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HeadlinesMay 21, 2019

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Iran Responds to Trump Threat While U.N. Urges All Parties to De-escalate Rhetoric

May 21, 2019

The U.N. is appealing to the U.S., Iran and other involved parties to “lower the rhetoric and lower the threshold of action” as tensions flare between the two nations. Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif responded to what he called “genocidal taunts” from President Trump, warning him not to threaten the country after Trump tweeted on Sunday, “If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!” Iran has repeatedly said it does not want a war with the U.S. Zarif responded that “Iranians have stood tall for millennia while aggressors all gone… Try respect–it works!”

Iranian state media reported Monday the country had quadrupled its production of low-enriched uranium but that it would still remain within the limit set by the 2015 nuclear deal. Tehran and other signatories to the deal are seeking to keep the landmark agreement alive after the U.S. withdrawal last year.

Houthis Launch Drone Attack on Saudi Airport

May 21, 2019

Meanwhile in Saudi Arabia, Yemen’s Houthi rebels said Tuesday they launched another armed drone attack on an airport on the Saudi-Yemeni border. The attack comes a week after the Houthis claimed responsibility for a coordinated drone attack on a Saudi oil pipeline.

U.N. Warns Yemen Food Aid May Be Suspended Due to Instability

May 21, 2019

The U.N. is warning food aid to Yemen could be suspended in war-torn areas controlled by Houthi fighters unless they abide by agreements to allow safe passage for aid delivery. The U.N. supplies food to over 10 million people across Yemen who are at risk of famine due to the U.S.-backed, Saudi-led war.

Guatemalan Teen Becomes 5th Migrant Child to Die in U.S. Custody Since December

May 21, 2019

In Texas, a 16-year-old Guatemalan teenage boy has died at a Border Patrol station in Weslaco, becoming the fifth known migrant child to die while in Border Patrol custody since December. Carlos Gregorio Hernandez Vasquez was arrested a week ago and was diagnosed with the flu while detained, but was not hospitalized. Before last year, it had been more than a decade since a child died in the custody of U.S. immigration officials. We’ll have more on this after headlines.

Trump Orders McGahn to Defy Congressional Subpoena

May 21, 2019

On Capitol Hill, the standoff between President Trump and Democratic lawmakers over congressional subpoenas is set to intensify today as the House Judiciary Committee could hold former White House counsel Don McGahn in contempt for failing to appear in front of the panel this morning. McGahn said he would heed Trump’s instructions to skip the hearing. The White House is arguing McGahn has “constitutional immunity” thanks to his former role as an immediate adviser to the president. The House panel subpoenaed McGahn to testify about possible presidential obstruction of justice during the Russia investigation.

D.C. Judge Orders Accounting Firm to Hand Over Trump Financial Docs

May 21, 2019

Meanwhile, D.C. District Judge Amit Mehta upheld a subpoena Monday for 10 years of Trump’s financial records from the accounting firm Mazars, issued by the House Oversight Committee. Trump’s lawyers attempted to resist the subpoena by arguing that the request is unconstitutional because it isn’t tied to legislation. Judge Mehta ruled the House panel had valid reasons for requesting the documents and that “it is not for the court to question whether the Committee’s actions are truly motivated by political considerations.” Trump’s lawyer said he would appeal the ruling.

NY Prosecutors Examining Financial Records from Trump’s Inauguration

May 21, 2019

Federal prosecutors in New York are looking through tens of thousands of documents related to the funding of President Trump’s inauguration for any evidence of illegal spending or campaign finance law violations, including whether any foreign donors received access to the Trump administration in exchange for contributions. A record-breaking $107 million in donations was received for Trump’s inauguration.

New Zealand Police Charge Christchurch Massacre Suspect with Terrorism

May 21, 2019

In New Zealand, police have charged the suspect in March’s Christchurch massacre with terrorism. He is also facing 51 counts of murder and 40 counts of attempted murder. The 28-year-old Australian, Brenton Tarrant, is an avowed white supremacist who emailed out a racist manifesto minutes before he opened fire with an assault rifle at two mosques. He is scheduled to appear in court next month.

Defeated Prabowo Challenges Re-election of Indonesian President Joko Widodo

May 21, 2019

In Indonesia, official results have confirmed the re-election of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo. He defeated former special forces military commander Prabowo Subianto by 10 percentage points. However, Prabowo has rejected the final tally, alleging “widespread cheating,” and says he plans to challenge the results in court. Prabowo Subianto is the former son-in-law of Indonesia’s longtime dictator Suharto and had made plans to stage mass arrests of political opponents and his current allies if he won.


New Boeing Lawsuit Alleges Company Hid Design Flaws in 737 MAX Planes

May 21, 2019

Another lawsuit has been filed against Boeing, alleging the company concealed known design flaws in its 737 MAX aircraft from airlines and the public. Mary Schiavo, the former inspector general for the U.S. Transportation Department, filed the suit on behalf of a passenger who was killed in the March 10 crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, which killed all 157 people on board. The suit argues the Federal Aviation Administration handed over the bulk of its safety oversight to Boeing, allowing the company to rush through and cut corners on inspecting and certifying its own jets.

San Francisco Journalist Who Was Raided by SF Police to Appear in Court

May 21, 2019

In San Francisco, press freedom advocates are closely watching the case of journalist Bryan Carmody, who is headed to court today to argue against the city police’s widely denounced raid of his home and confiscation of personal devices earlier this month. The case relates to a leaked report involving the death of San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi in February. Police are seeking information on how Carmody obtained the sealed police report, which described unflattering details about Adachi prior to his death, including the use of illicit drugs while with a woman who was not his wife. Carmody then sold the report to television stations. Jeff Adachi had long fought against police abuses, including racism within the ranks. Some of his supporters have said they suspect police deliberately leaked the report to damage Adachi’s reputation.

When police descended on Carmody’s home, they reportedly used a sledgehammer on the front door and handcuffed him while they seized his computer, phone and notebooks. Carmody’s lawyers will ask the court to reverse police search warrants and return his personal goods immediately. Press freedom groups are also requesting the unsealing of the search warrant applications.

Muhlaysia Booker, a Black Transgender Woman, Is Found Dead a Month After Mob Attack

May 21, 2019

In Dallas, Texas, Muhlaysia Booker, a 23-year-old black transgender woman, was found fatally shot over the weekend. Last month, a cellphone video of a crowd physically attacking Booker as she lay on the ground made headlines. Police say men in the video were shouting homophobic slurs at Booker, who eventually got away with the help of a group of women. Authorities say there is nothing connecting the perpetrator of last month’s attack, Edward Thomas, to her shooting as of now.
Muhlaysia Booker is at least the seventh known transgender person to be killed in the U.S. in 2019, according to the Human Rights Campaign. HRC says at least 26 transgender murders were recorded last year, although it’s likely the actual number is higher; the majority of those were black transgender women.

Intense Storms and Floods Hit Central U.S.

May 21, 2019

In the central United States, a series of intense storms brought flash flooding, baseball-sized hail and at least 19 tornadoes to parts of Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas on Monday. Authorities canceled classes for 150,000 schoolchildren, as heavy rains forced the closure of Interstate 40 and other highways, and emergency responders rescued people from flooded homes.

Report: Climate Change-Induced Sea Level Rise Could Displace Over 180 Million

May 21, 2019

A new scientific study finds that, left unchecked, climate change could increase sea levels worldwide by an average of as much as 6.5 feet by the end of the century. The report in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences finds the flooding could leave large swaths of coastal cities underwater by 2100, swamping hundreds of thousands of square miles of farmland and displacing more than 180 million people.

Guardian Updates Language, Replacing “Climate Change” with “Climate Crisis”

May 21, 2019

In more climate news, The Guardian announced it was changing its style guide for terms describing climate events and phenomena. The Guardian’s editor-in-chief said the changes are designed to better reflect the “catastrophe for humanity” we are facing. Editors and writers will replace the term “climate change” with “climate emergency, crisis or breakdown” and “global warming” with “global heating.” Other updates include the word “wildlife” over the word “biodiversity,” and “climate science denier” instead of “climate skeptic.” The Guardian also recently added a global carbon dioxide level report to its daily weather report.

EPA to Introduce New Counting Model That Downplays Projected Death Toll from Trump Coal Plan

May 21, 2019

The Trump administration is planning to change how it counts the number of people killed by air pollution each year, in a shift that would dramatically undercount premature deaths due to dirty air. The Environmental Protection Agency previously estimated that Trump’s move to roll back the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan would kill an additional 1,400 people per year due to inhalation of fine particulate matter—air pollution that’s linked to heart attacks, strokes and respiratory disease. But under the EPA’s newly proposed analytical model, many of those deaths would no longer be counted.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg Blasts Fox News Stars During Fox News Town Hall

May 21, 2019

Pete Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and 2020 Democratic hopeful, appeared on a Fox News town hall Sunday in which he blasted the network and some of its most popular hosts. Speaking to host Chris Wallace, he explained why he decided to appear on the right-wing, pro-Trump network.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg: “When you see what goes on with some of the opinion hosts on this network, I mean, when you’ve got Tucker Carlson saying that immigrants make America dirty, when you’ve got Laura Ingraham comparing detention centers with children in cages to summer camps—summer camps—then there is a reason why anybody has to swallow hard and think twice before participating in this media ecosystem. But I also believe that even though some of those hosts are not always there in good faith, I think a lot of people tune in to this network who do it in good faith. And there are a lot of Americans who my party can’t blame if they are ignoring our message, because they will never hear it if we don’t go on and talk about it.”

Mayor Buttigieg also called out Trump’s tweets and attacks as “grotesque,” as well as what he called the “media noise machine on the right wing.”

Several 2020 Democratic contenders have appeared on the network recently in an effort to reach Trump voters: Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who drew the largest TV audience so far, with 2.5 million people tuning in. New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is scheduled to appear on Fox News for a town hall next month.

President Trump took aim at Fox News for hosting Buttigieg. He accused the network of “wasting airtime on Mayor Pete” on Twitter Sunday, and repeated his attacks Monday at a Pennsylvania rally, saying to his supporters, “What’s going on with Fox, by the way? What’s going on there? They’re putting more Democrats on than you have Republicans.”

Sen. Kamala Harris Proposes Penalizing Companies with Gender Pay Gap

May 21, 2019

In more news from the 2020 campaign trail, California Senator Kamala Harris announced her proposal to close the gender pay gap Monday, which would hold companies liable if they fail to offer equal pay. This is Senator Harris speaking at a rally Sunday.

Sen. Kamala Harris: “Women, for the same work, for the equal work, on average, make 80 cents on the dollar. Black women make 61 cents on the dollar. Latinas make 53 cents on the dollar. And this has got to end.”

Under Harris’s plan, companies with more than 100 employees would be required to submit data on staff compensation and could be penalized 1% of their daily profits for every 1% gap in pay between men and women. Profits from the fines would be used to invest in paid family and medical leave.

Gov. Inslee Rolls Out 2020 Climate Proposal

May 21, 2019

Another Democratic hopeful, Washington state Governor Jay Inslee, unveiled last week the second part of an ambitious plan to tackle climate change as part of his 2020 platform. Inslee says his “Evergreen Economy Plan” will invest $9 trillion over 10 years to create 8 million clean jobs that would also bolster unions, eliminate pay inequity and ensure jobs for workers in the fossil fuel industry. It will also focus on building up renewable energy and environmental research, help upgrade buildings, and update water and transit infrastructure. Inslee previously pledged to make the U.S. carbon neutral by 2045.

Sybrina Fulton, Mother of Trayvon Martin, Running for Public Office in Miami

May 21, 2019

And in Florida, Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin, is running for the seat of Miami-Dade County commissioner. Fulton turned to activism after her son’s murder in 2012, when the unarmed African-American teenager was shot and killed by neighborhood watch vigilante George Zimmerman, sparking nationwide protests. In addition to tackling gun violence, her platform also focuses on economic development and affordable housing. This is Sybrina Fulton speaking in her campaign video.

Sybrina Fulton: “I didn’t want to be the voice for Trayvon after he died, but I decided I have no choice. Now I’m called to act and called to serve. It became clear to me there is an opportunity to turn our family’s tragedy into something positive for many other families. It took my son being shot down in order for me to stand up, but I’m standing now.”

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