September 28, 2006
SANCTIONS FOR THAILAND
The US government has moved to impose sanctions on Thailand in the aftermath of the military coup. The Southeast Asian nation has been governed by a group of generals since last week’s surprise ouster of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. The US sanctions will cut off millions of dollars of military aid to Thailand. The coup leaders have announced they will name an interim prime minister over the weekend.
BAGHDAD BODY COUNT
Iraqi police have found at least 40 bodies dumped in Baghdad since yesterday. All of the bodies bore signs of torture and gunshot wounds. At least 21 other people died in the Iraqi capital today as a result of shootings or bombings. A car bomb outside of a Baghdad restaurant killed 5 people today and injured more than 30 others. The attack on the restaurant comes as many Iraqi Muslims are fasting during daylight hours in observance of Ramadan.
LRA TALKS HIT THE ROCKS
Peace talks between the Lord’s Resistance Army rebels and the government of Uganda have hit a rocky moment. Emmanuel Okella reports from Kampala, Uganda.
Lord’s Resistance Army rebel leader Joseph Kony has asked his troops to vacate the two designated demobilization points and has ordered his negotiators to withdraw from peace talks in Juba. The move, which breaks the August 26th cessation of hostilities agreement with the government of Uganda, is in protest of the reported seizure of the two assembly locations in Southern Sudan by the Uganda Peoples Defense Forces. Uganda’s government Information Minister Kirunda Kivejinja denies the claim and says the troops are only deployed at the border to avert any unforeseen consequences.[Sound cut: “Its our duty to protect Uganda and so long as we are in Uganda we are free to deploy our forces in a way that we are satisfied that it will ensure maximum safety for Ugandans.”] Over 2000 LRA fighters were earlier reported to be at the said assembly locations. Rebel negotiators on Wednesday kept away from the talks – which are seen as the best solution to the 20 year conflict.
UNICEF WATER REPORT
Unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation contribute to the deaths of an estimated 1.5 million children under five each year, according to UNICEF Executive Director Ann Veneman. A report released today by UNICEF indicates that 425 million children do not have access to a safe water supply and more than 980 million lack access to adequate sanitation.
YANACOCHA MINE NEGOTIATIONS
The Yanacocha gold mine, whose majority stockholder is the US-based Newmont Corporation, has accepted responsibility for the contamination of water supplies in an area in northern Peru. Pamela Cueva reports from Lima.
Residents from the town of Combayo in the northern province of Cajamarca have been protesting for months about the use of local water supplies by the nearby Yanacocha gold mine. The amount of water used by the mine has caused local wells to run dry and the chemicals used in the process to extract gold had poisoned local water bodies. Yanacocha had to suspend its operations in late August due to protests by Combayo residents that blocked roads used by the mining company. The local residents were demanding compensation for water contamination, more jobs, and the end of the persecution of the mining company’s critics. One campesino, Isidro Llanos was killed during the protests and the circumstances surrounding his death have still not been clarified. Government-mediated talks over the weekend between local residents and the managers of Yanacocha ended with a promise from the mining company with a promise from the mining company to finance the construction of a water treatment plant in Combayo. Yanacocha is Latin America’s largest and most productive gold mine. Cajamarca is Peru’s second poorest province and ranks third in malnutrition. For FSRN, I’m Pamela Cueva with Alfredo Cuadros en Lima.
GLOBAL WARMING LAW IN CALIFORNIA
California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed landmark global warming legislation into effect. The new law will force California to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by the year 2020–bringing it into line with the efforts of nations that have ratified the Kyoto protocol. Brian Edwards-Tiekert has more.
California’s new global warming law won’t stop the polar icecaps from melting, but it will probably help its Republican governor get re-elected. The legislation has overwhelming support among Californians and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s endorsement drew support from state democratic leaders and the nation’s largest environmental groups. In his remarks Schwarzenegger emphasized that combating greenhouse gas emissions is not at odds with his pro-business agenda: [sound] “We will create a whole new industry that will pump up our economy. A clean tank industry that creates jobs, sparks new cutting-edge technology, and as a model for the rest of the nation and the rest of the world.” The law puts Schwarzenegger at odds with the Bush administration, but strengthens efforts to build a coordinated international effort to reign in greenhouse gases. Business interests that lobbied against it announced they’ll now try to shape its implementation. Most want a pollution credit trading system. Environmental justice groups have expressed reservations that such a system might concentrate polluting facilities in poorer areas.
Senator Trent Lott on Iraqis: “What’s wrong with these people? Why do they kill other people?” Audio clip(0:48)
After meeting with President Bush today, Mississippi Senator Trent Lott said that the war in Iraq didn’t come up. But Lott did admit to having some personal questions regarding the situation in the Mideast: “What’s wrong with these people? Why do they kill other people…Why do they hate each other? Why are Sunnis killing Shiites? How do they tell the difference? They all look the same to me…”
Bush Praises Senate Republicans for Moving on Detainee Legislation (3:50)
A new poll finds 60 percent of Iraqis approve attacks on U.S.-forces, and slightly more than that want U.S. troops to leave within a year. The poll, conducted for the University of Maryland’s Program on International Policy Attitudes, found that almost four in five Iraqis say the U.S. military force in Iraq provokes more violence than it prevents. Three-fourths say they think the US plans to keep military bases in Iraq permanently. Meantime, a key Republican in Washington tried to downplay the importance of the Iraq war today. Mississippi Senator Trent Lott spoke to FSRN shortly after meeting with President Bush. George Bush came to visit with Senate Republicans to praise their near passage of the detainee legislation and other security related legislation. Washington Editor Leigh Ann Caldwell reports.
Protesters in San Francisco Call on California Senators to Filibuster Legislation (1:45)
While Senators debated Bush’s interrogation legislation in Washington, activists took to the streets of San Francisco to pressure California’s Democratic Senators to filibuster the President’s plan. Joshua Smith reports from San Francisco, where protesters rallied in orange jumpsuits rolling a life-sized replica of the cages in which Guantanamo detainees are imprisoned.
Abuse and Neglect: Girls in New York’s Juvenile Detention Centers (3:33)
According to a recent report by Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union, girls in New York’s juvenile prisons are being abused and neglected by state authorities. The report, titled “Custody and Control: Juvenile Justice” provides an in-depth look at the abuses and neglect suffered by girls confined in two remote New York juvenile facilities known as Tryon and Lansing. The facilities are operated by the New York Office of Children and Family Services, and are the only two high-security facilities in New York State holding girls. Danuta Szafraniec reports from New York.
Former Chair of Hewlett Packard Testifies Before the House (2:10)
Hewlett-Packard’s ousted chairwoman told Congress today that she was not aware that illegal methods were used in the investigation against the company’s board members. FSRN Yanmei Xie reports from the hearing room.
India Denies Kashmiri Activist Travel Documents (3:00)
Indian authorities have denied travel documents to Kashmiri Human rights activist Pervez Imroz. Imroz was been awarded the Ludovic-Trarieux Prize 2006, and had planned to travel to France to receive the award next month. Shahnawaz Khan reports.
Mumia Abu-Jamal Commentary: “Inheritance of Madness” (4:00)