Newscast for Thursday, March 7, 2013
- Year: 2013
- Length: 29:09 minutes (26.7 MB)
- Format: MP3 Mono 44kHz 128Kbps (CBR)
In Syria, opposition forces that captured 21 UN troops near the Golan Heights said today that they would release them, but only after President Bashar al Assad’s military stopped airstrikes and left the area. According to Reuters, an official with the rebel group Martyrs of Yarmouk, made the statement following the capture of the 21 Filipino troops near the village of Jamla yesterday. The UN has condemned the capture and called for their immediate release. As fighting continues throughout Syria, medical staff with Doctors Without Borders said the lack of adequate health services makes the situation “catastrophic” for residents. Medical staff are being targeted and in some instances killed. Christopher Stokes, general director for Doctors without Borders in Belgium, said in a teleconference with reporters today that many of the sites that used to provide health services have been attacked and looted both by government forces and opposition groups. As a result, healthcare has had to go underground.
“We’ve seen a dentist perform a minor surgery, we’ve seen pharmacists provide healthcare. We’ve seen in one case blood transfusions that were not even tested, resulting in the death of the patient, so the patients are given the wrong blood type, so the most basic level of health care are not available in vast areas of the country.” Stokes said much of the capacity of Syria to produce vital medicines has also been destroyed. Audrey Landemann, MSF project coordinator in Syria, said that though most patients who reach their hospital in the north need surgeries due to shootings and explosions, basic care is also a great need.
“One diabetic patient can look for insulin in a lot of places, but will not find the insulin or if he finds insulin, it will cost him around 25 or 30 dollars for one vial of insulin. People with cancers get no treatments and don’t know where to go to get their treatment. People are coming also looking for baby milk or just for flour to do bread.”
Access to reliable information from within the country has also made international response slow, say activists. Dr. Mouna Ghanem works with the activist group Syrian Women Making Peace in Damascus. She told UN Radio that the international media has not been doing a good job in reporting the conflict accurately or neutrally.
“We know that lots of violence has been exercised by the regime and we know that there was a counter violence, but the international media they didn’t play the neutral role. On the contrary, they encouraged people to use violence, they promote the personalities who commit violence as the victors as the heroes, so I think this is not the right role of the media.”
Ghanem, who is on tour in the US with a group of women from the region, said that change must come from within the country and must include people from across the political spectrum.
UNICEF calls for halt to arrests, detention of youth by Israeli military
Israeli troops have arrested thousands of Palestinian children during the past decade -- now the United Nations Children's Fund, UNICEF, is calling for an immediate halt to practices they say violate international human rights law.This week some of those arrests continued in heavily militarized night raids in the West Bank. FSRN’s Ghassan Bannoura has more.
In Venezuela, a seven-day mourning period for President Hugo Chavez began today as tens of thousands filled the streets of the capital, Caracas. Many expressed passionate responses about the loss of Chavez, who led the country for nearly 15 years. Audio and translation from Al Jazeera. New details came out today on the cause of Chavez’ death. A presidential guard told AP that Chavez died of a massive heart attack Tuesday after a long fight against cancer. Despite a US-supported coup attempt to remove him from power, Chavez served multiple terms and became a powerful figure in South America, ushering in a slate of social programs and a check on foreign influence, most notably on Venezuela’s vast oil resources. For more, we’re joined by investigative journalist Greg Palast, who reported frequently on Hugo Chavez and Venezuela. His video report, The Assassination of Hugo Chavez, which aired on the BBC, explored the often contentious US relationship with the late President.
The House of Representatives passed a bill this week to keep funding the government through September, averting a possible shutdown at the end of this month. But Democrats in the House and Senate are criticizing the measure, for keeping the deep budget cuts triggered last week, and for protecting the military’s budget at the expense of social programs. As President Obama holds more meetings with Republican lawmakers about a more sweeping budget plan, progressive economists and lawmakers are mobilizing to defend programs that support the most vulnerable people in the country. On Capitol Hill, FSRN’s Alice Ollstein reports.
On Tuesday the board of directors of Free Speech Radio News announced that the show will go off the air on March 15th unless $35,000 is raised. KGNU’s Maeve Conran reports.