August 17, 2006

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Headlines (5:52)
A federal judge in Detroit today ruled that the National Security Agency’s warrantless wiretapping program is unconstitutional and must stop immediately. The Honorable Anna Diggs Taylor said that the eavesdropping program violates the Constitutionally-protected rights to free speech and privacy. The American Civil Liberties Union brought the lawsuit on behalf of attorneys, academics, and journalists who argued that the program hampers their ability to work, as contacts in other countries would be reluctant to speak over the phone.

Lebanese soldiers are stepping back into the south of the country after decades of absence. However, the issue of the disarmament of the Hezbollah is far from resolved, as the militia’s popularity within Lebanon has increased after the Israeli invasion. Khaled Sid Mohand.

The International Maritime Organization and the United Nations Environment Programme held a joint meeting in Athens, Greece today to adopt a plan to begin the clean-up of a massive oil spill that has contaminated the Lebanese coastline. The Israeli bombardment of a power plant south of Beirut sent more than 10,000 tons of fuel oil into the Mediterranean Sea. The current ceasefire has provided Lebanese authorities with the first opportunity to work on cleaning up the month-old spill.

As Israeli troops continue their withdrawal from southern Lebanon, Israel’s Defense Minister has called for an investigation of Israeli actions during the war. Jenka Soderberg reports from Jerusalem.

A federal jury in North Carolina today found former CIA contractor David Passaro guilty of assaulting an Afghan prisoner during an interrogation session. The detainee, Abdul Wali, died two days after the beating. Passaro was the first US civilian charged with detainee abuse since the beginning of the war in Afghanistan.

In Oaxaca, Mexico, the movement calling for the resignation of the state’s governor is gaining momentum – as the governor continues to refuse to leave office. Vladimir Flores reports.

Federal Budget Flusher Than Thought (2:13)
The Congressional Budget Office or CBO released their revised outlook for the U.S. budget and economy on Thursday. According to the CBO, which is the federal agency that projects the budgetary effects of proposed legislation, the deficit for 2006 will be 112 billion dollars lower than estimated in March. The new deficit estimate is due mostly to higher than anticipated revenues–mostly from individual and corporate income taxes–that have come in this year. However, the U.S. budget deficit is expected to rise in fiscal 2007. Selina Musuta has more from Washington.

Former Generals Stand Against Bush (:26) actuality
Twenty one former generals and high ranking national security officials called on President Bush to reverse course today and embrace a new area of negotiation with Iran, Iraq, and North Korea. In a telephone press conference this morning, the group told reporters Bush’s ‘hard line’ policies have undermined national security and made America less safe. General Joseph Hoar was the Commander in Chief of US Military Central Command under Presidents Bill Clinton and George H. W. Bush.

Iraqi Government Fights Iraqi Militia (4:00)
Two more American soldiers were killed in Iraq today. Stepped up patrols have done little to stem the tide of violence in Iraq. At least ten people died in car bombs in the Iraqi capital today. Seven of the dead were killed and 15 were wounded when a car bomb exploded at midday near an outdoor market in Sadr City, Baghdad’s biggest Shiite district. Meantime, the South of Iraq saw the biggest outbreak of government violence against Shi’ite groups as Iraqi Government troops attacked followers of Ayatollah Mahmoud Hassani al-Sarkhi. Host Aaron Glantz reports with Salam Talib.

California Lawmakers Want National Guard to Return from Iraq (3:21)
A resolution to bring home California National Guard troops serving in Iraq died in a state legislative committee Wednesday. The measure by a Democratic lawmaker from Berkeley called for Arnold Schwarzenegger to urge Congress and President George W. Bush to return California’s guard members to the state so they can respond to local disasters. Republican criticized the resolution as sending a message of weakness in a “clash of civilizations.” Christopher Martinez reports from Sacramento:

Nigeria Political Killings Could Drive Oil Prices Up (2:18)
Nigeria is witnessing a spate of political assassinations as the country prepares for general elections scheduled for early next year. There are fears political instability in Africa’s largest oil exporter may affect the international oil market. Sam Olukoya reports from Lagos.

Canadians Rally Against Colin Powell (2:39)
About 15,000 Lebanese troops have headed to the south of their country to take control of Hezbollah bastions alongside UN peacekeepers as Israeli forces gradually withdraw after a 34-day war. But even as the fighting calms down, global fallout from the conflict continues. When former Secretary of State Colin Powell visited Montreal this week as a key note speaker at a large scale event organized by the Jewish National Fund, hundreds of protesters gathered outside to protest. FSRN’s Stefan Cristoff was there.

Spike Lee Film Documents Katrina Survivors (3:23)
Filmmaker Spike Lee presented the first public screening of his four-hour documentary on Hurricane Katrina to several thousand in New Orleans last night. The raw, graphic film has already generated national controversy, but many in New Orleans say the presentation is accurate. Christian Roselund has more.

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