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HeadlinesSeptember 15, 2006

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Senate Rebuffs White House Over Terror Trials

Sep 15, 2006

President Bush’s revised plan to interrogate and prosecute terrorism suspects has received a major setback on Capital Hill. On Thursday, the Senate Armed Services Committee passed an alternative plan affirming Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, which prohibits inhumane treatment. Four Republicans, including Arizona’s John McCain and committee chair John Warner, joined Democrats in approving the measure. The White House says it will fight the legislation because it would mean the end of the CIA’s program of interrogating detainees. The Senate measure received a boost Thursday from former Secretary of State Colin Powell. In a letter to Senator McCain, Powell said ignoring the Geneva Conventions would endanger US troops and imperil the war on terror. Powell said: “The world is beginning to doubt the moral basis of our fight against terrorism.”

Spain Says it May Have Been Stopover for CIA Renditions

Sep 15, 2006

In Europe, Spain has acknowledged its territory may have been used as a stopover for the CIA’s transfer of prisoners known as extraordinary rendition. In testimony before the European parliament, Spanish Foreign Minister Angel Moratinos said dozens of CIA flights have landed on Spanish soil but insisted none contained prisoners.

  • Spanish Foreign Minister Angel Moratinos: ” Its important to bear in mind that after their stop over in Spanish territories such flights may have been used in connection with illegal transfer or abduction of prisoners and these flights are being investigated by Spanish authorities because even if there is no evidence that any crimes were committed on Spanish territory some crime subject to universal jurisdiction may have occurred elsewhere.”

Moratinos is the first Foreign Minister to testify in front of an ongoing European probe into the secret CIA program.

30 More Bodies Recovered in Baghdad

Sep 15, 2006

In Iraq, police say they’ve recovered thirty more bodies around Baghdad. More than one hundred and thirty Iraqis have been killed in the last two days of violence.

Activists Walk Out of Meeting With IMF-WB Officials

Sep 15, 2006

In Singapore, a group of activists walked out of a meeting with IMF and World Bank officials earlier today in protest of the barring of twenty-eight colleagues. Singapore has barred the activists during the annual International Monetary Fund–World Bank meetings which began on Wednesday. Also today, a handful of activists staged a protest in the official demonstration zone. They were forced to scan bar-coded identification cards before entering the area. They were outnumbered by surrounding media and security personnel. This one of the protesters.

  • Unidentified Protester: “The poor people haven’t got their voice in this meeting. That is why we insist that we need to have a bigger voice.”

Meanwhile, World Bank head Paul Wolfowitz also criticized the barring of the activists.

  • World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz: “In meetings with the President and Prime Minister, I raised the issue of members of civil society who have been accredited and excluded from our meetings and last night the Prime Minister said that based on the Bank and Fund vouching for these people that they would look at each case individually and open the door to let them in. I hope that will happen expeditiously and completely and we are waiting for further developments.”

Large Turnout Expected For Assembly of AMLO Supporters

Sep 15, 2006

In Mexico, a massive gathering is expected in the capital Saturday for supporters of former Presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. The conference will address the response to last week’s ruling certifying the electoral victory of conservative candidate Felipe Calderon. Lopez Obrador has proposed establishing an “alternative government.” He spoke in Mexico City Thursday.

  • Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador: “It’s not possible any more to continue with the same worn out regime of corruption and of privileges. It’s not possible any more to continue with this ballast that is preventing Mexico from forging ahead, which is preventing its people from living.”

Chavez Says US Hindering Pending Visit to UN

Sep 15, 2006

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is in a new row with the Bush administration over his scheduled visit to the UN General Assembly next week. Speaking in Havana Thursday, Chavez said US officials were denying visas to members of his security detail and medical staff. But he vowed to still make the trip.

  • Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez: “I hope to see [Spain’s Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero] in New York but now the gringos (U.S.) don’t want me to go, here let me tell you, they denied visas for my security and my doctors. They don’t want my advance party in New York but I am going even if I have to go alone, with Fidel like Quixote, with Quixote on horseback.”

Bush Admin Warns Nicaraguans on Electing Sandinista Leader

Sep 15, 2006

The Bush administration has issued a new warning to Nicaraguan voters against electing Sandinista leader and former President Daniel Ortega. In an interview with the London Financial Times, US Ambassador Paul Trivelli called Ortega “un-democratic” and said his victory would force a “re-evaluation” of US ties to Nicaragua. The US waged a decade-long economic and covert military campaign against the Sandinistas after the overthrow of the US-backed Somoza regime in 1979. Ortega is currently leading polls ahead of November’s vote.

Ney Expected to Plead Guilty in Bribery Case

Sep 15, 2006

Back in the United States, Republican Congressmember Bob Ney of Ohio is expected to plead guilty today to at least one charge in connection to the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal. Ney said he would not seek re-election this year after the House Ethics Committee announced he was being investigated on bribery charges. A guilty plea would be Ney’s first admission of wrongdoing in the case. He maintained his innocence even after his former chief of staff pleaded guilty in May. Ney is expected to serve some time in jail.

Study: 9 in 10 Unable to Buy Health Insurance

Sep 15, 2006

In health news, a new study says nine out of ten Americans who’ve tried to buy their own health insurance have been unable to do so. According to the Commonwealth Fund, one in five uninsured were turned down because of an existing medical condition. Nearly 60 percent went without health insurance because they could not afford the price.

HP Admits Obtaining Journalists’ Phone Records

Sep 15, 2006

In business news, the technology giant Hewlett-Packard has admitted it secretly obtained the phone records of nine journalists. The disclosure comes on the heels of the company’s acknowledgement it spied on its own board members in an attempt to discover the source of information linked to the media. The journalists worked for CNet, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.

FCC Ordered Destruction of Report Critical of Media Concentration

Sep 15, 2006

In media news, a former lawyer at the Federal Communications Commission has revealed the agency ordered staff members to destroy all copies of a draft study that warned against concentration of media ownership. The lawyer, Adam Candeub, says the destroyed study suggest greater concentration would harm local television news coverage across the country. The report put forward figures showing local ownership adds almost five minutes of total news to broadcasts and more than three minutes of “on-location” news. Those findings contradicted the FCC’s arguments when it voted to liberalize media ownership rules three years ago. Candeub says FCC commissioners wanted “every last piece” of the report destroyed.

Ford Cuts 10,000 Jobs

Sep 15, 2006

And finally in labor news, the auto giant Ford has announced a new round of job cuts and the closure of two of its plants. The company says it plans to eliminate ten thousand jobs through buyouts of hourly workers.

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