June 09, 2006

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Headlines (5:28)
An Israeli missile hit a crowded Gaza beach this afternoon, killing a number of vacationing Palestinian civilians. Saed Bannoura reports.

The Israeli missile dropped on the crowded beach this afternoon killed 11 Palestinians and wounded forty. Today’s attack follows an air strike last night that killed the leader of the Palestinian Popular Resistance Committees and three others. A separate attack killed 4 other Palestinians today in the northern Gaza Strip. Palestinian prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh: (actuality) “These crimes and assassinations aim to break the will of the Palestinian people and to destroy any chance for a peaceful solution, to resume the unjust siege against the Palestinian people and government. Our people will remain steadfast and we are sure that these sacrifices will not be in vain.” The Israeli military says it will investigate the incident, while Hamas’ military wing has pledged for the first time in over a year to resume attacks against Israel. The ongoing Israeli attacks on civilians in Gaza, with over 2400 artillery shells fired in the last month alone, combined with an international blockade that has prevented food, medicine and paychecks from reaching Palestinians, have made life for Palestinians in the Occupied Territories reach a breaking point. Saed Bannoura, FSRN, Beit Sahour, Palestine.

A U.S. district judge has ruled that a confession allegedly obtained by torture may be used as evidence in a terrorism case to be held in Chicago. Shannon Heffernan has the story.

In the months leading up to the decision, the judge met with Israeli soldiers to discuss their alleged use of torture during the interrogation of Muhammad Salah. Salah, a U.S. citizen, was arrested by Israeli soldiers in 1993 at a checkpoint leading into the Gaza Strip. Israeli authorities say that Salah was bringing funds to aid Hamas, which Israel considers a terrorist organization. Salah says the money he was arrested with was for humanitarian aid. The defense team was not allowed in the meetings between the judge and the Israeli soldiers, allegedly due to security concerns. Michael Deutch, Salah’s defense attorney says the decision sets two very dangerous precedents: (actuality) “One, the use evidence obtained by torture from a foreign government, and two accepting the allegations of this, these tortures that is classified and having secret proceedings where the public the press and even the defense is not allowed to be present.” Muhammad Salah spent 5 years in an Israeli prison before returning to his home in a Chicago suburb. In 2004, the US government charged Salah with aiding terrorists. The case will go to trial in October of this year. For FSRN, I’m Shannon Heffernan in Chicago.

An AP-Ipsos poll conducted Monday through Wednesday of this week has found that 59 percent of those surveyed feel that the war in Iraq is a mistake. The poll also found President Bush’s approval rating to be at 33 percent. Disapproval of the way in which the president is handling the war in Iraq is over 70 percent for: women, unmarried men, people of color, city dwellers, and people from households earning less than $25,000 a year.

An amendment to ensure Internet neutrality was defeated yesterday in the House of Representatives. The amendment was part of a larger telecommunications bill known as the Communications, Opportunity, Promotions and Enhancement Act, which aims to ease government regulations and allow telephone companies to enter into the cable industry. The COPE Act passed by a large margin after the defeat of the amendment that would have imposed strong government regulations to ensure that Internet service providers give equal treatment to all Internet traffic and websites; a concept known as “net neutrality”. The amendment’s supporters fear the giant telecommunications and cable companies will create a pay-based, two-tiered system that website hosts will have to buy into. Service providers said the amendment was unnecessary – arguing that the government would be trying to regulate something that hasn’t been problematic. The amendment’s sponsor, Rep. Ed Markey of Massachusetts said that the vote would forever change the open and democratic nature of Internet.

Bad weather is preventing the clean up of a massive oil spill on the shores of the Indian state of Goa. The spill has severely affected marine life and local fishing communities. Gloria Khamkar reports.

Fishing activity around the shoreline of Goa in India has been badly affected for the last week and there is panic amongst the fishermen, especially the marginal ones who go fishing close to the shore and operate without the help of automatic trawlers. Many dead fish have been washed ashore in the last week after a Panamanian cargo vessel, Ocean Seraya, broke into two parts in south Goa. The vessel had 650 metric tones of furnace oil when it hit an island on its way to Karwar port. Scientists and environmentalists are worried about the long-term effects that might have on the aquatic life in the region. For FSRN, I’m Gloria Khamkar in Pune, India.

Virginia governor, Tim Kaine, has issued a 6 month stay of execution for Percy Walton, who was scheduled to die last night for a 1996 triple homicide. Walton’s attorneys say he is insane and mentally retarded. Walton will face a mental health evaluation before his new execution date.

Date For Palestinian Referendum (2:30)
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is expected to sign a decree on Saturday setting the date of July 31 for a national referendum that includes the question as to whether to recognize Israel. However Hamas is warning that such a referendum will split the people. Manar Jibreen has more.

Israeli PM Goes to Jordan (2:54)
Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has just finished a visit to the kingdom of Jordan where he attempted quell Jordanian fears of Israel’s potential plan of unilaterally drawing its borders with Palestine. From Amman,Oula Farawati has the story.

Delay’s Last Remarks (0:47)
Last night former House Majority Leader Tom Delay gave his final remarks on the House floor before retiring from Congress. In his speech he hailed the conservative way, and called liberalism – the wrong way, crediting himself with the rise of conservative power in Congress. By the end of his 20 minute speech, most democrats had stood up and walked out. Democrats are pushing to keep his name on the November ballot in Texas.

House Approves Foreign Ops Bill (2:54)
Today the House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a 22 billion dollar foreign operations bill which provides 2.3 billion dollars in military aid to Israel and another 1.3 billion in military aid to Egypt. However, the House rejected an amendment to cut funding for WHINSEC, formerly known as The School of the Americas that has been accused of training Latin American military officers who have gone on to commit war crimes. It also rejected an amendment to channel money away from Columbia’s drug fumigation operations to refugee assistance. Leigh Ann Caldwell reports from Capitol Hill.

The World Cup & Sex Trafficking (4:32)
The World Cup begins in Germany today. As up to 3 million soccer fans travel to the European nation, German officials and human rights activists are turning their gaze towards the issue of sex trafficking. The Parliamentary Assembly of Europe estimates that between 30 and 60 thousand women will be kidnaped, coerced or smuggled into Germany to serve as sex-slaves during the World Cup period. Amnesty International is currently staging a campaign along with other German NGO’s to bring awareness of the problem of trafficked women who are sexually exploited. However, German sex workers say the figures are being grossly exaggerated. Sex work has been legal in Germany since 2002, and sex-workers say the media hype is bad for business and represses migrant workers in the industry. Cinnamon Nippard reports from Berlin.

Protesting A Mining Company (2:59)
In Colorado, activists gathered outside the annual shareholders meeting of a mining and exploration company to protest the companies mining activities in El Salvador. FSRN’s Maeve Conran reports from Denver.

White House’s Neighbor Closes (3:07)
As Gentrification resulting from sky-rocketing real estate markets continues to impact communities throughout the United States, in Washington DC, the latest casualty to condominium development is a homeless shelter just blocks from the White House. FSRN’s Darby Hickey reports.

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