May 21, 2007

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Headlines (5:00)
An outspoken member of Afghanistan’s parliament has been suspended until the end of her term in office. The lower house of parliament voted today to remove Malalai Joya from her position for her televised comments saying that Afghanistan’s legislature is worse than a stable full of animals because in a stable at least (quote) “you have cows which provide milk and you have got donkeys which can carry loads.” A video of her comments was played 3 times before the vote to suspend her until 2010. Malalai Joya has been described as the “most famous woman in Afghanistan”. She has been critical of former warlords within the country’s Loya Jirga who were allegedly responsible for widespread human rights abuses during the country’s civil war.


An ongoing Israeli military campaign in the Gaza Strip is now in its fifth day. In the meantime, the two main Palestinian factions, Hamas and Fatah, have once again agreed to stop infighting. Rami Almeghari has more from Gaza.

A delegation of Mexico’s Zapatista rebels closed a three month long support camp for the Cucapá indigenous peoples of Baja California, where national and international observers, including solidarity groups from the United States, accompanied the community during this year’s fishing season. Luz Ruiz reports.

Tens of thousands demonstrated in Caracas on Saturday against the Venezuelan government’s decision to not renew the broadcast license of RCTV, the country’s oldest television network. Greg Wilpert reports.

Senate Begins Immigration Reform Debate (2:20)
The Senate began considering the comprehensive immigration reform package today. Since its introduction late last week, the proposal has received criticism from both the left and the right. Yanmei Xie has more from Washington DC.  

Uncertainty Grips Lebanon (4:20)
Monday marked the second day of fighting near the northern city of Tripoli between Lebanese security forces and the group known as Fatah al-Islam, a Sunni Muslim group that emerged in November of last year in Lebanon. More than 70 people have been killed, including at least 27 soldiers and 15 civilians. It is the worse internal fighting in Lebanon since the 1975-1990 civil war, which claimed more than 250,000 lives. The violence is jeopardizing the already fragile peace in the country. Lebanon has been politically paralyzed since the government opposition called for the removal of the pro-U.S. government after last summer’s war with Israel. Adding to the violence, a large car bomb exploded last night in the Christian neighborhood of Acharafiyeh in East Beirut killing two and wounding 10. Meanwhile, as fighting rages in northern Lebanon, observers say that around 40,000 Palestinians living in the Naher el Bared refugee camp are caught in the cross-fire between Fatah al-Islam and government forces. Jackson Allers and Simba Russeau report from Lebanon.

Campaign Addresses High Infant Mortality Rate in African American Communities (3:00)
Infant mortality rates in the United States are among the highest of all developed countries. But if you live in a minority community, the chances of your child dying before the age of one are more than double the national average. Today, the US Department of Health and Human Services kicked off a campaign to address and reduce infant mortality rates among babies in the African American community. FSRN’s Karen Miller has more.

Suharto Still to Answer for Abuses During Regime (3:00)
It’s been nine years since the fall of Indonesian President Suharto. His ascent to power in 1965 was announced by the brutal murder of between 300,000 and 1 million of his opponents – many of them left-wing activists who were labeled as communists on lists provided by the CIA. Suharto is accused of astounding corruption and gross human rights abuses during his 32 years in power. But as Rebecca Henschke reports from Jakarta, any attempts to bring him to trial have failed.

Algeria Holds Multi-Party Elections (4:00)
Algeria held its third multi-party elections Friday, five weeks after the explosion of two bombs in the Algerian capital claimed by Al Qaeda in North Africa. The National Liberation Front lost 60 seats in parliamentary elections but kept its leading position. But the elections didn’t guarantee transparency at the ballot. Khaled  Sid Mohand reports from Algiers.

Artist Draws Attention to Rising Sea Level’s Impact on NYC (3:15)
New York mayor Michael Bloomberg’s plans to improve his city’s environmental quality were met with no opposition – but little in the way of concrete support by the New York state legislature last week. Bloomberg’s plan includes taxes on driving in the city – similar to those used to cut down on traffic in London. Such proposals have been met with relative approval by New Yorkers, but also criticized as vague and unlikely to achieve substantial change. But one local artist is demonstrating that the city’s geography may change in the coming decades as well, and could include drastic changes to the way New Yorkers live. David Enders files this report.


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