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It’s primary day in Wisconsin. Polls suggest it could be a big day for the underdogs, as Democratic contender Bernie Sanders and Republican Ted Cruz have seen a surge in support in recent weeks in the Badger State. After Wisconsin, the next big state on the primary calendar is New York. On Monday, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders agreed to hold a debate in Brooklyn ahead of the April 19 primary.
The latest fundraising numbers show Sanders, who has won five of the last six contests, raised a record-setting $44 million in March. Clinton took in $29.5 million.
In Republican news, The Huffington Post is reporting billionaire GOP donor Charles Koch is privately predicting House Speaker Paul Ryan could emerge from the Republican National Convention as the party’s nominee if Donald Trump fails to win enough delegates. Chances of a brokered convention will increase if Ted Cruz wins today in Wisconsin, where the winner will receive most of the delegates.
In a victory for voting rights, the Supreme Court has unanimously upheld the legal principle of “one person, one vote.” The justices rejected a challenge by conservative activists who wanted states to be able to redraw districts based on eligible or registered voters, as opposed to total population. Such a move would have made many districts older, whiter and more conservative.
California Governor Jerry Brown and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo both signed legislation on Monday to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour in the coming years. Governor Brown spoke in Los Angeles.
Gov. Jerry Brown: “So this is about economic justice. It’s about people. It’s about creating a little tiny balance in a system that every day becomes more unbalanced. And there’s a lot of anger going on in the presidential campaign, and it may have many sources, but one of the sources certainly is the way the average American is being treated by this particular economy.”
In New York, presidential contender Hillary Clinton joined Governor Andrew Cuomo at a victory rally marking the minimum wage increase.
Hillary Clinton: “We need to build on what has been accomplished here in New York and go all the way to Washington and raise the minimum wage for everybody in America.”
While Hillary Clinton called for the minimum wage to be increased across the country, she has not endorsed a nationwide minimum wage of $15 an hour, a position held by Bernie Sanders.
In Iceland, over 10,000 protesters took to the streets Monday calling for Iceland’s prime minister to resign after it was revealed he had benefited from offshore investment accounts in tax havens.
Einar Bergmundur: “I’m just protesting the corruption of the government. The prime minister has been hiding his money in Tortola and lying about it. The financial minister has also been lying about his participation in secret companies. And everybody is just fed up with this.”
Details of Icelandic Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson’s offshore account were exposed on Sunday as part of the Panama Papers—a massive journalistic exposé revealing how a Panamanian firm had set up a global network of shell companies for heads of state, politicians, CEOs and celebrities to store their money offshore to avoid taxes and oversight.
In southeastern Bangladesh, police opened fire Monday on a large protest against the construction of two Chinese-backed coal plants on the edge of the world’s largest mangrove forest. At least four people died, but activists in the area say the death toll may be higher.
The United States is publicly criticizing Israel for continuing to demolish Palestinian homes in the West Bank. According to the United Nations, at least 41 structures were destroyed in March, including a school. State Department spokesperson Elizabeth Trudeau addressed the issue on Friday.
Elizabeth Trudeau: “We are concerned about the demolitions undertaken by Israeli authorities that continue throughout the West Bank and East Jerusalem. These actions are indicative of a damaging trend of demolition, displacement and land confiscation, and, alongside settlement-related activity and continued construction, undermine the possibility of a two-state solution. They also call into question the Israeli government’s commitment to that two-state solution.”
On Monday, Israel demolished three more homes owned by families of three Palestinians who were killed after fatally attacking an Israeli officer in February. Ahmad Kmail said the Israeli authorities only gave his family 30 minutes before the home was demolished.
Ahmad Kmail: “The occupation forces raided our house at 1:00 a.m. and asked us to empty it in 30 minutes because they want to demolish it. I was not ready, and the house was not empty. I moved the furniture outside, and they started to demolish it after 30 minutes. This is a discriminatory crime.”
Anti-IMF protests were held in Greece yesterday days after WikiLeaks published the transcript of a recent conference call of three senior IMF officials discussing tactics to apply pressure on Greece, Germany and the EU to reach a debt deal in April. During the call, one IMF official said some kind of “event” was needed to force Greece into concluding talks over its debt reforms. While Greek’s finance minister met with lenders in Athens on Monday, protesters gathered outside.
Panagiotis Lafazanis, leader of the Popular Unity Party: “This country doesn’t need bailouts. It needs freedom, democracy, independence, sovereignty, justice. That’s what we are fighting for and protesting over. And we will win.”
A new U.S. government study is predicting tens of thousands of people in the United States will die prematurely each year from heat waves and other extreme weather events like hurricanes and floods unless the world takes urgent steps to address the climate crisis. John Holdren, Obama’s senior science adviser, spoke Monday at the White House.
John Holdren: “The report projects that under middle-of-the-road emissions scenarios, we can see from thousands to tens of thousands additional heat-related deaths in the United States each summer. And the numbers are really very striking.”
The state of North Carolina could lose billions of dollars in federal funding for schools, highways and housing following the signing of an anti-LGBT law. Known as the “bathroom bill,” HB 2 bars North Carolina cities and towns from passing laws prohibiting discrimination against LGBT people in public accommodations. The Departments of Education, Transportation, Labor, Housing and Urban Development, and Health and Human Services are all conducting reviews to determine if North Carolina is still eligible for federal funding.
The Board of Trustees at Princeton University has announced it will keep former U.S. President Woodrow Wilson’s name on campus buildings despite student complaints about his segregationist beliefs. In November, students staged a 32-hour sit-in to protest racial injustice on campus. One of their key demands was the removal of Wilson’s name from buildings including the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.
The CIA has admitted it accidentally left explosive material under the hood of a school bus in Loudoun County, Virginia, after a K-9 training exercise at a local high school. The bus was used to ferry students to class two days last week before the explosive material was discovered.
And in Mexico, environmental activist Gustavo Castro Soto held his first press conference Monday since returning to Mexico—a month after he survived an assassination attempt that left fellow Honduran activist Berta Cáceres dead. At the time of her death, Cáceres was campaigning against a hydroelectric project in Honduras. Castro said Cáceres and her indigenous activist group COPINH were targeted for their political activity.
Gustavo Castro Soto: “In the case of COPINH and in Berta’s case, it’s another example of how multinationals and major parties who have an interest in mining are involved in the criminalization, death and human rights of indigenous peoples. … We support the request of the family for a group of independent experts to have an exhaustive investigation, not just for Berta’s murder, but for the process of criminalization and deaths and massacres against COPINH.”
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