Democracy Now! May 6, 2002

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Democracy Now! May 6, 2002
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NEWS HEADLINES Music: We Shall Not Be Moved - Sweet Honey in the Rock, Still The Same Me (Rounder Kids CD). NOBEL PEACE PRIZE WINNER AND PRO-DEMOCRACY LEADER, AUNG SUNG SUU KYI, IS RELEASED FROM 19 MONTHS OF HOUSE ARREST Pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi was freed today from 19 months of house arrest in Burma. She was greeted by thousands of cheering protesters. Burma has been under military rule for forty years. The current group of generals came to power in 1988 after bloodily crushing a pro-democracy movement during which Suu Kyi came to prominence. The junta called general elections in 1990, but refused to hand over power after Suu Kyi's party won a landslide victory. In 1991, Suu Kyi was awarded the Nobel Prize. International sanctions have pushed the country's economy to the brink of collapse. Since 1995, over 50 multinational corporations have cut ties with Burma, and the UN International Labor Organization recently increased pressure by exposing the pervasive use of forced labor throughout the country. Suu Kyi says her party has not yet changed its support for economic sanctions. Guest: Dr. Zar Ni, founder of the Free Burma Coalition. Zar Ni left Burma a month before an August 1988 massacre in which 5,000 to 10,000 people were killed by the Burmese military during peaceful demonstration. Related link: Free Burma Coalition THE SIEGE OF THE CHURCH OF THE NATIVITY: IS IT NEAR AN END? The 35 day standoff at the Church of the Nativity is close to being resolved. This according to Israel's defense minister, Ben Eliezer. At stake are the lives of 123 Palestinians inside the church. Palestinian negotiators say the deal is effectively closed, and they are happy with the outcome. But while those inside the church are desperate to get out, they are not all happy with the terms of the deal. Negotiators have not yet decided how many Palestinians will be deported. But the deal sends most of the Palestinians, many of whom are members of the Palestinian security force, to jails in Italy and the Gaza strip. Meanwhile, conditions remain poor inside the church, conditions are bad. There is no electricity and all the food is gone. Inside, the 123 Palestinians, about 30 clergy, and 10 activists who entered the church last Thursday, are living on a soup of boiled lemontree leaf. On Saturday morning, one Palestinian man was killed by a sniper as he hung his laundry outside the church. Guests: Tony Salman, Antonian Charitable Society, inside the Church of the Nativity in Manger Square in Bethlehem. Mary Kelly, Irish nurse and activist, inside the church of the nativity with other international activists. Georgina Reeves, Independent Media Center of Bethlehem. Related link: Palestine Independent Media Center Music: Love Among The Sailors - Laurie Anderson, Tightrope (Warner Bros. CD). WAR ON THE ENVIRONMENT: THE PENTAGON IS TRYING TO CIRCUMVENT ALL THE MAJOR ENVIRONMENTAL LAWS The Defense Department is pressing Congress for exemptions from many of the nation's most important environmental laws. The Pentagon claims the restrictions hamper military readiness and training. If the Pentagon prevails, many training and bombing exercises would be exempt from an array of laws governing endangered species, marine mammals, migratory birds, clean air and hazardous-waste cleanup. A House Armed Services subcommittee on military readiness last week adopted two of the proposed exemptions as part of a 2003 defense authorization bill. Guests: Dr. Marsha Green, founder, Ocean Mammal Institute. David Helvarg, author of "Blue Frontier: Saving America's Living Seas". Randy Mormon, legislative research associate, EarthJustice. Earthjustice is a non-profit public interest law firm. Related links: Ocean Mammal Institute Earthjustice Music: Audience Participation - Bill Withers, Bill Withers Live (Columbia Legacy CD). REBEL WITHOUT A PAUSE: COMEDIAN-ACTIVIST, RENO, RECOUNTS HER DAYS AFTER THE SEPTEMBER 11TH ATTACKS, PART 2 Rebel Without a Pause - that's the name of the New York comedian Reno's new act. Her own website explains: "An opinionated alternative comedian who creates heavily improvised topical monologues with wit, political consciousness and common sense. Reno was awakened on September 11th by the impact of the first plane crash, just blocks from her loft. Before Rebel Without a Pause, Reno had been wrestling with a monologue about "that other religious militant group" - fundamentalist Christians. Before that, Reno produced, directed and starred in a TV show called Citizen Reno, which aired on Bravo. She won a Cable Ace nomination for the adaptation for HBO of her off-Broadway hit Reno in Rage and Rehab. Last week, she was nominated for the Drama Desk Award. Well, this past Friday, Reno woke up bright and early to join us in our Firehouse studio and talk about her own frantic and often surreal experiences of September 11th. We continue that conversation today with a discussion of the aftermath of 9/11. She began by talking about President-select Bush. Guest: Reno, activist and comedian. Related link: Reno - Rebel Without A Pause Music: We Shall Not Be Moved - Sweet Honey in the Rock.

Date Recorded on: 
May 6, 2002
Date Broadcast on: 
May 6, 2002
Item duration: 
59 min.
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WPFW; Amy Goodman, host. May 6, 2002
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