In Geneva Monday, unofficial Israeli and Palestinian negotiators agreed to a prototype peace plan that backers hope will demonstrate that a peace agreement is possible between Israelis and Palestinians. According to the Guardian of London, the main points of the Geneva accord include a division of Jerusalem along religious and cultural lines, a mutual recognition of statehood and for Israel to mostly return to its 1967 borders. At a ceremony, former US president Jimmy Carter said: “The people support it. Political leaders are the obstacle to peace… it is unlikely we shall ever see a better foundation for peace.” Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and several Palestinian groups including Hamas oppose the plan. Many Palestinians have criticized the Geneva Accords because it surrenders their right to return to properties left in 1948.
In Iraq, the Washington Post is reporting that a majority of Iraq’s U.S.-appointed Governing Council is rejecting a call by a leading Shiite cleric for direct elections. Instead the council is favoring the U.S. plan that would see a provisional government be elected through regional caucuses. The Post reports that if the Council ignores the call for direct elections Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, many Shiites may reject the provisional government as illegitimate.
The Department of Homeland Security yesterday officially ended a year-old program that required tens of thousands of men mostly from Muslim register annually with immigration officials. During the first year of the program, nearly 84,000 men voluntarily registered and the government responded by moving to deport nearly 14,000 of them. [Archived Democracy Now! coverage: 1__ | 2__ | 3__ ]
In Venezuela, opponents of President Hugo Chavez are claiming they have gathered enough signatures over the past four days to demand a presidential recall. The recall effort marks the third time since April 2001 that opposition leaders tried to remove the populist leader Chavez from office. On Friday, Chavez announced he planned to run for re-election in 2006.
A 41-year-old African American has died after being beaten to death by six police officers in Cincinnati Sunday. Videotape surfaced yesterday that showed police repeatedly clubbed the man with nightsticks. Police claimed they were trying to subdue the man, Nathaniel Jones, who weighed close to 350 pounds. The Mayor Charlie Luken, said the police were justified in using force because the manÂ’s size made his body a “deadly weapon” as he lunged toward the officers. The death comes three years after Cincinnati police killed a 29-year-old African-American in a death that brought national attention to the Cincinnati police who killed 17 African-American individuals between 1995 and 2001.
In a set back to Republicans, the Colorado state Supreme Court has ruled the GOP had illegally redrawn the stateÂ’s congressional districts in effort to favor Republican candidates.
In Louisiana, the American Civil Liberties Union is protesting a public school for punishing a 7-year-old boy for using the word Â”gayÂ” to describe his mother. After the boy told a friend that his mother was a lesbian, his teacher scolded him saying that gay was a Â”bad word.Â” The boy was sent to the principalÂ’s office and later forced to repeatedly write the words “I will never use the word `gay’ in school again.” [ Read student’s handwritten report on incident]
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