September 22, 2006

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Headlines (5:50)
Clashes erupted in Delhi today, when police arrested over 150 small business owners for protesting against the demolitions of their shops. Vinod K. Jose reports.

Shutters down. Vehicles stopped. Stones pelted at government vehicles. Over 200,000 small and medium traders began blockading Delhi streets 2 days ago. They are protesting the mass sealing and demolition of commercial properties. Angry business owners brought the city to a standstill. Police opened fire on the protesting vendors, killing 4. Today police arrested over 150 small traders for protesting against shop demolitions. Many see the demolition of small-scale commercial property by the Delhi civic body as a significant step towards the takeover of India’s retail market place by multinational corporations. From New Delhi in India this is Vinod Jose.

President Bush met with Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf today amidst allegations that a U.S. official threatened to attack Pakistan if it did not cooperate in the war on terror. Nan McCurdy has more from Washington DC.

In an interview to air Sunday, on CBS-TV’s “60 Minutes” program, Pakistan’s President Musharraf said that after Sept. 11, 2001, then-Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, told Pakistan’s intelligence director that the United States would bomb his country if it didn’t help fight terrorists. In the interview, Musharraf said Armitage told his intelligence director `Be prepared to go back to the Stone Age.’ Bush met today with the Pakistani president and is planning to meet on Tuesday with Afghan President Hamid Karzai in an attempt to smooth out a dispute between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Afghan officials allege that Pakistan is not doing enough to stop cross border attacks by Taliban militants hiding out in Pakistan. Pakistan denies the accusation and says it’s doing all it can to battle extremists. President Bush said this week that he would “absolutely” order military operations inside Pakistan if Osama bin Laden were found to be hiding there. From Washington DC, for Free Speech Radio News, I’m Nan McCurdy.

The Palestinian Prime Minister has again rejected the notion of recognizing Israel, but has offered a long term truce. Manar Jibrin reports from Bethlehem.

In his speech yesterday to the United Nations general assembly, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that any Palestinian National Unity government will recognize Israel. Prime Minister Ismaiel Haneya responded today that his movement will not recognize Israel, but will instead accept the 1967 borders and offer Israel a long-term truce. Both President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Ismaiel Haneya had agreed earlier to form a national unity government but it was put on hold until President Abbas returns from his visit to the United States. Israeli government rejected the Prime Minister’s proposal saying that what it will not proceed with any negotiations with the Palestinian national unity government until it and the Hamas movement abide to the international conditions, which include recognizing Israel, renouncing violence and acceptance of the previously signed peaces agreements with Israel.

Authorities in Nigeria have imposed a curfew after Muslim youths burned down ten churches in the country’s predominantly Muslim north. Sam Olukoya reports from Lagos.

The sectarian violence broke out in Dutse, the capital of Jigawa State, following an allegedly blasphemous comment on Prophet Mohammed by a Christian woman. The woman was reportedly reacting to a similarly uncomplimentary remark a local Muslim man made against Jesus Christ. Although no life was lost, several people were injured during the multiple church arsons. Christian leaders in the area have reacted angrily, saying there is no justification for the violence. Nigeria’s long history of sectarian violence between Christians and Muslims has claimed thousands of lives in recent years. In the wake of anger in the Muslim world over comments made by the Pope, Nigerian authorities have been very cautious about a religious crisis. Months back, Muslims in northern Nigeria attacked their Christian counterparts following a Danish newspaper’s publication of a cartoon portrayal of the Prophet Mohammad. For Free Speech Radio News, this is Sam Olukoya in Lagos.

A court in Lima has handed down another prison sentence for the former head of Peru’s intelligence agency. Pamela Cuevas reports.

After a ten hour hearing yesterday, Peru’s First Anti-corruption Court sentenced former intelligence chief, Vladimiro Montesinos, to 20 years in prison. Montesinos had been charged with illegally supplying weapons to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – or FARC – and with criminal association that put national security at risk. Montesinos, who was once a very close advisor of ex-president Alberto Fujimori, is already serving time in prison for bribing media owners with public money. The 20-year sentence and 3 million dollar fine handed down yesterday is the most severe punishment that he has received until now. Montesinos will soon face another trial on charges of directing a paramilitary unit during Fujimori´s government. For FSRN, I’m Pamela Cuevas with Alfredo Cuadras in Lima.

Code Pink Descends on Capitol Hill (2:55)
Pink is for Power. That’s the message of a group women activists, who marched through Capitol Hill today – wearing pink and saying their power will be felt in November. FSRN’s Yanmei Xie has the story.

It’s Time for Back to School for Iraqi Children (3:36)
Residents of the religiously mixed Hurriya district in northwest Baghdad clashed mid-morning today with gunmen who set two houses on fire. Firefighters were ambushed when they came to tackle the blazes. The Associated Press reports the conflict started when Shi’ite militia-men killed four people in an attack on Sunni homes, and then opened fire on two Sunni mosques during the Muslim Sabbath. The Sunni association cancelled all public prayers in the area in response to the violence. All of this is occurring as Iraqi children return to classrooms for the new school year. FSRN’s Aaron Glantz and Salam Talib have the story.

Bush And Republicans Strike Deal on Torture (1:45)
President Bush and some dissenting Republicans in the Senate have reached a compromise agreement on the interrogation and trials of detainees held in U.S. custody. The deal, struck yesterday, is seen as crucial for the GOP’s unity ahead of November’s mid-term elections. FSRN’s Leigh Ann Caldwell reports.

Turkey Makes New Move Against the PKK (3:26)
The United States, Turkey and Iraq appointed coordinators last week to fight against the PKK, the armed Kurdish workers’ party. The move indicates a new turn for the Turkish government in its fight against the PKK – and creates more anxiety about the future Kurds in Middle East. Ozlem Sariyildiz reports.

Israel Launches New Attacks on Gaza Strip (2:35)
Five Palestinians were killed in separate Israeli attacks on both the northern and southern parts of the Gaza Strip yesterday – two of them bled to death in Rafa, as Israeli forces prevented ambulances from reaching them. Seven Palestinians were wounded in the attack. The attacks came just a couple of days after Israeli Army Chief Dan Haluts hinted at the possibility of fully invading the Gaza Strip due to concerns of possible weapons smuggling tunnels in the Rafah area. FSRN’s Rami Almeghari reports from Gaza.

Chinese and Indian Investments Aiding Sub-Saharan Africa (4:13)
An increase in trade and investment between China, India and Africa holds great potential for growth and job creation in the poverty-stricken sub-Sahara. The West African country of Senegal, one the poorest countries in the world, has chosen to strengthen economic ties with the two Asian countries. Ndiaga Seck reports from Senegal.

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