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As many as 400,000 people turned out in New York City on Sunday for the People’s Climate March, the largest environmental protest in history. The turnout far exceeded expectations, a massive crowd filling the streets to demand action on global warming. Other marches and rallies were held in 166 countries. More protests are planned for today. Climate activists are gathering this morning in downtown Manhattan for a mass sit-in dubbed “Flood Wall Street.”
In a move coinciding with the climate summit, the heirs to the Rockefeller oil fortune are announcing they will divest their $860 million charity from fossil fuels. They are part of a coalition of more than 100 institutions and wealthy individuals who have joined a campus-led movement to purge their investment portfolios of assets tied to fossil fuel companies, and to instead invest in cleaner alternatives.
Forty-nine Turkish hostages have returned home after three months in captivity by the militant group Islamic State. The hostages were kidnapped in the Iraqi city of Mosul in June. Turkey has provided no details on how they were freed, but denies paying a ransom or making any deal with the ISIS captors.
More than 130,000 Syrian Kurdish refugees have fled Syria into Turkey since Friday, fleeing an ISIS offensive. The United Nations says it is one of the largest flights of Syrian refugees since the civil war erupted three years ago.
The United States continues to launch airstrikes targeting the Islamic State in Iraq as it moves to bring the war to Syria. On Sunday, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, said other countries have signed on for the expanded offensive following an international summit last week.
Samantha Power: “More than 40 countries spoke in support of the anti-ISIL effort, half at the ministerial level. The French last week joined combat strike missions in Iraq for the first time. You have the Saudis who have come out and offered training bases for the moderate opposition, now that Congress has approved the train-and-equip program that the president put forward. So, we are seeing a diverse range of forms of support, and the commitments are coming in every day.”
The Yemeni government has signed a peace deal with Shiite Houthi rebels after days of fighting that killed dozens of people and displaced thousands more. The agreement calls for an immediate ceasefire and a process for forming a new government. But it is unclear if the Houthis will relinquish a number of major advances nationwide, including the seizure of key government buildings in the capital Sana’a.
Thousands of people have rallied in Moscow to oppose Russian involvement in Ukraine’s civil war. More than 3,000 people have died since fighting between Ukrainian forces and Russian-backed separatists erupted in April. A crowd of up to 20,000 turned out for Sunday’s march, chanting slogans including “No to War.” The violence has slowed, though not ceased, since a truce was reached earlier this month.
The United Nations says the deliberate sinking of a migrant ship off the coast of Malta earlier this month could amount to mass murder. As many as 500 people were reportedly killed when traffickers rammed their boat in an apparent act against rival smugglers. Denouncing the attack, United Nations refugee agency spokesperson Rupert Colville called for the attackers to be brought to justice.
Rupert Colville: “The callous act of deliberately ramming a boat full of hundreds of defenseless people is a crime that must not go unpunished. If the survivors’ accounts are indeed true — and they appear all too credible — we are looking at what amounts to mass murder in the Mediterranean. The reaction should not be any less rigorous just because the victims are foreigners and the crime took place on the high seas. Yet very few people who kill, rape or rob migrants during their journeys end up in court.”
According to reports, up to 400 passengers were Palestinian refugees fleeing the Gaza Strip. Many had paid thousands of dollars to sneak out of Gaza for the Europe-bound ship. Another 15 Palestinian migrants from Gaza reportedly died in another ship sinking the same week.
An Iraq War veteran has been detained after pulling off an unprecedented security breach at the White House. The Secret Service says Omar Gonzalez jumped a fence and sprinted across the North Lawn, making it all the way to the front of the White House where he entered through an unlocked door. He was immediately taken into custody, with authorities seizing a knife. Gonzalez reportedly served at least one tour of duty in Iraq. His family says he has post-traumatic stress disorder. Another intruder was arrested after trying to breach the White House grounds on Saturday. The Secret Service says it has launched a review of its security procedures, calling Gonzalez’s entry into the White House “unacceptable.”