In a major victory for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and Indigenous and environmental activists, a judge has ordered the Dakota Access Pipeline be shut down and emptied of all oil in the next 30 days, pending an environmental review. U.S. District Court Judge James Boasberg said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had violated environmental law when it granted a permit for the pipeline without an extensive environmental assessment. The fight to stop DAPL, led by Indigenous land defenders, catalyzed a major grassroots movement, with the 2016 resistance at Standing Rock watched by millions of people around the world. We’ll have more on this story after headlines.
In other pipeline news, the Supreme Court Monday ruled construction on the Keystone XL pipeline must remain on hold while it undergoes further regulation and a lengthy permitting process. The ruling was a win for environmental and Indigenous activists who have long been fighting the project; however, it was tempered by the justices concurrently clearing the way for a number of other pipelines to move forward under a fast-track permitting process.
Thousands of international students enrolled at universities in the United States could face deportation if their schools switch to online-only courses in the fall due to the coronavirus pandemic. On Monday, Immigration and Customs Enforcement issued guidance stating, “Active students currently in the United States enrolled in such programs must depart the country or take other measures, such as transferring to a school with in-person instruction to remain in lawful status.” ICE also said U.S. Customs and Border Protection will not permit these students to enter the United States. ICE released the guidance just hours after Harvard University announced that all classes will be online. Senator Elizabeth Warren slammed the move, writing on Twitter, “Kicking international students out of the US during a global pandemic because their colleges are moving classes online for physical distancing hurts students. It’s senseless, cruel, and xenophobic.” The American Council on Education described the ICE guidance as “horrifying.” One million international students attend U.S. colleges and universities.
On the international front, the death toll in Brazil has topped 65,000 — the second highest in the world behind the United States. On Monday, Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro was tested for COVID-19 after experiencing symptoms.
Meanwhile, in South Africa, the number of confirmed cases has topped 200,000. In other news from Africa, the World Health Organization warned Monday that an additional 500,000 people could die from AIDS and related diseases in sub-Saharan Africa over the next two years due to interruption in services and treatment caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The WHO also said more than 70 countries are at risk of running out of HIV drugs due to the pandemic.
Anti-Asian American hate incidents are soaring across the country following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. A new site tracking hate crimes reports over 2,100 incidents have occurred since March. The site was launched by the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council and Chinese for Affirmative Action. Both groups have criticized President Trump for describing COVID-19 as the “Chinese virus” and “kung-flu.”
A warning to our viewers: This story contains disturbing images. Authorities in Indiana are investigating an apparent violent, racist attack on a Black man that took place over the weekend. Vauhxx Booker posted video of the disturbing encounter on social media, in which five men pinned him to a tree, beat him and threatened to lynch him. The attack happened at Lake Monroe, near Bloomington, on July 4. Booker, a member of the Monroe County Human Rights Commission in Bloomington, says he was able to get out of their grip after passers-by intervened to get the attackers off him.
And another warning to viewers: This story also contains disturbing footage. Outrage is mounting in Phoenix, Arizona, over the fatal police shooting of 28-year-old James Porter Garcia while he was in a parked car in a residential driveway on Saturday. Four officers surrounded the car; at least two of the officers had their guns drawn and pointed at the car. An eyewitness who filmed the shooting said Garcia had been sleeping in the car, and others who knew the victim say he was unarmed. But police officers claim he armed himself, which led to the officers shooting and killing him. Protesters are demanding police release bodycam footage.
In New York, Amy Cooper, the white woman who called 911 and falsely claimed a Black man in Central Park was threatening her, was charged Monday with filing a false report. Christian Cooper, the man in question, who was in the park birdwatching, had in fact simply asked her to leash her dog. Christian Cooper filmed the interaction, which quickly went viral.
In Georgia, Republican Governor Brian Kemp declared a state of emergency Monday, activating 1,000 National Guard members, following weeks of unrest and a weekend marked by increased gun violence. Five people were killed over the weekend, including 8-year-old girl Secoriea Turner, who was killed Saturday night in Atlanta while riding in a car with her mother. Secoriea Turner was killed close to the Wendy’s where Rayshard Brooks was shot and killed by police last month in the parking lot.
CNN is reporting a draft document to ban the display of Confederate flags at military bases has been circulating at the Pentagon. If such a policy goes ahead, it could create major tension between the military and Trump, who has defended Confederate symbols and threatened last week to veto the National Defense Authorization Act if it includes a provision to rename bases named after Confederate figures.
A fire last week at Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility has caused “significant damage” and set back the country’s nuclear development program, according to government officials. Iranian security officials say they have uncovered the cause of the fire, but have yet to release further details. The New York Times cited a Middle Eastern intelligence official who says the site was destroyed by a bomb planted by Israel. The fire at the uranium enrichment facility is the latest in a string of fires and explosions in Iran, including a major blast at a military complex last month and an explosion at a medical clinic in Tehran one week ago, which killed 19 people and was attributed to a gas leak.
In Iraq, a leading expert on the Islamic State and other extremist groups was shot dead Monday by unidentified gunmen in front of his home in Baghdad. Hisham al-Hashimi was also an outspoken critic of Iraq’s political elite and corruption. On Sunday, the day before he was killed, Hashimi tweeted, “The rights, blood and dignity of Iraqis have been lost, and their money gone into the pockets of corrupt politicians.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the U.S. is considering banning TikTok and other Chinese social media apps. Pompeo suggested TikTok users could be handing over their private data to the Chinese Communist Party. The comments come amid increasing tension between the U.S. and China over the coronavirus and the situation in Hong Kong, after China imposed its new National Security Law last week. TikTok said earlier Monday it would stop running the app in Hong Kong in light of “recent events.” Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp also recently announced they will not process data requests from law enforcement agencies in Hong Kong.
In the Dominican Republic, tourism industry leader Luis Abinader has been elected as the new president, putting an end to the ruling Dominican Liberation Party’s 16 years in power. The election had previously been suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, but was held Sunday with a high voter turnout despite the worsening outbreak in the Dominican Republic. The country is one of the worst hit in the Caribbean with over 38,000 cases and more than 800 deaths.
Lawmakers in Germany voted to phase out coal use entirely by 2038 — the first major economy to make such a commitment. Germany has also said it would eliminate nuclear energy by the end of 2022. But environmental groups say the move does not go far enough to mitigate the climate crisis, pointing out that Germany burns more lignite coal than any other country. Climate activists and the German Green Party say the government should phase out coal by 2030 at the latest. This is Green Party leader Annalena Baerbock.
Annalena Baerbock: “It would have been a chance to fight the climate crisis with the same vivacity and determination we fought the coronavirus crisis. But that, you did not do. You did not do that. Instead, you are de facto presenting an 18-year financial coal protection law.”
In election news, Supreme Court justices unanimously ruled Monday states can compel Electoral College members to support the candidates who won the state’s popular vote in a presidential election. In 2016, there were 10 rogue or so-called faithless electors who refused to cast a vote for the candidate they were pledged to support.
Campaigners are urging consumers to support #BlackoutDay2020 today. The campaign urges Black Americans to not spend any money to highlight their economic power and as a means to pressure politicians and businesses to work toward ending systemic racism. Those who need to make purchases are being encouraged to support Black-owned businesses. The initiative was spearheaded by social media personality and activist Calvin Martyr. Major companies, including Procter & Gamble and Cisco Systems, have announced support for the campaign.