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HeadlinesApril 15, 2019

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Democrats Slam Trump Threat to “Release” Immigrants to Sanctuary Cities

Apr 15, 2019

One day after reports emerged that White House officials had pressured immigration authorities to release immigrant detainees into sanctuary cities, President Trump confirmed the shocking proposal, first via tweet and later as he spoke to reporters.

President Donald Trump: “We’ll bring the illegal—really, you call them the illegals. I call them the illegals. They came across the border illegally. We’ll bring them to sanctuary city areas and let that particular area take care of it, whether it’s a state or whatever it might be.”

Trump made the remarks at a White House event Friday, saying he could enact the plan if Democrats don’t accept his immigration proposals. Trump has long railed against sanctuary cities, which have barred local police from cooperating with federal immigration agencies.

Democratic Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan responded to Trump in an op-ed, saying, “Seattle is not afraid of immigrants and refugees. … What does scare us? A president and federal government that would seek to weaponize a law enforcement agency to punish perceived political enemies. … This president believes that immigrants and refugees burden our country and burden cities like ours. But he could not be more wrong.”

The New York Daily News published a defiant front-page cover with the headline “WE’LL TAKE THEM” Saturday, featuring a photo of the Statue of Liberty with the words “Give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…”

Rep. Ilhan Omar Sees Spike in Death Threats After Trump 9/11 Attack

Apr 15, 2019

Minnesota freshman Congressmember Ilhan Omar says she’s received a spike in death threats since President Trump tweeted a video juxtaposing her image with footage of the 9/11 attacks. Trump pinned the 43-second video Friday to the top of his Twitter feed with the caption, “WE WILL NEVER FORGET.” Trump’s tweet intercut video of the World Trade Center towers burning with video of Omar speaking about the increasing attacks on the Muslim American community after 9/11. Omar was speaking at a Council on American-Islamic Relations event last month.

Rep. Ilhan Omar: “Far too long, we have lived with the discomfort of being a second-class citizen. And frankly, I’m tired of it, and every single Muslim in this country should be tired of it. CAIR was founded after 9/11, because they recognized that some people did something and that all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties.”

Congressmember Omar’s comments were originally taken out of context and circulated by right-wing media, from The Daily Caller to Fox News. In a statement, Congressmember Omar said, “Since the president’s tweet Friday evening, I have experienced an increase in direct threats on my life—many directly referencing or replying to the president’s video. This is endangering lives. It has to stop.”

NYC: Yemeni Bodegas Boycott NY Post over Cover Attacking Rep. Omar

Apr 15, 2019

In New York City, Yemeni bodega owners responded to the attacks against Congressmember Ilhan Omar by announcing they were boycotting the sale and purchase of the New York Post over its front-page attack on Omar. The Murdoch-owned daily paper featured an image of the burning Twin Towers on 9/11 referencing Omar’s comment out of context—”9/11 was 'some people did something'”—and the words “Here’s Your Something” in large print over the photo. The Yemeni American Merchants Association said the cover “provoked hatred” and targeted people of Muslim faith.

ICC Will Not Investigate U.S. War Crimes in Afghanistan

Apr 15, 2019

The International Criminal Court announced Friday it was refusing to pursue an investigation into possible war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the United States and other actors in Afghanistan. The court suggested the U.S.'s lack of cooperation with the investigation was behind the decision. Earlier this month, the U.S. revoked the visa of ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, who asked ICC judges to authorize the investigation in 2017. Human rights groups condemned the decision. Katherine Gallagher of the Center for Constitutional Rights said the ICC was “bowing to President Trump's pressure campaign” and that “With its decision, the International Criminal Court sends a dangerous message: that bullying wins and that the powerful won’t be held to account.”

Sudan: Military Leadership Challenged by Ongoing Protests

Apr 15, 2019

In Sudan, the head of the newly installed military council resigned Friday, just one day after he was sworn in following the ouster of longtime President Omar al-Bashir. The ouster came after months of public protests demanding al-Bashir’s resignation. The military’s chief of staff also stepped down from his post Friday. Protesters celebrated the news and mounted calls for the creation of a civilian transitional council, rejecting the military’s proposal to lead a two-year pre-election transition period.

Meanwhile, the United Nations has called on Sudanese authorities to release anyone arrested for demonstrating against the government. It also called on Sudan to cooperate with the International Criminal Court , which issued an arrest warrant in 2005 for ousted leader al-Bashir over possible war crimes. Sudan’s military council said they would not hand over al-Bashir to the ICC but instead would put him on trial in Sudan. Local reports emerged Monday that other top officials from al-Bashir’s government were arrested by the military council and could also face prosecution.

Algeria: Protesters Call for Removal of Ruling Elite After Fall of Bouteflika

Apr 15, 2019

In Algeria, police arrested over 100 protesters as thousands took to the streets Friday, less than two weeks after the resignation of four-term President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. Demonstrators are calling for the removal of interim President Abdelkader Bensalah and the entire ruling elite that has been in power since the country gained independence in 1962. This is a protester speaking from the capital Algiers.

Aisha: “In Algeria, we are seeing a soft military coup. In Sudan, there was a direct military coup. There is no difference between us and Sudan. We are witnessing a process of manipulation.”

Protesters say they will continue to demonstrate until a democratic, civilian transition takes place. Interim President Bensalah has said elections will take place in July.

Libya: U.N. Warns of Mounting Casualties as Fighting Escalates

Apr 15, 2019

The U.N. reported Sunday at least 120 people have been killed in Libya over the past week and a half as fighting intensifies between General Haftar’s eastern Libyan National Army and the U.N.-backed Government of National Accord. On Sunday, Haftar met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who threw his support behind the renegade general and his Libyan National Army forces as they continue their offensive on the capital Tripoli.

The U.N. warned that outbreaks of infectious diseases could spread quickly as more people flee the fighting, and that it only has about two weeks of emergency supplies for hospitals and health facilities. Human rights groups are also sounding the alarm over the safety of the many migrants and refugees who pass through Libya, thousands of whom are currently in migrant prions. Libyans have taken to the streets to protest the escalating violence.

Rafik Abu Seid: “We are here today in a protest against military rule, against the war criminal Khalifa Haftar, the [prisoner of war]. No to military rule. Yes to democracy. Yes to elections. Yes to peaceful resolution. And praise be to Allah.”

Gaza: Israeli Forces Shoot and Kill Palestinian Teen

Apr 15, 2019

In Gaza, Israeli soldiers shot and killed a 15-year old Palestinian teenager Friday during the weekly protest at the separation barrier with Israel. The killing comes two weeks after Palestinians marked the first anniversary of the Great March of Return, and is the first fatality in the second year of the ongoing demonstration, according to Palestinian health officials.

Pakistan: Minority Hazara Protest After Suicide Bomb Kills 24

Apr 15, 2019

In Pakistan, a suicide bomb in the northern city of Quetta, in Balochistan province, killed a reported 24 people and injured dozens more Friday. The militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi is believed to be responsible for the attack, which targeted the Hazara Shia Muslim minority. Since Friday’s attack, members of the Hazara community have been protesting the government’s failure to prevent violent attacks in the region.

South Korea Lifts 66-Year-Old Abortion Ban

Apr 15, 2019

In South Korea, a decades-old ban on abortions has been lifted after years of campaigning and legal battles against the law, which included possible prison sentences for doctors who perform abortions, and fines or prison sentences for anyone who underwent the procedure. South Korean activists celebrated as the news was announced outside a courthouse in the capital Seoul.

Lee Ga-hyun: “My friend had to use illegal drugs for a risky abortion because of the abortion law. I also wouldn’t have had much of a choice if I had became pregnant. But with today’s ruling, women like myself and my friend can live by our own free will.”

Ohio Governor Signs “Fetal Heartbeat” Bill into Law

Apr 15, 2019

In more reproductive rights news, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed into law the draconian so-called fetal heartbeat bill, which bans abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected—something that typically happens just six weeks into a pregnancy and before many women realize they’re pregnant. The bill does not include exceptions for cases of rape or incest. A similar law is set to take effect in Mississippi in July, while judges have for now blocked fetal heartbeat bills from going into effect in Kentucky and Iowa. Georgia Governor Brian Kemp is expected to sign his state’s abortion ban in the coming weeks. The ACLU said it would challenge Ohio’s new law in court. The nonprofit Guttmacher Institute warns that various types of legislation to ban abortion are currently being considered in 28 states.

House Dems Set New Deadline for IRS to Hand Over Trump Tax Returns

Apr 15, 2019

House Democrats set a new deadline of April 23 for the IRS to hand over Trump’s tax returns, after the agency failed to meet the original deadline set for last week. Democrats are asking for six years of Trump’s tax records. House Ways and Means Committee Chair Richard Neal said the IRS and the Treasury Department were not legally empowered to refuse the committee’s request. Neal could follow up a second failure to meet the request with a subpoena or file a lawsuit.

Pete Buttigieg Launches 2020 Presidential Run

Apr 15, 2019

And in South Bend Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg officially launched his campaign for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. At a rally in his hometown, the 37-year-old Afghanistan War veteran stressed the urgency to act now to correct the policies of President Trump.

Mayor Pete Buttigieig: “The principles that will guide my campaign for president are simple enough to fit on a bumper sticker: freedom, security and democracy.”

Pete Buttigieig supports progressive Democratic positions including the Green New Deal, the legalization of marijuana, and single-payer healthcare—although he does not support doing away with private insurance.

Buttigieig has also been vocal in his support for Israel, praising its national security measures as a “model” for other countries and suggesting some Democrats are too quick to judge Israel based on media reports. He made the comments after a trip to Israel last year amid ongoing protests at the separation barrier in Gaza, which have resulted in at least 200 deaths and tens of thousands of injured. If elected, Buttigieg would become the youngest U.S. president, as well as the first openly gay president.

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