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Coronavirus Deaths Soar as First U.S. Citizen Succumbs to Disease

Feb 10, 2020

The death toll from coronavirus continues to soar, now topping 900 and overtaking the global death toll from the deadly SARS outbreak in 2002 and 2003. In Wuhan, the epicenter of the disease, the first death of a U.S. citizen was recorded last week. Sixty new cases were identified on a cruise ship docked in Yokohama, Japan, bringing the total number of confirmed cases on board to 135. Around 3,700 people have been quarantined aboard the ship since last Monday.

Iowa Dem. Party Officially Gives Buttigieg the Lead as Candidates Prepare for New Hampshire Vote

Feb 10, 2020

2020 Democratic candidates are campaigning in New Hampshire as voters are set to cast the primaries’ first ballots Tuesday. The Iowa Democratic Party finally allocated delegates to the candidates Sunday, after chaos and confusion following last week’s caucuses caused major delays in reporting the results. Former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg received the largest delegate count — 14 — followed closely by Senator Bernie Sanders, who received 12 delegates while receiving around 6,000 more popular votes. The Sanders campaign said they will seek a partial recanvass. The Iowa Democratic party said Friday it was extending the deadline to request a recanvass to 1 p.m. Eastern today.

During a debate Friday, ABC News moderator Linsey Davis questioned Pete Buttigieg about the rise in arrests of black people during his tenure as mayor of South Bend, Indiana.

Pete Buttigieg: “Well, the reality is, on my watch, drug arrests in South Bend were lower than the national average. … The overall rate was lower than the national rate.”

Linsey Davis: “No, there was an increase. The year before you were in office, it was lower. Once you became in office, in 2012, that number went up. In 2018, the last number year that we have record for, that number was still up.”

Pete Buttigieg: “Yeah. And one of the strategies that our community adopted was to target when there were cases where there was gun violence and gang violence, which was slaughtering so many in our community.”

Meanwhile, MSNBC host Chris Matthews is being ridiculed on social media after he lashed out at Senator Sanders during a panel following the debate, evoking Cuban leader Fidel Castro and suggesting the democratic socialist candidate might support public executions.

Chris Matthews: “I remember the Cold War. I have an attitude towards Castro. I believe if Castro and the Reds had won the Cold War, there would have been executions in Central Park, and I might have been one of the ones getting executed. And certain other people would be there cheering, OK? So I have a problem with people who took the other side. I don’t know who Bernie — Bernie supports over these years. I don’t know what he means by 'socialism.'”

Trump Budget Seeks Boost to Military and Nuclear Spending, Cuts to Social Programs and EPA

Feb 10, 2020

President Trump is set to unveil his 2021 budget request today. The $4.8 trillion budget would increase military spending while cutting Medicare and Medicaid, seeks $2 billion for construction of Trump’s border wall and slashes EPA spending by 26%. Axios is reporting Trump will also request nearly $50 billion for nuclear weapons programs. Experts and Democratic lawmakers warn that increasing the nuclear stockpile will increase the likelihood of nuclear war and defy international agreements.

Two U.S. Soldiers Killed in Afghanistan

Feb 10, 2020

The U.S. military said two U.S. soldiers were killed and another injured in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province Saturday after a gunman opened fire on the soldiers. An Afghan soldier was also killed in the attack. This comes as the U.S. and the Taliban are in the midst of ongoing peace negotiations. The last round of talks between the two parties was called off by President Trump last September after a car bomb killed a U.S. soldier.

Trump Fires Key Impeachment Figures Following Acquittal

Feb 10, 2020

President Trump fired two key figures from the House’s impeachment proceedings Friday: the National Security Council’s Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman and U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland. A Trump adviser said the move was intended to send a message to anyone considering opposing Trump.

Thai Soldier Kills 29 People in Shooting Rampage

Feb 10, 2020

Residents of the northeastern Thai city of Nakhon Ratchasima are grieving after Thailand suffered its worst mass shooting Saturday. A soldier killed at least 29 people and injured scores more during a 16-hour rampage. The gunman began his shooting spree on a military base before taking to the streets, then attacking shoppers at a mall. He was eventually shot and killed after a shootout with Thai forces. The shooter posted videos of the attack on Facebook Live; the videos and his account were later removed.

Brazilian Police Kill Hitman Suspected of Involvement in Marielle Franco’s Assassination

Feb 10, 2020

In Brazil, the hitman suspected of being involved in the assassination of Rio de Janeiro councilmember and activist Marielle Franco has been killed by police. Adriano da Nóbrega was an ex-special forces police captain and had close ties to the family of Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro. It was believed Nóbrega held key information about Franco’s murder. Marielle Franco was a vocal black LGBTQ rights activist and a longtime critic of police brutality.

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Temperature Reaches Record-Breaking 65 Degrees in Antarctica

Feb 10, 2020

The thermostat hit 65 degrees in Antarctica last Thursday — its hottest day on record. The Antarctic is one of the fastest-warming parts of the planet. 2019 was the second-hottest year ever recorded, and the last decade was the hottest on record.

Extinction Rebellion Activists Demand New York Divest from Fossil Fuels

Feb 10, 2020

Eleven climate activists from Extinction Rebellion were arrested Friday as the group staged a die-in and occupied the office of the New York state comptroller to call attention to the climate crisis. The activists are demanding New York divest pensions from fossil fuel investments.

Mark Dunlea: “The New York state comptroller keeps $13 billion in Exxon and other fossil fuel companies, and that contributes to the destruction of life.”

Georgetown University Divests from Fossil Fuels

Feb 10, 2020

Georgetown University has become the latest college to announce it will divest from fossil fuels. The move came after lengthy campaigning from the student group Georgetown University Fossil Free and has sparked calls for other universities to follow suit.

Major Pro-Labor Bill Passes House

Feb 10, 2020

Labor rights activists celebrated the House passage of a new bill Thursday they say is a major step forward in ensuring workers’ rights and promoting a more sustainable economy. The Protecting the Right to Organize Act, or PRO Act, would strengthen unions’ bargaining power and defend the right to strike; penalize companies that go after workers who organize; and weaken so-called right-to-work laws that allow workers to opt out of paying dues to unions. The bill is expected to face stiff resistance in the Republican-controlled Senate.

Trump Organization Benefiting from Secret Service Stays at Lavish Trump Properties

Feb 10, 2020

The Washington Post has revealed President Trump’s businesses have been charging the Secret Service up to $650 per night for hotel rooms at his luxury properties, despite past claims that the Trump Organization does not profit from government employees staying at its properties.

Meanwhile, a federal appeals court dismissed a lawsuit Friday that accused Donald Trump of violating the emoluments clause of the Constitution through his businesses. The lawsuit alleges foreign governments and other entities patronize the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., in order to curry favor with the president, putting other businesses at a disadvantage.

New York Suing Trump Admin over “Global Entry” Ban

Feb 10, 2020

The state of New York is planning to sue the Trump administration over its move to bar New Yorkers from certain Trusted Traveler programs, including Global Entry, as retaliation for the state’s pro-immigrant Green Light Law. The law allows undocumented people to apply for driver’s licenses while protecting their personal information from immigration agencies.

Parent Involved in College Admissions Scandal Receives Nine Months in Prison

Feb 10, 2020

The former CEO of an investment firm was sentenced to nine months in prison for bribing his children’s way into elite universities. It is the longest sentence yet of any parent involved in the college admissions scandal known as “Operation Varsity Blues.” Prosecutors say Douglas Hodge, ex-CEO of Pacific Investment Management Co., or PIMCO, paid $850,000 in bribes to get four of his children into USC and Georgetown University as fake athletic recruits.

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Indigenous Peoples and Allies Fight Against Incursion of Canadian Police

Feb 10, 2020

In Canada, solidarity actions took place across the country as Canadian police continued their raids on Wet’suwet’en land in British Columbia. Indigenous land defenders are fighting the construction of TransCanada’s 400-mile, $4.7 billion Coastal GasLink pipeline. At least 21 people have been arrested since the raids started Thursday. This is a land defender confronting armed police officers.

Land defender: “We are here for humanity, for life! We are unarmed! We are peaceful! You are killers! You are genocidal maniacs! You have your guns pointed at us!”

Last Locked-Up Member of the MOVE 9, Chuck Africa, Is Released from Prison

Feb 10, 2020

The last member of the MOVE 9 was released from a Pennsylvania prison Friday. Fifty-nine-year-old Chuck Sims Africa spent 41 years behind bars. Nine members of the radical, black liberation, anti-police-brutality group MOVE were convicted in the 1978 killing of Philadelphia police officer James Ramp. Since 2018, seven members have been released on parole. Two others died behind bars.

“Parasite” Makes Oscar History, Winning Top Honors, Despite Overall Lack of Diversity

Feb 10, 2020

South Korean film “Parasite” has become the first non-English-language film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. The film has been widely praised for taking a critical look at capitalism. “Parasite” director Bong Joon-ho also made history as the first Korean director to win an Oscar. New Zealand filmmaker Taika Waititi became the first indigenous director — and first Maori director — to win an Oscar for the film “Jojo Rabbit.” Hosts and artists called out the lack of diversity in the year’s nominations. This is Steve Martin and Chris Rock delivering the opening monologue.

Chris Rock: “So many great directors nominated this year.”

Steve Martin: “I don’t know, Chris. I thought there was something missing from the list this year.”

Chris Rock: “Vaginas?”

Steve Martin: “Yeah, yeah.”

Chris Rock: “Yeah. Cynthia Erivo is here tonight. Cynthia did such a great job in 'Harriet' hiding black people that the Academy got her to hide all the black nominees. Is Eddie Murphy under the stage?”

Steve Martin: “Eddie, I loved you in 'Dolemite'! Well, you know, think, Chris. Sorry, think how much the Oscars have changed in the past 92 years.”

Chris Rock: “Yeah, they changed a lot, Steve.”

Steve Martin: “Yeah, they have. You know, back in 1929, there were no black acting nominees.”

Chris Rock: “No. And now, in 2020, we got one.”

Singer and actor Janelle Monáe took to the stage as the opening music act of the night.

Janelle Monáe: “It’s time to come alive, because the Oscars is so white. It’s time to come alive.”

Meanwhile, actor Natalie Portman wore a cape on the red carpet with the names of snubbed female directors embroidered on it. The Academy remains 68% male and 84% white.

Other winners of the night include former NFL wide receiver African-American filmmaker Matthew Cherry for the animated short “Hair Love,” which celebrates natural hair. Cherry dedicated the award to Kobe Bryant. “American Factory” took home best documentary.

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