U.S.-backed Middle East peace plan released: A debate between Electronic Intifada and AIPAC; Vieques celebrates the US Navy s withdrawal from the Puerto Rican Island: Concerns grow over environmental cleanup after 50 years of military testing; To mark May Day, protests planned against oil companies, weapons manufacturers and at government buildings: We go to London for a report on protests there; Could you go to jail for hosting a party or concert where a guest uses drugs? ACLU warns of abuse of controversial drug law snuck into Amber Alert legislation; Poet Jayne Cortez reads work at conference on women & war
8:00-8:01 Billboard 8:01-8:10 Headlines 8:11-8:12 One Minute Music Break 8:12-8:20: A long-awaited U.S.-backed peace plan for the Middle East was published last night. Only hours after the new Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas was sworn in, he and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon were given copies of the so-called road map to peace. Washington had demanded Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat be replaced with Abbas before Washington would re-start the peace process. The road-map was drawn up the U.S., Russia, the European Union and the United Nations. Under the plan, the Palestinians are required to combat violence against Israelis, adopt a new constitution, and recognize the Jewish state's right to exist in peace and security. Israel must withdraw from the Palestinian areas it has occupied since September 2000, end curfews and roadblocks, halt the expansion of Jewish settlements and dismantle illegal outposts, stop the demolition of Palestinian homes and confiscation of land, and commit to the creation of a viable Palestinian state. A Palestinian state would be established within 3 years. The Palestinians say both sides must meet their commitments in parallel by the deadline of June 2003, and most foreign countries agree. But the Israeli government is insisting that Palestinians meet the test of "combating terror" before Israel is required to do anything. The London Guardian reports the Israelis also want a say in judging the Palestinian efforts and have threatened to abandon the road map entirely if they do not get their way. The "quartet" of foreign players behind the process fear that could effectively hand a veto to the Israelis or to any suicide bomber. Secretary of State Gen. Colin Powell is planning to travel Israel and the occupied territories next week to lobby for the roadmap. Hours after the publication of the peace plan, Israeli troops killed 8 Palestinians in Gaza City, including a two-year-old toddler and two teenagers. The AFP is reporting the toddler was shot in the head. 60 Israeli tanks, armored troop carriers and helicopters invaded the city and attacked an apartment building housing dozens of people. Israeli military sources say they are after a senior Hamas leader, that seven soldiers have been injured, and that a pitched battle is still going on. Israeli helicopters have begun shelling the area, and many people are trapped inside. The AFP reached a woman trapped in the building, who reported that women, children, and elderly people are screaming and crying. In the West Bank, Israeli soldiers shot dead two other Palestinians. And, it has emerged that a suicide bomber and his accomplice who killed three people and injured scores at a Tel Aviv bar yesterday may be British. Israeli officials say they carried British passports and travelled to Israel specifically to carry out the suicide mission. * Ali Abunimah, founder of the Electronic Intifada Link: http://www.electronicintifada.net Video: http://www.arabic.hour.org/images/Ali_Abunimah.gif * Rachel Murov, spokesperson for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee Link: http://www.aipac.org/8:20-8:21 One Minute Music Break 8:30-8:45: The residents of Vieques are celebrating the US Navy s withdrawal from the Puerto Rican Island. Fireworks shot into the sky last night. A minute before the official midnight deadline, protesters broke down a fence at the entrance to the bombing range and hundreds flowed in, blowing horns and waving the blue and white flag of Vieques. Some stole Navy vehicles, drove them to the gate and smashed the lights and windows with sledgehammers. For 60 years, the Navy has bombed the island for training purposes. The Navy handed over 15,000 acres of land with no fanfare, just a written statement. Hundreds of activists who were jailed for trespassing to stop the bombing are now preparing for their next battle: reclaiming lands transferred yesterday to the Department of Interior, which will transform the range into a wildlife refuge. * Roberto Rab n, Head of the Committee for the Rescue and Development of Vieques * Rosa Clemente, New York based journalist who traveled to Vieques to cover the celebration 8:40-8:41 One Minute Music Break 8:45-8:50: Oil companies, weapons manufacturers and government buildings are all being targeted by May Day protesters today. British activists have distributed a hit list of what they call 50 companies of mass destruction. In Berlin, Police turned water cannons on thousands of demonstrators and arrested around a hundred people. The AFP reports people threw fireworks at the police. In Istanbul, Turkish riot police arrested some 30 protestors. Police said the protest was illegal. In Moscow, thousands of Communists marched through the city centre demanding the resignation of President Vladimir Putin's government. Thousands of Indonesians hit the streets calling for the resignation of President Megawati Sukarnoputri and demanding jobs for the people. * Andrew Burgin, activist in London speaking to us from the May Day protests. 8:50-8:58: President Bush signed the Amber Alert, a far-reaching child protection legislation carrying a number of contentious provisions including one that cracks down on illegal use of Ecstasy and other drugs at nightclubs. Critics in the music industry and the American Civil Liberties Union say the law -- fast-tracked without public comment -- will have a chilling effect on rock concerts and other public events, in addition to the rave shows targeted by lawmakers. A provision of the new law was originally introduced as the RAVE Act -- or Reducing Americans' Vulnerability to Ecstasy Act -- that was aimed at "club drugs" like Ecstasy. An earlier version of the bill targeting drugs found at raves, concerts and other venues frequented by young people failed to pass Congress last year after complaints that the bill unfairly painted all raves and concerts as havens for illegal drug use. The new bill takes out references thus expanding the law to cover most public events. * Graham Boyd, director of the American Civil Liberties Union Drug Policy Litigation Project 8:53-8:58: Poet and performance artist Jayne Cortez was born in 1936 in Fort Huachuca, Arizona. Her books of poetry include Somewhere in Advance of Nowhere (Serpent's Tail, 1997), Coagulations: New and Selected Poems (1982), Poetic Magnetic (1991), Firespitter (1982), Mouth on Paper (1977), Scarifications (1973), and Pissstained Stairs and the Monkey Man's Wares (1969). Her work has been translated into twenty-eight languages. Cortez has also released a number of recordings, many with her band The Firespitters, including Taking the Blues Back Home (1997), Cheerful & Optimistic (1994), Everywhere Drums (1991), and Maintain Control (1986). In 1964, she founded the Watts Repertory Company, and in 1972, she formed her own publishing company, Bola Press. Her awards include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York Foundation for the Arts, the International African Festival Award, and the American Book Award. Jayne Cortez has performed, lectured, and taught at many universities, museums, and festivals. She read her poetry at a recent conference on women and war in New York. * Jayne Cortez, poet 8:58-8:59 Outro and Credits Democracy Now! is produced by Kris Abrams, Mike Burke, Angie Karran, Sharif Abdul Kouddous, Ana Nogueira, Elizabeth Press with help from Noah Reibel and Vilka Tzouras. Mike Di Filippo is our music maestro and engineer. Thanks also to Uri Galed, Angela Alston, Emily Kunstler, Orlando Richards, Simba Rousseau, Rafael delaUz, Gabriel Weiss, Johnny Sender, Rich Kim, Karen Ranucci, Fatima Mojadiddy, Denis Moynihan and Jenny Filipazzo.