[IMC-DC] BTL Summary 12-18-09: World Rejects Coup-Tainted Honduran Presidential Election; Urgent Action Demanded at Copenhagen Climate Change Conference; Comcast-NBC Merger Would Harm Diversity and Consumers
sharris at snet.net
sharris at snet.net
Fri Dec 11 23:13:56 PST 2009
Between The Lines
For The Week Ending Dec. 18, 2009
THIS WEEK'S PROGRAM
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This week we present Between The Lines' summary of under-reported news stories and:
Apart from U.S.,
World Rejects Coup-Tainted
Honduran Presidential Election
Interview with Sergio Moncada,
co-founder of Hondurans for Democracy,
conducted by Scott Harris
A presidential election, overseen by the coup-installed government of Honduras, continues to generate controversy, with most governments around the world refusing to recognize the victor. Porfirio Lobo, the winning candidate representing the conservative National Party, is scheduled to be sworn into office on Jan. 27. Prior to the Nov. 29 vote, a U.S.-brokered agreement unraveled that was to have restored Honduran President Manual Zelaya to power - and establish a national unity government to supervise the November election. When the pre-election accord fell through, Zelaya, who had taken refuge in the Brazilian embassy in the Honduran capital, urged his supporters to boycott the vote.
Initially, the coup regime reported that 65 percent of Honduran voters participated in the election. But after press reports contradicted that figure, the number was reduced to 49 percent. While the majority of Latin American and Caribbean nations have condemned the election in Honduras as illegitimate and illegal, the Obama administration, along with allies Panama and Costa Rica, have broken with the rest of the hemisphere by recognizing the election results.
Jose Miguel Insulza, secretary general of the Organization of the American States, called for the immediate establishment of a government of National Unity, with the participation of Zelaya to prevent the new president from receiving his command from those responsible for the coup d'etat.
Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Sergio Moncada, co-founder of the group Hondurans for Democracy. He describes the human rights abuses and repression directed at those opposing the coup, which in his view made it impossible to conduct a free and fair election on Nov. 29.
For more information on the situation in the Honduras, visit the website:www.hondurasresists.blogspot.com (in Spanish & English)
Related Links:Hondurans for Democracy (in Spanish) at www.porlademocracia.orgMilitant anthropologist Adrienne Pine's blog at www.quotha.netResponses to the Coup d'etat in Honduras on Sunday June 28, 2009 atwww.hondurascoup2009.blogspot.com"Brazil: No Recognition for New Honduras Government," The Associated Press, Dec. 8, 2009"U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky's Three-Day Fact-Finding Mission in Honduras Confirms Widespread Human Rights Abuses,"Narco News Bulletin, Nov. 13, 2009Links to documentation on Honduras human rights violations from respected Human Rights organizations:COFADEH (Committee of Family Members of the Detained and Disappeared in Honduras) report "Cifras y Rostros de la respresion" (in Spanish)Global Exchange at www.globalexchange.orgCPTRT (Center for Prevention,Treatment and Rehabilitation for Victims of Torture and their Families) human rights report on the coup "Tortura: Represion sistematica Tras El Golpe De Estado" (in Spanish)Human
Rights Watch section on Honduras atwww.hrw.org/americas/hondurasAmnesty International report, "Honduras: human rights crisis threatens as repression increases"
Urgent Action Demanded
at Copenhagen Climate Change Conference
Interview with Alden Meyer,
director of strategy and policy
with the Union of Concerned Scientists,
conducted by Melinda Tuhus
Thousands of government officials and environmental activists from around the world created a huge carbon footprint when they flew to Copenhagen for the 15th United Nations Climate Change Conference, Dec. 7 through 18. At the conference, conflicts among developed and developing nations will be addressed about how to reduce carbon emissions, called mitigation -- and how to pay for ways for the poorest and most vulnerable countries to survive the inevitable consequences of climate change, referred to as adaptation. Decisions about the mechanisms to reduce emissions -- most likely a cap and trade system -- but possibly some form of taxation and consumer rebates will also be addressed.
One of the most frustrating aspects of the problem for environmental activists is that the goalposts have moved. Research from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change determined a few years ago that the safe limits of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere could be reached by reducing carbon emissions 20 percent below 1990 levels by the year 2020 -- and 80 percent below those levels by 2050. But now, world leaders are basing their proposals on emissions from 2005, which saw a huge increase over 1990 levels. So President Obama's pledge that the U.S. would reduce emissions 17 percent by 2020 translates to only four percent, based on 1990 levels.
Between The Lines' Melinda Tuhus spoke with Alden Meyer, director of strategy and policy with the Union of Concerned Scientists and a 20-year veteran activist on climate change issues. Reached at the Copenhagen summit, he responds to the latest summit proposals and discusses some reasons for optimism.
Contact the Union of Concerned Scientists by calling (202) 223-6133 or visit their website at www.ucsusa.org
Related links:Official website of the Copenhagen UN Climate Change Conference aten.cop15.dkCopenhagen climate change summit Opening Day Live Blog"Leaked Document Throws Copenhagen Summit Off Course,"New Statesman, Dec. 8, 2009
Comcast-NBC Merger Would Harm
Diversity and Consumers
Interview with Corie Wright,
counsel with the media reform group Free Press
conducted by Scott Harris
On Dec. 3, General Electric and cable TV giant Comcast announced their intention to merge GE-owned NBC Universal with the nation's largest cable company and residential broadband provider. The proposed $37.5 billion merger would be one of the largest in U.S. history and give Comcast 51 percent control of the NBC network, including 27 local television stations, dozens of cable channels like CNBC, Bravo and the Weather Channel, and Universal Studios.
Media reform group Free Press and with the Consumer Federation of America immediately announced their opposition to the merger, asserting that the deal would pose a serious threat to competition and harm the public interest. The groups are concerned that the deal will raise costs for consumers, reduce diversity of content and trigger a wave of similar mega mergers throughout the industry. The Comcast-NBC deal must first be approved by federal regulators.
Opponents of the merger feel they may have an ally in the White House, remembering that when he ran for President, Barack Obama called for more government scrutiny of media consolidation. Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Corie Wright, policy counsel with Free Press, who explains why a national coalition is organizing opposition to the proposed Comcast-NBC merger.
Contact Free Press by calling (202) 265-1490 or visit their website atwww.freepress.net
This week's summary
of under-reported news
Compiled by Bob Nixon
North Korea created a financial panic recently when it suddenly devalued its currency, the won, and limited exchanges for new currency, in its attempt to curb inflation and growing street markets. The existing currency was made worthless for the merchant class, while wealthy elite protected their fortunes by converting their funds to foreign currencies. ("North Korea 'Panic' After Surprise Currency Evaluation," Associated Press, Dec. 3, 2009, reprinted in the Guardian; "North Korea Admits Drastic Currency Reform, Is Silent On Protests," Christian Science Monitor, Dec. 4, 2009)The Boston Globe reports that the Obama administration has missed a deadline to declassify historic foreign policy documents, including descriptions of abuses committed by the CIA during the Cold War. ("Release of Secret Reports Delayed," Boston Globe, Nov. 29, 2009)The House of Representatives has voted to extend the nation's soon-to-expire estate tax, which imposes a 45 percent
tax rate on all individual estates valued over $3.5 million and $7 million for couples.("House extends estate tax-a blow to Bush-era plan to abolish it," Christian Science Monitor, Dec. 3, 2009; "Latest State by State Estate Tax Data Show Why We Need A Strong Estate Tax," Citizens for Tax Justice, Dec. 3, 2009)
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