December 13, 2005
RACIAL TENSION IN SYDNEY
Following days of violence in Sydney’s Southern beach suburbs, the New South Wales state parliament will be recalled from their Christmas break on Thursday to pass new laws allowing police to shut down public areas, close liquor shops and hotels, as well as to search and confiscate cars. The new laws will also increase jail terms for riot-related offences from five to 15 years. Cinnamon Nippard has more from Sydney.
Eleven men were arrested on Monday night as groups of men of Middle-Eastern appearance retaliated against Sunday’s race fueled riot at Cronulla. Seven people were injured, while cars and shops were trashed, and rocks and flares were hurled at police in the beach suburbs of Cronulla, Brighton-le-Sands and Caringbah. New South Wales premier Morris Iemma said police would be given special “lockdown” powers to stop convoys from forming and driving into communities to carry out acts of retribution. He believes the new laws are necessary to regain control of the streets from criminals and thugs who have declared “war” on Sydney. Prime Minister John Howard has continued to play down the race issue in the violence, instead sticking to his line that it’s primarily one of law and order. On Tuesday night the police presence was quadrupled in areas most badly affected by violence, and there have been calls to import police from other Australian states to deal with the situation For Free Speech Radio News in Sydney, I’m Cinnamon Nippard.
HAITIANS PROTEST IMMIGRATION POLICY
Haitians angry about mass deportations from the neighboring Dominican Republic protested a visit by the Dominican president Leonel Fernandez. At yesterday’s demonstration in Port-au-Prince, Wake Up Call’s Deepa Fernandes asked Haitian student, Earnest Bolivar, to describe the immigration policy of the Dominican Republic. “It’s racist because its government is organizing an attack against a minority, a community; the Haitians.” The Dominican republic is a much more affluent nation in comparison to its neighbor, which ranks as the poorest country in this hemisphere. Haitian police later broke up the demonstration with live gunfire.
CLASHES IN THE WEST BANK
Tensions remain high in the West Bank as the Israeli army continues an incursion there. Manar Jibrin files this report.
Israeli army invaded Nablus today, firing rounds of live ammunition at dozens of houses and clashing with locals. One Nablus resident was killed and at least twenty were injured. Two Israeli soldiers were injured after an explosive charge was hurled at their jeep. Chris, a humanitarian aid worker living in Nablus, described what happened today. At least five Palestinians were arrested in the West Bank cities of Tulkarem and Salfit. The Israeli army briefly withdrew from the West Bank city of Jenin on Tuesday and removed the checkpoints which had been installed at its main entrances three days prior. The army re-invaded the city hours after its withdrawal.
FOREST LEGISLATION IN THAILAND
In Thailand, around 5,000 forest dwellers and community forest advocates demonstrated today in Bangkok to urge the Thai government to reject a bill they say threatens forest dwellers’ rights to natural resource management. Kye Mesa Barnard reports from Chiang Mai.
Over a month ago, 50 representatives of northern Thai forest dwellers set out on foot on a 430 mile journey from Chiang Mai, in the north of Thailand, to Bangkok. Upon arrival at their destination in front of the Thai parliament building today, the group had grown to nearly 5,000 strong. They called on the government to discard an amended community forest bill in favor of an original people’s version of the same bill. After 50,000 people petitioned for a bill that allowed forest dwellers the right to live on and manage forest lands, the Thai House passed the legislation in 2001. However, the Senate has since made changes that the marchers say distorts the principle of community forests and limits their rights to sustainable use of the land. Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has stated that he supports the people’s version of the bill, and community forest advocates have asked that he push it prior to the end of the House session on December 19th. For Free Speech Radio News, this is Kye Mesa Barnard in Chiang Mai.
WTO MINISTERIAL OPENS
The 6th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization opened today, ushering in delegates from 149 countries. Meanwhile, demonstrators took to the streets of Hong Kong. Ngoc Nguyen files this report.
Thousands of protesters rallied and staged sit-ins today along a route lined with shopping malls and upscale boutiques. They marched from Hong Kong’s Victoria Park to the Convention Center, which juts into Victoria Harbor, and is flanked on three sides by water. Police and spectators lined the route of the mostly peaceful, but exuberant, parade. The largest contingent was made of up thousands of South Korean farmers. Dozens of them surprised the crowd by stripping down to their boxer shorts, strapping on orange life-jackets and jumping into the frigid waters. They swam toward the Convention Center but were warded off by police in tugboats. In a separate incident, police pepper-sprayed several activists, who pushed up against police barricades. For Free Speech Radio News, I’m Ngoc Nguyen in Hong Kong.
Stanley Tookie Williams Executed (3:52)
State and federal courts rejected last minute appeals filed by lawyers on behalf of San Quentin death row inmate Stan Tookie Williams. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger denied clemency, paving the way for Williams’ execution, who was pronounced dead at 12:35 this morning. Williams’ supporters say new evidence proving his innocence continues to emerge everyday – evidence they say indicates the state executed an innocent man. FSRN’s Sarah Olson has more from inside San Quentin prison.
People from All Walks of Life throughout the Nation React to Execution (1:30)
FSRN correspondents including Andrew Stelzer and Renee Feltz were on the streets of Tampa, Houston and East LA last night, talking to people from all walks who expressed shock, anger and sadness over Tookie’s execution.
Iraqis Living Abroad Begin Casting Ballots Today (2:33)
Iraqis in fifteen countries began voting today, with many who boycotted January’s elections casting ballots for the first time. David Enders reports from Zarqa, Jordan.
Investigation into CIA Secret Prisons in Poland (3:43)
Swiss Senator Dick Marty, who is investigating allegations that the CIA kidnapped and illegally shipped terror suspects through European borders, has announced that the claims are likely true. In a report issued by a Council of Europe committee, Marty has condemned the US for neither confirming nor denying the claims. Meanwhile, Polish Prime Minister Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz has commissioned a separate investigation into allegations that the CIA detained suspected terrorists at secret prisons in Poland. Results from that finding are expected as early as next week. Danuta Szafraniec reports from Warsaw.
Industrialized Nation’s Farm Subsidies Ruing Developing Economies (3:43)
The Sixth World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference has kicked off in Hong Kong, China today. Many observers believe it’s crucial that the WTO manage to resolve some of the sticking points holding up trade talks between economically developing and already industrialized nations. A major issue is the debate over free and fair trade. Many in the economically developing world believe that market liberalization, in the name of free trade, has impoverished local producers on account of the industrialized world’s continued use of agricultural subsidies. Rupert Cook reports.
Colombian Abortion Ban Decision (4:10)
The legal battle to decriminalize a total ban on abortion in Colombia has taken dramatic turns. Colombia is one of the five Latin American countries where abortion is prohibited under all circumstances. Last week, after more than 9 months of heated public debate, Colombia’s highest court abstained from ruling on a suit to reform abortion law in cases of rape, where the mother’s health is at risk, or when the fetus is severely deformed. The court sited technical errors in the legal complaint. After revising her argument yesterday, 29-year-old Women’s Link Worldwide lawyer Monica Roa, submitted a second legal challenge to the country’s Constitutional Court, seeking to lift Colombia’s total ban on abortion. From Bogotá, Nicole Karsin has more.
Pacifica Radio Archives
And that does it for today’s newscast. Before we close out though, we would like to make a correction to yesterday’s newscast, when we didn’t credit the Pacifica Radio Archives for archival sound of Richard Pryor. We often use Pacifica Radio Archives historic recordings in our newscast – and if you want more information on the amazing work they do preserving important pieces of history, you can log on to www.pacificaradioarchives.org.