Israel is escalating its bombardment of the Gaza Strip, with at least eight Palestinians killed overnight, as the potential for a ground invasion looms. Palestinian health officials say about 100 people have been killed — up to half of them women and children — since Israel launched what it calls “Operation Protective Edge” in response to rockets fired by Hamas. On Thursday, hundreds of Gazans attended a funeral procession for the victims of an Israeli military strike that killed eight members of a single family, including five children. No deaths have been reported on the Israeli side. Earlier today, a rocket from Gaza hit a gas station in southern Israel, injuring one person. Three rockets were also fired at Israel from Lebanon, causing Israel to respond with artillery fire. We’ll host a debate about the conflict later in the broadcast.
Germany has ordered the top U.S. intelligence official in the country to leave amidst tensions over U.S. spying. Over the past several days, two German government workers have been accused of spying for the United States. The cases have renewed anger over leaks from Edward Snowden, which showed the United States was monitoring the communications of millions of Germans and tapping Chancellor Angela Markel’s cellphone. On Thursday, the German government announced it was expelling the CIA station chief in Berlin, citing both the recent allegations and “months of unsolved questions around the activities of U.S. intelligence agencies in Germany.” German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said the move sends a message.
Ursula von der Leyen: “The German government has reacted and asked the U.S. intelligence service official responsible for Germany to leave the country. We thus made it clear that we do not tolerate this approach. But there is also a chance now, especially for the American side, to wipe the slate clean.”
Newly declassified documents show the Obama administration knew ahead of time about the British government’s plan to force The Guardian newspaper to destroy hard drives containing documents leaked by Edward Snowden. The Associated Press obtained the records, which show National Security Agency officials called the planned destruction “good news.”
The United Auto Workers has announced the formation of a local union at a Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, which was the site of a major defeat for the union earlier this year. In February, workers at the Chattanooga plant voted against joining the UAW following intense opposition from Republican lawmakers, including threats that the plant might miss out on financial incentives for a planned expansion if the union won. UAW officials now say that following talks with Volkswagen, they are confident the company will recognize the local union if a “meaningful portion” of workers sign up.
The electronics company Samsung is under fire over reports of child labor in its supply chain. The New York Times spoke to three teenage girls who work at a plant in China that makes cellphone parts for Samsung. The three workers are 14 and 15 years old.
In Detroit, Michigan, at least eight people were arrested Thursday in an act of civil disobedience to stop the city’s shutoff of water to thousands of households. The group of clergy members and other residents blocked the entrance of a private corporation hired by Detroit to cut off the taps of residents who have fallen behind on their water bills by as little as two months. A U.N. panel has called the shutoffs a “violation of the human right to water.” Demeeko Williams, coordinator of the Detroit Water Brigade, spoke to the Detroit Free Press at Thursday’s protest.
Demeeko Williams: “We are out here today stopping the trucks from shutting off people’s water. We are out here today to make a statement that the shutoffs must end, and we are also making a commitment to fight for Detroit.”
One of the activists at the forefront of fighting the water shutoffs in Detroit was Charity Hicks, an environmental and food justice organizer. In May, Hicks was left in a coma after being struck by a car in New York City. She died on Tuesday.
In North Dakota, more than a million gallons of saltwater from oil drilling operations has leaked from a pipeline on a Native American reservation, covering nearly two miles. Saltwater is a byproduct of oil and gas drilling. The leak by Crestwood Midstream Services has killed vegetation and may have reached a bay connected to a drinking water source for the Fort Berthold reservation. It could take weeks to clean up.
The actress Laverne Cox of the hit TV series “Orange is the New Black” has made history, becoming the first transgender person nominated for an Emmy Award. Cox was nominated for “Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series.” Click here to watch our two-part interview with Laverne Cox from February.
In New York, a peace activist and grandmother has been sentenced to a year in prison for her role in peaceful protests at a base where U.S. drones are piloted remotely. Mary Anne Grady Flores had been issued an order of protection aimed at keeping her away from Hancock Field Air National Guard Base after she participated in an act of civil disobedience there in 2012. Last year, Grady Flores says she attended another peace action, but did not participate, instead photographing it from the roadway, beyond what she believed was the base’s boundary. She was later told the base’s property extended into the road. On Thursday, Judge David Gideon of the DeWitt Town Court sentenced her to the maximum sentence of a year in prison for violating the protection order and fined her $1,000. In a courtroom packed with about 150 supporters, Grady Flores spoke about what she called the four perversions of justice in her case.
Mary Anne Grady Flores: “The fourth perversion is the reversal of who is the real victim here: the commander of a military base involved in killing innocent people halfway around the world or those innocent people themselves, who are the real ones in need of orders of protection? So I, as a nonviolent grandmother and a caregiver to my own mother, as I prepare for jail, itself a perversion, I stand before you remorseful. I’m remorseful about my own country and its continued perpetuating of violence and injustice.”
Mary Anne Grady Flores was taken into custody following the sentencing. She is appealing the verdict. Earlier in the day, her supporters marched six miles from the drone base to the courtroom carrying a coffin bearing the words “First Amendment.”