed by the left, a coalition partner. The current joint air force exercises are scheduled to last till 17th of this month. From Ahmedabad in India, I am Binu Alex for Free Speech Radio News
AN OPENING IN THE LINE OF CONTROL
India and Pakistan opened the first crossing point on the line of control in Kashmir today. Shahnawaz Khan has more.
India and Pakistan opened the first of five crossing points today in Chakan Da Bagh on the line of control in Kashmir. Twenty-five trucks of quake relief material passed from the Indian side to Pakistan administered Kashmir. Hundreds of people who had gathered to watch the event on the Pakistani side tried to cross over shouting slogans for freedom and unity of Kashmir. Pakistani Police responded with tear gas shells and shots fired into the air. India and Pakistan had earlier agreed to open 5 crossing points to help with the exchange of relief material and to let people travel to see their relatives. Logistical problems were cited as the reason why only one crossing point was opened today. Two more are expected to open later in the week. Those wishing to cross the heavily militarized line dividing Kashmir must obtain special permits requiring clearance from both sides. So far, no permits have been issued. For Free Speech Radio News I’m Shahnawaz Khan.
Indian Foreign Minister Removed Over Oil-for-Food Program Allegations (2:54)
Indian Foreign Minister Natwar Singh is the first political casualty of a UN inquiry committee report released two weeks ago that revealed global corruption in the humanitarian program that was meant to help sanctions-hit Iraq in the aftermath of the first Gulf war in 1991. The inquiry committee was led by the former chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, Paul Volcker. Volcker has accused more than 2200 companies and prominent politicians worldwide of colluding with Saddam Hussein’s government to milk the oil-for-food program of $1.8 billion in kickbacks and illicit surcharges. The report also accused India’s ruling Congress party, its leader and the current Foreign Minister, Natwar Singh in the food-for-oil scandal. Vinod K. Jose has the details from New Delhi.
Bush’s Latin American Tour Marked by Protests and Stymied Negotiations(3:11)
President Bush is in Panama today on his last stop of a Latin American tour, meeting with his counterpart President Martin Torrijos. Bush has lauded free trade throughout his visit.
The President went on to acknowledge that the Central American Free Trade Agreement has been a tough sell in Congress. Bush also met with President Lula da Silva in Brazil on Sunday, where he was greeted with mass protests. President Lula is pressing for the United States to halt farm subsidies, which Brazil says is harming international trade.
Bush’s Latin American tour began on last week, when he headed to Mar del Plata, Argentina, for the Summit of the Americas. Americans heads of state attending the Summit were unable to reach a consensus during talks about the creation of a hemisphere wide trade agreement. Negotiations reached a stalemate when Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Venezuela said they would not discuss a free trade agreement under the current conditions. And, as FSRN’s Kasim Tirmizey reports, the Summit was marked by both peaceful and violent anti-Bush demonstrations on the streets of Mar del Plata.
Montreal Demonstrates Against the Free Trade Areas of the Americas (2:30)
As the Summit of the Americas came to an end in Argentina this weekend, negotiations on the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), the hemispheric free-trade accord collapsed amid massive demonstrations. Demonstrators took the streets not only of Mar del Plata and neighboring cities, but throughout the Hemisphere over the weekend, rejecting the proposed FTAA accord. As FSRN’s Stefan Christoff reports, upwards of 400 people took the streets on Friday evening in Montreal, in solidarity with protestors in Argentina.
Texan Voters Head to the Polls over Same Sex Marriage (3:29)
Supporters and opponents of a constitutional ban on same sex marriage converged in Austin, Texas this weekend. Texan voters head to the polls on Tuesday to cast their ballot on Proposition 2, a state constitutional amendment that says marriage can only occur between a man and a woman, which is already the law in Texas. Pam Thompson has more from Austin.
The Battle Over California’s Proposition 75 (3:07)
Proposition 75, the so-called pay check protection act, is perhaps the most contentious initiative on California’s November 8 ballot. Prop. 75 would require public sector labor unions to get the permission of their members before they use their money for political campaigns. Prop. 75 supporters say it would help ensure that union dues go to union functions like collective bargaining and organizing, while opponents say 75 stifles working people’s political voice. Max Pringle reports.
Activists Denounce US Government HIV Policies (2:38)
Direct action began the work week at the Family Research Council when a dozen activists chained themselves to a statue at the organization. The arrests mark the first of a day of protest that culminate weeks of the Campaign to End AIDS organizing, which is calling on the US government to change HIV policies. Darby Hickey reports.