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HeadlinesJanuary 29, 2003

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Bush Delivers State of the Union Address Declaring Saddam Hussein Missed His Final Chance

Jan 29, 2003

President George Bush delivered his State of the Union address last night. The president’s speech was almost a declaration of war as he said Saddam Hussein had missed his final chance. We’ll spend the hour looking at the State of the Union address, but first this other news.

U.S. Forces Comb Through Mountainous Cave Network After Fierce Battle in Afghanistan

Jan 29, 2003

From southeast Afghanistan, U.S. forces are once again combing through a vast mountainous cave network after the fiercest battle in Afghanistan in nearly a year. U.S. troops killed up to 18 Afghan fighters yesterday. The U.S. military says as many as 80 fighters started the battle by firing on U.S. helicopters. The U.S. military responded with some 2,000-pound bombs. The fighters are aligned with former mujahideen commander Hekmatyar, who once battled Soviet occupation but has now joined forces with the remnants of the Taliban to oust the Americans.

U.N.: Two Decades of War Laid Waste to Afghanistan’s Environment

Jan 29, 2003

Two decades of war have laid waste to Afghanistan’s environment so badly that its reconstruction is now compromised, this according to a new report by the United Nations. The U.N. found more than half of Kabul’s water supply is going to waste. More than half the forests in three Afghan provinces have been destroyed in 25 years.

Israel: Likud Party Sweeps to Victory in Legislative Elections

Jan 29, 2003

This news from Israel: The right-wing Likud party of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon swept to victory in Israeli legislative elections yesterday. Likud almost doubled its strength, going from 19 to 37 seats in the 120-member parliament. Its main political rival, the Labor Party, dropped fro 26 to an unprecedented 19 seats. Turnout was the lowest ever in the country’s history. Today Sharon called for a national unity government against what he called the “murderous hatred of Palestinian militants.” It’s not clear whether the defeated Labor Party will join him.

Fmr. U.N. Weapons Inspector: Washington Is Promoting “Shocking Double Standards”

Jan 29, 2003

Former U.N. arms inspector Richard Butler said yesterday that Washington was promoting “shocking double standards” in considering taking unilateral military action to rid Iraq of weapons of mass destruction. Butler said, “The spectacle of the United States, armed with its weapons of mass destruction, acting without Security Council authority to invade a country in the heartland of Arabia and, if necessary, use its weapons of mass destruction to win that battle, is something that will so deeply violate any notion of fairness in this world that I strongly suspect it could set loose forces that we would deeply live to regret.” Richard Butler said Washington lacked credibility because of its failing to call for the disarming of countries such as Syria, which is suspected of possessing chemical or biological warfare capabilities. And U.S. allies Israel, Pakistan and India all have nuclear arsenals but have not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The words of Richard Butler, the former chief U.N. weapons inspector, were particularly shocking considering his close working relationship with the United States.

Cheney Meets Pakistan’s Foreign Minister

Jan 29, 2003

Vice President Dick Cheney met yesterday Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri. Cheney praised Islamabad’s support for the U.S. anti-terror campaign, this according to Agence France-Presse. Kasuri is due to meet Secretary of State Colin Powell, and he met with War Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Monday. Among other things, Kasuri asked the Bush administration to remove Pakistan from the list of nations whose citizens must register with the INS in the United States. Meanwhile, in Pakistan, religious leaders called yesterday for the fingerprinting of Americans, a boycott of U.S. products and compulsory AIDS testing of all U.S. visitors. In last week’s issue of The New Yorker magazine, Seymour Hersh also exposed the relationship between Pakistan and North Korea’s nuclear program.

WSJ: Coca-Cola, United Airlines to File Pro-Affirmative Action Brief to Supreme Court

Jan 29, 2003

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Coca-Cola, United Airlines and a coalition of businesses plan to file a brief to urge the Supreme Court to uphold the University of Michigan’s affirmative action program.

Financial Times: U.S. Companies to Lobby Congress to Ease Visa Restrictions on Foreign-Born Workers

Jan 29, 2003

The Financial Times reports today that U.S. companies plan to begin lobbying Congress to ease the impact of new visa restrictions on foreign-born workers. The lobbying campaign will mark one of the first times big U.S. companies have spoken out against homeland security measures since the September 11 attacks.

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