March 17, 2006
UN: Milosovic Not Murdered
UN Officials said today that former Yogoslav President Slobodon Milosovic was not poisoned. This comes just a day before his funeral in Serbia. Jackson Allers has more from Montenegro.
In a press conference earlier today, UN officials at The Hague said that toxicological reports released on Friday gave no indication that the former Yugoslav leader had been poisoned prior to his death. The President of the UN War crimes tribunal, Fausto Pocar, said that there were no traces of a pharmaceutical drug that might have counteracted the former president’s hypertension medication, as one Dutch toxicologist had suggested. A forensic expert sent by the Russian government confirmed the findings of a UN autopsy report that said Milosevic died of heart failure. The forensic expert said, however, that his death could have been prevented. Milosevic was on trial for more than 60 counts of war crimes and genocide. Prosecutors at the International Criminal Court contend he played the central role in the deaths of more than 100,000 people in Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo. It is unclear whether Milosevic’s wife, Mira Markovic, will attend the funeral on Saturday. Markovic is wanted on fraud charges in Serbia, but Serbian officials have lifted the arrest warrant so that she may attend the funeral. Milosevic’s body has been lying in wake at the Museum of Yugoslav history. Speaking on b-92 television in Serbia this week, the museum’s director, Ljiljana Cetinic, accused the state of perverting the use of a cultural institution, saying she was not consulted before the coffin was placed there. The funeral will take place in the leader’s hometown of Pozarevac, in eastern Serbia. Milosevic’s political opponents have organized a demonstration on Saturday to counter the crowds of people expected to eulogize the former President.
Fatah Says No to Hamas
A 10 year old Palestinian girls was killed by Israeli army fire in Nablus today. Meanwhile, after weeks of negotiations, Fatah, the former ruling Palestinian party of president Mahmoud Abbas, has decided not to join a future Hamas government. Laila El-Haddad has more from Gaza.
The decision was made by Fatah’s ruling Central Committee late on Thursday, though a formal announcement has yet to be made. Hamas officials in Gaza said the decision was regrettable, adding that they had tried their utmost for four weeks to reach common ground. Since it came to power through democratic elections in January, pressure has been mounting on Hamas by western powers to renounce violence and recognize Israel’s right to exist. The US and EU have vowed to withhold financial aid, its members have been barred from traveling by Israel, and Gaza’s commercial crossings have been shut down as punitive measures. The group’s leaders say they are ready to do so once Israel is asked to recognize Palestinian rights. They are slated to present their new cabinet to President Abbas on Saturday and bring it to the Palestinian parliament for approval Monday. The group held last-ditch talks on Thursday with smaller parliamentary factions and independents, including the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Hamas officials said they were still hoping the factions would agree to join their new government, despite purported US pressure on them not to do so.
Free Trade Protests End in Equator
Protests by Equator’s indigenous people against a proposed free trade deal with the United States has ended. For the past few days protesters have blocked roads and burned tires as they said a free trade deal would be a deathblow to their way of life. They say there will be even larger demonstrations nationwide if the government signs the deal.
Environmentalists Oppose Bush’s Nominee
Environmental groups have announced their opposition to President Bush’s nominee to head the dept of the interior. Jenny Johnson reports from Washington
IDAHO GOVERNOR DIRK KEMPTHORNE’S NOMINATION AS SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR ADDS TO HIS LEGAL HISTORY WITH THE DEPARTMENT. AS GOVERNOR, HE SUED THE INTERIOR DEPARTMENT IN 2000 OVER A GRIZZLY BEAR RECOVERY PROJECT. THE REINTRODUCTION PLAN WAS AUTHORIZED UNDER THE ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT. BUT KEMPTHORNE SAID THE BEARS WERE TOO DANGEROUS AND THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT WAS SUBVERTING STATE AUTHORITY OVER WILDLIFE. THE PUBLIC INTEREST LAW FIRM EARTH JUSTICE SAID KEMPTHORNE IS “OPENLY HOSTILE TO AMERICA’S NATURAL AREAS” AND THAT HE IS “CUT FROM THE SAME CLOTH” AS THE PREVIOUS SECRETARY, GALE NORTON. THE NOMINATION COMES AT THE SAME TIME THE ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT IS UNDERGOING REVISIONS IN THE HOUSE AND SENATE. IF APPROVED, KEMPTHORNE WOULD BEGIN MANAGING THE NATIONAL PARK SYSTEM AND WILDLIFE REFUGES.
Indian Police Kill Kashmiri Separatists
Four alleged Kashmiri separatists were killed by Indian police after a gun battle in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad. Binu Alex reports.
Four men identified by the police as members of the Kashmiri separatists Harkat-ul-Mujahideen were shot dead early this morning in a suburban area of Ahmedabad. The police say two of those killed were of Pakistani origin and implicated them to recent attacks. According to the police the four members began to fire after they were asked to surrender. The police killed all four. The police actions however are raising serious questions as the neighbors of the four men say they never saw any living in the area. Police , however claim they recovered arms, ammunitions, equipment to make detonators and a plastic bag containing explosives, which had the words ‘Mission Kashmir’ written on it.
And finally, a measure in Alabama’s state legislature would pardon every single person who violated segregation laws over the past 100 years. The measure gained traction after the death of Rosa Parks, who’s conviction for not giving up her seat in 1955 is still on the record. Alabama has ten days to approve the bill.
Other Massive Offensive Likely in Iraq (0:16)
As the third anniversary of the beginning of the war in Iraq approaches, the US military continues its massive offensive in the city of Samarra, long considered an insurgent stronghold. Lieutenant General Peter Chiarelli says that we’re likely to see many more such offensives in the months to come.
Kurdish Ceremony in Iraq Turns Violent (1:43)
As the offensive continues in Samarra, demonstrations in the normally peaceful Kurdish region turned violent during a ceremony to mark one of the atrocities committed by Saddam Hussein’s government. David Enders files this report from Halabja, in northern Iraq.
Thousands Likely to Participate in Anti-War Rallies Tomorrow (2:16)
Thousands of people are expected to rally and march tomorrow to commemorate the start of the invasion of Iraq, in over 500 places around the country. Act Now to Stop War and End Racism, or ANSWER, initiated the event, and about 10 other organizations have joined as co-sponsors. Muna Coobtee is the spokesperson for ANSWER LA, she spoke on the KPFK morning show, Uprising, about the need for people to come out to the streets for their first or hundredth time.
Nancy Pelosi Asks for Special Envoys to Sudan to Install Peace in Darfur (3:57)
Democratic House Leader Nancy Pelosi is urging President Bush to a appoint Special Envoy to Sudan to install peace in Darfur – where over 200,000 people have died in a bloody conflict that began 3 years ago between the government-supported Janjaweed Militia, mostly made up from the regions’ Arab tribes, and non-Arab residents. As the local and international effort to scale back the violence in Darfur increases, The University of California system has decided to divest all interests from the country, as pressure continues to mount on Sudan’s government to stop the violence. Leigh Ann Caldwell reports.
The Future of Blue Gold Debated in Mexico City (4:26)
The 4th World Water Forum is now underway in Mexico City, with representatives from over 120 nations attending. Thousands have registered for the conference, but the $600 registration fee has left many outside of the “official” debate over the future of the vital liquid. FSRN’s Shannon Young reports from Mexico City.
Maoist Rebels Block Nepal’s Capital (3:25)
Maoist rebels imposed a blockade of Nepal’s capital and district headquarters this week, as insurgents attempt to force King Gyanendra to relinquish autocratic control – but the imposition has been widely criticized for unfairly affecting the general public more than the royal palace. Although the timeframe for the blockade was originally indefinite, Nepals’ political future seems to hinge on the highly secretive negotiations taking place in New Delhi between an alliance of the sidelined Nepali political parties and the Maoist leadership. From Kathmandu, Carey Biron has more.
Call for Independent Review of New Orleans Police Department (3:32)
A criminal justice reform group met with the New Orleans City Council yesterday to call for a sweeping reform of the city’s justice system and to deliver testimony on the need for such reforms. The focus of the meeting was on the city’s infamously corrupt and violent police force, but included a scathing critique of the treatment of prisoners during post-Katrina flooding last September. FSRN’s Christian Roselund has more from New Orleans.