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Pepper Spray Activists Win Major Court Victory

by Nicholas Wilson A federal appeals court has ordered a new trial for Headwaters Forest activists who had pepper spray swabbed and sprayed directly into their eyes by Humboldt County sheriff's deputies in 1997. The important, unanimous decision clarifies constitutional limits on police use of force, and the published opinion will have nationwide impact on the growing trend toward police use of chemical weapons on protesters

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Bush campaign silences reporters; GOP rushes to distance itself from Giuliani; questions about Giuliani's record; eccentric Hirschfeld enters NY Senate race

Manhunt Of Aliens On U.S. - Mexico Border Alleged

by Diego Cevallos Some U.S. ranchers last March distributed flyers and posted messages on the Internet in March, urging people to "hunt down" immigrants. The messages drew an outcry from human rights groups. Shortly after the hate messages became news, an undocumented Mexican immigrant was shot and wounded near the border by a U.S. rancher, who argued in his defense that he was chasing a dog

Clinton Approves African Deal For Cheap AIDS Drugs

by Gumisai Mutume An executive order signed May 10 by President Bill Clinton will allow African countries easier access to medical technologies and inexpensive AIDS drugs as they fight an epidemic regarded as a national security threat by the U.S. government

Cheaper AIDS Drugs A Myth, Says Medical Agency

by Thalif Deen The concept of dramatically reducing the prices of drugs by as much as 85 to 90 percent is a good one, says the Nobel Prize-winning group Doctors Without Borders. "However, missing are concrete commitments from drug companies, national governments and international donors"

Air Pollution From Asia Could Violate New U.S. Standard

by Vince Stricherz A plume of pollution that crossed the Pacific Ocean from Asia last year contained ozone at levels high enough to violate a new federal ozone standard

8 Years In Prison For Mexico General Behind Acetal Massacre

by Pilar Franco The eight-year prison sentences handed down to a retired general and two police officers for the 1997 massacre of 45 Native people in Chiapas state could be the beginning of the end for impunity, said human rights groups

Cubans Skeptical That Elian Will Return

by Dalia Acosta The euphoria felt in Cuba when Elian Gonzalez was reunited with his father in the United States is turning to pessimism as the likelihood of the shipwrecked boy's prompt return to his home country fades. "The boy was only moved from one kidnapper to another. The only difference is that now his father, step-mother and little brother are also victims of the kidnapping"

U.S. Foreign Aid Set To Hit 50-Year Low

by Jim Lobe Under Clinton's 2001 proposal, foreign aid would account for only 0.11 percent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP), less than half of what it was during the 1980s and less than one-third of what most other industrialized countries currently provide

Study Finds Preschoolers Retain High Levels of Pesticides

by Walter Neary A new study suggests that pesticides are finding their way into the bodies of pre-school children in agricultural communities at a higher level than previously thought

Clinton Wins Charisma Points With Spoof Video

by David Cassel The widely-talked about video featured footage of Clinton wandering the halls of the White House, asking "Anybody home?" and making origami ducks -- a spoof on the emptiness of his Administration's final days. The intimate "mockumentary" was especially appropriate for its target audience: reporters who cover the White House

McCain Tries To Break Senate Deadlock Over Global Warming

by Danielle Knight McCain said he was motivated to conduct the hearing during his primary campaign when young adults across the county had asked him what his plan was on global warming. "I don't have a plan," said McCain. But, he added "policy makers should be concerned about the mounting evidence that something is happening"

Free Trade Bill Hurts All But Corporations

by Mark Weisbrot The combined package retains almost all of the offensive material that public interest groups have fought against. In exchange for increased access to U.S. markets, countries in sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean and Central America would cede more power and privileges to foreign corporations and organizations like the International Monetary Fund. At the same time, every attempt to make the new trade benefits "trickle down" to the poor and working people of Africa and the Caribbean was defeated. The right to organize unions, or human rights in general, will not be protected or advanced by this law

Anti-Drug Bill Would Outlaw Internet Discussions

by Matthew Stannard The language banning the distribution of information intended to help someone break federal law was copied from an earlier Feinstein bill targeting Internet bomb-making instructions. That language was ruled constitutional by the Department of Justice, although a test case has yet to hit the courts. As a result, many critics of the new bill say they are certain it will become law

Congressional Fight Brews Over Easing Cuba Sanctions

by Jim Lobe A major storm is brewing in Congress -- and especially within the Republican Party -- over the future of the 40-year U.S. trade embargo against Cuba. Defying predictions, a key committee in the House of Representatives voted by a substantial margin this week to lift sanctions against the sale of food and medicine against countries on the State Department's terrorism list, including Cuba

Right Used Elian To Bash Clinton

by Randolph T. Holhut It would be easy to say the conservatives' hatred of Fidel Castro is the reason for their behavior. But as much as they hate Castro, they hate President Clinton more. Even though they struck out with Whitewater, Filegate, Travelgate and Sexgate; even though they've spent years of investigating and legally harassing everyone around Clinton with little result, they seem willing to do it one more time over Elian

Where Have All the Issues Gone?

by Jim Hightower Well, there we have it: It's down to GoreBush. Dull vs. dullard. The political establishments of the two-party duopoly successfully rose up to surround, defend, and shove forward their chosen ones, both girded with tens of millions of dollars from the exact same sources of corrupt corporate money

Gore in the Balance

by Mark Hertsgaard Day after day, the vice president pounds away on his core themes of health care, education, the booming economy, and now, his sinner's conversion to campaign finance reform. Meanwhile, he mentions the environment only sporadically. That's odd coming from the author of Earth in the Balance, but it's also a mistake. The truth is, the environment could be the key to a Gore victory in November, if he has the wit to link it to the issue that decides most U.S. presidential elections: the economy

Too Cheap To Meter

by J.A. Savage The nation was sold on nuclear power with the promise that electricity would be someday be so cheap that it wouldn't be worth the bother to have an electric meter. But never considered were the hidden costs that made the energy cost far more than conventional sources

Pesticide Found In Food Decades After Use

by Beverly Hassell Pesticide use from a more toxic past is hitting close to home. A new report says buyers of fresh produce may get something unexpected: chlordane, a now-banned hazardous chemical introduced more than five decades ago. The report shows that although food contains small amounts of chlordane, the compound accumulates in the human body and can lead to digestive and nervous system disorders

Enviros Blast Secret NAFTA Meetings

by Danielle Knight A coalition of more than 90 environmental groups from Canada, Mexico and the United States are demanding that their governments immediately suspend secret meetings

1 of 10 Grocery Items Bought in U.S. Never Used

by Mark Reutter A can of sardines spent more than 20 years being passed from grandmother to mother to daughter. In another case, a family packed, moved, and unpacked unwanted grocery items during five relocations. These abandoned products gradually migrate farther back on the shelf until they become almost invisible. Yet the money spent purchasing these dusty relics is not trivial -- as much as 12 percent of all grocery items wind up as "cabinet castaways"

Australia Blocked Critics From Big Environment Meet, Say Enviros

by Bob Burton Greenpeace has accused the Australian Government of trying to split the Pacific island states by inviting representatives from logging nations, such as Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, which have potential for tree plantations which Australian could fund and gain "credits" for, while excluding countries such as Tuvalu, which has little land area and is highly critical of Australia's approach

Vieques Protesters Regroup After Eviction

by Carmelo Ruiz-Marrero Just over a week after U.S. law enforcement authorities cleared protesters off of the Navy firing range on the island-town of Vieques, some have already returned and been arrested. They have vowed to keep re-entering the area in spite of threats from the U.S. Justice Department

Uganda Children Face "Kill Or Be Killed" Choice

by Katy Salmon The child soldiers are led by the dreadlocked "prophet" Joseph Kony, who claims to speak through the Holy Spirit. For the past 14 years, his soldiers have been terrorizing, abducting and killing the long-suffering Acholi people of the northern districts of Gulu and Kitgum. Kony's stated aim is to overthrow Pres. Museveni's government and replace it with a system based on the 10 Commandments. But Kony never attacks the army -- only civilians

Several Nations Investigating Operation Condor

by Mario Osava The justice systems of Latin America's Southern Cone countries have begun working together to investigate the crimes of Operation Condor, created by the region's military dictatorships in the 1970s to carry out repressive political actions beyond their national borders

U'wa Tribe Loses Court Ruling on Oil Drilling

by Yadira Ferrer The U.S. company will begin exploring for oil once again in the area known as the Samore Block in northeastern Colombia based on a ruling by the Bogota high court May 15, which overturned a previous court decision halting work in the area on the grounds that it violated the constitutional rights of the U'wa community

Offshore Banks Laundered Funds in European Campaign Finance Scandal

by Lucy Komisar "In Germany, banks and large corporations have interlocking relationships and boards. That extends to politics. Kohl rose with the support of the industrialists. Money moved from Switzerland and Liechtenstein to accounts in Frankfurt. Nobody asked questions. How do you think Kohl set up these accounts? With the active help of the banks"

Russian Mob Laundered Billions Through NY Banks

by Lucy Komisar Russian mobsters still have thousands of bank accounts stuffed with laundered cash at some of the world's largest banks, and state regulators in New York and Delaware, where most of the corporations are registered, have done little to or nothing to close down the corporations, a months-long investigation has revealed

The Hidden Global Economy

by Lucy Komisar Right-wing think tanks and industry associations are the major players behind the movement opposing environmental regulation and attacking environmentalists. These groups are devoting a great deal of time, energy and money to the issue of global warming, where both regulation and actions by environmentalists intersect

Euro Governments Encourage Laundering, Says Judge

by Tito Drago All European Union (EU) member countries tolerate tax havens which "constitute the most fertile breeding ground for organized economic crime," Spanish Judge Baltasar Garzon charged. Garzon, internationally renowned for his attempt to extradite former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet from Britain and try him for human rights abuses in Spain, suggested ways of fighting these trends in Europe, such as measures to replace extradition processes with instruments entailing the immediate handover of individuals wanted on arrest warrants

India Population Now One Billion

by Mahesh Uniyal India became the world's second most populous nation on May 11, with one billion people, amid official functions to mark the event. But the enthusiastic search for the baby born at 12:56PM, who will be officially declared the billionth Indian, is tempered by the sobering thought that the event may be nothing to celebrate

Ex-U.S. Spy Confesses To Assassinating For Pinochet

Townley's confessions before Argentine Judge Maria Servini de Cubria implicated Pinochet and other leaders of Chile's de facto regime in the assassination of Gen. Carlos Prats, who preceded Pinochet as army chief under the government of socialist president Salvador Allende (1971-73), overthrown in the 1973 coup

Street Clashes in Chile as Pinochet Hearings Open

by Gustavo Gonzalez Supporters and opponents of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet clashed in downtown Santiago April 26 at the start of a hearing to determine whether the elderly senator-for-life can be tried in connection with human rights abuses

Forecast For Y2000: Hot And Dry

by Cat Lazaroff In a year already marked in the U.S. by threats of record drought, wildfires and huge tornadoes, the statistic that this year was the warmest such period on record is another warning that the effects of global climate change are being felt across the country and around the world

Burma Refugees Suing U.S. Oil Corp

by Rick Mercier On May 22, a federal judge in Los Angeles will hear arguments in a lawsuit brought by 15 plaintiffs representing thousands of Karen refugees against Unocal Corporation. They charge the firm with human rights abuses. Unocal denies the allegations. This is the first suit naming a U.S. corporation as a human rights violator, and the judge must decide whether it will go to trial

Colombian Paramilitary Violence Rising

by Gustavo Capdevila This South American country saw a reduction last year in reports of human rights violations in general, but it was offset by the sharp rise in abuses and assassinations attributed to right-wing paramilitary groups, according to the UN commission's report

U.S. Military Playing "Hide And Seek" With Toxic Waste, Say Activists

by Danielle Knight A shipment of U.S. military toxic waste, containing cancer-causing polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, has been a trans-Pacific "hot potato" rejected from various shipping ports. The cargo has been refused entry in Canada and the United States, and was returned to Japan in April. Since then, Guam and Johnston Atoll have also refused requests to store the waste, as a result of protests by international environmental activists

Meet the Lovebug Hacker

by Jeff Elliott The billions lost from Lovebug are perhaps the best example yet of why the Microsoft monopoly must end. It demonstrates that the corporation has no interest in correcting serious flaws in its products until forced to. And even then, any fixes are made in piecemeal fashion that depends upon millions of computer users to download weekly fixes. This is not a solution -- it's another problem itself

Monopoly Was Responsible For Quick Spread of Virus

by Randolph T. Holhut If I were a company that used Windows-based software that saw its computer system trashed due to the Love Bug, I'd have my attorneys drawing up a lawsuit against Microsoft. They are the company that's putting out software that is not secure, riddled with bugs and loaded with incompatibilities with non-Microsoft programs; that have almost single-handedly created an entire industry of software writers who produce programs to deal with the messes made by Microsoft's shoddy work

Breaking and Entering Your Neighbor's Computer

by Joab Jackson How easy is it to tap into a neighbor's computer if it isn't secured properly? Insanely easy, I learned after a recent night of experimenting. It doesn't take any networking savvy -- just the right program and some anti-social attitude

LA Unions Leading Nation in Labor Renaissance

by Kathleen Sharp First sign of a labor renaissance was the massive janitors' strike -- some 3,000 members of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1877 carrying mops and brooms across the city's skyscraper-lined canyons. What was surprising was the pin-striped executives raising their pale fists in brotherly salute on their way to Dilbert-like jobs

California Sticks With Bush Marijuana Policy

by Dan Hamburg The "Smoke a Joint, Lose Your License" mandate was devised by the Bush administration as an attack on California's marijuana decriminalization law under which possession of less than an ounce is deemed an infraction rather than a misdemeanor. To this day, the feds withhold transportation funds from states that refuse to take driver's licenses from drug offenders, regardless of whether the drug offense has any relationship to operating a vehicle. States that don't wish to abide by the mandate can "opt-out" with the signature of the governor. Thirty-two states, including every state west of Texas, have taken advantage of the "opt-out" option

Teen Profiling Software Doesn't Work

by Donna Ladd IEarlier this month, the group's National Threat Assessment Center released results from an ongoing study of 40 school-violence cases over the last 20 years. The conclusions, reported April 7 by USA Today, are not surprising: Like political assassins, school shooters do not share a single profile. They do not usually make explicit threats. And many of the students had been harassed, and had sought help (fruitfully or not) from school officials

Getting Burned By The Timber Industry

by Chad Hanson In the wake of the fires in New Mexico, the timber industry is mobilizing its PR machine to try to convince the public of the need to increase logging on our national forests, supposedly to protect them from catastrophic fires

Texas' Sadistic Prison Hospital

by Molly Ivins Female federal prisoners all over the country are sent to Carswell; it is the only medical facility for them. Of the 1,195 women at Carswell, only 642 are there for medical and psychiatric reasons, according to the Bureau of Prisons, though Rumpf believes that the number is much higher. She details case after case in which the phrase "not medically necessary" is the response to requests for medical help

Bush Weakened Regulations For Favorite Corporations

by Molly Ivins Gov. George W. Bush likes to brag that he got a $2 billion property tax break for Texans. This sounds really impressive in a state like New Hampshire, but our state is so big that this amounts to a Big Mac a month for property owners. What he also did is stick everybody with $8.5 billion in stealth taxes, added to our utility bills to bail out the electric companies for their "stranded costs." That's a euphemism for "poor management and stupid projects," the most spectacular examples being the two white-elephant nukes

Enough of NRA Bullying

by Molly Ivins The 30,000 gun deaths a year in this country are not a consequence of our lack of common sense; they are a failure of our political system. The system does not work on this (and most other issues) -- and not because the anti-gun-control forces are stronger than the pro-gun-control forces, or because the anti-control people are more passionate about the issue, or because they are single-issue voters. It doesn't work because of money

Environment, Public Will Lose In MTBE Battle

by Molly Ivins The fight is over whether to get rid of this oxygen-in-gasoline requirement entirely, since it's apparently doing squat to improve air pollution. Ah, but the second additive used to meet the requirement is ethanol, dear to the hearts of corn farmers and their representatives in Congress

White Collar Crime Rates Skyrocket

by Molly Ivins What interests me most is legal crime, the rip-offs about which absolutely nothing can be done -- often because Our Elected Representatives have been bought off by the system of legalized bribery that runs American politics

Left, Right Gang Up Against China Trade

by Molly Ivins Pretty much your whole Establishment is in favor of this -- economists, including 13 Nobel laureates, 200 top CEOs, a group of former Treasury and State department secretaries going back five administrations, 47 governors and a partridge in a pear tree. If that isn't enough to make you suspicious, what is?

No Politics Like Galveston Politics

by Molly Ivins What one likes about Galveston politics is that people really get into it: lawn signs everywhere, lots of heated discussions, everybody knowing everybody, and lots of complications stemming from feuds and friendships that go back for years, if not generations. Among those BOI (born on the isle), being a Galvestonian is a complete identity

Prison Riots Wait For No Presidential Candidate

by Molly Ivins Texas prison guards are underpaid and overworked; the prisons are understaffed, and more guards walk off the job every week, leaving the prisons more dangerous for everyone in them, guards and convicts alike

Media Stumbled on Elian Story

by Molly Ivins Although the Cuban community is certainly united against Fidel Castro, TV could have sought out many moderate voices. There is no way of telling whether the overcoverage of people vowing violent resistance influenced the attorney general's decision to go in with a heavily armed force, but it cannot be ruled out

The Ten Dot-Com Commandments

by Norman Solomon Every month, hundreds of hours on national television and many large vats of ink go to prayerful meditations on how to better understand and analyze the Lord our Market, seeking to assess Its will to be done

Hazards of Media Monoculture

by Norman Solomon In the absence of a healthy media environment, our society is prone to vitriol that eludes direct challenge. For example, Don Imus -- ranked by Time as one of "the 25 most influential Americans" -- delights in spewing out a fetid brew of ersatz cleverness on his national radio program, whether at the expense of blacks, gays, women or people with amputated limbs

Ad Industry Built On Manipulating Women

by Norman Solomon Last fall, when Jean Kilbourne's new book "Deadly Persuasion" was arriving on shelves, Publishers Weekly praised it as "a wake-up call about the damaging effects of advertising in our media-saturated culture." But six months later, the mass media's fingers remain firmly on the snooze button

Break Up The Media "Big Six"

by Norman Solomon Today, just six corporations have a forceful grip on America's mass media. We should consider how to break the hammerlock that huge firms currently maintain around the windpipe of the First Amendment. And we'd better hurry

Dog Politics in Berkeley

by Alexander Cockburn Across the country, dog lovers are beginning to flex their political muscles. We're talking big potential clout here. Claudia Kawczynska edits The Bark, formerly the Berkeley Bark, now a national quarterly with a circulation of 60,000. She tells me it's hard to be sure, but somewhere between 20 and 30 percent of the nation's households have dogs. City after city has acknowledged their new organizing power. I expect Gore and Bush will be issuing dog position papers any day now

Al Gore's War on Crime

by Alexander Cockburn America is so hooked on prisons that, right now, as Nadelmann points out, the easiest way to get treatment for drug addiction is to commit a crime and get yourself arrested. Of course, it's the worst place to get drug treatment, but finding it outside the criminal justice system is very tough, unless you have plenty of money. Someone should tell Al that the surest place to get drugs is prison, where it's brought in by the guards, the very folks who are supposed to be supervising punishment and cleanup. Gore won't have anything to say about that. He's far too chicken to take on the correctional officers' associations

The Rise Of The Jackboot State

by Alexander Cockburn The rise of the jackboot state has marched in lock step with the insane and ineffective "War on Drugs," and this has been a bipartisan affair. Its consequences are etched into the fabric of our lives. Just think of drug testing, now a virtually mandatory condition of employment, even though it's an outrageous violation of personal sovereignty, as well as being thoroughly unreliable. In the era when America has been led by two self-confessed pot-smokers -- Clinton and Gore -- the number of people held for drug crimes in federal prisons has increased by 64 percent

Elian: This is How We Do Things Here

by Alexander Cockburn Since I regard Elian's Miami "family" as a disgusting bunch of child-exploiters, I rejoiced at the removal of Elian. But of course, Reno screwed up royally, after her correct determination on Jan. 5 that Elian's father was close to his son, and should be the sole authority to speak on his behalf in immigration matters. But in the months thereafter, she dithered

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