September 13, 2006

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Headlines (5:44)
British Prime Minister Tony Blair today called on NATO members to contribute 2,500 more troops to Afghanistan. Despite his appeal, there is still no formal offer of help on the part of member states. Naomi Fowler reports from London.

There are currently more than 18,500 mainly NATO soldiers in Afghanistan and around the same number of US troops. But this so-called ‘war on terror’ is becoming more protracted and dangerous than many anticipated. Twenty-six British soldiers have been killed in the past month in Afghanistan; top British military figures have publicly denounced what they see as the lack of commitment from other NATO member states to share a burden they feel is disproportionately falling on the British and Canadian military. Tony Blair made a personal appeal today: ‘NATO is looking at what further requirements there are and NATO and NATO countries have got a duty to respond to that, the British forces are making their contribution.’ But each member state has differing rules of engagement and many have always been less enthusiastic than the UK about the US’s so-called ‘war on terror’ which began after the 9/11 attacks. This is Naomi Fowler in London for Free Speech Radio News.

Nine states plus the District of Colombia held primary elections yesterday. Senator Lincoln Chafee, a moderate Republican, beat the more conservative Steve Laffey in the Rhode Island primary. Even though he doesn’t support the war in Iraq or tax breaks, the Republican party supported Chafee as the more moderate candidate to run in Rhode Island. In New York, Attorney General Eliot Spitzer won the Democratic nomination for governor and Senator Hillary Clinton defeated an opponent with an anti-war stance. As for Maryland, Representative Ben Cardin leads the polls over former NAACP leader, Kweisi Mfume for the Democratic party nomination for a seat in the Senate. The winner of the Democratic primary in Minnesota could be the first Muslim-American elected to Congress. State representative Keith Ellison will run in a Democratic district and is favored to win the general election.

The American Lung Association has just released a report slamming new standards for dust and soot pollution that the Environmental Protection Agency is expected to finalize later this month. From KPFA in Berkeley, Brian Edwards-Tiekert has more:

The Environmental Protection Agency is under a court order that requires new limits on dust and soot in the air by the end of this month. Since EPA set the current standard in 1997, more than 2000 peer-reviewed studies have been published on the health effects of fine particulate matter–many show it does serious damage at levels well below the current standard. Janice Nolan is National Policy Director for the American Lung Association: (Sound). The proposed rules also contain controversial language that exempts mining and agriculture from regulation. The Environmental Protection Agency is required to announce a final decision by September 27. I’m Brian Edwards-Tiekert for Free Speech Radio News.

Nigerian oil workers are on a three-day warning strike to protest growing insecurity in the country’s oil-rich Niger Delta region. Sam Olukoya reports from Lagos.

Officials from Nigeria’s two oil workers unions say the strike has been effective. The loading of crude oil for export from some of Nigeria’s terminals has been suspended. The oil workers hope the strike will force the government to address the growing insecurity situation oil workers face in the Niger Delta. In recent months, militants demanding a share of the regions oil wealth have kidnapped more than forty foreign oil workers. The oil workers unions and government officials have been holding meetings aimed at ending the strike in Africa’s top oil exporter. Workers have threatened to embark on an indefinite strike if the government does not take measures to guarantee their security in the Niger Delta. For Free Speech Radio News, this is Sam Olukoya in Lagos.

Members of an organized movement of poor tenets of shack settlements in Durban, South Africa were attacked last night by police. Na’eem Jeenah reports from Johannesburg.

Durban’s Kennedy Road shack settlement seemed to be under military rule last night after police attacked residents preparing to march to a nearby police station. About 500 members of the shack dwellers movement Abahlali base Mjondolo met in the settlement to discuss the arrest of three of their leaders a few hours earlier. They decided to march to the police station when they heard that the men would not be released on bond. As they exited the settlement, police opened fire with rubber bullets and live ammunition, wounding a 50-year-old woman. For the rest of the night, the settlement was deathly silent as residents took cover in their shacks, as the armed security forces patrolled the area. The Freedom of Expression Institute said the police action was illegal and unconstitutional. The organisation says the incident is indicative of a broader environment of repression in the country where citizens’ constitutional rights are flagrantly violated by state forces. For Freespeech Radio News, this is Na’eem Jeenah in Johannesburg.

Mixed Results On Domestic Spying (3:53)
Mixed results today in Bush Administration’s quest to get Congressional approval for domestic surveillance of US residents. The Senate moved one step closer and the House of Representatives pulled the bill from the agenda for the time being. From Washington, FSRN’s Leigh Ann Caldwell reports.

California Man Appeals Life Sentence For Lying To DMV (4:37)
A California immigrant serving a life sentence for lying to the Department of Motor Vehicles got a day in court today. Santos Reyes has already served six years for that crime, which he has never denied. Host Aaron Glantz reports.

School District Leaves “No Child Left Behind Act” Behind (3:13)
The stiff requirements of the No Child Left Behind law have caused consternation in school districts across the country. Some districts have even opted not to comply, which can mean a loss of federal funding. One tiny school district on the plains of Colorado has gone a step further and voted to make up the difference out of their own pockets. Eric Mack reports.

Ugandan Rebels Hand Back Some Child Prisoners (3:00)
Rebels in Northern Uganda were to begin handing over captured women and children this week. Female and child prisoners reportedly served as soldiers, porters, and sex slaves in the Lords Resistance army during groups 20 year campaign against Uganda’s central government. The LRA is believed to be holding thousands of children in captivity. Joshua Kyalimpa reports.

Brazil and India Ink Trade Pact (2:24)
Brazil and India pledged to bring a new global order today — one that’s gives countries in the Third World more clout in international affairs. The statements came as Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh paid a visit to Brazil, inking a series of trade deals involving technology and alternative energy development. Binu Alex has the story.

Activists Murdered In El Salvador (2:43)
The murder of two political activists is shaking El Salvador. The government denies the killings have anything to do with politics, but community organizations point out the victims were tortured the same way government-backed paramilitaries did during the civil war in the 1980s. This is the first time since a peace accord was signed in 1992 that such a murder has been recorded. From San Salvador, Ricardo Martinez reports.

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