May 23, 2006

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Headlines (4:58)
Two separate car bombs killed at least 10 people in Baghdad today. The first blast targeted police in the eastern part of Baghdad. The second bomb exploded near a market in Sadr City. The Associated Press reports that at least 23 people were killed across the country today. President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair will meet later this week. The two are expected to discuss details of handing over future security responsibilities to the Iraqi government.

The Israeli army arrested dozens of Palestinians in the West Bank today, including a commander the armed wing of Hamas. The Hamas figure, 41 year old Ibrahim Hamed, was captured this morning in Ramallah after Israeli troops surrounded the house where he was hiding and threatened to bulldoze it. Hamed has been wanted by Israel for 8 years. Israel accuses him of orchestrating a series of attacks which resulted in 78 deaths.

Meanwhile, the Israeli High Court of Justice today rejected an appeal by town residents to change the route of Israel’s separation wall near Jerusalem. Manar Jibrin reports.
The route of the Wall is planned in a way that enables Israel to annex Palestinian lands between Maali Adumim settlement bloc and the east of Jerusalem and isolates the Palestinian areas and blocks the geographical contiguity of the West Bank. On Monday, the Israeli High Court approved a section of the Wall south of Qalqilia, north of the West Bank. The decision isolates one thousand acres of Palestinian orchards behind the Wall and includes the settlements of Beit Arieh and Opharim. It will lead to the uprooting of 1100 olive trees that belong to the Palestinian residents. Residents of the town of Al Ezariyya today lost their appeal against the Wall’s path. The construction of the Wall is viewed by many Palestinians as part of the unilateral measures Israel is taking to draw its final borders, diminishing any possibility of a Palestinian viable contiguous state. The International Court of Justice in the Hague ruled in July 2004 that the Separation Wall is illegal. Regardless, the Israeli government said it will accelerate the construction of the Wall and complete 95% of its route within a year. For FSRN from IMEMC.Org in Palestine, I am Manar Jibrin.

The Senate today defeated an amendment submitted by California Senator Diane Feinstein to allow all undocumented immigrants living in the United States to become legal residents. Feinstein’s amendment would have removed the tiered system, which splits undocumented immigrants into 3 groups. Several Senators who would have otherwise supported Feinstein’s amendment voted against it to preserve the fragile coalition backing the larger immigration bill. The amendment failed 61-37. The Senate today also agreed to authorize the deployment of the National Guard to the US/Mexico border. The entire bill is likely to receive a final vote later this week.

The local parliament of Spain’s Canary Islands has requested military assistance to patrol surrounding waters. The request comes as large numbers of would-be migrants have been arriving in the Canary Islands by boat from Africa. An estimated 7,400 Africans have landed in the Canary Islands so far this year. A record-setting 647 migrants arrived in the archipelago in one day last week. The spike in migration to the Canary Islands comes after Spain and Morocco began heavy immigration enforcement activities along what used to be the most often travelled migration routes into the European mainland. Many of the boats landing in the Canary Islands set out from Senegal. Senegalese authorities say they have captured over 1,500 migrants at sea on their way to Europe since Thursday of last week. Spain today asked the European Union for logistical support.

New scientific research on global temperatures indicates that future temperatures may rise much further than previously thought. From London, Naomi Fowler reports.
These two new studies (one in the US and one in Europe) used historical records to assess the likely global warming rise. Their findings challenge the consensus view of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the global body which collates and analyses climate research. They say current estimates are far too low, by as much as 78%. Research groups both sides of the Atlantic came up with similar findings. They’ve been conservative in their research they say, but there will be a likely temperature rise of about 5.8 to 7.7 Celsius by the end of this century. Environmentalists are now watching to see if how research will impact on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change upcoming major study – and if these findings will impact on global policy to tackle climate change. This is Naomi Fowler in London for Free Speech Radio News.

House Places Strict Sanctions on Palestine (2:35)
The House of Representatives passed legislation that places strict sanctions on the Hamas-led Palestinian government. On the day Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert arrived in DC to meet with President Bush, rhetoric from both supporters and opponents of the sanction legislation blamed Hamas for violence, but defended Israel’s role in the conflict. FSRN’s Leigh Ann Caldwell reports.

Amnesty International Release Annual Report (1:28)
Amnesty International USA’s Executive Director Larry Cox hold a press conference today, to release the organizations 2006 Annual Report, which provides an overview of the state of human rights around the world. Executive Director Larry Cox says that human rights abuses at carried out by US military contractors are damaging the US standing around the world.

India and Pakistan Hold Talks to Demilitarize Siachen Glacier (3:57)
India and Pakistan began talks on the disputed Siachen Glacier in New Delhi today. Located at an altitude of more than 15,000 feet above sea level, the Glacier is considered the highest battlefield in the world. Shahnawaz Khan has more.

Sudanese Refugees Make Their Way Back Home (4:43)
The United Nations Refugee Agency has started the repatriation of thousands of Sudanese refugees, mostly from Uganda, following the end of a 21-year-long civil war in southern Sudan. So far, 27,000 of the some 174,000 Sudanese refugees in Uganda have registered to repatriate. Over the weekend, about 200 Sudanese refugees, including women, elders and young people, returned to their home villages in Kajo Keji County, in Southern Sudan. FSRN’S Joshua Kyalimpa joined the returning refugees on their journey back home.

Jordan to Face Severe Long Term Water Shortages (3:52)
The Kingdom of Jordan has the highest rate of population growth in the Middle East, but is one of the poorest in terms of natural resources. Ministry of Water officials are already predicting that the country will suffer from water shortages this summer, but there is also a serious long-term problem afoot. Jordan is one of three countries that depends on water from the Jordan River basin, which includes the Dead Sea. David Enders files this report from Amman.

Immigrants and Supporters Gather on 10th Annual Immigrants Day (4:00)
The Senate is poised to vote by the end of this week on its version of the controversial immigration reform bill. Last week, the Senate approved amendments to the bill to make English the national language, to build a 370-mile fence along the Mexican border and to bar immigrants convicted of a felony or three misdemeanors, including evading a deportation order, from legalization. On Monday, hundreds of immigrants and advocates gathered at the California state capital to mark the 10th annual Immigrants Day, rallying in support of immigrant rights. Ngoc Nguyen was there and files this report.

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