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U.S. Orders Expulsion of 60 Russian Diplomats & Closure of Seattle Consulate

Mar 27, 2018
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The United States has ordered the expulsion of 60 Russian diplomats and the closure of the Russian Consulate in Seattle, over Russia’s alleged poisoning of Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury, Britain, earlier this month. It’s the largest expulsion of Russian diplomats in U.S. history. It comes after Britain expelled 23 Russian diplomats last week. On Tuesday, following the United States’ announcement, more than 20 other nations followed suit. More than 100 Russian diplomats have now been expelled in total, which the BBC reports is the largest collective expulsion of Russian intelligence officers in history. Russia denies carrying out the nerve-agent poisoning and has promised to retaliate against the diplomats’ expulsions.

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2020 Census to Ask About Citizenship Status

Mar 27, 2018
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Are you a U.S. citizen? That will be a new question on the 2020 U.S. census, according to the Commerce Department, which oversees the Census Bureau. The addition of this question has caused widespread condemnation by a group of attorneys general and immigrant rights advocates, who say the question will deter immigrants from participating in the census. California’s Attorney General Xavier Becerra said Monday he’ll sue the Trump administration over the census question, saying, “Including a citizenship question on the 2020 census is not just a bad idea—it is illegal.” This is reporter Ari Berman, speaking on Democracy Now! about the citizenship question.

Ari Berman: “It sounds like a simple question, but the experts that I talked to say that it will destroy and sabotage the entire census, that given the climate of fear with the Trump administration, nobody, particularly immigrant groups, both noncitizens and citizens, want to answer the question, if they’re a citizen, for fear of how it will be used by the Trump administration. If this question is on the census, it will massively depress responses among immigrant groups. That will lead to fewer seats, fewer resources, for areas that have lots of immigrants, particularly Democratic areas, places like New York and California. And it will shift power even more to Republican areas, that are whiter and more conservative. So, this has very, very, very profound implications for our democracy.”

Click here to see our full interview with Ari Berman.

Doctors Slam Santorum for Saying Youth Should Take CPR, Not Protest Gun Violence

Mar 27, 2018
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Doctors across the country are slamming former Republican Senator Rick Santorum for arguing that young people protesting for gun control would be better served by learning CPR.

Rick Santorum: “How about kids, instead of looking to someone else to solve their problem, do something about maybe taking CPR classes?”

That was former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, speaking on CNN Sunday. He accepted thousands of dollars from the NRA during his time in office. In 2011, during his failed presidential bid, he staged a photo op wearing an orange NRA hat and hunting pheasants with a shotgun. Medical professionals roundly refuted Santorum’s suggestion that CPR could help save the life of someone shot by a military-style assault rifle, among them, Dr. Eugene Gu of Vanderbilt University Medical Center, who tweeted, “As a surgeon, I’ve operated on gunshot victims who’ve had bullets tear through their intestines, cut through their spinal cord, and pulverize their kidneys and liver. Rick Santorum telling kids to shut up and take CPR classes is simply unconscionable.”

Family of Stephon Clark Demand Police Face Criminal Charges for Killing Him

Mar 27, 2018
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The family of Stephon Clark is demanding criminal charges for the Sacramento police officers responsible for the fatal shooting of the unarmed African-American father of two. The police officers shot him 20 times in his backyard. This is Stephon Clark’s grandmother, Sequita Thompson, speaking at a powerful news conference on Monday.

Sequita Thompson: “My grandson was 23 years old. And then, now my great-grandbabies don’t have their daddy, because they didn’t even stop. Why didn’t you just shoot him in the arm, shoot him in the leg, send the dogs, send a taser? Why? Why? You all didn’t have to do that. You all didn’t have to—over a cellphone. I just want justice for my grandson, for my daughter, my poor babies. They’re in so much pain. She’s in pain, and the brothers. He’s got two brothers. Justice. I want justice for my baby! I want justice for Stephon Clark! Please, give us justice!”

Stephon Clark’s killing has sparked massive protests. The Sacramento police have still not explained why the officers muted their body cameras after they shot Clark 20 times. Clark’s funeral will be held on Thursday.

Amid Bombardment, Thousands Evacuate Syrian Suburb of Eastern Ghouta

Mar 27, 2018
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In Syria, thousands of people are being evacuated from besieged Eastern Ghouta, outside the capital Damascus, under a deal brokered by Russia. The Syrian government and Russian warplanes have been bombing the rebel-held enclave for over a month, killing well over a thousand people. Early Tuesday morning, a convoy of 100 buses departed Eastern Ghouta for the rebel-held province of Idlib in northern Syria.

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Siberian Residents Protest After Deadly Mall Fire Killed 64, Including Many Children

Mar 27, 2018
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In Siberia, hundreds of people protested in the city of Kemerovo on Monday after a deadly fire swept through a shopping mall, killing at least 64 people, many of them children. The protesters questioned the official death toll, saying it could be far higher, and demanded the resignation of local officials. New reports show the emergency exits were blocked in the movie theater inside the shopping mall, trapping children and their parents inside as the flames spread. A security guard had also turned off the fire alarm system. The Investigative Committee of Russia has launched a criminal probe.

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Sri Lanka: CCTV Shows Police & Politicians Participated in Anti-Muslim Violence

Mar 27, 2018
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In Sri Lanka, closed-circuit television footage obtained by Reuters shows police officers and politicians participated in the violent riots against the minority Muslim community in Sri Lanka earlier this month. Dozens of mosques and Muslims’ homes and businesses were destroyed by the Buddhist mobs in the central Sri Lankan province, causing the government to declare a state of emergency.

Police & Politicians Pressure NYS Parole Board to Reverse Herman Bell’s Parole

Mar 27, 2018
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In New York City, activists are fighting back against efforts by politicians and the police to force the state parole board to reverse its decision to grant parole to former Black Panther Herman Bell, who has been imprisoned for nearly 45 years for the killing of two police officers. Among those pressuring the board to reverse its decision is New York City Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio. In the parole board’s decision to release Bell, its members cited a “noteworthy” letter from an unnamed person—likely the son of one of the victims, officer Waverly Jones. On Friday afternoon, Herman Bell’s lawyer, Robert Boyle, read a letter written by Waverly Jones Jr.

Robert Boyle: “The fact is that Mr. Bell has taken responsibility for his actions, has expressed genuine remorse, is 70 years old and has been in prison for 45 years. In these times of increased hate, we need more compassion and forgiveness. Signed by Waverly Jones.”

Father of Pulse Nightclub Shooter, Omar Mateen, Was an FBI Informant

Mar 27, 2018
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New details have surfaced about the 2016 Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando, Florida, revealing the father of shooter Omar Mateen had worked as an FBI informant. Forty-nine people were killed when the shooter opened fire inside the LGBT nightclub, and most of the victims were young LGBT people of color. The new details show Seddique Mateen, Omar’s father, was a confidential FBI source from 2005 to 2016. He is now under investigation for money transfers to Turkey and Afghanistan. Omar Mateen’s widow, Noor Salman, is currently on trial on charges of providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization and obstruction of justice. Her lawyers filed for a mistrial over the revelations, saying the prosecution’s failure to disclose this information earlier violated her due process rights. A judge has rejected the request, saying it’s not relevant.

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Linda Brown, of Historic Brown v. Board of Education Case, Dies at 75

Mar 27, 2018
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And Linda Brown—the woman at the center of the historic Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court case that desegregated public education in the United States—has died at the age of 75 in Topeka, Kansas. In September 1950, her father, Oliver Brown, tried to enroll her in the third grade at their neighborhood’s all-white elementary school, as part of a civil rights effort to challenge public school segregation. This is Linda Brown, recalling that day, during a speech on the 50th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education.

Linda Brown: “It all started for me on a balmy day in the fall of 1950 in the quiet Kansas town of Topeka, when a mild-mannered black man took his plump 7-year-old daughter by the hand and walked briskly four blocks from their home to the all-white school and tried, without success, to enroll his child. The child of whom I speak was I, Linda Carol Brown, and my father, the late Reverend Oliver Leon Brown.”

When Linda Brown was refused admission, her family joined a class action lawsuit that became the historic case in which the Supreme Court threw out the doctrine of “separate but equal,” leading to the desegregation of public schools nationwide. This is Brown recalling the day the Supreme Court ruled.

Linda Brown: “At 12:52 p.m., the announcement came. The court’s decision on ending segregation was unanimous. My mother was overwhelmed. On returning from school, I learned of the decision, which at that time meant only to me that my sisters wouldn’t have to walk so far to school the next fall. That evening in our home was much rejoicing. I remember seeing tears of joy in the eyes of my father as he embraced us, repeating, 'Thanks be unto God.' That night, the family attended a rally given by the local NAACP and held at the Monroe public school.”

Despite the Supreme Court ruling, civil rights activists have spent decades fighting for full desegregation of public schools in the United States. The struggle continues to this day.

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