The Palestinian death toll in Gaza has topped 600 as the Israeli siege has entered its third week. Most of those killed are civilians; more than 100 are children. Israel says it has lost 27 soldiers since the ground invasion began last week. Earlier today, Israel confirmed the remains of one of its soldiers presumed to have been killed in Gaza had still not been found. Hamas has said it captured the soldier. Meanwhile, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is due to arrive in Israel to push for a ceasefire. Earlier today, Ban met in Cairo with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Egyptian officials and leaders from the Arab League. We will go to Gaza for more on the crisis after headlines.
In eastern Ukraine, pro-Russian rebels have handed over flight-data recorders removed from the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. All 298 people on board died when the plane was shot down last Thursday in a rebel-held area. A train carrying the remains of many of the victims has arrived in the eastern city of Kharkov, which is under Ukrainian government control. European foreign ministers are meeting in Brussels today to discuss a possible new round of sanctions against Russia for its support of the rebels, who are suspected of shooting down the plane.
President Obama has signed an executive order banning workplace discrimination against LGBT people employed by the federal government or firms with federal contracts.
President Obama: “It doesn’t make much sense, but today in America millions of our fellow citizens wake up and go to work with the awareness that they could lose their job, not because of anything they do or fail to do, but because of who they are: lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender. And that’s wrong.”
The order will reportedly impact about 28 million workers.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry is sending up to 1,000 National Guard troops to the Mexican border amidst a rise in children fleeing violence and poverty in Central America. Perry’s move came as the White House announced the number of unaccompanied children detained at the border appears to have dropped this month. Last Friday, another round of 59 women and children were deported to Honduras, while others were sent back to Guatemala and El Salvador. This Friday, Obama will meet with the leaders of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras at the White House to discuss the crisis.
In Honduras, a TV journalist has been found shot dead and half-naked along the side of a highway a day after he went missing. Herlyn Espinal was a reporter for Channel 3 television in San Pedro Sula, the city with the highest murder rate in the world.
The University of Connecticut has agreed to pay nearly $1.3 million to settle claims it mishandled complaints of sexual assault and harassment. The five plaintiffs include a hockey player, who says she was kicked off the team after she reported being raped, and a student who says when she reported her rape, a campus police officer told her “women need to stop spreading their legs like peanut butter or rape is going to keep on happening ’til the cows come home.” UConn is one of nearly 70 schools under federal investigation over handling of sexual assault.
In Michigan, the city of Detroit is suspending its mass shutoff of water to thousands of residents for 15 days after mass protests. Since March, Detroit has cut the taps of more than 15,000 households, with more than 90,000 others at risk after falling behind on their bills. The pause came as residents filed a lawsuit saying the shutoffs violate constitutional rights.
In Utah, about 21 people were arrested after activists locked themselves to equipment and blockaded construction at the first-ever tar sands oil mine in the United States. Utah Tar Sands Resistance said about 80 people joined the action against the mine in the Book Cliffs, which they say threatens to devastate land, water supplies and the climate.
A new report by Human Rights Watch finds federal agents or their informants have played a direct role in almost every major domestic terrorism case since 9/11. Deputy Washington Director Andrea Prasow described the targeting of Muslim Americans in sting operations.
Andrea Prasow: “If law enforcement has a reason to suspect that someone has a propensity towards violence, has expressed an interest in engaging in violence or other criminal activity, of course they should investigate, and they should use all the lawful resources they have at their disposal. But in some cases, they were doing more than that. They were expecting that people would be terrorists and doing everything they could to help them become terrorists.”