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The U.N. Climate Action Summit kicked off in New York Monday with world leaders calling for action to prevent “apocalyptic” climate change. U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres said his generation had “failed in its responsibility to protect our planet.” Sixteen-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg fought back tears as she gave an impassioned address.
Greta Thunberg: “You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. And yet I’m one of the lucky ones. People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!”
Trump later mocked the now world-renowned activist on Twitter, writing, “She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!”
Meanwhile, Greta Thunberg and other youth climate activists filed an official complaint under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, calling on world leaders to protect future generations from climate catastrophe. We’ll have more on the historic action, and what took place at the summit yesterday, after headlines.
Trump made a brief and unexpected stop at the U.N. Climate Action Summit before moving to a U.N. session on religious freedom, where he committed $25 million to “protect religious freedom, religious sites, and relics.” Meanwhile, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar urged world leaders at the U.N. General Assembly to cut the term “reproductive health and rights” when speaking about healthcare. Azar said these “ambiguous terms” can help “promote practices like abortion.”
The Washington Post is reporting President Trump ordered a hold on $400 million in military aid to Ukraine about one week before he spoke to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and pressured him to investigate Joe Biden’s son and his business interests in Ukraine — this according to three top administration officials. Trump has acknowledged discussing Joe Biden and his son Hunter with the Ukrainian president but insists there was no quid pro quo. Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy said Monday Zelensky told him that he believed the aid was cut off because he refused to launch such an investigation. Senator Murphy said, “There is an implicit threat in every demand that a United States president makes of a foreign power.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is now consulting with Democratic lawmakers on whether to impeach Trump over the mounting scandal.
The British Supreme Court has ruled that Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s suspension of Parliament is unlawful. Brenda Hale, head of the British Supreme Court, said the prorogation was not justified and has no effect. It’s not yet known what action Boris Johnson, who is in New York for the U.N. General Assembly, will take in response to the historic ruling.
Britain, France and Germany said in a joint statement Monday Iran was responsible for attacks on Saudi oil facilities earlier this month. Last week, Saudi Arabia also said the attacks were “unquestionably” sponsored by Iran. Iran has denied they were responsible for the attacks, which have been claimed by Yemen’s Houthi rebels. Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said in an interview Sunday he was not confident that Iran and the U.S. would be able to avoid war, but that Iran would not be the one to start it. Trump is expected to address Iran during his statement at the U.N. today. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who has rejected the possibility of talks with the U.S., is set to speak Wednesday.
On Monday, Democracy Now! spoke with Iraqi President Barham Salih at the U.N. about the escalating tensions in the region.
Amy Goodman: “Mr. President, a quick question about the possibility of Saudi Arabia and war with Iran and the U.S.?”
President Barham Salih: “We hope to avert a war. The last thing the region needs is another war.”
In Afghanistan, at least 40 civilians were killed by U.S. and Afghan forces as they attended a wedding Sunday evening. The civilians are believed to have been caught in the crossfire of a raid on a Taliban hideout. At least 22 members of the Taliban were also killed and 14 were arrested in the operation, according to the Afghan Ministry of Defense. The attack came after the U.S. killed at least 30 farmers in a drone attack in eastern Afghanistan last week, and as the country prepares for presidential elections on Saturday.
In Haiti, an Associated Press photojournalist was shot in the face when a senator opened fire on a crowd of protesters outside of Parliament Monday. Chery Dieu-Nalio was wounded but survived the shooting; a security guard was also injured. Senator Jean Marie Ralph Féthière later claimed he drew the gun in self-defense.
The protests came as the government of President Jovenel Moïse was attempting to push through the confirmation of a new prime minister, Fritz-William Michel. Anti-government protests have rocked Haiti for months, calling on President Moïse to step down over accusations of corruption and mismanagement of the country’s economy.
In China, drone footage posted on YouTube appears to show police leading hundreds of blindfolded and shackled Uyghur or other minority prisoners at a train station in Xinjiang. The disturbing video shows blindfolded men with shaved heads sitting in rows on the ground before being led away by police. China has been accused of cultural genocide against the Uyghur population. Over 1 million ethnic Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities are believed to be imprisoned in internment camps, and countless children separated from their families.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and rival candidate Benny Gantz are in negotiations over a proposed power-sharing deal. President Reuven Rivlin pushed for a unity government in talks with involved parties after neither leader’s party was able to secure a victory in last week’s elections. Negotiations are now focused on who will lead the government first, according to far-right former Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman. Gantz had previously rejected a unity government with Netanyahu, who is facing indictments over three corruption cases.
Investigators say the Federal Aviation Administration misled Congress about safety inspections for the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. Safety inspectors charged with training requirements for 737 pilots were underqualified, according to the investigation, which arose from a whistleblower complaint. Two Boeing 737 MAX airplanes — Indonesia’s Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 — crashed five months apart, killing all 346 people on board. On Monday, Boeing announced it will begin paying out $50 million in financial assistance to the families of the victims of the two crashes.