November 18, 2005
South Koreans Protest APEC
Several thousand South Koreans, many of them rice farmers, demonstrated at the two-day summit of the Asia-Pacifica Economic Cooperation in Busan. The summit is an attempt to restart talks on free trade agreements in the region. Demonstrators clashed with police who used water cannons to drive the protesters back. Many of the rice farmers say that free trade would be a death blow to their industry and livelihood.
South Korea Partial Withdrawal from Iraq
Meanwhile, the South Korean Defense Minister has announced the country will withdraw about a third of its 3,000 troops now in Iraq by next year.
More Casualties in Iraq
A series of suicide bombings in Iraq today has left over 80 people dead and another 100 injured. Two attacks on Shia mosques during Friday prayers in the town of Khanaqin near the Iranian border killed over 70. Six people were killed in Baghdad in two car bomb attacks. Today’s violence has caused the most Iraqi deaths in a single day in over two months.
House to Vote on Withdrawal
Meanwhile, the House Republican leadership announced it will bring a version of the bill by Democratic Representative of Pennsylvania John Murtha for an immediate withdrawal from Iraq to the floor for a vote tonight. The GOP leadership says a vote will show how little support either party has for an actual withdrawal. Today Democratic Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts defended Murtha from attacks by both Republicans and the White House.
Objections Over Patriot Act
Also in Congress today, a bi-partisan group of lawmakers reiterated their opposition to the Patriot Act Reauthorization bill. Gus Chas more from Capitol Hill.
Serbs Found Guilty for War Crimes
Marking the first human rights violations conviction in connection to the Bosnian Serbian war, several Serb police officers have been sentenced for war crimes. Zoran Culafic reports from Belgrade.
Aid Workers Jailed in New Orleans
More aid workers have been arrested in New Orleans. Mayaba Liebenthal reports.
Low to Moderate Income Families Face New Budget Cuts to Federal Programs (3:24)
The House of Representatives voted for significant budget cuts to student loans, health care, and other social programs well past 1 am this morning – while the US Senate voted to support tax breaks for high income residents. In the coming weeks, the House and Senate must come together to reconcile their two proposed budgets, and as Ingrid Drake reports from Washington DC, advocates are hoping to reduce the negative impact on low to moderate income families.
California Activists Continue to Fight Death Row Inmate’s Execution (4:15)
Stanley Tookie Williams, death row inmate and Crips gang co-founder, is set to be executed on December 13. Convicted of four murders in 1981, Tookie has maintained his innocence. Members of the “Save Tookie Committee” renewed calls urging California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to grant clemency for the Nobel Peace Prize nominee and anti-gang educator. FSRN’s Leilani Albano takes a look at allegations made by William’s supporters.
Ugandan Government Set to Rearrest Treason Suspects (4:22)
Nineteen treason suspects including Uganda ‘s opposition leader Dr. Kizza Besigye face re-arrest by military officials after applying for bail from the high court. The judge had authorized bail but the men refused once they realized the military was waiting outside the court premises to re-arrest and charge them with terrorism. It is not clear if Besigye will also be taken from the civilian court and charged in the military court. Joshua Kyalimpa reports from Kampala.
Liberia Elects the First Woman President in Africa (2:54)
The election of 67 year old Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as President of Liberia will be the first time the African continent has had a female president. In West African Senegal, this historical event represents a successful fight for women’s rights. In Senegal, Ndiaga Seck reports.
Nicaraguans Protest the Rise in Electricity (4:07)
The International Monetary Fund representative in Nicaragua, Humberto Arbulu-Neira, demanded that Nicaragua apply a 25% rate hike to the population’s electric bills. Growing unrest over the cost of electricity in Nicaragua has now spurred protests in front of the offices of the Spanish owned private electric company, Union Fenosa. Nan McCurdy has more from Managua.
Vancouver’s Bus Rider’s Union End Strike (2:04)
Vancouver’s Bus Rider’s Union – riders who say they are dependent on public transportation – end their strike today. The fare strikers are demanding lower fares and increased accessibility on public transit, but Vancouver’s public transportation authority says their demands are unrealistic. The five day protest comes as Vancouver residents prepare to elect a new local government this Saturday. Alison Benjamín reports from Vancouver, Canada.