May 25, 2006

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Headlines (4:56)
The jury of the Enron Trial handed down a flurry of guilty verdicts today in Houston. Lisa Cohen reports from the courthouse.

(no transcript available)

A 23-year old Pakistani immigrant has been found guilty by a New York jury of conspiracy to place and detonate a bomb in the Herald Square subway station. Shahawar Matin Siraj was convicted based on conversations recorded by an informant paid by the NYPD to spy on local mosques. The defense argued Siraj was entrapped by the older man, but the members of the jury decided there was not enough physical evidence to prove that the bombing plan originally came from the informant. Defense attorneys say they will appeal.

In Brazil, details of a bloody crackdown are slowly emerging one week after police and members of a criminal organization battled in the streets of São Paulo. Natalia Viana has the story.

A total of 110 people were killed by the police last week. The general commander of the São Paulo Police, Elizeu Edair Borges, denied that any of them were innocent, but on Tuesday the government admitted that only 79 people were actually suspected of involvement with the crime organization. One week after the crackdown, the government still refuses to make public the names of the victims. FSRN talked to a family in Capão Redondo, a poor neighborhood in the south of São Paulo, and discovered that 5 men were killed after leaving a bar on May 15th. According to witnesses, four men wearing black clothes and ski masks jumped from a car, yelled “Police!” and then started shooting. The same black car was seen hours later riding together with 3 police vehicles. All testimonies say the 5 men killed were regular workers. The secretary of public security told FSRN that their deaths were not counted in the official number of deaths at the hands of the police. They were considered a “regular casualty”. That is, the police have apparently killed more than they admit. For FSRN, I am Natalia Viana in São Paulo, Brazil.

One-hundred and fifty Australian commandos landed in East Timor today to to help quell a recent upsurge of violence in the tiny nation. The wave of violence was sparked in April when 600 Timorese soldiers were dismissed after protesting discrimination within the ranks. Ahead of the troops’ arrival, the security situation in the capital city of Dili was reportedly grave as pro-government forces and rebel troops waged gunfights in the city’s center. Australia is to send an additional 1,300 troops. New Zealand, Malaysia, and Portugal have also committed peacekeeping forces.

The hyped Round Table conference chaired by India´s Prime Minister concluded in Srinagar, Kashmir today. None of the Kashmiri Separatist groups attended the conference. Shahnawaz Khan has the story.

Although there were no major decisions or announcements at the end of the Round Table Conference in Srinagar today, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said he was hopeful that separatists will join the series of round table conferences in future. Singh announced the formation of five working groups to work on issues like confidence building measures, the rehabilitation of people affected by violence, strengthening relations across the line of control in Kashmir, good governance and economic development. Singh also talked about reviewing cases of Kashmiri detainees languishing in jails for many years. Meanwhile, Indo-Pak talks on the demilitarization of the Siachen Glacier ended in New Delhi Wednesday without making any breakthrough. The Siachen Glacier is the world’s highest battlefield. Harsh weather there claims more lives of troops than enemy fire. For FSRN, I’M Shahnawaz Khan.

Anti-war protesters were arrested in Olympia, Washington on Wednesday while try to block US Army convoys headed for Iraq for the 3rd day in a row. Mark Taylor-Canfield reports.

Equipment for the 3rd Stryker Brigade, headquartered at Fort Lewis, is being loaded onto ships at the Port of Olympia as troops prepare to leave for Iraq on their second deployment. Anti-war protesters have continued to commit acts of civil disobedience in an attempt to block the military vehicles’ access to port facilities. Witnesses say police arrested ten people on Wednesday. There have been a total of 17 arrests since the protests began. So far, most of the demonstrators have been charged with misdemeanors for blocking traffic. The demonstrators say they oppose the use of the public port to support what they call an illegal and immoral war. Their repeated attempts to force the port commission to stop accepting military shipments since 2004 have been unsuccessful. The military convoys are scheduled to continue for another week and protesters say they will be back for more demonstrations. This is Mark Taylor-Canfield reporting for Free Speech Radio News in Seattle.

Senate Passes Controversial Immigration Reform Bill (2:46)
The Senate is about to vote on its controversial immigration reform bill. Those who opposed the bill because they say it includes a path to citizenship for currently undocumented immigrants are hopeful that the bill will shed such provisions when it meets House negotiators. FSRN’s Leigh Ann Caldwell reports.

South Central Farmers (3:00)
Hundreds of South Central Farmers and their supporters held a candlelight vigil on the Farm’s perimeter last night, and people say they are willing to risk arrest in the struggle to save the largest urban farm in the nation. The Farmers are asking supporters to keep pressure on LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to make good on his promise to help save the land. As demonstrators made their way back inside the Farm, speakers, spoken word artists and musicians entertained the crowd of about 500 people until midnight. Many in the crowd became anxious when at least 4 armed Federal Agents identified themselves and said they were there to guard the train tracks, adjacent to the Farm. A helicopter also flew over the Farm’s main gathering area, shining a nearly blinding light on people for about 10 minutes. At around 3 am, an explosion was heard, and the warehouse about 50 yards away from where the South Central Farm supporters were sleeping, caught on fire. As fire trucks, ambulances and police vehicles arrived at the scene, the Farm organizers declared a complete lock down to maintain the safety of supporters there, and no incident between police and activists occurred. Rosa Romero works with the South Central Farmers Support Coalition. We caught up with her this morning inside the Farm.

Palestinian Legislative Council Convenes National Dialogue on Internal Conflict (4:33)
The Palestinian Legislative Council has convened a two-day National Dialogue, in a bid to end the internal unrest and factional fighting in the Gaza Strip. The continuing conflict resulted in one death and four injured in Gaza. Saed Bannoura reports from Beit Sahour, Palestine.

Tension Remains 6 Year Anniversary of Israel Withdrawal from Lebanon (4:11)
Today marks the 6th anniversary of Israel’s withdrawal from South Lebanon, ending its 22-year occupation. Yet six years later, a state of war between the two countries persists. Emily Dische-Becker and Jamal Ghosn report from Beirut.

House Passes Bill to Drill and Explore in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (2:43)
The House of Representatives has passed a bill to drill and explore for oil in the Artic National Wildlife Refuge, or ANWR 221-to-201. Opening ANWR up for oil exploration is a cornerstone for President Bush’s energy independence blueprint. Shifting oil extraction to domestic sites has been actively supported by many House Republicans, who deem it necessary to be actively involved in energy issues as congressional elections approach. Anastasia Gnezditskaia reports from DC.

Iraqi Expatriates in Jordan (3:37)
Since the US invasion of Iraq more than three years ago, as many as one million Iraqis have gone to Jordan to escape lawlessness or to find jobs. That flight has created a dichotomous exile community. David Enders files this report from Amman, Jordan.

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