September 05, 2007

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German authorities claim to have foiled a major terror plot that would have targeted facilities frequented by US military personnel stationed in Germany. Three suspects have been taken into custody. Germany’s top prosecutor says the three men trained in Pakistani camps.


The security situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo has been steadily deteriorating over the past few weeks sparking fears of a return to full-blown civil war. Joshua Kyalimpa reports from neighboring Uganda.

An estimated 10,000 people have crossed into Uganda from DR Congo in a period of one week to flee ongoing fighting between the Congolese government army and a rebel militia led by General Laurence Nkuda. The United Nations High Commission for Refugees says of the 10,000 Congolese who have recently arrived in Uganda, only a few hundred have applied for formal refugee status. Thousands more are trying to return to the DRC, even though the situation is unsafe. The World Food Program estimates that 200,000 others have been displaced since the beginning of the year by violence linked to Nkunda’s militia. UNHCR spokesperson Roberta Russo has told FSRN that the situation is still unstable with both the government and the rebels apparently preparing for war. Congolese officials yesterday reported killing 28 soldiers loyal to Gen Nkunda – a claim the rebels deny. At the same time, The rebels claim to have taken 51 Congolese government troops captive. The civil conflict in the DRC has killed more than 3 million people in the last 11 years, making it the bloodiest war since World War II. Joshua Kyalimpa, FSRN, Kampala.


Republican Congressman Paul Gillmor has been found dead in his Washington DC apartment. An aide found his body after the representative from Ohio did not show up at work today. Gillmor was serving his tenth term in office. The cause of death is unknown at this time.


In other news from Capitol Hill, Senator Tim Johnson of South Dakota is back at work after an 8 month medical leave. Johnson underwent emergency neurosurgery last year after suffering a brain hemorrhage.


New scientific evidence indicates that Arctic ice is melting at a much faster rate than previously believed. Claudia Cragg has the story.

Scientists now say that the Arctic may be entirely free of ice as early as the summer of 2030. Regional sea ice is already at a record low…so low that boats can even navigate through Canada’s Northwest Passage. The same could be true for Russia’s Northeast Passage before the end of the summer. Mark Serreze, an Arctic specialist at the US National Snow and Ice Data Center at Colorado University in Denver, says that increased ocean temperatures and larger expanses of open water will make it difficult for ice to re-form during the winter months. Serreze says that man-made global warming is the number one factor contributing to climate change: (audio) “Simply what we’re seeing is this preponderance of evidence, from looking at our observed climate records, looking at what we see from the the earth’s past climate – what we call the Paleo climate records – info from our best state-of-the-art climate models, this all tells us there is a definite relationship between global climate and how much greenhouse gases are in the atmosphere… and you simply can’t deny it at this point.” The latest data compiled by the US National Snow and Ice Data Center indicates that in the week between August 27th and the 3rd of September, the Arctic lost an area of ice larger than the size of the state of New Mexico. For FSRN, the is Claudia Cragg.


The United Nations has called an extraordinary meeting of world leaders to discuss the issue of climate change. Haider Rizvi reports from the UN.

Concerned about the slow pace of climate change negotiations, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has invited all the heads to state to come to New York on September 24 to attend the high-level conference. UN officials say they anticipate more than 100 top officials, including presidents and prime ministers, will take part in the event. The climate change summit will be held a Day before the start of the UN General assembly’s annual debate. UN officials say climate change needs urgent, high-level attention given the enormous implications for the world economy and international development. Last week, the UN held another international meeting on climate change in Vienna, but failed to produce any concrete results. The one-day event in New York is meant to build momentum for more comprehensive global agreement on further cuts in greenhouse gas emissions beyond the year 2012, when the Kyoto treaty expires. For FSRN, I’m Haider Rizvi at the United Nations.


Taxi drivers in New York City and in Philadelphia began a 2-day strike today to protest rules that require global positioning system devices and credit card systems in all cabs. Taxi drivers say the GPS devices violate their privacy rights and that credit card fees significantly cut into their pay. Bhairavi Desai of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance says that driving a taxi is (quote)”one of the few professions in the world where not only are you not guaranteed an income, but you might end a long twelve-hour workday losing the money you started with.” The drivers will end their strike on Friday at 6am.

Progressive Congress Members Move to Cut Funding for Iraqi Security Forces(1:52)

Some progressive Congress members have introduced legislation to cut funding for Iraqi Security Forces. Representative Maxine Waters, Democrat of California, says that based on multiple assessments, including the most recent Government Accountability Office report, Iraqi Security Forces are nowhere near ready to take security operations from US troops.

Government Regulators Expect More Fall Out from Sub Prime Loan Crisis(4:14)

A house committee held its first hearing on the sub prime loan crisis. Democrats urged better regulation of the mortgage industry while Republicans urged caution on increased government involvement. Government regulators that testified said more fall out should be expected. Washington Editor Leigh Ann Caldwell reports.

Violence Increases Ahead of Guatemala’s Sunday Election(4:19)

Human rights activists are pressing the Guatemalan government to investigate the death of José Emanuel Méndez Dardón, also known as Pepe. The son of prominent Guatemalan activist Almicar Mendez, Pepe Mendez was ambushed and shot to death last month. so far, more than 50 people – including politicians, campaigners and human rights activists have been killed in the lead up to Sunday’s elections, and the deaths come on the heels of a proposal by Congress to conduct an investigation into paramilitary groups. Host Aura Bogado spoke with Karen Musalo – a Human Rights Lawyer, and the Founding Director of the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law about a petition in response to the assassination, which can be found online at\cgrs

India’s Small Retailers Defend Their Businesses(3:51)

In India, economists are hailing retail businesses as one of the most promising sectors in the economy. The vast majority of retail businesses are still small and independent, but transnational capital has taken note: one prominent consulting firm calls India the most attractive destination for retail businesses. There have been widespread protests over a deal Wal-Mart recently inked to enter into the Indian market. Now, retail consolidation in India is running into some serious setbacks. Bismillah Geelani reports from New Delhi.

Nepalese Authorities Arrest Nepal Bomb Suspects(2:24)

Nepalese Authorities have made several arrests in connection with bomb explosions at three business centers this week which killed two and seriously injured at least 26 people. The blasts demonstrate the fragility of Nepal’s security situation after then years of civil war. PC Dubey reports from Katmandu.

No Child Left Behind To Come Up for Debate(3:40)

U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spelling said today that she plans to stay the course on the Bush Administration’s No Child Left Behind program – citing that the program has helped schools. The controversial legislation is scheduled to end this year if Congress does not renew it – and some lawmakers and education advocates say the bill needs an overhaul. FSRN’s Karen Miller has more.

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