May 11, 2006

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Headlines (4:57)
University students blockaded roads and highways in various parts of Mexico City today, calling for the release of all of those arrested last week in San Salvador Atenco.

(audio) According to calls made to Mexico City’s Ke Huelga radio, police launched tear gas near the National School of Anthropology and History to break up a blockade. Eye-witnesses say that a police helicopter was used to disperse a blockade along the highway that connects the Mexican capital to the city of Puebla. Yesterday afternoon, a judge determined the legal situation of those arrested during last week’s violent raids. 144 people charged with organized crime and disrupting a roadway can be released on bail, while 28 people charged with more serious crimes, including aggravated kidnapping will remain in prison. Seventeen have been released without charge.

Meanwhile, Mexican president Vicente Fox was heckled by demonstrators today in Vienna, in protest of the crackdown in Atenco. Fox is in the Austrian capital as part of an EU-Latin American trade summit.

Britain’s High Court ruled today that around 8,000 British citizens – expelled from their homes in the Chagos Islands forty years ago to make way for a US military base – have the right to return. From London, Naomi Fowler reports.

The Chagossian islanders have received favourable rulings from British courts before, but the British government has used what’s called the ‘royal prerogative’ to over rule court decisions on this British colony in the Indian ocean. It allows government ministers to make decisions without the approval of parliament. The site is of great strategic importance militarily and was most recently used for bombing raids in Afghanistan and Iraq. Most of the islanders are living in poverty in Mauritius since their forced removal and empty promises of land and compensation. The Chagos Refugee Group said today they would go home as soon as possible. The British government is expected to appeal the court’s decision. This is Naomi Fowler in London for Free Speech Radio News.

Government officials in Puerto Rico say they have reached a compromise to help end the island’s ongoing fiscal crisis. Schools have been temporarily closed and public sector employees have been out of work because of the budget shortfall. Details are to be finalized today. Puerto Rico’s legislature must approve the deal before it can take effect.

More than 400 penguins from an Argentine nature reserve have been found covered in petroleum. At air time, the source of the contamination had not been found.

In Nigeria, Gunmen in the Niger Delta region kidnapped three foreign oil workers today, just one day after the killing of an American employee of an oil services company. Sam Olukoya reports from Lagos.

Although both incidents occurred in the south eastern city of Port Harcourt, they are thought to be unrelated. In the first incident, an American working with an oil servicing company with headquarters in the United States was shot dead at close range by a gunman who escaped on a motorcycle. Police believe the American was targeted for assassination. In the second incident, three foreign workers with a subsidiary of the Italian oil company Agip were kidnaped today while driving within the city. In recent weeks, local militant groups have carried out a spate of attacks on oil facilities and kidnaped several foreign oil workers to protest the activities of foreign oil companies in the Niger Delta. It is however unclear if either of the two latest incidents were related to the growing unrest in the region. For Free Speech Radio News, this is Sam Olukoya in Lagos.

Jordan has announced the arrest of more than 20 suspected Hamas members, accused of smuggling weapons into the country to attack Jordanian targets. Oula Farawati reports from Amman.

Jordanian government spokesman, Nasser Judeh, said the arrests were connected to the discovery on April 18 of a cache of weapons, including Iranian-made Katyusha rockets and anti-tank missiles, that were allegedly smuggled into Jordan. Jordanian authorities briefed five top Palestinian security officials, led by Palestinian General Intelligence chief, Major-General Tareq Abu Rajab, of the evidence against the suspected Hamas members. The team was sent by Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, not the Hamas-led government. (voice Judeh) Judeh says the Palestinian delegation was shown documents, information, and evidence that implicates Hamas beyond a doubt. Hamas, meanwhile, denied the accusations and said the fabricated allegations were an attempt by Jordan to conceal its lack of support for the Palestinians. In Amman, Jordan, this is Oula Farawati reporting for FSRN.

Senators Still Wary As New Report Indicates Increased Surveillance by National Security Agency (3:47)
According to one Senator, the Bush Administration is moving toward a constitutional confrontation over the warrant-less wiretapping program. Other Senators have renewed pledges to further investigate the program, as the Department of Defense halted their internal investigation of the program – and an article in USA Today reveals that the NSA has contracted with three major phone companies to create a major database of US resident’s communications. Leigh Ann Caldwell reports.

DC Moves Closer to Having Voting Member of Congress (1:50)
The District of Columbia is closer to obtaining voting rights in Congress than it has seen a decade. A bill to give DC a voting member of Congress has been presented as having broad support. The bill will give the district one seat and Utah, the state next in line for adding a representative, one more seat. This would increase the number of representatives from 435 to 437. DC delegate, Eleanor Holmes Norton.

Lawmakers Announce Initiative to Enhance Bio-Fuel Production (3:30)
The House Democratic Rural Working Group held a news conference today to announce its Energizing America Initiative. Its goal is to relieve the pain that US energy consumers, especially farmers, feel at the pump by enhancing production of bio-fuels, such as bio-diesel and ethanol. Anastasia Gnezditskaia has more from DC.

The Impact Back Home: Immigrating from Oaxaca (4:00)
In the past 5 years, an estimated 5 million people have left Mexico for the United States – and the southern sate of Oaxaca continues to be among the top emigration states. Official data ranks Oaxaca as third in the receipt of remittances, which constitutes an important indicator of the social situation in the majority indigenous area. Vladimir Flores reports from Oaxaca.

Northeasterners Unaware of Regions Vulnerability to Hurricanes (2:41)
Its predicted that this years hurricane season will be more active than normal and the Northeast region of the United States will be hit by a major hurricane. Its been decades since a major hurricane struck the Northeast – Danuta Szafraniec reports that the public there isn’t aware of the region’s vulnerability.

Water And Power Restored 8 Months After Hurricane Katrina (2:36)
Water service was restored to portions of New Orleans’ Lower 9th ward this week, more than eight months after the neighborhood suffered catastrophic flooding last fall. The restoration of clean water cleared a major obstacle for those trying to rebuild in the neighborhood – but it’s only one of many obstacles that returning residents face. FSRN’s Christian Roselund reports from New Orleans.

Mumia Abu-Jamal Commentary: “Zacharia Moussaoui” (2:30)

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