Thursday, August 4, 2011

  • Women Hurt Most by Debt Deal Cuts to Medicare, Social Security, Tuition

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    The debt ceiling agreement reached this week by the White House and Congress could deal a serious blow to women’s well-being, according to leading women’s rights groups. The deal will potentially impose $1 trillion in cuts to programs that mostly serve and employ women, such as family planning clinics, food stamps, college tuition assistance and childcare. The National Organization for Women (NOW), the largest feminist organization in the country, called on President Obama to "stand up to the conservatives and Tea Party activists" and resist balancing the federal budget on the backs of the most vulnerable people in this country—namely women, and especially women of color. We speak with NOW President Terry O’Neill about the debt deal and how few women were involved in the negotiations. We also look at new federal guidelines requiring insurance companies to cover birth control with no copay, with some religious exemptions. [includes rush transcript]

  • Guatemalan Soldiers Sentenced to 6,060 Years in Prison for Role in 1982 Massacre

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    On Tuesday, a national court in Guatemala handed down the first convictions for a notorious massacre. It was 1982 when Guatemalan soldiers attacked the village of Las Dos Erres and killed more than 200 people — many of them women, children and the elderly — who were assaulted and beaten before they were shot or bludgeoned to death and then thrown down a well. Now a Guatemalan judge has sentenced four of the soldiers who carried out the Dos Erres attack to 6,060 years of prison each, 30 years per person they killed. The court also found the soldiers guilty of crimes against human rights, adding another 30 years to their sentences. It is the latest step in a process to end impunity for those involved in the deaths or disappearances of more than 200,000 people in the 1980s and 1990s. However, human rights groups allege General Otto Pérez Molina, now a leading presidential candidate in Guatemala, was directly involved in the systematic use of torture and acts of genocide in the 1980s and could block pending cases if he is elected. We speak with Annie Bird, co-director of Rights Action, and with Ramón Cadena, the ad hoc judge who heard the Dos Erres massacre case before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. [includes rush transcript]

  • Video Report from Cairo: Egyptians Celebrate as Mubarak Stands Trial for Murder, Corruption

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    In Egypt, the trial of former president Hosni Mubarak has been adjourned until August 15. On Wednesday, Mubarak appeared in court for the first time, along with his two sons, Gamal and Alaa. He was brought into the Cairo courtroom on a hospital stretcher. Mubarak denied all the charges against him, which include profiteering, illegal business dealing involving Israeli gas exports, and the unlawful killing of protesters during the revolution. Democracy Now! correspondent Sharif Abdel Kouddous was outside the courtroom, where crowds had gathered to watch, many expressing relief that justice could be served for the victims of the revolution. Special thanks to videographer Nicole Salazar. [includes rush transcript]

  • Failed Education Reform in Chile Prompts Hunger Strikes, Protests by Thousands of Students

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    In Chile, tens of thousands of students have been protesting across the country for the last several weeks demanding comprehensive educational reforms. Students have expressed frustration at President Sebastián Piñera’s failure to respond to their demands. Last week, high school students in the port city of Antofagasta joined a hunger strike by students called earlier in the capital, Santiago. They are demanding an end to privatized education in Chile, which has left generations of students deep in debt. We speak with Chilean political scientist Patricio Navia in Santiago. He teaches at the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at New York University and at the Universidad Diego Portales in Santiago. He writes regularly for the Chilean newspaper, La Tercera. [includes rush transcript]