In Washington, released State Department emails further implicate Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in President Trump’s effort to pressure Ukraine to investigate his political rival Joe Biden and his son Hunter, which is at the center of the ongoing impeachment hearings. The documents, released Friday, show Pompeo repeatedly spoke to President Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani in March while Giuliani was orchestrating a smear campaign aimed at ousting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.
In more impeachment news, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, Devin Nunes, has been accused of meeting with a former Ukrainian prosecutor in Vienna in 2018. The prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, is a key figure in the Republicans’ attacks on Joe Biden and his son Hunter. Nunes has not confirmed participating in the meeting and has denied participating in the effort to dig up damaging information about the Bidens.
The billionaire former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has formally entered the 2020 race for the Democratic presidential nomination. Bloomberg has already spent $37 million on television ads for the next two weeks alone. Vermont independent senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders slammed Bloomberg’s bid, saying, “We do not believe that billionaires have the right to buy elections.”
South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham says he blocked a resolution to formally recognize the Armenian genocide during World War I at the request of the White House. Graham told the news outlet Axios that a White House official asked him to object to the resolution. Graham says he agreed because Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was in town, saying, “That would’ve been poor timing. I’m trying to salvage the relationship if possible.” The resolution, which passed the House last month, would make it U.S. policy to commemorate the killing of 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman Empire as genocide.
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been released from Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore after being treated for chills and a fever. A spokesperson for the 86-year-old judge says Ginsburg is home and doing well, after being administered intravenous antibiotics and fluids. Ginsburg is the leader of the Supreme Court’s four-member liberal wing. If she were to leave the bench, President Trump would likely have an opportunity to nominate a third Supreme Court justice.
In Hong Kong, millions of people went to the polls for district elections Sunday, handing pro-democracy candidates a stunning victory. Pro-democracy candidates won nearly 90% of the seats — 400 of the 452 seats — amid the ongoing, massive pro-democracy protests that have rocked the Chinese-ruled territory. This is one of the winning candidates, Kelvin Lam.
Kelvin Lam: “They [voters] are not happy with how they deal with the protests so far, particularly in the last five months. And police brutality is actually over the top, I think. And I think that the Hong Kong people should really, really leverage on this result to ask for more democracy in the future.”
Egyptian security forces raided the office of Egypt’s last independent media outlet, Mada Masr, over the weekend, arresting editor-in-chief Lina Attalah, managing editor Mohamed Hamama and reporter Rana Mamdouh. The raid of the Cairo office came one day after security forces also arrested Mada Masr’s senior editor, Shady Zalat, at his home. All journalists have been released. The attack on the independent outlet came just a week after Mada Masr published a report headlined “President’s eldest son, Mahmoud al-Sisi, sidelined from powerful intelligence position to diplomatic mission in Russia.” After headlines, we’ll go to Egypt to speak with Mada Masr reporter and Democracy Now! correspondent Sharif Abdel Kouddous, who was also detained.
In Iraq, security forces killed at least 13 people Sunday amid ongoing anti-government protests, bringing the total death toll to over 340 people. The demonstrators are protesting corruption and lack of jobs and basic services, including clean water and electricity.
The Israeli government is deporting the head of Human Rights Watch’s Israel and Palestine office, Omar Shakir, today. Israel has accused him of supporting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, a nonviolent global campaign aiming to pressure Israel over its treatment of Palestinians. A 2017 Israeli law bans foreigners from Israel if they publicly support the BDS movement. This is Omar Shakir, speaking in a pre-recorded video released today.
Omar Shakir: “After two-and-a-half years, the Israeli government will today expel me over my human rights advocacy. This has never been about BDS; it’s always been about the Israeli government’s efforts to muzzle Human Rights Watch. But it’s had exactly the opposite effect. The world has seen through this for what it is. It’s an attack on the human rights movement.”
Bolivia’s self-appointed leader Jeanine Áñez has signed legislation paving the way for a new round of presidential elections that would bar President Evo Morales from running, after Morales was ousted in what he describes as a military coup. Áñez’s new interior minister has threatened Morales with life imprisonment if he returns to Bolivia. Morales is currently in exile in Mexico. Since Morales’s ouster, the Bolivian military has carried out at least two massacres of his supporters.
In Chile, photojournalist Albertina Martínez Burgos was found stabbed and beaten to death Thursday at her home in the capital Santiago. The 38-year-old journalist was documenting repression against anti-government protesters at the time of her death, particularly violence against women. It’s reported that her recent photographs of the ongoing massive demonstrations against Chilean President Sebastián Piñera have also been stolen.
Leaders of the coal industry knew as early as the mid-1960s that burning fossil fuels causes climate change. That’s according to a recently discovered 1966 copy of the magazine Mining Congress Journal, in which the head of a now-defunct mining research company wrote that the combustion of fossil fuels was increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, causing global temperature increases. He continued, writing, “Such changes in temperature will cause melting of the polar icecaps, which, in turn, would result in the inundation of many coastal cities, including New York and London.” The recently discovered article now provides evidence that both the coal and oil industries have known about catastrophic climate change for decades yet worked to cover up the evidence in order to continue burning fossil fuels.
In New Haven, Connecticut, over 40 people were arrested at a massive protest during the annual Harvard-Yale football game. Hundreds of students, faculty and alumni from both schools rushed the field during halftime to demand the two universities divest their billion-dollar endowments from fossil fuels and companies profiting off Puerto Rico’s debt crisis.
London has stripped Uber of its license to operate in the city, dealing a major blow to the Wall Street-backed ride-hailing app. London is one of Uber’s biggest markets. The city’s transportation regulator refused to renew Uber’s license, citing a “pattern of failures” that “placed passenger safety and security at risk.” Uber can continue operating in London while the company appeals.
Dozens of doctors have written an open letter to the British home secretary warning WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s health is so bad that he could die inside London’s high-security Belmarsh prison. The more than 60 doctors are calling on the British government to move Assange to a hospital. Assange is currently jailed on charges related to his decision to skip bail and take refuge inside the Ecuadorian Embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden amid a sexual assault investigation that has just been dropped for the third time. Assange now faces possible extradition to the United States, where he faces up to 175 years in prison for his role in publishing U.S. classified documents exposing U.S. war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. Click here to see our recent interview with Nils Melzer, the U.N. special rapporteur on torture, about Assange’s health.
In New York City, at least 58 people were arrested Friday night protesting New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s plan to add 500 police officers to patrol the subway stations to crack down on fare evasion. The march comes after a series of arrests in subway stations, including of a woman selling churros. This is Chelsea, one of the protesters.
Chelsea: “Our priorities are out of whack, that we literally invest more into criminalizing poverty than actually fixing poverty. Like, we would rather spend more time making poverty a crime than actually fixing poverty as an issue for people. Like, that literally makes no sense. You know, with $250 million, you could have literally put that into a fund to help people get Metro cards so they could be paying the fare back into — like, I just — see, that’s convoluted. This whole city is convoluted. The mayor, convoluted. All the police, convoluted. Like, everything that they stand for is convoluted.”
The city’s plan to hire 500 police officers will cost $250 million over the next four years — that’s more than the MTA expects to save from reduced fare evasion over that same time period. Activists denounced police brutality during the march, saying police tackled people and smashed them into cars.