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Venezuelan Opposition Leaders Claim a Coup Is Underway

Apr 30, 2019

In breaking news, Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó says a coup is underway in Caracas. Guaidó appeared this morning, in a video posted online, standing among heavily armed soldiers, proclaiming he is “starting the final phase of Operation Liberty.” He appeared alongside formerly jailed opposition leader Leopoldo López, who said he’d been freed by military officers loyal to the opposition. López called on Venezuelans to rise up against the government of Nicolás Maduro.

Leopoldo López: “What is happening in the capital today, all Venezuelans who want freedom should come here, disrupt order, join and encourage our soldiers, join our people. Good morning, Venezuela. Let’s do this together.”

The coup’s announcement was welcomed by the president of the European Parliament, who called it a “historic day for the return of democracy and freedom to Venezuela.” It has the apparent backing of the Trump administration and many members of Congress, including Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, who tweeted, “After years of suffering freedom is waiting for people of #Venezuela. Do not let them take this opportunity from you. Now is the moment to take to the streets in support of your legitimate constitutional government. Do not allow this moment to slip away. It may not come again.” It was not immediately clear where President Nicolás Maduro is. His ally, Bolivian President Evo Morales, said in a statement, “We forcefully condemn the attempted coup d’état in Venezuela, which is being conducted by the right and backed by foreign interests.”

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Trump to Make Asylum Seekers Pay Application Fees

Apr 30, 2019

President Trump has imposed new restrictions on asylum seekers along the U.S.-Mexican border, ordering them to pay fees in order to apply for work permits and for refuge in the U.S. The new restrictions, set to take effect in 90 days, would also require already backlogged immigration courts to settle asylum applications within 180 days. Meanwhile, The Intercept reports the Department of Homeland Security hired the private intelligence firm LookingGlass Cyber Solutions to spy on social media accounts affiliated with protests against President Trump’s migrant family separation policies along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Trump Organization Sues Banks in Bid to Resist Congressional Subpoenas

Apr 30, 2019

President Trump and the Trump Organization are suing Capital One and Deutsche Bank in an effort to block them from turning over financial records to congressional committees. This month, House Democrats issued subpoenas for the records as part of several probes into the Trump family’s myriad businesses. The New York Attorney General’s Office is also investigating Trump’s ties to Deutsche Bank. Last month, The New York Times reported Deutsche Bank loaned over $2 billion to Trump for real estate deals over nearly two decades, even when other banks refused to do so. Trump still had over $300 million in outstanding loans from Deutsche Bank when he took office in 2016.

Christchurch, NZ Police Find Explosive Device Amid Fears of More Anti-Muslim Violence

Apr 30, 2019

In Christchurch, New Zealand, police arrested a 33-year-old man Tuesday in connection with an explosive device and ammunition found in a vacant building. It was not immediately clear if the arrest was connected with last month’s attack on two mosques in Christchurch by a white nationalist gunman that killed 50 people and wounded 50 others.

Terror Suspect Arrested After Receiving Fake Explosives from FBI Informant

Apr 30, 2019

In Los Angeles, federal prosecutors claimed Monday the FBI foiled a terror plot by a U.S. military veteran to bomb several Southern California targets, including the Port of Long Beach and the Santa Monica Pier, in retaliation for the Christchurch massacres. This is U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna.

Nick Hanna: “The complaint charges Mark Steven Domingo, a 26-year-old resident of Reseda, with the felony offense of providing and attempting to provide material support to terrorists. Mr. Domingo is a United States Army—former United States Army soldier who served in Afghanistan and is also a recent convert to Islam. … Fortunately, the IEDs that he planned to use weren’t actual bombs; they were inert devices provided by the FBI that posed no danger to the public.”

Critics of similar terrorism investigations conducted by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force say agents have repeatedly manufactured plots in order to entrap young Muslims. A review by the Anti-Defamation League of 50 murders committed by extremists in 2018 found 49 came at the hands of right-wing extremists, with white supremacists alone accounting for 39 of the murders.

Lori Gilbert-Kaye, Killed in Synagogue Shooting, Mourned at San Diego Funeral

Apr 30, 2019

In San Diego, California, friends and family of Lori Gilbert-Kaye gathered Monday for her funeral at the Chabad of Poway synagogue, the same place where she was shot to death Saturday by a white nationalist gunman after she put her body in the line of fire to save her longtime friend, the synagogue’s rabbi. Gilbert-Kaye’s daughter, Hannah Kaye, quoted Nelson Mandela as she paid tribute to her murdered mother.

Hannah Kaye: “'No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love. Love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.'”

Trump to Designate the Muslim Brotherhood a Terrorist Organization

Apr 30, 2019

The Trump administration is preparing to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a foreign terrorist organization. According to The New York Times, the move comes after a White House meeting between President Trump and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi earlier this month. Sisi came to power in 2013 through a military coup that ousted the country’s first democratically elected president, Mohamed Morsi, a former Muslim Brotherhood leader. Since then, Sisi has designated the Brotherhood a terrorist organization within Egypt, and his government has carried out a brutal crackdown on supporters of the political movement—including the 2013 Rabaa massacre in which security forces killed at least 1,000 protesters and injured thousands more. Policy experts say the designation could hurt the civil liberties of American Muslims and lead to a clampdown on Muslim civil rights groups and charities, which are routinely accused by anti-Muslim groups of having ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. This comes just weeks after the Trump administration designated Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, Who Oversaw Mueller Probe, Steps Down

Apr 30, 2019

The Justice Department’s number two official, Rod Rosenstein, said Monday he will resign on May 11. As deputy attorney general, Rosenstein oversaw special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 election, after former Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the investigation. Although he was nominated by the president, Rosenstein endured public attacks from Trump, who just a few months ago retweeted an image depicting Rosenstein and several Trump critics behind bars, suggesting they should be jailed for treason. Trump has nominated Deputy Transportation Secretary Jeffrey Rosen, who previously worked with Attorney General William Barr, to replace Rosenstein.

ISIS Leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi Appears in Video for First Time in Five Years

Apr 30, 2019

The head of ISIS has appeared in a new video for the first time in five years. It was the first propaganda video showing Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi since he was filmed in 2014 proclaiming the creation of an Islamic State at the Great Mosque of al-Nuri in Mosul, Iraq. In 2017, Russian media claimed al-Baghdadi was killed in an airstrike in Syria.

Death Toll Rises from Mozambique’s Worst-Ever Cyclone

Apr 30, 2019

In Mozambique, the death toll from Tropical Cyclone Kenneth is at 38 and expected to rise, with aid agencies warning of a desperate struggle to reach people cut off by raging floodwaters. The Category 4 storm was one of the strongest to ever make landfall on mainland Africa. It came just six weeks after another devastating storm, Cyclone Idai, hit Mozambique and as sea surface temperatures off the coast of Africa continue to rise due to climate change.

Moroccan Authorities Attack Western Saharan Activists Ahead of U.N. Vote

Apr 30, 2019

In Western Sahara, Moroccan authorities have swept out across the city of Laayoune in a bid to crush protests, as activists call for an referendum on the status of the territory and demand the release of political prisoners. Video clandestinely recorded and circulated on social media sites shows activists Mina Bali and Aziza Biza being beaten by plainclothes security officers as they protest peacefully in the streets of Western Sahara’s territorial capital. Mina Bali suffered broken bones in her hand requiring surgery. Meanwhile, Sultana Khaya, a famed Sahrawi activist who had her eye gouged out by a Moroccan police officer in 2007 during a peaceful protest, was stopped by authorities as she tried to enter Laayoune and was turned around. The latest crackdown on dissent by Morocco comes as the U.N. Security Council is set to vote today on an extension of the U.N.'s mandate in Western Sahara; Morocco is seeking to prevent U.N. peacekeepers there from adding human rights monitoring to their mandate. Morocco has occupied Western Sahara since 1975, and no other country on Earth recognizes its sovereignty over the territory. Click here to see our Democracy Now! special, “Four Days in Western Sahara: Africa's Last Colony.”

Families of 737 Crash Victims Protest as Boeing Shareholders Meet in Chicago

Apr 30, 2019

In Chicago, Boeing held its first annual shareholders’ meeting since fatal crashes of its 737 MAX airplanes in Indonesia and Ethiopia killed 346 people. Outside the meeting, family and friends held a silent protest demanding Boeing executives be criminally prosecuted. The demonstration was organized by the family of 24-year-old Samya Stumo, who died March 10 when Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed due to a faulty flight control system. Stumo is the grandniece of consumer advocate Ralph Nader. As Boeing’s shareholders met, families of the crash victims held an emotional news conference to discuss their lawsuit against Boeing. Paul Njoroge, who lost his wife and three young children in the Ethiopian Airlines crash, said he stays up at night thinking about the horror his family endured as pilots struggled to keep the plane flying for six minutes.

Paul Njoroge: “Those six minutes will forever be embedded in my mind. I was not there to help them; I couldn’t save them. It was up to Boeing and the others in charge to save them. We paid for a safe flight, but instead my family and others in that plane have suffered a profound loss that can never be mended.”

Tennessee Governor Leads Anti-Union “Captive Audience” Meeting at VW Plant

Apr 30, 2019

In Tennessee, Republican Governor Bill Lee attended a captive audience meeting of workers at a Volkswagen factory in Chattanooga Monday, urging them to vote against joining a union in an election scheduled for May. Local media was not told about the governor’s visit to the plant, and reporters were barred from the meeting, but a recording obtained by the news source Labor Notes reveals the governor firmly sided with VW management against unionization.

Gov. Bill Lee: “Every workplace has challenges, and there are things in your workplace that you wish were different. My experience is that when I have a direct relationship with you, the worker, and you’re working for me, that’s when the environment works the best. I do believe.”

Governor Lee’s comments drew both applause and boos from Volkswagen employees. May’s election could see more than 1,700 Chattanooga plant hourly workers join the United Auto Workers, after a similar election drive in 2014 failed by a slim margin.

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John Singleton, Who Directed “Boyz n the Hood” and “Rosewood,” Dies at 51

Apr 30, 2019

Filmmaker John Singleton, whose directorial debut “Boyz n the Hood” told a gritty tale of gangs in South Central Los Angeles during the 1980s and ’90s, died Monday after suffering a stroke. He was just 51 years old. Singleton was the first African American—and the youngest person ever—to be nominated for an Oscar for best director, in 1992. In 1997, he directed “Rosewood,” a historical drama based on the 1923 Rosewood massacre, when a white mob killed black residents and destroyed their Florida town.

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