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HeadlinesSeptember 18, 2019

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Israeli PM Netanyahu Fails to Win Majority in Deadlocked Election

Sep 18, 2019

Israel is facing political turmoil as Tuesday’s election remains too close to call. With 92% of the vote counted, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party and ex-military chief Benny Gantz’s Blue and White party appear to be nearly tied, with about 32 seats in the Knesset. The election was called after Netanyahu failed to build a coalition government following an election in April. It also came as Netanyahu is facing possible indictments over multiple corruption cases. Netanyahu promised to annex nearly a third of the occupied West Bank, in violation of international law, if elected. Earlier this year, Gantz bragged in a campaign ad that he had bombed Gaza back to the “Stone Ages,” and he vowed to “pound” Gaza again. We’ll have the latest on the Israeli election after headlines.

Climate Researchers Warn of Potential 7 Degree Temperature Rise by 2100

Sep 18, 2019

In climate news, a new study warns the global average temperature could rise by as much as 7 degrees Celsius — or 12.6 degrees Fahrenheit — above preindustrial levels by the end of the century, unless nations move rapidly to slash greenhouse gas emissions. The stark warning comes as world leaders are preparing to gather at United Nations headquarters in New York next week for the Climate Action Summit. U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres said Tuesday the world was “losing the race” to avert catastrophe. 

Secretary-General António Guterres: “July was the hottest month ever. These five years will be the hottest five years in record. We see the rising level of the ocean taking place, the highest concentrations ever of CO2 in the atmosphere. You need to go back 3 to 5 million years to get the same levels of CO2. And at that time, water level was 10 to 20 meters higher than what it is today. So, we are really dealing with a very dramatic threat, not only to the future of the planet, but to the planet today.”

Greta Thunberg Tells U.S. Senators to Work Harder on Climate Crisis

Sep 18, 2019

In Washington, D.C., youth climate leaders called out lawmakers Tuesday for failing to act urgently to prevent a climate catastrophe. Sixteen-year-old Swedish climate activist and school strike leader Greta Thunberg, who was invited by Democrats to a meeting of the Senate climate crisis task force, told the gathering, “Don’t invite us here to tell us how inspiring we are without doing anything about it.” She added, “I know you are trying, but just not hard enough. Sorry.”

Her challenge came as youth climate leaders visited Capitol Hill to support the Green New Deal resolution cosponsored by Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York. The Swedish climate activist also met with former President Obama. Fifteen-year-old Kallan Benson of Maryland called on students and workers to join a massive series of climate strikes planned for Friday.

Kallan Benson: “And you have to be involved. And that means you adults, as well. You are the ones currently in power. We don’t have time to wait 'til my generation takes over. It's you that have to act. We need you to listen to the scientists that are showing us that climate change is here and climate change is human-caused. Stop burning fossil fuels, please, for my generation.”

Organizers predict Friday’s demonstrations will be some of the largest climate protests in U.S. history, with actions planned at over 800 sites in all 50 states. More actions are planned worldwide.

Tropical Depression to Dump 18 Inches of Rain on Parts of Texas Gulf Coast

Sep 18, 2019

In Texas, Tropical Depression Imelda made landfall south of Houston Tuesday, bringing flash floods with up to 18 inches of rain forecast for parts of the region. It’s the region’s worst rainstorm since Hurricane Harvey dumped an estimated 33 trillion gallons of water on Texas two years ago, with up to 52 inches of rain in parts of the Gulf Coast — the most rain ever recorded in a U.S. storm. Meanwhile, over the Atlantic Ocean, Hurricane Humberto has strengthened to a strong Category 3 storm, with officials in Bermuda issuing warnings ahead of its expected arrival Wednesday night. 

Trump Admin Seeks to Revoke California’s Auto Emissions Standards

Sep 18, 2019

The Trump administration is preparing to revoke California’s air pollution standards for cars and light trucks, in its latest regulatory rollback of laws aimed at slowing the climate crisis. The move, which is expected to be announced this week, seeks to cancel California’s agreement with Ford, Honda, Volkswagen and BMW that would see passenger vehicles average about 50 miles per gallon by 2026. The Trump administration has proposed freezing auto efficiency at 2020 levels, or around 37 miles a gallon. Thirteen states and Washington, D.C., have promised to adopt California’s more stringent air quality rules, and California lawmakers have promised to challenge the rollback in court. This comes as President Trump is traveling to California today for fundraisers in Silicon Valley and Los Angeles.

“I Have No Obligation to Be Honest to the Media,” Testifies Trump’s Ex-Campaign Manager

Sep 18, 2019

On Capitol Hill, President Trump’s former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski stonewalled and frustrated congressmembers for six hours on Tuesday as the House Judiciary Committee held the first official hearing of its presidential impeachment investigation. During the hearing, Lewandowski admitted that President Trump asked him in June 2017 to pressure then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to rein in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. That directly contradicts Lewandowski’s public statements on TV earlier this year. Consulting attorney Barry Berke, hired by Democrats to cross-examine Trump’s ex-campaign manager, played a clip of Lewandowski on MSNBC last May. 

Barry Berke: “Did you hear that, sir? That was you saying on MSNBC you don’t ever remember the president ever asking you to get involved with Jeff Sessions or the Department of Justice in any way, shape or form. That wasn’t true, was it, sir?”

Corey Lewandowski: “I heard that.”

Barry Berke: “And that was not true, was it?”

Corey Lewandowski: “I have no obligation to be honest to the media, because they’re just as dishonest as anybody else.”

Barry Berke: “So you’re admitting, sir, you were not being truthful in that clip. Correct?”

Corey Lewandowski: “My interview with Ari Melber?”

Barry Berke: “Yes.”

Corey Lewandowski: “Can be interpreted any way you’d like.”

House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler said he may seek to hold Lewandowski in contempt of Congress over his refusal to answer the committee’s questions. Ahead of the hearing, Lewandowski used the Twitter hashtag #Senate2020 to hint that he’ll seek the Republican nomination to challenge New Hampshire Democrat Jeanne Shaheen next year; he later tweeted out a formal announcement of his candidacy after asking for a five-minute recess.

Trump Tells Campaign Rally in New Mexico, “We Love Our Hispanics”

Sep 18, 2019

In New Mexico, President Trump falsely declared at a campaign rally Monday that Latinos support his border wall, proclaiming, “We love our Hispanics.” During the rally in Rio Rancho, Trump pointed to Steve Cortes, a former paid on-air contributor at CNN and member of Trump’s 2020 campaign committee. 

President Donald Trump: “He happens to be Hispanic. He happens to be Hispanic, but I’ve never quite figured it out, because he looks more like a WASP than I do. … Nobody loves the Hispanics more. What do you like more, the country or the Hispanics? He says the country. I don’t know. I may have to go for the Hispanics, to be honest with you. We got a lot of Hispanics. We love our Hispanics.”

In response, the progressive political group Latino Victory tweeted, “This is racist. This is xenophobic. This is the type of rhetoric that led to the biggest anti-Latino massacre in modern history.” That’s a reference to last month’s mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, where a white supremacist with an assault rifle killed 22 people and wounded 24 others. The killer published a hate-filled manifesto that echoed President Trump’s language on migrants from Latin America.

U.S. Senate Votes to Sanction China over Violations of Uyghurs’ Human Rights 

Sep 18, 2019

Human Rights Watch is calling on China’s government to immediately stop separating Uyghur children from their families in the western province of Xinjiang. HRW says countless children have been jailed in state-run child welfare institutions and boarding schools without parental consent or access as part of a program that’s seen an estimated 1 million Uyghur adults imprisoned in camps that China claims are “vocational training centers” designed to combat extremism. Last week, the Senate passed the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act, calling for the U.S. to consider human rights sanctions against Chinese officials. House lawmakers have yet to vote on a companion bill.

75 Countries Using Artificial Intelligence for Mass Surveillance

Sep 18, 2019

A new report finds at least 75 countries around the world are using facial recognition and other forms of artificial intelligence to surveil massive numbers of people. The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace warns new technologies like automated border controls and algorithmic tools are being rapidly developed by companies in China, France, Germany, Israel, Japan and the United States.

Trump Admin Sues Edward Snowden over Release of Memoir

Sep 18, 2019

The Trump administration filed suit Tuesday against NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden over his newly released memoir titled “Permanent Record,” seeking to block his publisher from forwarding any revenue from book sales. Snowden tweeted in response, “This is the book the government does not want you to read.” This comes after Snowden, who’s been in exile in Russia since 2013, told CBS News on Monday he would return to the U.S. if he was guaranteed a fair trial and a chance to share with the American public why he leaked NSA documents. 

Edward Snowden: “I’m not asking for a pardon. I’m not asking for a pass. What I’m asking for is a fair trial. And this is the bottom line that any American should require, right? We don’t want people thrown in prison without the jury being able to decide whether what they did was right or wrong.”

Pompeo Travels to Saudi Arabia to Discuss Drone Attacks with Crown Prince

Sep 18, 2019

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo travels to Saudi Arabia today for talks with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman after weekend drone attacks on major oil facilities in Saudi Arabia. The Trump administration has directly blamed Iran for the attack, which was claimed by Houthi rebels in Yemen. This comes as Energy Secretary Rick Perry confirmed reports that the U.S. is negotiating with Saudi Arabia over its plan to build nuclear reactors. The Trump administration has reportedly been pursuing a deal to share U.S. nuclear technology with Saudi Arabia, as the Saudis prepare to build at least two nuclear power plants.

Trans Woman Murdered in Kansas City, 19th Such Killing This Year

Sep 18, 2019

An African-American trans woman who was murdered in Kansas City, Kansas, last Friday has been identified as Ja’leyah-Jamar. She’s at least the 19th transgender person to be murdered in the U.S. this year; 13 died from gun violence, and the majority are women of color. Ja’leyah-Jamar’s killing follows the murder of 32-year-old Brooklyn Lindsey in Kansas City, Missouri, in June. Meanwhile, in Portland, Oregon, police are investigating last week’s assault of a transgender woman named Atlas Marshall as a possible hate crime. Marshall was attacked by a man shouting homophobic and transphobic slurs, leaving her with bruises on her head and knees.

General Motors Cuts Health Insurance for 50,000 Striking Workers

Sep 18, 2019

General Motors has cut off health insurance for the nearly 50,000 people on picket lines across the country demanding better working conditions and fair pay. The news came Tuesday, just one day after UAW members kicked off the strike by walking out of more than 50 GM facilities. We’ll have more on the GM strike later with longtime labor reporter Steven Greenhouse.

Whole Foods Cuts Healthcare Benefits to Nearly 2,000 Workers

Sep 18, 2019

Whole Foods is cutting medical benefits for about 1,900 of its part-time workers, according to a report by Business Insider. Whole Foods is owned by Amazon, whose CEO Jeff Bezos is the richest man in the world, with an estimated net worth of over $114 billion. A new analysis by the consumer watchdog Decision Data finds “Bezos makes more money than the cost of an entire year of benefits for these 1,900 employees in somewhere between 2 to 6 hours.”

Uber and Lyft Drivers Protest Low Pay and Poor Working Conditions in NYC

Sep 18, 2019

Here in New York, hundreds of Uber and Lyft drivers joined a slow-vehicle procession across the Brooklyn Bridge Tuesday morning, snarling rush hour traffic to protest changes to the ride-hailing services they say will cheat them out of city pay regulations. The drivers took their protest procession up Manhattan’s East Side to Gracie Mansion, the home of New York City’s mayor and 2020 presidential hopeful Bill de Blasio, calling on him to intervene.

Veteran NPR and ABC Journalist Cokie Roberts Dies at 75

Sep 18, 2019

Veteran journalist Cokie Roberts died on Tuesday in Washington, D.C., of complications from breast cancer. She was 75 years old. Roberts was known for her pioneering work as a high-profile woman in broadcasting at a time when the field was dominated by men. She began her broadcast career with National Public Radio in the late 1970s, joining ABC News in 1988. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and former President Obama described her as a trailblazer. In a statement, the Obamas referred to Roberts as “a role model to young women at a time when the profession was still dominated by men.” Colleagues honored her as a media pioneer who transformed the role of women in the newsroom.
In 2001, the media watchdog group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting criticized Cokie Roberts’s reporting, awarding her a so-called “P.U.-litzer Prize” for her comments about the U.S. military. Speaking on the David Letterman show in 2001, she said, “I am, I will just confess to you, a total sucker for the guys who stand up with all the ribbons on and stuff, and [if] they say it’s true, and I’m ready to believe it.”

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