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HeadlinesJune 12, 2018

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In Historic Summit, Trump & Kim Jong-un Pledge to Pursue Denuclearization of Korean Peninsula

Jun 12, 2018

President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un have wrapped up an historic summit in Singapore, where they pledged to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. The summit marked the first-ever meeting between a sitting U.S. president and a North Korean leader. Following the historic meeting, President Trump announced the end of U.S.-South Korean war games.

President Donald Trump: “We’ll be stopping the war games, which will save us a tremendous amount of money, unless and until we see that the future negotiation is not going along like it should. But we’ll be saving a tremendous amount of money. Plus I think it’s very provocative.”

That was Trump speaking in a news conference early this morning, his first press conference in over a year. Trump also expressed hope for an end to the Korean conflict.

President Donald Trump: “An extremely bloody conflict ravaged the Korean Peninsula. Countless people died in the conflict, including tens of thousands of brave Americans. Yet while the armistice was agreed to, the war never ended, to this day never ended. But now we can all have hope that it will soon end. And it will. It will soon end. The past does not have to define the future.”

After headlines, we’ll go to Singapore for more on this historic meeting between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Jeff Sessions: Domestic & Gang-Based Violence Will No Longer Be Grounds for Asylum

Jun 12, 2018

In major immigration news, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Monday that domestic violence will no longer be grounds for asylum, a far-reaching shift that could affect thousands of women fleeing gender-based violence, particularly from Central America.

Sessions overturned a precedent set in a 2014 immigration appeals court ruling that had granted asylum to a Guatemalan woman named Aminta Cifuentes, who had fled to the United States after being brutally abused by her husband for years—raped, beaten, kicked, burned with acid, and punched so hard in the stomach when she was 8 months pregnant that her child was born prematurely and with bruises. He told her it was pointless to go to the police, because “even the police and judges beat their wives.” She did go to authorities, who refused to intervene. When she left him, he tracked her down and threatened to kill her. She then fled for the United States, where she finally won asylum.

But on Monday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions overturned the precedent set in her case, ruling “claims by aliens pertaining to domestic violence or gang violence perpetrated by nongovernmental actors will not qualify for asylum.” Immigration lawyers have condemned the ruling, which could have sweeping effects not only for women fleeing domestic violence, but all people fleeing gang-based violence. Karen Musalo of the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies at the University of California Hastings College of the Law said, “What this decision does is yank us all back to the Dark Ages of human rights and women’s human rights.”

Honduran Asylum Seeker Who Died by Suicide After Being Separated from Child Was Fleeing Violence

Jun 12, 2018

This comes as The Washington Post is reporting that the Honduran asylum seeker who died by suicide after Border Patrol agents forcibly separated him from his 3-year-old child had come to the United States with his family fleeing violence. The Honduran Consulate says Marco Antonio Muñoz and his family fled Honduras after Muñoz’s brother-in-law was murdered. After they arrived in the United States, they voluntarily surrendered to Border Patrol agents and said they wanted to apply for asylum. But when agents told Muñoz he would be separated from his son, he appears to have had a panic attack. The agents then ripped the boy out of his arms and transported Muñoz to a Texas jail, where he was found dead by suicide the following morning.

“Systemic Traumatization”: Psychologists Slam Policy of Separating Families at Border

Jun 12, 2018

A newly published open letter signed by over 1,000 mental health professionals and organizations has condemned the Trump administration’s practice of separating children and parents at the border, writing, “We cannot afford to forget that there is a history of separating children from their parents: during slave auctions; during the forced assimilation of American Indians; and during the Holocaust. … To somehow convince ourselves that this systematic traumatization of children has no bearing on the lives of these children and no impact on the legacy of our country is to be living in an alternate universe. And to not care about the impact these policies have on these children is to succumb to the worst potential of humanity.”

Supreme Court Rules 5-4 to Uphold Ohio’s Decision to Purge Voting Rolls

Jun 12, 2018

In a major voting rights case, the Supreme Court has ruled 5 to 4 to uphold Ohio’s decision to aggressively purge voters from the rolls. The ruling allows Ohio to purge voters from the rolls if they haven’t voted in recent elections and don’t respond to a notice from election officials. A 2016 Reuters survey found nearly 150,000 people were removed from the voting rolls in recent years in Ohio’s three largest counties alone. A handful of other states have similar voting laws. The ruling to uphold Ohio’s decision to remove voters from the rolls is part of a nationwide battle over voter suppression efforts pushed by the Republican Party.

Dozens Arrested Nationwide at 5th Week of Poor People’s Campaign Protests

Jun 12, 2018

On Monday, dozens of people were arrested in front of the Supreme Court as part of a national day of action for the new Poor People’s Campaign protesting poverty and racism. This is Reverend Dr. William Barber, speaking at a rally just before he too was arrested.

Rev. William Barber II: “How many of you understand: How do Supreme Court justices get on the court? They get what? Nominated by who?”

Protesters: “The president.”

Rev. William Barber II: “And then they get what by the Senate?”

Protesters: “Confirmed.”

Rev. William Barber II: “How do senators get into office?”

Protesters: “Voting.”

Rev. William Barber II: “So you understand why voting suppression is a labor issue?”

Protesters: “Yes.”

Rev. William Barber II: “Voter suppression is not just a black issue. It’s a labor issue, it’s a poor people’s issue, because if you suppress the vote, you undermine the ability to elect people, and if you undermine the ability to elect people, you get people elected that will give you a regressive Supreme Court. So you can’t separate voting rights from labor rights. It’s not that the black folk are over here fighting for voting rights, and the white folks are over here fighting for labor rights. We all better be fighting for all of our rights, every one of them!”

Nine religious leaders, led by Rev. Liz Theoharis, were arrested at the Supreme Court and have been held overnight in jail by Capitol Police. They were among dozens of people arrested in nationwide protests staging a moral revival, 50 years after Martin Luther King Jr.'s original Poor People's Campaign. In downtown Boston, protesters blocked traffic to demand a higher minimum wage. In Olympia, Washington, activists erected tents to protest homelessness and unaffordable housing. In Sacramento, California, hundreds rallied outside the California Association of Realtors’ office to protest evictions. Monday’s actions were part of the Poor People’s Campaign’s fifth week of nationwide protests.

Ivanka Trump & Jared Kushner Earned $82M While Working at White House Last Year

Jun 12, 2018

The Washington Post is reporting President Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, and her husband, Jared Kushner, raked in at least $82 million in outside income last year, even as both served as senior White House advisers. Ivanka Trump received nearly $4 million from her stake in the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., $2 million from the Trump Organization and $5 million from the trust that oversees her clothing brand. Her husband, Jared Kushner, raked in a total of $70 million from dozens of companies tied to his family’s real estate company, Kushner Companies. Ethics experts say the extraordinary income flow while the two are serving as senior White House advisers raises concerns about conflicts of interest.

Yemen: U.S.-Backed Saudi Coalition Bombs Doctors Without Borders Cholera Clinic

Jun 12, 2018

In Yemen, the U.S.-backed, Saudi-led coalition bombed a new Doctors Without Borders cholera clinic in Yemen’s northwestern Abs region. Doctors Without Borders said that before the strike the group had provided the coordinates of the clinic to the Saudi-led coalition and that the roof of the building clearly identified it as a medical site. The ongoing U.S.-backed, Saudi-led war in Yemen has sparked the world’s worst cholera epidemic, with more than 1 million people affected.

This comes as the United Nations is warning an impending Saudi-led offensive on the Yemeni port city of Hodeidah could have catastrophic humanitarian consequences. This is Mark Lowcock, the U.N. under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs.

Mark Lowcock: “Seven million people are completely reliant every month on food, and more than 7 million on other assistance, from humanitarian organizations. So, Hodeidah is absolutely central to the preserving of life. And if, for any period, Hodeidah were not to operate effectively, the consequences in humanitarian terms would be catastrophic.”

The Wall Street Journal reports the Trump administration is weighing expanding its role in the war in Yemen by providing direct assistance to the impending Saudi-led offensive against the port city of Hodeidah.


Syria: Nearly 1 Million People Internally Displaced During First 4 Months of 2018

Jun 12, 2018

In Syria, the United Nations says nearly 1 million people were displaced inside Syria during the first four months of this year—the highest levels of internal displacement since the Syrian conflict began seven years ago. In total, more than 6 million Syrians are displaced inside the country, with another five-and-a-half million Syrian refugees displaced outside Syria’s borders.


Vietnam: Over 100 People Detained Protesting Special Economic Zones

Jun 12, 2018

In Vietnam, police detained over 100 people protesting against proposed special economic zones amid widespread demonstrations in recent days. The protests have forced lawmakers to postpone a vote on whether to approve a new law that would give foreign investors 99-year leases on land inside the special economic zones.


Naples Mayor Condemns Italy’s Decision to Turn Away Refugee Boat as “Crime Against Humanity”

Jun 12, 2018

The Spanish government has agreed to allow a boat carrying more than 600 refugees to dock in Valencia, after Italy’s new anti-immigrant government turned the boat away, leaving the hundreds of refugees stranded in the Mediterranean. The boat is carrying over 120 unaccompanied children and seven pregnant women. In Italy, the mayor of Naples, Luigi de Magistris, condemned the Italian government’s decision to reject the refugee boat.

Mayor Luigi de Magistris: “The port of Naples is open. Whoever prevents a ship from docking in a port to save lives, whoever puts human lives at risk, not only behaves in an undignified, shameful and ethically reprehensible way, but commits a crime against humanity and will be called to answer before international tribunals.”


Education Dept. Probing Handling of Sexual Abuse Claims Against USC Gynecologist

Jun 12, 2018

And the Department of Education has launched a federal investigation into the University of Southern California’s handling of sexual abuse claims against the school’s former gynecologist Dr. George Tyndall. Authorities say school administrators received reports of sexual abuse during pelvic exams dating back to the early 1990s but failed to investigate these reports until 2016. Authorities say Tyndall may have seen 10,000 patients.

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