April 21, 2008

  • Voters in Paraguay Make History and Elect Left-Wing President
  • Security and Prosperity Partnership Summit Kicks of to Protest
  • Pennsylvania Primary Could Decide Democratic Candidate
  • France’s Plan for Mass Deportations Meets Opposition
  • New York’s Bleak Rental Landscape
  • Demonstrators Seek Justice for Mumia

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The Supreme Court has turned down appeals and lifted stays for three death row inmates who now face almost certain execution dates. Karen Miller reports from Washington DC.

Today the Supreme Court rejected the appeals of 11 death row inmates. The inmates brought their cases before the Supreme Court claiming that the lethal injection method of capitol punishment violated the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment by inflicting needless pain and suffering. Last week the Supreme Court upheld the use of lethal injection and today the Court turned down the appeals of the Lower Court’s decision. The cases involved inmates in both Georgia and Ohio and one each from Alabama, Arizona, Mississippi, Missouri and Texas. The ruling moves forward executions around the county that have been stalled for nearly seven months while the court was considering its decision.  For FSRN, I’m Karen Miller


Coca farmers in Colombia are demanding that the government stop pulling up their crops. Manuel Rueda has more from Bogota.

Over four hundred coca growers have descended upon the small town of Taraza to protest the government’s manual eradication schemes. All commerce here is now paralyzed, and the road that leads to this town has also been blocked. The coca growers are asking the government to stop destroying their crops, as they have been doing in this part of Colombia since February. But the government has said it will not negotiate. Colonel Luis Eduardo Martinez is in charge of police operations in the area.

COLONEL MARTINEZ (in Spanish) “These people have been forced at gunpoint to come here. To burn cars, and realize other terrorist activities.”

The police say that the FARC guerrillas are profiting from the cocaine trade. They also say the FARC have been orchestrating these protests, in an effort to destabilize this region. Protests against coca eradication also took place in February, when around 8,000 farmers camped out in Taraza and some surrounding towns. Those demonstrations ended, once the government offered farmers assistance to grow legal crops, subsidies and health insurance. But today’s demonstrators are not satisfied with those offers. Manuel Rueda FRSN Bogota.


Militants in Nigeria’s Niger Delta region say they have attacked two major oil pipelines. Sam Olukoya reports from Lagos.

The largest armed group in the Niger Delta, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, or MEND, claimed responsibility for the attacks in an open letter to American President George W. Bush. The group said it carried out the attacks to show they are not intimidated by US warships dispatched to the area. In recent months, local armed groups seeking a share of oil resources in the Niger Delta have been attacking oil installations in an effort to cripple Nigeria’s oil exports. Oil from the Niger Delta and the adjoining Gulf of Guinea is quite strategic to the United States in its determination to seek energy sources outside the Middle East. The US has been making its military presence felt in the region since the armed groups started disrupting oil exports. For Free Speech Radio News, this is Sam Olukoya in Lagos.


Maoist rebels in Nepal may no longer be considered terrorists by the U.S. PC Dubey reports from Nepal.

Today, the US ambassador to Nepal, Nancy J Powell, told the speaker of the Nepalese interim parliament that the US would remove the terrorist tag on the Maoists. She further assured continued US support to the new Maoists led government.. The Nepalese speaker revealed this to the media after his meeting with the US envoy however, the US has not confirmed the report. Nepalese Maoists had been classified as terrorists by the US for more than a decade. Political observers attribute the change in the US stance to the Maoists’ unprecedented success at the April 10 election. The US has no option but to accept outcome despite allegations of use of intimidation and coercion to win votes in hilly rural belts. Meanwhile, India and UK, the other major players in Nepal, have already pledged to work in solidarity with the Maoists. From Birganj in Nepal I am PC Dubey for FSRN.

A 12-hour strike was observed in the Indian state of West Bengal today protesting the rising prices of food. Police arrested at least 300. Bismillah Geelani reports

The response to the strike called by the state’s main opposition party was near total. Schools offices and businesses across the state remained closed and vehicular traffic stayed off the roads. Rail services were also partially disrupted after strike supporters blocked movement of trains at several stations. The state police say at least 300 protesters have been detained for causing violence. Meanwhile, protests were also held in New Delhi and several other parts of India as part of a nation-wide campaign against rising food prices. The campaign was jointly launched by the left and opposition parties last week after inflation in the country hit a three-year high reaching nearly 8 percent. The campaigners say the government has failed to address public inconvenience caused by the sharp rise in prices of essential commodities. For FSRN, this is Bismillah Geelani from New Delhi



Voters in Paraguay Make History and Elect Left-Wing President

Yet another country has made a left-turn in Latin America: in an unprecedented election yesterday, Paraguay’s opposition candidate, progressive former-bishop Fernando Lugo, defeated government-backed Blanca Ovelar by more than ten points. The win ends a six-decade-long reign over the country by Paraguay’s right-wing Colorado party. FSRN’s Mike Fox has more from Asuncion, Paraguay.

Security and Prosperity Partnership Summit Kicks of to Protest

President Bush is in New Orleans this week for the fourth annual Security and Prosperity Partnership – or SPP meeting. The controversial summit with the heads of Mexico and Canada is being met by protests from activists and members of Congress. FSRN Correspondent Matt Laslo reports from Washington.

Pennsylvania Primary Could Decide Democratic Candidate

The Pennsylvania primary is tomorrow – and the Democratic candidates are doing last minute campaigning across the state. It’s the first contest in 6 weeks. The state awards 158 delegates, the most delegates in a single contest that remains. The state contains a wide spectrum of landscapes, demographics, and ideologies, a challenge for both candidates. FSRN’s Leigh Ann Caldwell reports from Pennsylvania.

France’s Plan for Mass Deportations Meets Opposition

The French government of Nicolas Sarkozy has a target to deport at least 25,000 undocumented migrants from France by the end of 2008. This plan has now translated into large-scale police actions in cities across France. Aaron Lakoff reports that Sarkozy’s proposal has met wide-spread resistance.

New York’s Bleak Rental Landscape

Roughly 90,000 units of rent-regulated housing in New York City have been purchased in recent years with Wall Street money. Housing advocates assert that in addition to threatening housing for working people, these investments risk creating another financial meltdown. FSRN’s Zoe Sullivan has the story.

Demonstrators Seek Justice for Mumia

Chants of “Free Mumia” resonated across the globe this past Saturday as thousands demonstrated to demand justice for award winning journalist and Pennsylvania inmate Mumia Abu Jamal. From Paris to Mexico City to Mumia’s home city of Philadelphia, people gathered to protest the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals decision to deny Mumia Abu Jamal a New Trial. FSRN’s Andalusia Knoll reports.

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