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HeadlinesJune 17, 2019

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More Mass Protests in Hong Kong as Activist Joshua Wong Freed from Prison

Jun 17, 2019

In Hong Kong, as many as 2 million people took to the streets Sunday for another mass demonstration against a proposed bill that would allow the extradition of Hong Kong residents to mainland China, which critics say would infringe on Hong Kong’s independence and the legal and human rights of Hong Kong residents and visitors. Hong Kong’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, suspended the bill and apologized for her handling of the situation, but protesters are calling for its full withdrawal. Protesters also called for the resignation of Carrie Lam.

Meanwhile, prominent pro-democracy activist, 22-year-old Joshua Wong was released Monday after a month behind bars and has vowed to join the protest movement.

Joshua Wong: “Hong Kong people will not keep silent under the suppression of President Xi and the Chief Executive Carrie Lam. Carrie Lam must step down; otherwise, I believe in next few weeks, before the 22 anniversary of Hong Kong transfer of sovereignty, more and more Hong Kong people, not only 1 million or 2 million people, will come and join our fight, until the day we get back our basic human rights and freedom.”

Iran Closes In on Uranium Stockpile Limit as U.S. Ratchets Up Tensions

Jun 17, 2019

Iran’s atomic energy agency has announced it is just 10 days away from exceeding the limit of enriched uranium stockpile permitted under the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Iran started rolling back its compliance with the landmark agreement last month, following the U.S. withdrawal and the reimposition of sanctions last year. On Saturday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani reiterated his ultimatum to European nations and other signatories that they must show “positive signals” in upholding the pact for Iran to maintain its commitment, as well. This comes as the United States continues to blame Iran for attacking two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman Thursday without offering any new evidence. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the U.S. is considering a full range of options. Some of the U.S. claims have been directly contradicted by the Japanese owner of one of the tankers. Iran has denied any involvement and accused the Trump administration of trying to sabotage diplomacy.

6-Year-Old Migrant Girl from India Dies in Arizona Desert on Way to Seek Asylum

Jun 17, 2019

Reports emerged Friday of a 6-year-old migrant girl from India who died of heat stroke in the Arizona desert last week after being smuggled into the U.S. with her mother and three other Indian nationals. Border Patrol found the body of Gurupreet Kaur Wednesday near Lukeville, Arizona. The temperature hovered around 108 degrees Fahrenheit that day. The girl’s mother had gone to search for water, while she stayed with two of the other migrants in her group. The volunteer humanitarian group No More Deaths, which provides water and other assistance to migrants crossing the harsh Sonoran Desert, tweeted, “Asylum seekers have been forcibly turned away from the nearby Lukeville port of entry. … We need #water not walls.”

Youngest Separated Migrant Was 4-Month-Old Baby

Jun 17, 2019

A new report by The New York Times has revealed the youngest child to be ripped from their family after migrating to the U.S. via the southern border was a 4-month-old baby. The child, Constantin Mutu, was taken by U.S. officials under Trump’s “zero-tolerance” family separation policy and put in a foster home. His father was put in an immigrant prison before being deported to his native Romania. Constantin has since been reunited with his parents and has displayed signs of emotional and developmental issues. His parents say he is not walking or talking at 20 months.

ICE Quarantines 5,000+ Migrants After Exposure to Mumps

Jun 17, 2019

In more immigration news, Immigration and Customs Enforcement has put 5,200 immigrants in quarantine after they were exposed to mumps or chicken pox. Thirty-nine immigration prisons around the country are affected by the outbreak.

Electrical Grid Failure Causes Massive Blackout in South America

Jun 17, 2019

In South America, power has been partially restored after a massive outage hit Argentina, Uruguay and parts of Paraguay Sunday. Officials say the “unprecedented” blackout occurred after a failure in the transmission of electricity from a hydroelectric dam that feeds a regional electrical grid. Argentina has vowed to fully investigate the reasons for the system’s failure.

Trump Lashes Out After NYT Report on U.S. Incursions into Russian Cyberspace

Jun 17, 2019

President Trump lashed out at The New York Times after it published a piece Saturday saying the U.S. is ramping up cyber intrusions into Russia’s electric power grid. Trump tweeted the Times report is a “virtual act of treason.” The report asserts that the U.S. is deploying new cyber tools in a warning to Russian President Vladimir Putin over interference in U.S. elections. The report also said that military and intelligence officials have avoided sharing the full details of such operations with Trump in case he countermands them or discloses the information with foreign officials.

India Imposes Retaliatory Tariffs on U.S. Goods

Jun 17, 2019

India has imposed new tariffs on 28 U.S. products in response to the Trump administration’s hike on steel and aluminum taxes, as well as the decision to withdraw India’s preferential trade status earlier this month. The new tariffs will affect goods including apples, almonds, lentils and chemical products, and in some cases will be as high as 70%.


Ex-First Lady Leads Presidential Vote Tally in Contested Guatemala Election

Jun 17, 2019

In Guatemala, voters headed to the polls Sunday in highly contested presidential and congressional elections. As votes continue to be tallied, former first lady Sandra Torres is leading in the presidential race with around a quarter of the votes, but a runoff is expected in August between the two leading candidates. Torres has been plagued by accusations of money laundering and ties to drug traffickers. Critics have warned of widespread corruption leading up to the elections. Thelma Aldana, a former attorney general who helped prosecute hundreds of cases against Guatemala’s political and business elite, was believed to be a favorite to win, before being banned from the elections over what many believe are trumped-up allegations of embezzlement and tax fraud, which she denies. Aldana has left the country after facing death threats and a warrant for her arrest.


Sudanese Ex-Leader al-Bashir Charged with Corruption in 1st Appearance Since Ouster

Jun 17, 2019

In Sudan, ousted former President Omar al-Bashir made his first public appearance Sunday since his overthrow in April. He was taken to the prosecutor’s office, where he was charged on several counts of corruption, including accepting illegal gifts and hoarding foreign money. Al-Bashir was charged in May for his involvement in the killing of anti-government demonstrators during the months-long popular uprising that led to his ouster. Protesters are continuing to demand the country’s ruling military hand over power to a civilian authority.

Al-Shabab Claims Attacks in Mogadishu and Kenya, Killing at Least 18 People

Jun 17, 2019

In Somalia, a car bombing Saturday near a checkpoint at the presidential palace in Mogadishu killed at least eight people and wounded another 25. The militant group al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack. Al-Shabab also claimed responsibility for the death of 10 Kenyan police officers who were killed Saturday after their vehicle struck an improvised explosive device near the border with Somalia.


Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau Sworn in for 2nd Term After Backing by Anti-Separatists

Jun 17, 2019

In Spain, Barcelona’s leftist Mayor Ada Colau was sworn in Saturday for another term after she managed to keep her post despite losing by less than 5,000 votes to a Catalan separatist during last month’s European Parliamentary elections. Colau was re-elected by City Hall representatives after members of the Socialist Party and representatives backed by former French prime minister and Barcelona mayoral candidate Manuel Valls voted for her in an effort to prevent a Catalan separatist from becoming mayor.

Trump to Kick Off 2020 Bid with Florida Rally

Jun 17, 2019

President Trump will officially kick off his 2020 presidential bid Tuesday with a massive rally in Orlando, Florida. The rally comes just over four years after Trump’s now-infamous descent down a golden escalator at Trump Tower to announce his 2016 candidacy. Meanwhile, media outlets are reporting the Trump campaign has fired several pollsters after leaked numbers showed him trailing former Vice President Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders in several battleground states.

Zoe Spears Becomes 10th Known Black Trans Woman to Die This Year

Jun 17, 2019

In Maryland, police are investigating the death of Zoe Spears, a 23-year-old black transgender woman, who is at least the 10th known case of deadly violence against trans women this year—all of them black. Spears’s body was found on the street with several gunshot wounds last Thursday in Fairmount Heights, just outside of Washington, D.C.—only a few blocks away from the site of another fatal shooting, in March, of a black trans woman named Ashanti Carmon. The two women were friends, and the police are trying to determine if their murders are connected. Ruby Corado, executive director of LGBTQ community center Casa Ruby and a close friend of Zoe Spears, said that Spears moved out of her apartment, fearing for her safety following Ashanti Carmon’s murder.

Lead Prosecutor of “Central Park 5” Leaves Columbia Law Job After Student Outcry

Jun 17, 2019

The fallout for prosecutors in the “Central Park 5” case continues. Lead prosecutor Elizabeth Lederer resigned from her lecturing position at Columbia Law School after a petition started by the Black Law Students Association calling for her firing gathered over 10,000 signatures. This comes after former prosecutor Linda Fairstein was dropped by her publisher and forced to step down from several nonprofit boards, as well as Vassar College’s board of trustees, due to renewed public scrutiny following the release of a Netflix series about the case, which saw five Harlem teenagers of color wrongfully accused and convicted for a rape in 1989. Click here to see our interview with Ava Duvernay, director of “When They See Us.”

Outrage & Apologies After Video Shows Arizona Police Pointing Guns and Yelling at Black Family

Jun 17, 2019

And in Arizona, Phoenix’s mayor and police chief have both apologized after a video was released showing officers pointing guns and yelling at a black family outside a Family Dollar store, after they say a 4-year-old girl took a doll from the store. The video caused widespread outrage over the weekend. The officers say they were responding to a report of shoplifting when they drew their firearms and started screaming orders, using profane language, at a father, a pregnant woman carrying a baby, and the young girl, who left the store with a doll which was unpaid for.

Police officer: “Get out of the [bleep] car!”

Father: “OK. I’m not doing anything.”

Witness 1: “You recording it?”

Witness 2: “Yeah, I’m recording it.”

Police officer: “Put your hands up.”

Pregnant mother: “I don’t have nothing, officer.”

Police officer: “I don’t give a [bleep]. Put your hands up! Hands up.”

Pregnant mother: “I can’t put my hands up. I have a [bleep] baby in my hands. I can’t. I’m pregnant.”

The woman can be heard saying she is unable to hold her hands up because she is holding a child, and that she is pregnant. The parents say the police officers violated their civil rights, and are filing a $10 million lawsuit.

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