February 10, 2006

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Headlines (6:05)
Protests continue to rage across the Muslim world today in condemnation of cartoon depictions of the Islamic Prophet Mohammad. In India, home to the world’s second largest Muslim population, thousands participated in nationwide demonstrations. Vinod K. Jose reports from Delhi.

Today after the Friday prayers, members of India’s Muslim community organized massive rallies across the country. Thousands demonstrated in cities and towns throughout India. They burned Danish flags and asked the Indian government to cut diplomatic ties with Denmark. Imams, the religious leaders, gave special talks in the Mosques. The Imam of Old Delhi’s Jama Masjid, Syed Ahmed Bukhari, warned that the Muslim community could not take humiliation by the West any longer. Some other leaders attacked the US and its war against terror for targeting Muslims. The community leaders also expressed their anger at the Indian government’s silence on the matter. From Old Delhi,in India, this is Vinod K. Jose for Free Speech Radio News.

France’s right-wing government has rammed its controversial new youth employment law through Parliament, using special procedure to cut short the debate. But opposition parties and workers’ and students’ unions have vowed to fight on. Tony Cross reports from Paris.

Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin enraged Socialist Party MPs by guillotining parliamentary debate. He invoked a special article of the constitution to stop it. The only way the opposition could have responded would have been to put a vote of censure in his government.They failed to do so today, ahead of the assembly’s winter break next week. So de Villepin’s First Job Contract becomes law. It gives employers the right to take on young workers on two-year contracts during which they can be fired at any time without any reason. The left spun out the debate as long as it could, making sure that it was still going on on Tuesday, when about 400-thousand workers and students demonstrated against the proposal throughout France. The Socialists say they will table a censure vote when the holiday is over on February 21st. Even though a minor right-wing party, the UDF, voted against the measure, and several ministers are reportedly unhappy about it, the vote of censure is very unlikely to be passed. Workers’ and students’ unions haven’t given up hope, however … they’ve called a second day of protest for March the seventh, where they’ll call for the law to be repealed. For FSRN I’m Tony Cross in Paris.

According to court documents, Vice president Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff, Lewis ‘Scooter’ Libby, has testified to a federal grand jury that his superiors authorized him to leak secret information to reporters. Selina Musuta reports from Washington, DC.

Lewis “Scooter” Libby resigned last year after he was indicted oncharges of lying to FBI agents and the grand jury about how he learned the identity of former CIA operative, Valerie Plame. Plame is married to former U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, Joseph Wilson; a staunch critic of the Bush administration. After traveling to Niger to investigate allegations that Saddam Hussein had sought to buy uranium there,Wilson accused White House officials of using misleading intelligence about Hussein’s nuclear weapons capacity to justify the invasion of Iraq. Eight days later, syndicated columnist, Robert Novak, based on Libby’s information, disclosed Plame’s covert CIA status. Exactly who leaked the information to Libby remains to be seen. For FSRN, in Washington, DC, I am Selina Musuta.

Sanitation officials have detected foot and mouth disease in cattle in northern Argentina this week. Argentina has announced a national health crisis to control the spread of the disease. Marie Trigona has more from Buenos Aires.

Chile, Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Paraguay, Israel and South Africa have closed their doors to Argentine beef imports following the outbreak of foot and mouth disease near the Paraguayan border. The National Service for Food Safety and Quality said it had found some 70 cattle showing signs of the infection in the province of Corrientes.Sanitation officials suspect that the animals were not vaccinated or given defective vaccines by provincial governor, Romero Feris, who owns the ranch. Argentina’s Agricultural Secretary will travel to the US to fight off prolonged market closures. Argentina, one of the world’s leading beef exporters, was hit by a foot-and-mouth crisis five years ago. Foot-and-mouth is a highly contagious viral disease that causes blistery lesions on the tongue, lips and hoofs of cows, sheep and pigs, but does not harm humans. Economists estimate that the foot and mouth virus will cause over 500 million dollars in losses.

In Los Angeles, the farmers of the country’s largest community garden announced this week that an anonymous donor has pledged eight million dollars to help them buy back their collective farm from would-be developer, Ralph Horowitz. KPFK’s Kelly Barnes has more.

LA’s mayor recently responded to the South Central Farmers’ letter-writing campaign, demanding the City buy the farm and stop development. He said the city has no money for the purchase, and he wished people would send dollars, not just letters. Friends of the Farmers launched a “send-the-mayor-a-dollar” campaign, and tomorrow, they’ll stage a “vegetable die-in” at Horowitz’ home to focus on what they call the greed and usury of Horowitz, who is not willing to sell the farm back for a mere 3 million dollars profit. The developer paid 5.1 millions dollars for the tract of land three years ago in what the Farmers say was a back-room deal. Instead of accepting the 8 million dollar pledge to the farmers by the anonymous donor, Horowitz is reportedly holding out for 16 million dollars. I’m Kelly Barnes in LA for FSRN.

Michael Brown Accuses DHS for Hurricane Katrina Response Failure (3:06)
Former FEMA Director, Michael Brown, said that the Bush Administration’s focus on Terrorism is the reason why the response to Hurricane Katrina failed. Speaking as a private citizen at a Senate hearing, Brown criticized the Department of Homeland Security, and told Senators he was in constant contact with the White House on the urgent situation in New Orleans. Ingrid Drake reports from Capitol Hill on the ongoing search for answers into what went wrong.

Civil Libertarians Weary of Senate’s Agreement on Patriot Act (2:59)
The Senate reached an agreement on the Patriot Act, paving the way for its passage, although staunch civil liberties proponents are discouraged by the deal. As Leigh Ann Caldwell reports from Capitol Hill, they say it offers little protection against government intrusion.

Subcomandante Marcos Visits Political Prisoners in Oaxaca (4:08)
Zapatista Subcommandante Marcos, or “Delegate Zero”, wraps up his 6-day trip to the Mexican state of Oaxaca tomorrow – part of the nationwide listening tour known as the Other Campaign. One of the key demands of the social movements involved in the Other Campaign is the liberation of the country’s political prisoners. Upon his arrival to the Oaxacan capital, the Zapatista representative paid a visit to the Ixcotel State Penitentiary to meet with over a dozen indigenous political prisoners. FSRN’s Vladimir Flores was there and files this exclusive report.

Community Leaders Address Root Causes of Prison Violence (3:33)
Prison inmates at a Southern California detention center have lived through six days of rioting, as fighting among 200 Latino and African Americans inmates continues at the medium-security facility. FSRN’s Leilani Albano was at the Pitchess Detention Center, and takes a look at what community leaders call the root causes of prison violence.

Demonstrations Against Winter Olympics (3:28)
Much of the international sports world has set it’s sights on the Winter Olympic Games, which kick off today in Turin Italy. But behind the celebration and pageantry, human rights activists, University students, and other community members are converging on the heavily secured event to call attention to international struggles. Manuela Aldabe reports from Turin.

Former Senegalese PM Released from Prison (1:53)
Former Senegalese Prime Minister Idrissa Seck was set free this week after 7 months in prison. After his release, the one-time top ally of Senegalese president Abdoulaye Wade, said that nothing weighs on him more heavily than the difficulties the country face! s and nothing will stop him from his ambition to serve Senegal. His imprisonment led to some of his supporters abandoning the Senegalese Democratic Party, or PDS, and causing a split in the party – yet his release does not appear to be a unifying factor. In Senegal, FSRN’s Ndiaga Seck reports.

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