August-September, 2007

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Sunita Williams Breaks Through More than the Atmosphere with Six Months in Space and a 9-Hour Walk

NASA's on a roll, bringing home one woman from space and sending up two more. Find out how Sunita Williams got into the astronauts corps and what she was doing up there in the cosmos besides smiling for the camera.

Columbia Pictures

Tap Water Versus Bottle Debate

There's been a lot of press afoot lately urging Americans to wean themselves off the bottle and go back to drinking water from their faucets. Empty plastic bottles may be clogging the landfills, but is tap water a safe alternative? Here's an in-depth report, along with info on a third option: installing water filters.

California Secretary of State Unplugs Electronic Voting Machines

After a team of scientists hacked succesfully into equipment manufactured by Diebold and other companies, Sec. of State Debra Bowen announced that she was decertifying the machines. Only one electronic machine can be used at each poll place in February for the convenience of disabled voters. As expected, county registrars who purchased the faulty equipment wasted no time expressing their ire.



Sex Trafficking in San Francisco

Why does the SFPD cite and arrest prostitutes by the hundreds while leaving the pimps who control them free to walk between the raindrops? The district attorney's office and other experts discuss the problem of sex slavery, child prostitution, and a state law enacted in 2005 that's still not being enforced here.



Another Inconvenient Truth

Recently, Bay Area GirlFest sponsored a panel on sex trafficking and child prostitution, which made us wonder (again) why San Francisco's two alternative weeklies, the Bay Guardian and S.F. Weekly, are allowed to market enslaved Asian and other women in the extensive prostitution sections of their newspapers. Moreover, why are city agencies and nonprofit charities advertising in publications that are aiding and abettting human rights violations?

U.N. Secretary General Needs to Defend his Trafficking Investigator from Unlawful Detention in Bangladesh

Sigma Huda, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Human Trafficking, was prevented from leaving her native country last June to present a report to the Human Rights Council in Geneva. Bangladesh is a major source country for sex slaves and in July, Huda was imprisoned by the military dictatorship. Yet U.N. Sec-Gen Ban ki-Moon says the United Nations won't act to secure her diplomatic immunity, claiming her confinement is unrelated to her job. Please join in the urgent action campaign to win Huda's release.

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, sworn in last January, worked for former CIA director Bill Casey during the Iran/Contra arms for hostage deals.

Iran's Quds Force Leaders Held by U.S. Should be Tried for War Crimes, Not Traded for Hostages

With all the talk of taking a kinder, gentler approach to Iran's ayatollahs, the Pentagon may actually be preparing to release the five senior military officials American troops captured in December and January. The Iranian Quds Force has been largely responsible for the death squads, suicide bombings and IED explosions that have left nearly a million people dead in Iraq since the U.S. invasion - both Sunni and Shia. That's five times the carnage in Darfur. These men were caught with weapons caches and documents that prove their role in arming militias to kill civilians. As a signatory to the Geneva Conventions, the United States has an obligation to try the criminals or be implicated itself as an accessory to genocide.



Judging Amy

She may not be a household word, but Amy Goodman has spent the last decade scooping the networks with breaking news on human rights abuses abroad, scandals in two Administrations, and the murky situation in the Middle East. In the process, she's amassed a worldwide audience for her hour-long daily newscast, Democracy Now! (airing on KPFA 94.1 weekdays at 6 a.m. and 9 a.m.). From the grassroots to the regal, Goodman interviews the people at the center of controversy, from Julia Butterfly Hill to Hugo Chavez. But it was the hour-long chat with Hustler publisher Larry Flynt that has raised the most eyebrows so far.



Around the World in Six Months

San Francisco Waldorf High School Teacher Meg Gorman (center) set off from SFO last January to circumnavigate the globe. When she arrived back this July, she had stories to tell and pictures to share. Here are a few hightlights of her trip.



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