Iran Says New U.S. Sanctions Shut Down Diplomatic Option

Jun 25, 2019

President Trump imposed new sanctions against Iran Monday targeting the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and announced forthcoming sanctions on Iran’s top diplomat, Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani derided the announcement, saying, “You sanction the foreign minister simultaneously with a request for talks?” while Zarif tweeted: “@realDonaldTrump is 100% right that the US military has no business in the Persian Gulf. Removal of its forces is fully in line with interests of US and the world. But it’s now clear that the #B_Team is not concerned with US interests—they despise diplomacy, and thirst for war.” The “B Team” is thought to refer to John Bolton, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The sanctions came after an aborted U.S. attack on Iranian targets last week, following the downing of a U.S. Navy surveillance drone by Iran earlier this month, which the U.S. says happened over international waters, while Iran maintains the vessel had entered their territory. Iranian officials have since released imagery which they say confirms this. At a top-level meeting in Jerusalem between the US, Israel and Russia, a top Russian official contradicted the U.S. narrative, saying it had in fact entered Iranian territory. Iran also said Monday it had blocked cyberattacks by the United States.

Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has traveled to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in an attempt to build what the Trump administration is describing as a “global coalition” against Iran.

The Iranian ambassador to the United Nations told reporters that he had been shut out of a U.S.-led closed-door meeting of the U.N. Security Council. This is Ambassador Majid Takht Ravanchi responding to the new sanctions.

Majid Takht Ravanchi: “The U.S. decision today to impose more sanctions against Iran is yet another indication of continued U.S. hostility against the Iranian people and their leaders and that the U.S. has no respect for international law and order, as well as the views of the overwhelming majority of the international community. To ease sanctions in the broader Persian Gulf region, the U.S. must stop its military adventurism.”

300 Children Moved from Texas Border Patrol Station After Reports of Neglect, Inhumane Conditions

Jun 25, 2019

The Department of Homeland Security said Monday they transferred approximately 300 children out of a Border Patrol station in Clint, Texas, following a shocking Associated Press report last week that sparked widespread outrage. Lawyers who visited the facility found children of all ages locked up without adequate food, water, sanitation or medical care, with older children having to care for the younger ones. Clara Long of Human Rights Watch, who interviewed children at the facility, recounted a distraught child wearing a bracelet with the words “US parent” and a phone number, but found that her parents had no idea where she was or the conditions she was being held in.

Some of the children were reportedly moved into a shelter overseen by the Office of Refugee Resettlement, while others are now being held in a tent facility in El Paso. Around 30 children remain at the Border Patrol station in Clint, according to the office of El Paso Congressmember Veronica Escobar. The station is not designed to hold children for more than a few days, but many have been there now for nearly a month. Click here to see our interview with Warren Binford, a lawyer who interviewed children at the Clint, Texas, facility.

FBI Investigating Deaths of 3 Children, 1 Woman Found Near Texas’ Southern Border

Jun 25, 2019

Meanwhile, the FBI is investigating the deaths of four unidentified people, including one toddler and two infants, who were found by Border Patrol agents along the Rio Grande in Texas’s Rio Grande Valley near the U.S.-Mexico border. The bodies were discovered Sunday, but their condition indicated they could have died days before that. Investigators say the three young children and a woman in her early twenties appear to be migrants who died from dehydration and heat exposure, though official autopsy results have yet to be released.

Separately, the bodies of a Salvadoran migrant and his 2-year-old daughter were found, also on Sunday, on the Mexican side of the southern border near Brownsville, Texas, according to Mexican and Salvadoran news reports.

Trump Responds to E. Jean Carroll Rape Allegations: “She’s Not My Type”

Jun 25, 2019

President Trump responded to the firestorm surrounding E. Jean Carroll’s allegation that he raped her in the 1990s by telling reporters he would not have assaulted her because “she’s not my type.” An excerpt from the noted advice columnist’s upcoming book accuses Trump of forcibly kissing, then raping her in the dressing room of Bergdorf Goodman department store in New York. Over the weekend, Trump said he did not know and had never met Carroll, despite a photo which accompanied the excerpt showing the two of them together at a party in the 1980s. At least 22 women have accused Trump of assault or sexual misconduct.

In related news, The New York Times’s executive editor Dean Baquet admitted that the Times was “overly cautious” in its coverage of Carroll’s allegations, after readers took the paper to task for downplaying the story. The Times initially reported the story in its online Books section Friday and did not promote it on its homepage until late on Saturday or run a print story until Sunday.

Palestinians Resist Kushner’s Middle East Workshop as Business Leaders Gather in Bahrain

Jun 25, 2019

Officials and business leaders from the U.S., Israel and several Arab nations are meeting in Bahrain today and tomorrow in what is being billed as an economic workshop designed by Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner to address the Israel-Palestine conflict. Palestinian leadership has rejected the $50 billion U.S.-led initiative, the first phase of Kushner’s Middle East peace plan, which focuses on generating investments in the region while sidelining politics, the Israeli occupation and Palestinian voices. Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said ahead of the gathering, “This workshop is simply a political laundry for settlements and a legitimization of occupation.”

Palestinians rallied in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip Monday to protest the event. This is Miriam Abu Dakka of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

Miriam Abu Dakka: “If they give us all the billions in the world, we won’t sell our land. Our cause is political, ethical, lawful and national. It is not for sale. It is a shameful deal. Not Trump, neither the Zionists can erase any right of the Palestinian people.”

Experts Warn Climate Crisis Exacerbating Heat Waves as 100+ Degree Temps Grip Europe

Jun 25, 2019

An “unprecedented” heat wave is gripping Central Europe this week, with temperatures in France, Spain, Italy, Switzerland and Germany expected to hit 100 degrees and above, though experts say humidity will make it feel like 116 degrees and higher. The highs will surge to 36 degrees higher than average for this time of year, setting records across French cities, where experts say heat waves are on the rise in recent years due to the accelerating climate crisis. The French national forecasting service has warned that record-breaking heat waves would continue to intensify and double in frequency by 2050 if global emissions are not drastically reduced.

Chennai, India’s 6th-Largest City, Has Almost Run Out of Water

Jun 25, 2019

In more climate news, India’s sixth-largest city has nearly run out of water. The four reservoirs that supply the 5 million residents of Chennai have nearly run dry, forcing many to use well water, which is not considered safe to drink, and water delivered into the city, for those who can afford it. Twenty-one Indian cities, including the capital, New Delhi, will run out of groundwater by 2020, affecting 100 million people, according to some forecasts. The water shortage is linked to the climate crisis, which has weakened the monsoon season and decreased rainfall in the region over recent years, worsening drought conditions.

SCOTUS Makes FOIA Requests More Difficult for Journalists

Jun 25, 2019

On Monday, the Supreme Court made it more difficult for journalists to access commercial information under the Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA. The case involves a South Dakota newspaper which was refused documents by the U.S. Agriculture Department related to grocery stores participating in the food stamp program. The publication, the Argus Leader, was investigating fraud in the federally funded program.

The justices ruled 6 to 3 against the newspaper, with Justices Ginsburg, Sotomayor and Breyer dissenting. The Committee to Protect Journalists said of the ruling, “In order to hold institutions to account, journalists often need to petition the government to make documents public. Today’s ruling will undermine the ability of reporters to access the information they need to do their jobs and is a blow to the transparency of the United States government.”

Oregon Republicans Flee Capitol to Avoid Voting on Climate Bill

Jun 25, 2019

In Oregon, state lawmakers are entering day six of a standoff after 11 Republican senators fled the state Capitol last week to avoid voting on a landmark climate change bill. Some are believed to be hiding out in Idaho. In an unbelievable turn of events, threats of violence from right-wing militias supporting the rogue GOP legislators then led the remaining lawmakers to shut down the state Capitol in Salem over the weekend. Oregon Democratic Governor Kate Brown sent out the state police to track down the senators last week. She said Monday she won’t negotiate with the lawmakers until they return to the Capitol.

The climate bill aims to decrease emissions by implementing a statewide cap-and-trade model. Without at least two of the rogue Republican senators present, Oregon Democrats—who control the state Senate and House of Representatives—don’t have the necessary quorum to vote on the legislation. We’ll have more on this later in the broadcast with Oregon Democratic state representative and co-sponsor of the bill, Karin Power.

Missouri’s Only Abortion Clinic Has Until Friday to Resolve License Dispute

Jun 25, 2019

In reproductive rights news, a judge ruled Monday that Missouri’s sole abortion clinic can continue providing the service through the end of this week, as Planned Parenthood continues its fight to keep its doors open. Last Friday, Missouri health officials refused to renew the clinic’s license to perform abortions. Reproductive rights defenders say the health officials’ decision is politically motivated and reflects Missouri’s move to restrict constitutionally guaranteed abortion rights. The case will now go before an administrative panel designed to resolve disputes between state agencies and businesses. Providers at the Planned Parenthood clinic warned that abortion access in Missouri could be lost by Friday if the panel fails to act or favors the Health Department.

9/11 First Responders to Meet with McConnell over Healthcare Funding

Jun 25, 2019

9/11 first responders are meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to urge him to back an extension to federal funding for the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. The fund serves those who became sick as a result of their work following the 2001 terror attack. Funding is set to expire next year. Earlier this month, the former host of “The Daily Show,” Jon Stewart, offered an emotional testimony before a House panel in which he blasted lawmakers for their inaction.

Former PA Rep. Joe Sestak Enters Crowded Democratic 2020 Race

Jun 25, 2019

Former Pennsylvania Congressmember Joe Sestak entered the crowded race to become the 2020 Democratic presidential nominee Sunday. Sestak is a former Navy admiral and highlighted his military career in his announcement. His campaign video states his priorities as tackling climate change and restoring the U.S.'s global leadership. He said he wants to “put an end to an illiberal world order's injustices, from China’s control of the 5G network to Russian interference in democratic elections.” Sestak entered the race too late to qualify for the first Democratic debates, taking place later this week in Florida.

Treasury Will Review Trump Admin Delay to Harriet Tubman $20 Bill Redesign

Jun 25, 2019

The Treasury Department’s internal watchdog said it will look into why a previously agreed-to redesign of the $20 bill featuring abolitionist leader Harriet Tubman will not be unveiled next year. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin came under fire after announcing last month that he was delaying plans to replace Andrew Jackson’s portrait on the $20 bill with Tubman. Under a 2016 Obama initiative, Tubman was originally scheduled to replace slaveholder Andrew Jackson by 2020—the 100th anniversary of women being granted the right to vote. Harriet Tubman would be the first woman in over a century and the first African American to appear on the front of a U.S. banknote.

U.S. Women’s Soccer Will Enter Mediation over Gender-Based Pay Discrimination Suit

Jun 25, 2019

And the U.S. women’s soccer team and the U.S. Soccer Federation have agreed to mediation over a gender-based pay discrimination lawsuit filed by the 28 players in March. The suit also alleges the organization denies the women’s team equal playing, training and travel conditions, and does not promote their matches as much as the men’s soccer team. Figures from the U.S. Soccer Federation’s own financial records show that, in the three years following the team’s victory at the 2015 World Cup, ticket sales for women’s games generated more total revenue than men’s games, a key argument in the lawsuit.

The co-captain of the women’s team, Megan Rapinoe, is also making headlines during the World Cup for refusing to sing the national anthem and put her hand on her heart ahead of games. In the past, she has also taken the knee to protest police violence and racism. Rapinoe is also an outspoken advocate for LGBTQ rights. “Being a gay American, I know what it means to look at the flag and not have it protect all of your liberties,” she has said about the protest. The U.S. team is heading to the World Cup quarter-finals later this week, where they will face off with France.

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