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HeadlinesOctober 17, 2006

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ElBaradei: 30 More Nations Could Develop Nukes

Oct 17, 2006

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency is warning that as many as 30 nations could soon develop nuclear weapons. Mohamed ElBaradei said more countries than ever are starting uranium enrichment programs or have the technology to do so.

  • Mohamed ElBaradei: “We need to develop a new system of international approach or multinational approach to this (nuclear safeguards) so not to end up a capacity to develop nuclear weapons in a very short span of time.”

Last week North Korea became the ninth nuclear nation. It joined the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France, Pakistan, India and Israel. Israel has never acknowledged its nuclear program but it is widely believed to have about 200 with nine weapons state only but another 20 or 30 who will have nuclear weapons.

Millions Face Famine in North Korea

Oct 17, 2006

Relief organizations are warning millions of North Koreans could face famine and starvation this winter if the international community decides to cut off food aid. Michael Huggins of the United Nations World Food Program said the agency urgently needs more funding.

  • Michael Huggins: “We are at a very critical junction right now. The World Food Programme is trying to feed two million people in the country. We have only reached a million. We only have ten percent of the funds we need. Winter is approaching. It is going to be a tough winter by all that accounts. It is the time of the year when fruit and vegetables is not available to the poorest people.”

Lynne Stewart Sentenced to 28 Months In Prison

Oct 17, 2006

Civil rights attorney Lynne Stewart has been sentenced to 28 months in prison. Federal prosecutors had asked the judge to give her a 30-year sentence but federal judge, John Koeltl, said he did not believe Stewart represented the threat the government described. Koeltl said there was no evidence that any victim was in fact harmed by her actions. 20 months ago a jury found her guilty of conspiring to aid terrorists and lying to the government. Stewart was released on bail, pending an appeal. We’ll have more on the case in a few minutes.

103 Die in Sri Lankan Suicide Bombing

Oct 17, 2006

In Sri Lanka, at least 103 people died Monday after a suicide truck bomb exploded alongside buses packed with soldiers. It was the deadliest suicide bombing in the country’s history. Over 150 people were also wounded. UN secretary General Kofi Annan condemned the attack and called on the government and the Tamil Tigers to return to the negotiation table. More than 2,300 people have been violently killed in Sri Lanka since December.

U.S. Urged Not to Meddle in Nicaraguan Election

Oct 17, 2006

In Nicaragua, over 1,000 U.S. citizens have written an open letter to the U.S. embassy there to urge the Bush administration not to meddle in the upcoming presidential elections. The ad appeared in two of the country’s largest newspapers last week. It was addressed to US Ambassador Paul Trivelli. The letter said “The United States cannot claim to support free and fair elections while it attempts to control and manipulate the voting in Nicaragua.” The Bush administration has openly warned voters in Nicaragua not to elect Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega. Last month U.S. Congressman Dan Burton visited Nicaragua and said that U.S. aid to the country would be cut off if Ortega was elected. Burton said “It is important that the people know what could happen if the FSLN wins the elections.”

Guatemala and Venezuela Vie For UN Security Council Seat

Oct 17, 2006

In news from the United Nations — Voting in the race for Latin America’s open seat on the Security Council will go into a second day after delegates failed to end a deadlock between frontrunners Venezuela and Guatemala. Neither country obtained the 125 votes needed to win, but after ten rounds of voting, Guatemala established a wide lead. The balloting resumes Tuesday and could last until one country prevails or the Latin American group decides to bring forth a compromise candidate. Guatemala’s bid for the open seat is heavily backed by the United States.

FBI Raids Home of Rep. Weldon’s Daughter

Oct 17, 2006

Here in this country, FBI agents have raided the home of Republican congressman Curt Weldon’s daughter. The FBI is investigating whether the Pennsylvania lawmaker illegally used his influence to help his daughter win lucrative foreign contracts.

Ex-FDA Head Lester Crawford Charged With Lying

Oct 17, 2006

In other news from Washington, President Bush’s former head of the food and Drug Administration — Lester Crawford — has been charged with lying about his ownership of stock in several companies regulated by the agency.

UK Muslims Condemn Plans to Spy on Students

Oct 17, 2006

British Muslims are condemning reports that the government may soon ask college professors to begin spying on students they suspect of involvement in Islamic extremism. The Guardian reported British teachers may be asked to report suspicious “Asian-looking” or Muslim students to a special branch of the government.

  • Abdul Bari, secretary general of the Muslim council of Britain: “It’s scary for the Muslim community because if students in the university are spied on, and on the basis of their religion or race, then that will create more difficulties for especially the Muslim community.”

Gemma Tumelty, the president of the National Union of Students, also condemned the spy program:

  • Gemma Tumelty: “… It’s pitting student against student, and staff against student and It will only create situation where Muslim students feel even more isolated and even more alienated from their campus communities.”

Palestinians Barred From Attending Israeli Colleges

Oct 17, 2006

In other education news, the Israeli human rights organization Gisha has filed a petition with the Israeli Supreme Court to overturn a new policy that bars Palestinians from enrolling at universities in Israel. The petition was filed on behalf of Sawsan Salameh. The 29-year-old Palestinian woman was accepted as a PHD student in chemistry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem but she is barred from attending classes.

Prosecutor Prepares to Charge Israeli President With Rape

Oct 17, 2006

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports the Jerusalem District Prosecutor’s Office has begun formulating an indictment against Israeli President Moshe Katsav. Israeli police said they have uncovered enough evidence to charge the president with rape, sexual harassment, fraud and wiretapping. Katsav’s attorney said today that the president would resign when and if he were charged with a crime. Knesset member Limor Livnat criticized Katsav for staying in power this long.

  • Limor Livnat: “President Katsav should have suspended himself right at the beginning when the police had started to investigate him; unfortunately, he did not suspend himself, today he took the right decision but president Katsav should suspend himself now and I have to say the whole thing is very sad both to president Katsav but also for all of us.”

Israeli News analyst Zeev Segal said the country has never faced such a situation.

  • Zeev Segal: “This is unprecedented, not indictment, but unprecedented allegations against a senior public officer, we do not remember anything like it especially to sexual offenses so tough as rape, it was never known to the Israeli public, or society”.

Marines Put Gag Order on Guantanamo Attorney

Oct 17, 2006

In news from Guantanamo, the Marines Corps has put a gag order on a top Marine lawyer and a paralegal after they disclosed new allegations about widespread abuse at the prison. Last week the paralegal — who serves in the Marines — filed a sworn statement saying that guards at the prison bragged to her about beating detainees. One guard reportedly admitted taking a prisoner by the head and hitting the prisoner’s head into the cell door. Other guards talked about hitting prisoners, punching them in the face and denying them water.

My Name Is Rachel Corrie Opens in NYC

Oct 17, 2006

The play My Name is Rachel Corrie has finally opened up in New York at the Minetta Lane Theater. In February, the New York Theater Workshop canceled the play in a move that was widely criticized. Corrie was killed in Gaza nearly three years ago when she stood in front of an Israeli bulldozer set to demolish a Palestinian home. The play is based on Corrie’s writings before her death. Last night her father Craig Corrie spoke in New York.

  • Craig Corrie: “I just felt it is going to get here and the people that were taking care of us through the Royal Court Theater I just knew they would find some way to make this happen and it will come here and from what we were hearing about what was intended before I am certainly glad that it came with the care that it has.”

Killing of Michael Sandy Condemned

Oct 17, 2006

In other news from New York, the brutal killing of Michael Sandy was condemned yesterday at a rally at city hall. Sandy, who was a black gay man, died on Friday after he was beaten to death by four white men. He met one of the men on a gay Internet chat room. Speakers at yesterday’s rally included Leticia James, member of the New York City Council.

  • Leticia James: “Michael Sandy’s quote on his AOL profile stated the following: a real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out. Today we gather here because we refuse to walk out on Michael Sandy. We refuse to walk out on Kevin Aviance, Rashawn Brazell, Dwan Prince, and Sakia Gunn. Michael was attacked and killed because he was young, gifted, gay and black. He was intentionally lured to a site and savagely beaten.”

U.S. Population Tops 300,000,000

Oct 17, 2006

And the country’s population has topped 300,000,000 for the first time. Census officials believe the milestone was be reached at 7:46 this morning. According to census bureau, a person is born every seven seconds in this country. A person dies every 13 seconds. And an immigrant arrives in this country every 31 seconds. Based on these figures, the country’s population increases ever 11 seconds. More than half the population lives within 50 miles of the coasts. Meanwhile North Dakota is losing population.

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