Free Speech Radio News

Monday, March 29, 2004

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Headlines
U.S. soldiers shut down a newspaper in Baghdad, justifying the action as a much-needed part of creating a free Iraq. Reporting from Baghdad, Aaron Glantz has more.

A United Nations report, critical of UN operation in Iraq leading up to the bombing that killed 22 people last summer, may lead to firings and demotions at headquarters. Haider Rizvi reports from the U.N.

Arab League summit plans to work towards stability in Iraq and Israeli-Palestinian relations dissolved amidst controversy over too much U.S. influence in the region. Oula al-Farawati reports from Amman, Jordan.

Today, judges in New York City, Lincoln, Nebraska and San Francisco are considering the constitutionality of the ban on late term abortions. More from Kéllia Ramares at KPFA in Berkeley.

Companies poised to handle the Medicare drug discount cards also have close ties to the Bush administration. Darby Hickey from the D.C. Bureau reports.

Features
French Left Sweep Regional Elections
The French Left dealt the conservative French government a serious blow yesterday in regional elections as it won nearly 50 percent of the votes gaining the presidency in 20 out of the 22 regions in mainland France. The National Front, the extreme right wing party gained only 12% of the votes. And as Raphaël Krafft reports from Paris, the results of this election send a clear message to the French leadership that their hard-line policies are not popular.

Senate Debates Welfare Reauthorization
Today the U.S. Senate begins debate on the reauthorization of the controversial welfare act, known as TANF.  Provisions within the reauthorization would increase the number of hours that welfare recipients must work, and the Bush administration wants to include over a billion dollars to encourage poor people to marry. The fate of the reauthorization is uncertain as Senate Democrats try to attach amendments to it that would raise the minimum wage and extend unemployment benefits.  Mitch Jeserich has more from Capitol Hill.

Richie Perez Dies – Puerto Rican Community Mourns
The Puerto Rican activist community is today mourning the passing of one of its greatest leaders, a life-long campaigner for peace, justice and independence for Puerto Rico, Richie Perez. This past Saturday the former Puerto Rican Young Lord and community activist died in a New York hospital from Cancer. WBAI’s Sally O’Brien brings us this audio obituary, remembering Richie Perez.

Poland on it’s Own with the EU Constitution?
At the EU summit which just wrapped up, leaders of European member states agreed to finalize an EU constitution by mid June. One of the sticking issues in coming to agreement on a common constitution is the issue of voting rights. Going against the other EU countries, Spain and Poland had wanted the voting system that was adopted at the Nice 2000 meetings as part of the Nice Treaty. However, after the Madrid bombings and with the new Spanish government about to take power, there are signs that Spain is willing to compromise. And as Danuta Szafraniec reports from Warsaw, it seems Poland is now facing the heat alone.  

UC Campuses to Stop Student Based Fundraising?
A new University of California proposal may disallow the funding of campus groups that organize around specific issues. The new fee proposals, which could take effect during spring-break across University of California campuses, would eliminate the ability for student groups to go to the student populace for more money, effectively stopping the fundraising ability of issue-based groups. These proposals are pushed forward in the wake of much campus organizing for the defeat of Proposition 54, which was the so-called Racial Privacy Initiative. The UC Office of the President holds the final decision making power with regards to the fee proposal.  Katie Jarmul from Pacifica Affiliate KCSB in Santa Barbara reports.

Mumia Abu Jamal Commentary on Haiti


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