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You turn to Democracy Now! for ad-free news you can trust. Maybe you come for our daily headlines. Maybe you come for in-depth stories that expose government and corporate abuses of power. This month, Democracy Now! is celebrating our 23rd birthday. For over two decades, we've produced our daily news hour without ads, government funding or corporate underwriting. How is this possible? Only with your support. Right now, in honor of Democracy Now!'s birthday, every donation we receive will be doubled by a generous supporter. This means if you give $30 today, Democracy Now! will get $60 to support our daily news hour. Please do your part. It takes just a couple of minutes to make sure that Democracy Now! is there for you and everybody else. Thank you! -Amy Goodman
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The Bush administration yesterday asked the World Trade Organization to force the European Union to lift its ban on new genetically modified food. The U.S. is attempting to force European nations into selling some 30 US biotech food products.
Washington’s request comes one month before a major trade meeting in Cancun, Mexico.
Linnet Deily, the US WTO envoy, claimed yesterday that Europe’s ban on genetically modified food was unfair to other countries.
However anti-GM campaigners protested the US move.
Martin Rocholl, of Friends of the Earth Europe said, “The US administration, funded by the likes of GMO giant Monsanto, is using the undemocratic and secretive WTO to force feed the world GM foods.”
Rocholl continued, “Decisions about the food we eat should be made in Europe and not in the White House, the WTO or Monsanto’s HQ.”
In Liberia, the government and two opposition groups have signed a peace deal that will create an interim government within two months.
Last week President Charles Taylor resigned and went into exile. His vice president Moses Blah took power. Under the agreement, Blah will step down in October when the transitional government is formed. Elections are set for 2005.
According to the Washington Post, members the three warring political parties will be denied top posts in the new government.
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael Powell says the FCC will examine the effects of concentration in media ownership this fall. This comes following mass criticism against the agency’s vote to rewrite the nation’s media ownership laws to allow for greater mergers in the television and newspaper world.
Powell made the surprise announcement in Aspen Colorado at an annual gathering of telecommunications executives.
Powell acknowledged, “There is a sentiment being expressed by the American public, a concern about the media, a concern about big media.”
He challenged Congress to draft new legislation to provide the FCC with clearer direction.
Meanwhile Marsha MacBride, Powell’s chief aide on the media ownership regulations, announced yesterday she would be resigning. Powell’s media adviser Susan Eid also recently left the FCC. Powell dismissed reports that he would soon step down.
Also yesterday, The Media Access Project and other public interest groups yesterday filed a request to bar the FCC from implementing the new rules.
The French Director General for Health Dr. Lucien Abenhaim has resigned after admitting as many as 5,000 people have died in France in recent weeks as a result of the massive heat wave.
President Bush has admitted that major combat operations are continuing in Iraq. On May 1, Bush went on national TV to proclaim the end “major combat operations.”
But in a new interview with the Armed Forces Radio Bush said: ” We still have combat operations going on. It’s a different kind of combat mission, but, nevertheless, it’s combat, just ask the kids that are over there killing and being shot at.”
Questions also arose as to whether Bush knows how many U.S. troops he has sent into war.
He said during the interview that the U.S. has about 10,000 troops in Afghanistan which he said is “down from, obviously major combat operations.”
But the Washington Post points out 10,000 troops in Afghanistan actually represents the highest number of US soldiers there since the war began almost two years ago. The U.S. used only 3,000 troops to take on the Taliban in the fall of 2001.
In Northern Iraq a Kurdish group said today former Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan, had been captured. He was among the 20 Iraqis most wanted by the U.S.
It has been revealed in London that one of Prime Minister Tony Blair’s closest advisors warned Blair top advisors that it would be wrong to present Saddam Hussein as an imminent threat to other countries.
Downing Street Chief of Staff Jonathan Powell issued the warning on Sept. 17, before Blair released his controversial Iraq dossier which, among other things, claimed Iraq could launch a biological or chemical attack within 45 minutes.
Jonathan Powell’s warning of a week earlier was ignored. He had written in an email: “We will need to make it clear in launching the document that we do not claim that we have evidence that he is an imminent threat.”
His email was sent to some of Blair’s closest advisors including Alastair Campbell, Blair’s director of communications, and David Manning, Blair’s foreign policy advisor.
This news from Venezuela: Opponents of President Hugo Chavez have collected more than two million signatures backing a recall of Chavez. Today is the mid-point in his six-year term, the first day opponents could legally seek a recall. So far the opposition has collected 2.2 million signatures, it needs about 400,000 more to force the recall. The recall is the latest strategy of the opposition to oust Chavez. A coup and general strike both failed earlier.
The UN Security Council is expected to debate tomorrow on whether to lift sanctions placed on Libya after the 1988 Lockerbie bombing. Britain and the U.S. now back the end of sanctions after Libya agreed to set up a $2.7 billion fund to compensate the families of the 270 killed.
France is threatening to veto the end of sanctions unless Libya increases its compensation for a different bombing that killed 170 aboard a French flight in 1989.
This news just in from Afghanistan: An explosion has torn through the home of the brother of President Hamid Karzai earlier today. Police first said the blast was the result of a bomb. Later they said it was caused by the accidental detonation of munitions being transported.