November 29, 2004

NYMHM: Headlines and Undercurrents

A brief survey of recent news stories from major U.S. and global media outlets. Updated each Monday and Friday.

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A note on premium news services
Many news sites transfer their articles to “premium” archives after several days. In such cases we will provide links to topic-specific keyword searches. Modify the searches as needed. Results may vary — follow the tangents and keep an open mind!

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“Sudan to expel senior aid workers”
BBC, November 29, 2004

Save the Children and Oxfam were asked to withdraw from operations in Sudan for political making statements about the conflict there.

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“World ‘failed’ Bhopal gas victims”
BBC, November 29, 2004

As the anniversary of the Bhopal disaster approaches, Amnesty International has issued a report finding that India has not distributed most of the $500 million in victims’ compensation paid by Union Carbide. The report also finds that an additional 15,000 people have died from complications from the chemical leak, 100,000 have “chronic or debilitating illness,” and that toxics continue to affect the water supply there.

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“Suu Kyi’s house arrest ‘extended'”
BBC, November 29, 2004

Despite the promised release of 9,000 political prisoners, Aung San Suu Kyi remains under house arrest, possibly until September 2005. Speculation abounds that Soe Win, the new prime minister of Myanmar (Burma), is behind the partisan clashes that led to Suu Kyi’s re-arrest in September 2003.

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“Study finds benefits in GM crops”
BBC, November 29, 2004

A new British report has found that genetically modified crops may offer farmers some flexibility in herbicide needs, and may not “deplete the soil of weed seeds needed by many birds and other wildlife.”

An earlier report found, however, that there were fewer insects, including bees and butterflies, amid the “novelty” crops.

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“California’s new stem-cell initiative is already raising concerns”
New York Times, November 27, 2004
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Critics say that a California ballot initiative could create a “bonanza for private profiteers,” but not necessarily serve the public good.

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“Wikipedia creators move into news”
Wired News, November 29, 2004

The democratization of news media took another step forward when the collaborative Wiki project announced a new journalism initiative. Unlike the IndyMedia movement, which provides self-publishing methods for the political left, the Wiki news project aims for a “neutral” perspective.

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“Web won’t let government hide”
Wired News, November 29, 2004

In an era of government secrecy, a host of specialized search engines tap into a wealth of U.S. government data online — from John Ashcroft’s phone number to Homeland Security documents.

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“Sequester that carbon dioxide”
Wired News, November 27, 2004

A Texas research project enlists the petroleum industry to inject thousands of tons of the “greenhouse gas” carbon dioxide into porous subterranean rock.

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“Northern Ireland peace attempts intensify”
Agence France-Press, November 29, 2004

Alternate link (Yahoo News)

Tony Blair held “unprecedented” meetings with police and political leaders in Northern Ireland, in a new attempt to re-institute limited home rule there.

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“ECB chief calls on US to lower budget deficit”
Agence France-Presse, November 29, 2004

Alternate link (Yahoo News)

Fears of economic instability prompted the head of the European Central Bank to ask the U.S. to cut its “twin” budget and account deficits. Government overspending, which has been financed by Asian banks, has resulted in the dollar’s current slide, a situation the bank chief called “unwelcome.”

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“Alabama vote opens old racial wounds”
Washington Post, November 28, 2004
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Alabama voters refused, by a narrow margin, to remove racist language from the state constitution mandating that “white and colored children” should be segregated.

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“Offensives create surge of detainees”
Washington Post, November 27, 2004
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An influx of thousands of “detainees” captured in recent Iraq offensives are testing a military prison system already under fire for the Abu Ghraib scandals.

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“Police, fire departments see shortages across USA”
USA Today, November 29, 2004
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More than two-thirds of the nation’s fire departments are understaffed, according to a National Fire Protection Association study. USA Today also reports that federal funding for personnel is being phased out.

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“Air-cargo hazard detection criticized”
USA Today, November 26, 2004
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Among other criticisms, the FAA’s Inspector General said that the agency does not collect data on hazardous materials transported in commercial and cargo aircraft, and focuses on paperwork rather than inspections. The agency said it is prohibited by court rulings from certain kinds of searches, but is looking to options.

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