August 02, 2007

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Headlines (5:10)
Recovery workers continue to search for bodies of people thought to have plunged into the Mississippi River Wednesday evening when an interstate highway bridge collapsed during rush hour in Minneapolis. Four people are confirmed death and as many as 30 people are missing.

The UK’s Independent Police Complaints Commission released a report today that clears London’s police commissioner of an alleged cover-up in the 2005 shooting of a Brazilian man in a tube station. Natalia Viana reports.

The family of Brazilian electrician Jean Charles de Menezes requested the inquiry 2 years ago because they alleged that the Metropolitan Police had led the public to believe Jean Charles was a terrorist suspect even after they found out he was not. The Independent Police Complaints Commission today concluded that Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair did not find out until the day after the shooting that Jean Charles de Menezes was not one of the suspects in the terrorist attacks in London. The report makes clear, however, that senior officials had evidence that de Menezes was not one of the suspects just hours after the shooting. In particular, the report found that assistant Commissioner Andrew Hayman misled the public into thinking Menezes might have been one of the suspects. The Met Police is now considering whether it will open a disciplinary process against Hayman. But the family of Jean Charles found the report “disappointing”, as his cousin Patrícia da Silva, said earlier today (audio): “Nobody has been held responsible for anything, nobody will be prosecuted and the police has been allowed to get away with murder.” Family lawyers say they will wait for the results of the criminal prosecution of the Office of the Police Commissioner under Health and Safety legislation before taking any legal action. The trial is set to open in October. In London, Natalia Viana for FSRN.

The House of Representatives has passed a measure to expand a federally-funded healthcare program known as the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, or S-CHIP. The bill will provide healthcare coverage for an additional 6 million low-income children by raising taxes on cigarettes. The Senate is expected to vote on a similar measure tonight. President Bush has already indicated that he will veto the legislation if it reaches his desk.

Ohio’s Record-Courier newspaper is reporting that several Ohio state legislators have submitted a bill that would require women seeking abortions to obtain permission from the man responsible for the pregnancy. Failure to identify the father would make an abortion illegal. Pregnant women would have to present a police report in the case of rape or incest. Men and women would be subject to criminal prosecution if found to have lied about the identity of the biological father.

A schoolteacher who walked halfway across Colombia in a campaign to bring attention to the plight of his kidnapped son and thousands of other kidnapping victims met with Colombia’s president today. Mike Ceaser has the story.

Schoolteacher Gustavo Moncayo met with President Alvaro Uribe this morning after walking 620 miles to the capital from his hometown near the Ecuadorian border. His son, a soldier, has been held hostage by the FARC guerrillas for almost a decade. Around 3,000 people are being held hostage in Colombia. Leftist guerrilla groups hold the majority of these hostages. They include soldiers, police officers, an ex-presidential candidate and her running mate and three American CIA contractors whom the FARC captured when their small plane crashed in guerrilla territory. There are also many people kidnapped for ransom by the outlaw groups. A few weeks ago, the FARC revealed that 11 regional deputies the guerrillas had kidnapped in 2002 had been killed in captivity. The circumstances of the men’s deaths remain unclear and the guerrillas have not released the men’s corpses. Moncayo and the relatives of other hostages want the government to free hundreds of imprisoned guerrillas in exchange for the release of some 40 political prisoners. However, Pres. Uribe has rejected the guerrillas’ demand that he withdraw the military from a region in southern Colombia. Moncayo says he will camp in Bogota’s central plaza until the government agrees to the exchange. In Bogota, I’m Mike Ceaser for FSRN.

And finally, a Russian expedition to the North Pole has claimed a part of the Arctic by planting a titanium Russian flag in the seabed. The government of Russia has attempted to justify its claim to a wide swath of the gas and mineral rich North Pole with the argument that an underwater ridge connects the two land masses.

Karl Rove Evades Senate Panel Subpoena (1:30)
White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove evaded a subpoena to appear before a Senate panel today on the US attorney scandal. The President once again claimed Executive Privilege for his advisors. This adds another chapter to the battle between Congress and the White House over independence and oversight.

Bush Pushes to Gut FISA (3:00)
Meanwhile, the Bush Administration wants to put Gonzales in charge of the wiretapping program, in effect gutting the oversight body known as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Courts, or FISA. Congress and the Administration are involved in intense negotiations, trying to pass FISA reform before members adjourn for the August recess. FSRN’s Leigh Ann Caldwell reports.

Congress Continues Iraq Troop Debate (4:30)
As summer winds down in DC and Congress is set to leave for their August recess, the conflict in Iraq continues to be on the front burner for lawmakers pounding out legislation. FSRN’s Karen Miller reports from the Capitol, where Congress today considered both troop draw down and troop down time between deployments.

Rice Visits West Bank (3:17)
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visited the West Bank today for the first time since Hamas took control of Gaza. It’s the latest in a series of strides Washington has taken to show its support for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, and to push for Middle East peace talks. Meanwhile, as FSRN’s Ghassan Bannoura reports, the Israeli Army carried out several invasions in the West Bank, kidnapping twelve Palestinians.

Nigeria Looks Into Crude Oil Theft (3:00)
Nigeria , Africa’s largest oil exporter, is making moves to curb crude oil theft. The plan comes amid reports that Nigerian officials and multinational oil companies will hold security talks on contraband crude oil from the region. About 200,000 barrels of crude oil are stolen daily and sold in the international market. Part of those proceeds are exchanged for arms – most of which end up with militants whose activities have forced Nigeria to cut its crude oil export by a quarter. Sam Olukoya reports from Lagos.

Gardasil: One Year Later (4:20)
The Food and Drug Administration approved a new vaccine against the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) one year ago. Merck Pharmaceutical’s Gardasil was approved for use on girls and young women between the ages of 11 and 26. Since then, Merck has lobbied aggressively for states to adopt the vaccine as mandatory, despite reported deaths, complaints of illness, and questions over the scientific claims the drug company has made about its product. Rebecca Myles has more.

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