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Pelosi Accuses Barr of Lying to Congress over Mueller Report

May 03, 2019

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has accused Attorney General William Barr of committing a crime by lying to Congress.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi: “He lied to Congress. He lied to Congress. And if anybody else did that, it would be considered a crime. Nobody is above the law, not the president of the United States and not the attorney general. Being the attorney general does not give you a bath to go say whatever you want and it is the fact because you are the attorney general.”

Speaker Pelosi alleges Barr lied when he told Congress he did not know whether special counsel Robert Mueller supported his preliminary public description of the Mueller report. Lawmakers learned this week that Mueller had written Barr a letter saying his summary of the report “did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance” of his work. A Justice Department spokesperson said Pelosi’s comment was “reckless, irresponsible, and false.”

Rep. Nadler Threatens to Hold Barr in Contempt

May 03, 2019

Jerry Nadler, the chair of the House Judiciary Committee, is threatening to hold Barr in contempt for refusing to comply with a subpoena for the full redacted Mueller report.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler: “We will continue to negotiate for access to the full report, for another couple of days. And, yes, we will have no choice but to move quickly to hold the attorney general in contempt if he stalls or fails to negotiate in good faith.”

Congressmember Nadler made the threat after William Barr refused to appear before his committee on Thursday.

Over a Million Evacuate as Cyclone Slams Northeastern India

May 03, 2019

A Category 4 cyclone has smashed into northeastern India with winds over 100 miles per hour. Forecasters predicted it would be the strongest storm to hit India in over 20 years. Over a million people have already been evacuated from coastal regions.

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Venezuela Court Orders Arrest of Opposition Leader Leopoldo López

May 03, 2019

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has announced plans to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov next week to discuss the crisis in Venezuela. The U.S. and Russia have each accused the other of meddling in Venezuela’s affairs. On Thursday, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro appeared on national television flanked by military commanders in the latest sign that he maintains the support of the military in the wake of U.S.-backed opposition leader Juan Guaidó’s attempted coup earlier this week. Meanwhile, a Venezuelan court has issued an arrest warrant for opposition politician Leopoldo López, who escaped house arrest earlier this week on the same day his protégé, Juan Guaidó, attempted to launch the coup. López is now staying in the Spanish ambassador’s residence in Caracas.

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Two Activists Arrested Outside Venezuelan Embassy in D.C.

May 03, 2019

In Washington, two activists were arrested outside the Venezuelan Embassy Thursday as they attempted to throw food inside the building, which people have been occupying to protest U.S.-backed efforts at regime change. While critics of regime change remain inside the embassy, backers of the Venezuelan opposition have surrounded the embassy, preventing food supplies from getting in to the activists.

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EU Threatens to Sue U.S. over New Restrictions on Cuba

May 03, 2019

The European Union is threatening to sue the United States in the World Trade Organization over the Trump administration’s move to allow U.S. nationals to sue any company that does business in Cuba using private property seized during the Cuban revolution. Carnival Cruise Line became the first U.S. company to be sued under a provision in the 1995 Helms-Burton Act, which went into effect on Thursday.

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Senate Fails to Overturn Trump Veto on Yemen War

May 03, 2019

The Senate has failed to overturn President Trump’s veto of legislation that would have ended U.S. support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen, which has killed thousands of civilians and sparked the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. This comes as the United Nations warns the death toll in Yemen could reach 233,000 if the war continues through the end of the year. This is Senator Bernie Sanders speaking on Thursday just before the vote.

Sen. Bernie Sanders: “The war in Yemen, right now, has led to the worst humanitarian disaster on the face of the Earth. There are studies out there which unbelievably tell us that hundreds of thousands of people will starve to death by the end of 2019 if we don’t stop this war. What we are trying to do and for the first time have used the War Powers Act in an effective way to get the United States out of an unauthorized war.”

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Assange to Fight Extradition to the United States

May 03, 2019

Julian Assange has officially begun his fight to avoid extradition to the United States. The WikiLeaks founder told a London court Thursday that he will not voluntarily consent to being extradited to the U.S. to face charges related to the Chelsea Manning leaks. Speaking by video link from jail, Assange said, “I do not wish to surrender myself for extradition for doing journalism that has won many awards and protected many people.” Assange was arrested in April after spending seven years inside the Ecuadorean Embassy in London. After the court hearing, Assange’s lawyer Jennifer Robinson warned that his extradition could put a massive chill on investigative journalism.

Jennifer Robinson: “Despite what you heard from the prosecutor in the courtroom today, this case is not about hacking. This case is about a journalist and a publisher who had conversations with a source about accessing material, encouraged that source to provide material, and spoke to that source about how to protect their identity. This is protected activity that journalists engage in all the time. And any prosecution and extradition of Mr. Assange for having done so, or alleged to have done so, will place a massive chill on investigative journalism the world over.”

Pentagon Accused of Killing 10x as Many Civilians Overseas as Acknowledged in New Report

May 03, 2019

The Pentagon is facing accusations that it is drastically underestimating the number of civilians being killed in U.S. airstrikes overseas. On Thursday, the Pentagon released a report saying the U.S. had killed 120 civilians in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Somalia last year. However, the watchdog monitoring group Airwars says the total is at least 10 times higher. In Iraq and Syria, the Pentagon admitted to killing 42 people, but Airwars put the civilian death toll from attacks by the U.S.-led coalition at over 800.

Report: U.S. Military Spending Is Higher Than Next Eight Countries Combined

May 03, 2019

A new report on global military spending finds the United States spent $649 billion last year on its military—that’s nearly as much as the next eight countries combined. The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s report found China spent the second most, at $250 billion, followed by Saudi Arabia, India and France.

High Levels of Economic & Housing Insecurity in U.S. Detailed in New Reports

May 03, 2019

The Children’s Defense Fund is warning nearly 13 million American children are living in homes with incomes below the poverty line, even as the richest Americans benefit from tax cuts passed by Republicans in 2017. Meanwhile, a new report by Temple University’s Hope Center finds more than half of U.S. college students have struggled to find housing, and almost half have experienced hunger at some point in their college careers.

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Facebook Bans Louis Farrakhan, Alex Jones and Others for Engaging in “Violence and Hate”

May 03, 2019

Facebook announced it has banned Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, as well as several right-wing figures, including conspiracy theorist Alex Jones of InfoWars and former Breitbart columnist Milo Yiannopoulos. In a statement, Facebook said, “We’ve always banned individuals or organizations that promote or engage in violence and hate, regardless of ideology.” Several prominent hip-hop artists, including Snoop Dogg and Chuck D, criticized Facebook for banning Farrakhan, who organized the Million Man March in 1995 but has long been accused of making anti-Semitic remarks.

Trump Drops Plans to Nominate Stephen Moore to Fed

May 03, 2019

President Trump has dropped plans to nominate the right-wing economic commentator Stephen Moore to the Federal Reserve Board. Moore had come under intense scrutiny over past comments about the role of women in society and for withholding hundreds of thousands of dollars in alimony to his ex-wife.

Trump Admin Rolls Back Safety Regulations for Offshore Drilling

May 03, 2019

Interior Secretary David Bernhardt has announced plans to roll back a number of safety regulations on offshore drilling put in place after the deadly 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion in the Gulf of Mexico caused the worst oil spill in U.S. history. The chief oil lobbying group—the American Petroleum Institute—pushed to weaken the safety regulations. The move is expected to save the oil industry over $800 million over 10 years. Bernhardt is a former oil lobbyist.

Pharmaceutical CEO Convicted for Bribing Doctors to Prescribe Fentanyl

May 03, 2019

In medical news, the billionaire founder of Insys Therapeutics has become the highest-ranking pharmaceutical executive to be convicted in a case linked to the U.S. opioid epidemic. A federal jury in Boston convicted John Kapoor and four other colleagues of bribing doctors to prescribe a highly addictive fentanyl spray to patients who didn’t need it. One of the defendants allegedly gave a lap dance to a doctor at a company event in order to persuade him to prescribe the drug. They face up to 20 years in prison

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Baltimore Mayor Resigns Amid FBI and IRS Probes into Controversial Book Sales

May 03, 2019

Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh has resigned amid a growing investigation into her business deals. Last week, the FBI and IRS raided her two homes and her City Hall office. Part of the probe centers on the mayor making more than $700,000 by selling large numbers of her self-published children’s books to businesses seeking city contracts and to the University of Maryland Medical System, where she served on its board of directors.

Hundreds of Thousands Protest in Sudan Calling for Civilian Rule

May 03, 2019

In Sudan, hundreds of thousands of protesters took part in another mass sit-in Thursday outside Sudan’s Defense Ministry. The protesters are calling for civilian rule, following last month’s military coup that ousted longtime leader Omar al-Bashir.

Safaa Ibrahim: “It took us four years of protesting to reach this point. We persevered through security forces and bullets and everything. Ramadan would never let us give this up. We will persevere through Ramadan under any pressures, under any challenges. We will persevere until all demands are met.”

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10-Month-Old Honduran Infant Dies After Raft Capsizes in Rio Grande

May 03, 2019

In news from the U.S.-Mexican border in Texas, a 10-month-old Honduran infant has died, and three people are still missing—including two children—after a rubber raft overturned in the Rio Grande. Survivors say the raft was carrying nine people as they attempted to cross the border.

Florida Moves to Withhold Voting Rights for Felons Until All Old Fines Are Paid

May 03, 2019

The Florida Senate has passed a bill that would require former felons to repay all financial obligations before their voting rights are restored. This comes six months after voters in Florida approved a measure to restore voting rights to 1.4 million people with nonviolent felonies who have fully completed their sentences. One in five African Americans in Florida and 10 percent of the state’s adult population have been ineligible to vote because of a criminal record.

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Maine Makes History by Banning Styrofoam

May 03, 2019

In environmental news, the state of Maine has become the first state to ban food containers made of Styrofoam. Democratic Governor Janet Mills said, “Polystyrene cannot be recycled like a lot of other products, so while that cup of coffee may be finished, the Styrofoam cup it was in is not. In fact, it will be around for decades to come and eventually it will break down into particles, polluting our environment, hurting our wildlife, and even detrimentally impacting our economy.” The words of Maine’s Democratic Governor Janet Mills. The ban goes into effect in 2021.

Scientologist Cruise Ship Sets Sail After Quarantine over Measles Case on Board

May 03, 2019

A cruise ship owned by the Church of Scientology has left the Caribbean island of St. Lucia. The ship had been quarantined after a case of measles was reported on board. The ship left the port after health officials provided 100 doses of vaccine. The ship is now heading to Curaçao, it is unclear whether they will be allowed to leave the ship.

Immigrant Rights Activists Maru Mora-Villalpando Vows to Continue Resisting Despite Deportation Order

May 03, 2019

In Seattle, Washington, dozens of people rallied this week at the immigration court where prominent activist Maru Mora-Villalpando was ordered to appear. It was her third hearing since ICE moved to deport her last year, after she organized a series of “resistance workshops” across the state. The judge set another hearing date for November, and Mora-Villalpando vowed to return with more protesters.

Maru Mora-Villalpando: “I think that, in a way, coming to this building to show the epicenter of detentions and deportations in Washington, it’s definitely part of our work, and it benefits our work, because most people didn’t know that this place existed in the first place. They have no idea that this private building hosts many offices of ICE, Homeland Security Investigations and Department of Justice. Here is where decisions are made. And we are very happy to bring people here every time we come and for people to understand that this is another place of resistance.”

Mora-Villalpando also has a pending civil rights lawsuit challenging how ICE surveils, detains and deports outspoken immigrant activists. The case cites the arrest of well-known New York activist Ravi Ragbir at his regular ICE check-in. Last week, a federal appeals court ruled in favor of Ragbir in his own free speech case, saying the First Amendment bars ICE from targeting activists for deportation based on their political speech, and writing, “To allow this retaliatory conduct to proceed would broadly chill protected speech, among not only activists subject to final orders of deportation but also those citizens and other residents who would fear retaliation against others.”

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