September 05, 2006

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Headlines (4:50)
Mexico’s Federal Electoral Tribunal today named Felipe Calderon as the country’s president-elect. Supporters of opposition candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador have been camped out in the streets of downtown Mexico City for over a month to demand a vote-by-vote recount. The electoral tribunal re-counted only 9 percent of the votes before issuing today’s ruling. Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has called for a massive assembly to discuss the creation of a parallel government on September 16th – Mexico’s Independence Day. Felipe Calderon will address the nation on Mexican television tonight.

In Argentina, a judge has overturned presidential pardons in favor of two top officials from the 1976-1983 military dictatorship. Marie Trigona reports from Buenos Aires.

Ex-Finance Minister Jose Alfredo Martinez de Hoz and former Interior Minister Alvaro Harguindeguy have joined the ranks of dozens of former military officers who now face charges of human rights abuses. A judge ruled yesterday that the presidential pardons granted to the 2 former officials were unconstitutional. The ruling opens the way for their prosecution on kidnapping charges related to the abduction of two businessmen in the 1970’s. Former President Carlos Menem decreed amnesty for military personnel in 1990, but that law was scrapped last year. Human rights groups who have protested for decades against military impunity celebrated the court decision. Martinez de Hoz and Harguindeguy, two of the most hated figures from the era of the military dictatorship, may face trial as early as next month.

The deaths of 23 British soldiers in Afghanistan since August have prompted more public debate about Britain’s role in the so-called ‘war on terror.’ The head of the British army says it’s operating at the limit of it’s capacity worldwide and can only just cope with the demands placed on it by the government. Naomi Fowler reports from London.

The security situation in Afghanistan and Iraq is worse than many anticipated. Head of the army, General Sir Richard Dannatt said yesterday that the UK was doing “more than its share of what is required in Afghanistan” with other NATO forces reportedly based in less dangerous areas. He also called for a public debate on defense spending amid complaints of insufficient resources and equipment for soldiers. The army also faces a shortfall in personnel with numbers of those leaving the army outstripping recruitment. According to Ministry of Defense figures, nearly 14,000 trained soldiers left last year. The army’s spending on advertising has nearly doubled and although recruitment rose by 9.2%, it still missed the government target. Pressure is now increasing on Tony Blair as top military and political figures unease about British involvement in various military campaigns is becoming increasingly public. This is Naomi Fowler in London for Free Speech Radio News.

This past weekend marked the highest combat-related death toll for Canadian troops in a twenty-four-hour period since the Korean War. Stefan Christoff reports from Montreal.

Canada has an estimated 2300 troops operating in Afghanistan; the majority are directly involved in ongoing combat activities in southern Afghanistan dubbed “Operation Medusa”. Four Canadian soldiers were killed in gun battles on Sunday. Another died Monday due to a U.S. air strike in an incident that has been described as “friendly-fire”. Sid Lacombe of the Canadian Peace Alliance. (audio) “We will see more Canadians coming home in body bags and we will also see more Afghan civilians being killed. As we have seen over the course of recent weeks there have been a number of cases.” Military officials estimate that NATO forces have killed over 200 Afghan fighters since the beginning of “Operation Medusa”. Major political parties in Canada are calling for the full withdrawal of Canadian troops from Afghanistan. This is Stefan Christoff reporting for Free Speech Radio News from Montreal.

Studies on deep Antarctic ice cores have revealed that carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are higher now than at any other time in the last 800,000 years. The studies analyze air bubbles trapped inside of ice – kilometers below the surface to gain insight into the nature of the Earth’s long term climate cycles. Scientists with the British Antarctic Survey say that human activity has produced climate-changing gases at a rate unseen in history.

Bush Launches New Security Strategy (Anchor Cut and Copy)
George Bush launched the stretch drive of this year’s election season with a speech warning Americans of terrorist attacks. In a speech marking the release of a new White House security strategy, Bush said that despite the absence an attack similar to those on 9/11, the terrorist danger remains potent.

Congress Debates the War (4:23)
As Bush spoke, members of Congress returned to Washington from their month long summer break. Many lawmakers spent August campaigning for themselves or for their party in the hopes winning control of Congress come November. But the campaigning didn’t end with the summer break. As Leigh Ann Caldwell reports from Washington, between now and election day lawmakers will formulate every word and every piece of legislation to fit their political message.

Camp Democracy Launched in Washington (3:29)
While Congress started their fall session, anti war activists set up a camp outside the capitol to demand an end to the war in Iraq. Organizers call it Camp Democracy. Selina Musuta has the story.

Israeli Soldier Could Be Released (3:09)
There are rumors today a deal has been reached between for the release of an Israeli soldier who was captured by Palestinian fighters on June 25th. The kidnaping of soldier Gilad Shalit sparked an Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip and months of stepped up Israeli incursions into the occupied territory, which have left more than 200 Palestinians dead. Saed Bannoura reports from the West Bank:

Breakthrough Could Mean Peace for Somalia (4:20)
A major breakthrough towards ending 15 years of war in Somalia today. The United Nations recognized interim government and the rival Islamist Union of Islamic Courts have agreed in principle to form a national army. The accord was struck after three days of talks mediated by the Arab League in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum. Emmanuel Okella reports from the neighboring Uganda.

Flooding in Kashmir (2:34)
Flash floods caused by incessant rainfall in the last week have inundated hundreds of villages in Indian administered Kashmir. Shahnawaz Khan reports from Srinagar.

Demonstrations for a Wage Hike on Labor Day (2:33)
In Colorado, labor groups celebrated Monday’s holiday by pushing for an increase to the minimum wage. Maeve Conran reports.

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