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GOP Refuses to Call Witnesses in Impeachment Trial, Paving Way for Trump’s Acquittal

Feb 03, 2020

House impeachment managers and President Trump’s defense team are giving closing arguments in his historic impeachment trial today as the Senate appears set to acquit President Trump later this week. The Republican-controlled body quashed the Democratic effort to call witnesses and introduce new evidence in the trial in a 51-49 vote Friday. Senators Mitt Romney of Utah and Susan Collins of Maine were the only two Republicans who voted in favor of calling witnesses. The Senate will hold a final vote on the two articles of impeachment Wednesday. Democrats slammed their Republican counterparts following Friday’s vote. This is Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Sen. Chuck Schumer: “To not allow a witness, a document — no witnesses, no documents — in an impeachment trial is a perfidy. It’s a grand tragedy, one of the worst tragedies that the Senate has ever overcome. America will remember this day, unfortunately, where the Senate did not live up to its responsibilities, where the Senate turned away from truth and went along with a sham trial.”

Iowa Caucuses Kick Off 2020 Elections as DNC Loosens Rules to Let Bloomberg into Debates

Feb 03, 2020

Voting in the 2020 presidential election kicks off today with the Iowa caucuses. Candidates spent the weekend making last-minute appeals to voters in what appears to be a tight race. This is Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders addressing his supporters on Sunday.

Sen. Bernie Sanders: “We are taking on the entire political establishment, both the Republican establishment and the Democratic establishment. We are taking on Wall Street and the insurance companies and the drug companies and the fossil fuel industry and the military-industrial complex and the prison-industrial complex and the whole damn 1%.”

In more news about the 2020 elections, the Democratic National Committee is coming under fire after overhauling debate requirements to eliminate the need for candidates to obtain a significant number of small donations, allowing billionaire Mike Bloomberg to take part in upcoming debates even though he does not have widespread grassroots support.

Meanwhile, Politico is reporting DNC members are discussing rule changes that are designed to stop Bernie Sanders from clinching the Democratic nomination by giving superdelegates even more power. We’ll have more on the Iowa caucuses, as well as impeachment, after headlines with The Nation’s John Nichols.

Trump Expands Racist, Anti-Muslim Travel Ban

Feb 03, 2020

In immigration news, President Trump dramatically expanded his travel ban Friday. Nationals of Nigeria, Eritrea, Burma and Kyrgyzstan will no longer be able to obtain visas to live and work in the U.S., while Sudan and Tanzania will no longer be able to participate in the diversity visa lottery program. The ban, commonly referred to as the “Muslim ban,” already affects citizens from Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Venezuela and North Korea. Democrats say they will challenge the expansion and are expected to introduce the NO BAN Act in Congress soon. We’ll have more on this with the ACLU’s Omar Jadwat later in the broadcast.

Coronavirus Claims First Victim Outside of China as Death Toll Tops 360

Feb 03, 2020

The coronavirus outbreak continues to spread, with the death toll in China now topping 360 and over 17,000 confirmed cases of the infection worldwide. On Saturday, a 44-year-old man in the Philippines became the first casualty of the disease outside of China.

The United States has declared a public health emergency and is barring foreign nationals who have recently traveled to China from entering the country. U.S. citizens who have visited Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak, will be quarantined when re-entering the country.

The Shanghai stock market plunged 8% today. On Thursday, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross appeared to welcome the disease as a boost to the U.S. job market, saying in a Fox News interview that it would “accelerate the return of jobs to North America.”

Questions are being raised about the handling of the disease by Chinese authorities, who critics say delayed their response and downplayed the severity of the problem. And the local Red Cross in Hubei has come under fire for failing to distribute essential medical supplies to the hospitals that need it most.
Meanwhile, Chinese and Asian communities in countries including France and Canada say they have been the target of increased racism since the outbreak.
We’ll speak with Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Laurie Garrett later in the broadcast.

Topics:

Hospitals in Syria Targeted as 100,000s of Civilians Forced to Flee

Feb 03, 2020

In Syria, Doctors Without Borders says multiple hospitals have been destroyed or damaged amid a Russian-backed Syrian government offensive against the northwestern province of Idlib. Nearly a quarter of a million civilians have been forced to flee toward the Turkish border as the Syrian regime aims to recapture one of the last rebel-held territories in Syria. This is 10-year-old Jennah, one of the displaced civilians.

Jennah: “I felt sadness. I lived in Ma’arat and had friends there who were targeted by a plane and died. I cried as I left, when the regime took over. I hope its people will be able to return one day and that we will be able to go back to Ghouta. This is injustice.”

Topics:

Palestinian Authority Cuts Ties with U.S. and Israel over Trump Middle East Plan

Feb 03, 2020

Thousands of protesters took to the streets of the occupied Palestinian territories Friday to condemn President Trump’s so-called Middle East peace plan. Israeli soldiers deployed rubber bullets and tear gas canisters against demonstrators. The Palestinian Authority has announced it is cutting all ties with the United States and Israel in protest of the proposal, which gives Israel even more sovereignty over occupied territories. The Arab League said Saturday it also rejected the U.S. plan.

Iraqi Protesters Slam Appointment of Establishment Prime Minister-Designate

Feb 03, 2020

In Iraq, protesters took to the streets across the country this weekend following the appointment of a new prime minister, Mohammed Tawfiq Allawi. In November, massive anti-government demonstrations ousted former Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi. But protesters say Allawi, the former communications minister, is part of the same corrupt political establishment they have been protesting against.

Dept. of Defense: U.S. Dropped 7,500 Bombs on Afghanistan in 2019

Feb 03, 2020

The United States dropped more bombs on Afghanistan in 2019 than any other year since the Pentagon began keeping a record in 2006. Data from U.S. Central Command shows U.S. warplanes dropped nearly 7,500 bombs and other munitions on Afghanistan last year, nearly eight times more than in 2015.

6 Indigenous Leaders Killed in Nicaragua Biosphere Raid

Feb 03, 2020

In Nicaragua, six indigenous environmental leaders were assassinated last week after a group of at least 80 armed men raided the Bosawás Biosphere Reserve — the second-largest rainforest in the Americas after the Amazon. The attack is believed to be linked to raging land disputes between the local indigenous community and illegal loggers and miners who seek to exploit fertile land, timber and gold. Another 10 indigenous leaders were also kidnapped during the violent raid.

Second Mexican Butterfly Conservationist Killed

Feb 03, 2020

In Mexico, a second man linked to a monarch butterfly sanctuary in Michoacán has been assassinated. Raúl Hernández Romero’s death comes just days after another slain conservationist’s body was recovered. Authorities are investigating the deaths and whether the men were targeted for their environmental activism. Friends and family of leading monarch conservationist Homero Gómez González, whose body was found last week, attended his funeral Friday.

Australia: Dozens of Koalas Killed at Timber Plantation

Feb 03, 2020

In Australia, dozens of koalas have been killed or injured at a timber plantation in the southeastern state of Victoria, where environmentalists say they were bulldozed in order to harvest the blue gum trees, a vital koala habitat. Australia’s record-breaking bushfires have already killed tens of thousands of koalas and an estimated 1 billion animals since September.

Activists Storm NYC Subways and Landmarks to Protest Excessive Policing, Cost of Public Transportation

Feb 03, 2020

In New York City, organizers say some 45 people were arrested Friday night after at least 1,000 New Yorkers took part in a protest calling out the policing and high cost of public transportation. The protest, which was met with a heavy police presence, was the third of its kind in recent months following the announcement of a plan to add 500 police officers to subway stations around the city to clamp down on fare evasion. MTA data shows black and brown people are the most targeted by fare evasion policing. The city recently introduced a new reduced fare program known as “Fair Fares,” but critics say the cost is still prohibitive to many low-income New Yorkers. This is Marz, an activist with Decolonize This Place, one of the groups organizing the demonstrations.

Marz: “People keep telling us to be civilized, to call your representative, your senators. But what we understand is that law isn’t justice. And what we’re asking for, again, is very simple. We want free transit, not a 'fair fare.' What is this 'fair fare' idea? If someone can’t pay $2.75, what makes you think they could pay half the price? We asked for free fare, not 'fair fare.' And I think that that’s just a way for them to coopt and silence movements, to give a select few benefits without giving it to all.”

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