On Capitol Hill, the Senate has voted to end the government shutdown, after Democratic lawmakers capitulated on the demand that any spending deal include a resolution on DACA—that’s the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Instead, a slew of centrist Democrats abandoned their promise to the nearly 800,000 young undocumented immigrants whose protections President Trump ended last fall, and joined Republicans in voting to pass a short-term spending deal to fund the government through February 8. On Monday, DACA recipients slammed the move.
Karina Velasco: “My name is Karina Velasco. Today, a continued resolution was passed without a Clean DREAM Act attached to it. And I feel very disappointed by that, very disappointed by the fact that our politicians did not continue to support us. Some of the American people, some of our politicians blame us, the DACA recipients, the DREAMers, for the government shutdown. However, we are not responsible for a shutdown. The Republicans and the Democrats, who didn’t have the backbone to support a Clean DREAM Act, are the ones to blame for a government shutdown.”
Vice President Mike Pence has announced the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem will open by the end of 2019. He announced this while speaking during his visit to Israel.
Vice President Mike Pence: “President Trump has directed our State Department, working with Ambassador Friedman, to complete the transition of moving our embassy here to Jerusalem by the end of next year.”
Palestinian leaders have boycotted Pence’s visit, and Palestinian residents have launched a general strike across the Israeli-occupied West Bank. This is Hebron resident Jihad Naseer-Aldeen.
Jihad Naseer-Aldeen: “Today, there is a general strike in all of our organizations and shops. Even today 99 percent of transportation is part of the strike. The schools are part of the strike, as well, in a protest against Pence’s visit to the region.”
Germany says it’s halting weapons sales to Saudi Arabia and other parties involved in the devastating, ongoing war in Yemen. Human rights groups are calling on the United States, Britain and France to also stop selling arms to Saudi Arabia, which has been accused of committing war crimes in Yemen.
President Trump has imposed steep tariffs on imports of solar panels and energy cells. The 30 percent tariff is a major blow to the renewable energy industry and comes as Trump moves to incentivize the fossil fuel industry, loosening environmental restrictions and moving to open up new public waters for offshore drilling. On Monday, Trump also announced tariffs on imports of some washing machines. The moves will likely further escalate tensions over trade with China and other nations.
In Mexico, new data shows violence rose sharply in 2017, making last year the deadliest year since record-keeping began more than two decades ago. The escalating violence comes in the lead-up to Mexico’s presidential election in July. Meanwhile, Mexico’s National Indigenous Congress says armed men attacked the caravan of presidential candidate María de Jesús Patricio Martínez, better known as Marichuy, on Sunday night in the state of Michoacán. The gunmen reportedly attacked the final vehicle in the caravan, which contained three journalists covering the campaign.
In Haiti, thousands of protesters took to the streets of the capital Port-au-Prince to protest against President Trump for reportedly describing Haiti, as well as some African nations and El Salvador, as “shithole” countries. This is Haitian professor Josué Mérilien.
Josué Mérilien: “Donald Trump is a 'piece of shit' president, and so that’s why his mind is filled with a shitty outlook, an outlook that that contributes to a shitty situation. What we have as our situation is the result of all the bad actions of the imperial colonizers against the country, with the support of the enslaved politicians, who don’t make considerations with their country in mind but are out defending their own interests. They are all corrupt politicians.”
In a major labor victory, a global clothing brand has been forced to pay $2.3 million to improve workplace safety in 150 factories in Bangladesh. The brand is not named in the settlement. It was sued by workers’ unions in the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague.
The Committee to Protect Journalists is demanding justice for the murder of two Brazilian journalists killed within the last week. Reporter Ueliton Bayer Brizon was killed in the northwestern state of Rondônia on January 16. And radio journalist Jefferson Pureza Lopes was killed in a small town southwest of Brasília the following day.
Back in the United States, the chairman of USA Gymnastics and several board members have resigned, amid the high-profile trial of the team doctor, Larry Nassar, who has admitted to sexually assaulting and abusing girls and young women for decades. This is former gymnast Kamerin Moore testifying in court Monday.
Kamerin Moore: “Larry, initially, I wasn’t going to come here and say anything to you, not because I didn’t have anything to say, but because I didn’t want this child I’m carrying to be in the same room as a child molester. Even unborn life shouldn’t be subjected to that. That’s how deeply I hate you for what you did to me.”
Pennsylvania’s state Supreme Court has ruled Pennsylvania’s congressional district map is unconstitutional, unfairly benefiting the Republican Party. The court banned the map from being used in this year’s midterm elections, and demanded a new map be created by February 15. Pennsylvania Republican lawmakers have vowed to appeal the ruling.
Evacuation sirens blared in Kodiak, Alaska, early this morning after a 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck off Alaska’s coast, prompting a tsunami warning. The National Weather Service’s Tsunami Warning Center has advised that widespread hazardous tsunami waves are possible.
And the father of South African jazz, Hugh Masekela, has died at the age of 78. Masekela was an anti-apartheid activist whose widely popular song, “Bring Him Back Home,” demanding freedom for Nelson Mandela, became the anthem of the global anti-apartheid movement. He died in Johannesburg after a long battle with prostate cancer.