U.S. & Taliban Agree to Path for Afghan Peace Deal

Jan 28, 2019

U.S. and Taliban officials have agreed to a framework for a peace deal in Afghanistan, with the U.S. touting “significant progress” at peace talks in Qatar over the past week. The eventual agreement could lead to a full pullout of U.S. troops and a Taliban ceasefire, and open up dialogue between the Taliban and the Afghan government. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani supported removing the U.S. military presence from the country, saying on Monday that his government’s goal was to bring down the number of foreign troops to zero.

Federal Employees Return to Work as Gov’t Agencies Temporarily Reopen

Jan 28, 2019

Federal employees are returning to work after President Trump and congressional leaders agreed to a deal that reopened the government after a 35-day partial shutdown—the longest in U.S. history. Trump threatened to shut down the government again in three weeks if no deal is reached with Democrats on border wall funding. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders addressed the end of the shutdown on the Senate floor Friday.

Sen. Bernie Sanders: “There is something absolutely pathetic about what has happened. … Five weeks ago, the United States Senate unanimously—every Republican, every Democrat—voted for essentially the same legislation.”

Eight hundred thousand federal employees were either furloughed or worked without pay during the shutdown. Some workers turned to food banks, filed for unemployment or went to homeless shelters as they missed two consecutive paychecks. Trump has promised government workers will receive back pay; however, this does not apply to millions of contract workers. Hours before Trump announced the end of the shutdown Friday, the Federal Aviation Administration halted some flights at airports in New York, Newark, Philadelphia and Atlanta, after air traffic controllers began calling in sick in large numbers.

Venezuela: Maduro Gov’t Defies U.S. and European Calls to Support Opposition

Jan 28, 2019

In Venezuela, tensions between the government of President Nicolás Maduro and backers of opposition leader Juan Guaidó continued to mount over the weekend. Speaking at the U.N. Saturday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told countries to “pick a side,” and called on the U.N. Security Council to back self-declared interim President Guaidó. Meanwhile, European leaders said on Saturday Maduro should call for new elections within eight days, a demand that was swiftly rebuked by government officials and Maduro, who accused European leaders of “kneeling at Trump’s feet.”

Maduro scaled back a move to expel U.S. diplomats from the country, while in the U.S., Venezuela’s top military diplomat defected from his government and expressed support for Juan Guaidó. While Maduro asserted the Venezuelan military remains loyal to his leadership and is prepared for a potential armed conflict, Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza appeared to resist any potential foreign attempts to start a war in Venezuela. This is Arreaza, speaking at the U.N. Saturday.

Jorge Arreaza: “Is he looking for a war in Latin America? Is Venezuela Donald Trump’s war trophy? We are not going to hand Donald Trump a war in Venezuela.”

We’ll have more on the situation in Venezuela after headlines with California Congressmember Ro Khanna.

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Philippines: Twin Bombs Rock Cathedral, Killing At Least 20

Jan 28, 2019

In the Philippines, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for twin blasts that killed at least 20 people at a Roman Catholic cathedral on the southern Philippine island of Jolo Sunday. At least 100 others were injured in the bombings, which came nearly a week after a local referendum showed overwhelming voter support for increased autonomy for the Muslim-majority region.

U.N. Condemns Killing of Palestinian by Israeli Settlers

Jan 28, 2019

In the occupied West Bank, thousands of mourners joined the funeral of Hamdi Naasan Sunday, a day after Israeli settlers shot and killed the 38-year-old Palestinian during clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli settlers. At least 30 others were wounded. Witnesses say Israeli forces saw the settlers attack the protesters but did not intervene, and in turn attacked the Palestinians. U.N. Middle East envoy Nickolay Mladenov called the killing “shocking and unacceptable” and called for those responsible to be brought to justice. Israeli settlements in the West Bank are considered illegal under international law. This is Laila Ghannam, governor of nearby Ramallah.

Laila Ghannam: “This crime is against the rights of our people in al-Mughayyir village, which was done by a group of settlers with protection of the terrorism army, the Israeli army.”

Israeli Forces Kill 3 Palestinians Across Occupied Territories

Jan 28, 2019

Naasan’s killing came amid a wave of violence across the Occupied Territories over the weekend. On Friday, Israeli forces shot and killed 25-year-old Ehab Abed in Gaza during weekly protests by the separation barrier with Israel, known as the Great March of Return. In the West Bank, Israeli soldiers killed 18-year-old Ayman Hamed, also on Friday, for allegedly throwing stones. On Saturday, Israeli police shot and killed Riyad Shamasneh in his car in East Jerusalem.

Brazil: Mining Dam Collapse Kills At Least 58, Hundreds Still Missing

Jan 28, 2019

In Brazil, search and rescue missions are looking for survivors after a mining dam collapsed on Friday in the southeastern state of Minas Gerais. At least 58 people were killed, with the death toll expected to rise as at least 300 are still missing. The dam, which was over 40 years old and was in the process of being decommissioned, dumped millions of tons of iron ore waste after it broke, swamping everyone in its path. Anger against mining giant Vale has been mounting among workers and local residents. Vale was at the center of one of Brazil’s worst environmental disasters in 2015 when a mine in the same region collapsed, killing 19 people and flooding waterways with millions of tons of waste.

France: Protesters Take Streets for 11th Week, Call Out Police Brutality

Jan 28, 2019

In France, “yellow vest” protests took place Saturday for the 11th straight weekend, as the movement shows no signs of slowing down. A number of unions have joined the yellow vest movement, calling for solidarity in their struggles for social justice.

Meanwhile, violence on the part of police and certain protesters has been called out. An estimated 10,000 people marched in Paris wearing red scarves, protesting vandalism and various acts of violence associated with the yellow vest marches.

French police have come under increasing fire for the use of excessive force, including rubber bullets, which protesters say have caused serious injuries. A lawyer for prominent yellow vest protester Jérôme Rodrigues said he will be disabled for life after being hit with a rubber projectile on Saturday. Last week, the interior minister announced that riot police would have to start wearing body cameras.

Germany to Shut Down All Coal Plants by 2038

Jan 28, 2019

Germany will move to shut down all of its coal-fired power plants by 2038 as part of the country’s commitment to renewable energy. The move was announced by a government-appointed commission, which is proposing $45 billion to assist regions most affected by the closure of the coal plants. Germany is also on track to close down all of its nuclear power plants by 2022. Renewables made up over 40 percent of the energy supplied in Germany last year, surpassing coal for the very first time.

Birmingham Civil Rights Institute Reinstates Award for Angela Davis After Public Outcry

Jan 28, 2019

Back in the U.S., the board of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute has voted to reaffirm leading activist and civil rights icon Angela Davis as the recipient of its Fred L. Shuttlesworth Human Rights Award, after previously rescinding the award over her activism for Palestinian rights. The institute withdrew the award days after the Birmingham Holocaust Education Center sent a letter urging the board to reconsider honoring Davis due to her support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. The decision was met with widespread condemnation. The board offered a public apology for the move earlier this month. Click here to see our exclusive interview with Angela Davis responding to the controversy.

Roger Stone to Be Arraigned, Does Not Rule Out Cooperation with Mueller

Jan 28, 2019

President Trump’s ally and former adviser Roger Stone is set to be arraigned Tuesday, after he was arrested early Friday morning, with prosecutors from special counsel Robert Mueller’s team charging the longtime Republican operative with obstruction, witness tampering and lying to Congress about his communications with WikiLeaks. He was released on a $250,000 bond. In an interview with ABC Sunday, Stone said he would not rule out cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller. Later in the broadcast, we’ll look at a stunning new documentary about the man who mentored Donald Trump and Roger Stone—the infamous attorney Roy Cohn.

U.S. Reporter for Iranian TV Marzieh Hashemi Speaks Out After Her Arrest

Jan 28, 2019

Rallies in support of Marzieh Hashemi, an American reporter for Iran’s state network Press TV, took place Friday around the country and in cities around the world, following her release last week from U.S. custody. Hashemi, a U.S. citizen, resides in Tehran but was arrested and detained by the FBI during a visit to the United States, where she is working on a film about the Black Lives Matter movement. In an interview with The Guardian, Hashemi said, “It is not about me. It is about the U.S. Justice Department and government—that they feel that they can just take people’s rights away, sweep them off of the streets, hold them in the name of being a material witness and not charging them … indefinitely.”

Philadelphia: DA Krasner to Challenge Ruling Allowing Mumia Abu-Jamal Appeal

Jan 28, 2019

And in Philadelphia, District Attorney Larry Krasner said he will challenge a recent ruling that would allow imprisoned former Black Panther and award-winning journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal to reargue his case. Abu-Jamal was convicted of the 1981 murder of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner but has always maintained his innocence. Abu-Jamal’s lawyers argued that statements by the former chief justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court about people accused of killing police officers indicated he should have recused himself from the case. Last month, Krasner and his team discovered six boxes of files related to Abu-Jamal’s case in an old storage room. The exact contents of the boxes are not known to the public, but some have speculated they contain exculpatory evidence.

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