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Between The Lines
For The Week Ending Oct. 13, 2000


Nader at Yale
Photo: Scott Harris (For public domain use)
During a speech at Yale University the day after the presidential debates, Ralph Nader holds a BusinessWeek magazine with a cover story on corporate power.
NADER VOWS NEVER AGAIN: Ralph Nader vows to dismantle major party-controlled Commission on Presidential Debates after state troopers denied him access to attend the Boston debates. Hear an excerpt from his speech at Yale University's Battell Chapel Oct. 4, 2000, where over 1,000 came out to cheer his candidacy.

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Related interview:
Major Party Commission Locks 3rd Parties Out of Presidential Debates (Sept. 22. 2000)


Between The Lines co-sponsored event: INDEPENDENT MEDIA CONFERENCE. "Building Independent Media: Strategies for Change," Oct. 13-14, Trinity College, Burlington, VT. Writers, media producers, and activists will gather to share experiences, examine challenges, and develop a common agenda. Friday, 8 p.m. keynote with Michael Parenti and Amy Goodman of "Democracy Now!"; Saturday workshops, lunch/dinner, and entertainment. For registration and lodging information, write IMCVT c/o Toward Freedom, POB 468, Burlington, VT 05402; e-mail,; Website,; or call (802) 654-8024. Registration: by Sept. 30 - Friday ($10), Saturday ($20); after Sept. 30 - Friday ($15), Saturday ($30).


This week we present Between The Lines' summary of under-reported news stories and:

Anti-Abortion Politics, Not Safety Issues, Kept RU-486 "Abortion Pill" from U.S. Women
Interview by Denise Manzari.

On Sept. 28, the Food and Drug Administration announced it had approved the medical abortion drug mifepristone, formerly known as RU-486. The abortion drug, now called the "Early Option Pill" is touted by many as a safe, nonsurgical method of medical abortion which is currently available in several countries including France, Great Britain and Sweden.

Studies also indicate that mifepristone is a safe, effective post-coital contraceptive and shows promise in treating a range of medical conditions, many of which particularly affect women, such as endometriosis and fibroid tumors.

The drug has been put through clinical trials in the U.S. since 1983, and an intense campaign by pro-choice groups and activists has been waged for the last dozen years to bring mifepristone to the United States and to expand women's healthcare research.

Vicki Saporta is the executive director of the National Abortion Federation based in Washington, D.C. She spoke with Denise Manzari about why she believes anti-abortion politics -- not safety issues -- was the primary reason RU-486 has been kept from American women.

To contact the National Abortion Federation, call (800) 772-9100 or visit their Web site,

IMF/World Bank React To Protests with Rhetoric, Not Action
Interview by Scott Harris.

While delegates of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund gathered in Prague for their annual meeting, thousands of activists from Europe and around the world also converged there on Sept. 26 to protest the policies of these financial institutions. Although the majority of activists in Prague were non-violent, incidents of rock throwing and molotov cocktails hurled at police by a relative few were the focus of most mainstream media coverage. After police arrested hundreds of protesters, the World Bank ended its 55th annual meeting in the Czech Republic early without admitting that the passionate condemnation in the streets had disrupted their agenda.

But after a year of mounting criticism by a growing coalition of social justice groups, the World Bank is starting to change its rhetoric if not its policies. While in Prague,World Bank president James Wolfensohn was quoted as saying he was troubled by economic inequality around the globe and believed deeply that many of the protesters "were asking legitimate questions."

Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Mark Weisbrot, co-director at the Center for Economic and Policy Research, who recently returned from Prague. He analyzes the impact of recent protests in Prague and new tactics being employed to transform the bank.

Contact the Center for Economic and Policy Research by calling (202) 293-5380, or visit their Web site at

See related site:

Conference to Explore Independent Media Centers' Role in Global Social Justice Movement
Interview by Scott Harris.

During demonstrations against the World Trade Organization in Seattle last winter, independent journalists fanned out across the city to document the action with video cameras, tape recorders and pen and paper. Through an Internet Web site, the Seattle Independent Media Center, or IMC, distributed text, video, audio and photography chronicling the protests and analyzing the grievances of those demonstrating against corporate globalization.

The Seattle IMC was wildly successful, attracting more than a million hits from an audience anxious to by-pass the corporate media spin. Since Seattle, IMCs have been established in more than 30 other cities around the world, many launched around subsequent social justice demonstrations in places such as Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Los Angeles and Prague.

Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Greg Guma, convener of the upcoming "Building Independent Media: Strategies for Change" conference which will be held in Burlington,Vt. Oct. 13th and 14. Guma discusses the role of the IMCs and some of the goals of the gathering which include taking concrete steps to build a sustainable movement for media democracy.

Contact Toward Freedom Magazine, sponsor of the upcoming "Building Independent Media: Strategies for Change" conference which will be held in Burlington,Vt. Oct. 13 and 14. For more information on the conference, call (802) 654-8024. Web sites:

See related site:

This week's summary of under-reported news
Compiled by Bob Nixon

  • Nicaraguan apparel workers' union organizing drive for decent wages and working conditions met with firings and criminal charges by Chentex's factory owner, Nien Hsing, a Taiwanese company. The workers stitch clothing for American retailers. (The Nation, Sept. 4-11, 2000)
  • Lindesmith Center, an organization that advocates liberalization of drug laws, has identified dozens of false-positive illegal drug test results attributed to new detector "patch." "Patch" use is growing in prisons, family court and drug treatment centers. (Mother Jones, October, 2000)
  • This year, Russian President Vladimir Putin has eliminated the State Committees on forestry and environmental protection. Regulatory power has been transferred to the Ministry of Natural Resources, which has a strong bias in favor of exploiting oil and coal resources. (In These Times: Oct. 2, 2000)

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