May 01, 2006

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Headlines (5:05)
Immigrant workers and their supporters are participating in a massive boycott in dozens of cities throughout the US today. Dubbed “A day without an immigrant”, organizers are calling for a day of “no work, no school, and no shopping”. Solidarity actions have spread to Mexico, with strike supporters boycotting, and in some cases blockading, US-based transnational restaurants and retail outlets. We’ll have reports from the streets later in the newscast.

Sri Lanka canceled May Day celebrations for the first time in its history in the midst of escalating violence that threatens a 4 year old truce between the government and the Tamil Tiger rebels. Hundreds of soldiers and civilians have been killed in attacks and counter-attacks in the past few weeks. Ponniah Manikavasagam reports from Sri Lanka.

Sri Lankan political parties refrained from participating in May Day rallies and public meetings, as a claymore explosion rocked the eastern port city of Trincomalee, killing a sailor and 4 civilians. Government officials said politicians canceled May Day functions suspecting large gatherings could be targeted by Tamil Tiger rebels for suicide bomb attacks. The Sri Lankan Army Commander who was seriously wounded in a suspected rebel suicide bomb attack last week is said to be recovering. That attack killed 11 people in the highly secured army headquarters in capital Colombo last Tuesday. Meanwhile, the rebels declared May Day a day of mourning and organized protest campaigns, blaming the government for the recent deaths of over 100 Tamil civilians in the north and east of the country. For Free Speech Radio News, I am Ponniah Manikavasagam from Vavuniya, Sri Lanka.

The parties involved in the crisis in Sudan’s Darfur region have failed to meet an African Union and United Nations deadline to reach a peace deal to end the conflict which has claimed more than 200,000 lives. Sam Olukoya reports from Lagos.

The African Union and United Nations set the end of April as the deadline for representatives of the Sudanese government and those of two rebel groups holding peace talks in Nigeria to reach an agreement. The Sudanese government has agreed to sign a last minute AU draft peace agreement. But the two rebel groups refused to sign it. They said it fell short of their demand for greater representation in government. Although the deadline for a peace deal has been extended by another 48 hours, it is unclear if there will be a breakthrough. The peace talks have been going on in the last two years. More than three million people face starvation as a result of the conflict. International peace makers insist there is an urgent need to end the conflict in order to halt the humanitarian crisis. For Free Speech Radio News, this is Sam Olukoya in Lagos.

The Israeli government decided yesterday to speed up the construction of its controversial West Bank Separation Wall after approving changes to its route. The new route will extend deep into the West Bank, putting tens of thousands of settlers on the Israeli side of the Wall and isolating thousands of the Palestinians in villages near Jerusalem from the city. The decision was announced yesterday as Israel launched raids on locations throughout the West Bank. Manar Jibrin reports.

Israeli army troops shot and killed, Itaf Zalat (45), a mother of five, during an invasion of the West Bank city of Tulkarem this morning the soldiers say they were looking for a wanted Islamic Jihad operative. Abu Mohammad, Itaf’s husband, describes what happened. “When the soldiers opened fire, my wife and I were sitting in the kitchen by the window, our two daughters were sitting one meter away. When the shooting stopped, one of the girls started screaming, my hand, my hand, I went to check my daughter and I found a hole in her arm and the bones were crushed. I covered the wound with my hand to stop the bleeding, then my other girl yelled at me saying look at my mother. I turned to my wife and found her neck bent on her shoulder and she was dead.” In the past 24 hours, Israeli troops carried out raids in the West Bank cities of Nablus, Hebron and Bethlehem arresting total of 40 people. For FSRN from IMEMC.Org in Palestine this is Manar Jibrin.

The federal government has intervened in a class-action lawsuit brought against AT&T.; Cristina Aanestad reports from San Francisco.

The federal government filed a motion on Friday to dismiss the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s class action lawsuit against AT&T.; The electronic civil rights group alleges AT&T; broke the Federal Telecommunications Act and Electronic Communications Privacy Act by giving the National Security Agency access to the telephone and internet records of millions of AT&T;’s clients. But the federal government has intervened, seeking a dismissal of the suit, arguing the the government’s military and state secrets privilege “permits the government to protect against the unauthorized disclosure in litigation of information that may harm national security interests,”. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has vowed to fight the motion. A hearing on the government’s motion to dismiss the AT&T; lawsuit is scheduled for May 17th. For FSRN, I’m Christina Aanestad in San Francisco.

Day Without Immigrants (2:07)
On this International Workers Day, immigrants and supporters in the United States celebrated by boycotting work and consumerism to highlight the contributions of immigrants. This comes as Congress is stalled in crafting legislation that would determine their future status. The most extreme bill which has been received with large protests and staunch opposition by immigrant rights advocates, is HR 4437 which would make a person without papers a felon. FSRN will explore several elements of this polarizing debate. But first, we take you to cities around the country where protests and boycotts are taking place on this Day Without Immigrants.

Dynamics of Migration (3:44)
As we focus on immigrants, their struggles and their battles today, Free Speech Radio News correspondent Luz Ruíz who is in Tijuana Mexico, takes a look at the economic conditions that has lead to the northward migration patterns.

Street Vendors Fight for Justice (2:10)
As people migrate to the US many immigrant workers are finding themselves in industries where major labor unions are not helping organize for worker rights, including taxi drivers, domestic workers and street vendors just to name a few. In New York, Street vendors, who are a distinct part of the city’s culture and who are mostly made up of immigrant workers, face constant harassment from police and are often times levied 1,000 dollar fines for conducting business in the city’s biggest shopping areas. But street vendors are fighting back. Bilal Moran, of the Community News Production, reports.

France Marks May Day (3:34)
Tens of thousands joined traditional May Day parades in France’s major towns and cities today. Morale was high after workers’ and students’ unions inflicted a major defeat on the government by forcing it to withdraw its unpopular youth employment scheme, the C-P-E. Labour leaders promised more protests to come. Tony Cross reports from Paris.

Kashmiri Violence (1:55)
In other news, Guerrillas are suspected to have killed at least 35 Hindus in Indian-administered Kashmir today. The massacre comes two days ahead of talks between Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the moderate faction of Kashmiri Separatist alliance Shanawaz Khan reports.

Protest to End Genocide in Darfur (2:09)
A massive crowd gathered on the national mall in Washington D.C. on Sunday to show support for ending genocide in the western Sudanese area of Darfur. Maria Callier has more from the nation’s capital.

Military Raids of Falluja Schools (2:13)
Today Iraqi President Jalal Talabani says he recently met the representatives of seven armed groups and is optimistic that they may agree to lay down their arms. Today does mark the third year anniversary since President Bush announced mission accomplished in Iraq. Meanwhile, reports indicates that US military raids are being conducted in schools in Falluja. Salam Talib of FSRN reports.

NYC Anti-war Rally (2:02)
Three hundred thousand people marched in NYC on Saturday against the war in Iraq, and threatened U.S. military action against Iran. Other, related issues were also high on the agenda. FSRN’s Melinda Tuhus reports.

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