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HeadlinesOctober 20, 2021

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Brazil Senate Report Accuses Bolsonaro of Multiple Crimes for Mishandling COVID-19 Pandemic

Oct 20, 2021

In Brazil, a leaked draft of a Senate report accuses far-right President Jair Bolsonaro of multiple crimes related to his mishandling of the pandemic, saying he should be charged with “crimes against humanity.” The Senate investigation finds he chose to let COVID-19 spread throughout the population in the hopes of achieving herd immunity. Brazil has recorded over 600,000 coronavirus deaths; the report blames the Bolsonaro administration’s policies for over half of those.

House Jan. 6 Committee Recommends Contempt Charges Against Steve Bannon

Oct 20, 2021

The House committee investigating the January 6 Capitol insurrection has recommended a criminal contempt charge against Trump White House adviser Steve Bannon for defying a congressional subpoena. This is the committee’s chair, Mississippi Congressmember Bennie Thompson.

Rep. Bennie Thompson: “The rule of law remains under attack right now. If there are no accountability for these abuses, if there are different sets of rules for different types of people, then our democracy is in serious trouble.”

Climate and Social Provisions at Risk in Reconciliation Plan in Attempt to Appease Corporate Dems

Oct 20, 2021

At the White House, President Biden met with a group of Democratic lawmakers Tuesday, where he reportedly lowered the topline price tag on the reconciliation bill yet again, saying it could be as low as $1.75 trillion — half of the $3.5 trillion Democrats were hoping to pass. Key climate programs and free community college are some of the provisions that could be dropped, due to obstruction by conservative Democrats Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema. Paid family leave could also be slashed to just four weeks, down from a proposed 12 weeks. Pramila Jayapal, chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, spoke after leaving the meeting with Biden.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal: “At the end of the day, the idea that we can do these programs, a multitude of programs, and actually get them going so that they deliver immediate transformational benefits to people is what we’re focused on.”

Senate Panel Ups Pentagon Budget as Social & Climate Plans Get Sacrificed in Build Back Better Act

Oct 20, 2021

On Monday, a Senate Appropriations Committee panel approved an additional $29 billion for the Pentagon — $10 billion more than was requested and bringing its annual budget to nearly $726 billion. That’s more than twice the annual cost of the Build Back Better Act, even before any cuts. The Build Back Better Act would vastly expand the social safety net and combat the climate crisis in large part by taxing corporations and the wealthiest Americans.

Climate Activists Start Hunger Strike in Front of White House

Oct 20, 2021

A group of climate activists are beginning a hunger strike outside the White House today to demand Congress and President Biden pass the climate crisis provisions in the reconciliation package. The youth activists made the decision to strike following news that Democrats could cut a key measure which would promote renewable energy to replace fossil fuels, as a concession to Joe Manchin.

In related news, a new report published by the U.N. Environment Program finds that governments are planning to extract double the amount of fossil fuels between now and 2030 than would be consistent with the 2015 Paris climate accord’s target of keeping global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Water Protectors Shut Down Enbridge Line 5 Pipeline in Michigan

Oct 20, 2021

In Michigan, activists took peaceful direct action to shut down Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline. In May, Governor Gretchen Whitmer ordered Enbridge to shut down the tar sands oil pipeline, calling it a “ticking time bomb,” but they continued to operate, threatening the fragile waterway of the Straits of Mackinac and sovereign Indigenous lands. This is a water protector speaking before cutting off the pipeline Tuesday.

Water protector: “Enbridge violates the public trust every second that Line 5 continues to operate. Enbridge repeatedly and knowingly violated the terms of the 1953 easement and failed to correct structural shortcomings in the Line 5 pipeline. Furthermore, Line 5 has already spilled 33 different times, totaling over 1.1 million gallons of oil.”

NYC Communities and Local Officials Condemn National Grid Pipeline and Price Hikes

Oct 20, 2021

Here in New York City, elected leaders joined activists at a press conference outside National Grid’s headquarters protesting the North Brooklyn pipeline and proposed price hikes to 2 million New Yorkers’ gas bills. This is New York City councilmember and Democratic candidate for Brooklyn borough president, Antonio Reynoso.

Councilmember Antonio Reynoso: “They decided to spend millions of dollars on infrastructure for natural gas. And then they want us, the ones that are going to be suffering because of their decisions, to pay the bill on the future harm to our health. And we want to stop that.”

Africa’s Last Mountain Glaciers Could Melt Away in Next 20 Years, Exacerbating Climate Disaster

Oct 20, 2021

In more climate news, another U.N. report out this week warns the last three mountain glaciers on the African continent are receding so quickly that they could disappear altogether within the next two decades. One hundred eighteen million people already living in poverty could face drought, floods or extreme heat. African countries make up 17% of the global population but are responsible for less than 4% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Over 10,000 Children Have Been Killed or Injured in Yemen Conflict; U.N. Calls for Marib Ceasefire

Oct 20, 2021

In Yemen, the U.N. is calling for a ceasefire in the city of Marib, where tens of thousands of civilians in need of medical care and other assistance are trapped as fighting intensifies between Saudi-backed Yemeni forces and Houthi rebels to seize control of the city. The Saudi-led coalition said it had recently killed at least 160 Houthi rebels in air raids. The U.N. also warned Yemen’s economy is collapsing and its humanitarian crisis worsening, with more than 20 million Yemenis, or two-thirds of the population, in need of immediate humanitarian assistance. This comes as UNICEF is reporting at least 10,000 children have been killed or injured throughout the brutal war in Yemen. This is a UNICEF spokesperson.

James Elder: “Four out of every five children need humanitarian assistance. That’s 11 million. Four hundred thousand suffer acute malnutrition — severe acute malnutrition. That means they are literally on death’s door. More than 2 million are out of school. Four million more are at risk.”


14 Refugees Have Died, Dozens Missing in Mediterranean Sea

Oct 20, 2021

At least 14 refugees have died, and dozens of others have been reported missing, in the Mediterranean Sea in recent days as people fleeing extreme poverty, violence and the effects of the climate crisis continue to take on the dangerous trek to Europe. Some 230 people were recently rescued off Spain’s Balearic Islands. Meanwhile, the German humanitarian vessel Sea Watch 3 led seven rescue missions on Sunday and Monday, rescuing dozens of refugees off the coast of Libya.

Thousands Protest in Streets of Chile 2 Years After Historic Uprising and 1 Month Ahead of Elections

Oct 20, 2021

In Chile, at least 450 protesters were arrested, and two were reported dead, as police clashed with thousands of people who took to the streets of Santiago and across the country Monday. Protesters were marking the second anniversary of a massive uprising against the right-wing government of President Sebastián Piñera, his neoliberal policies and worsening economic inequity in Chile. The mobilizations in 2019 also triggered efforts to rewrite the Chilean Constitution, which was created under the U.S.-backed dictator Augusto Pinochet. Recent protests come just one month before Chileans head to the polls to elect a new president.

Central American Mothers Travel to U.S. to Demand Action on Missing Children

Oct 20, 2021

A group of Central American mothers searching for their children are in the United States this week to demand action to find their missing loved ones, who disappeared on their journeys to the U.S. The mothers are also denouncing human rights violations against Central American migrants. Members of the Caravan of Mothers of Disappeared Migrants from Central America shared their testimonies with lawmakers in Washington, D.C., yesterday. Here in New York, a group of mothers gathered at a rally in Queens Tuesday night. This is Aracely de Mejía, a mother from El Salvador, who has been searching for her son Edwin Alexander Colindres Ramírez since September 2012.

Arecely de Mejía: “We, mothers, don’t believe in borders. We have participated in different caravans. We have pushed for different petitions to find our children. We have done DNA tests with our governments in our home countries. But in El Salvador, no one has listened to us.”

In other immigration news, The Washington Post is reporting unpublished data from Customs and Border Protection show arrests by the Border Patrol shot up to its highest levels ever. Over 1.7 million people were detained along the U.S.-Mexico border during the 2021 fiscal year that ended in September.

Parkland Massacre Victims’ Families Reach Settlement with School District Ahead of Gunman Guilty Plea

Oct 20, 2021

In Parkland, Florida, the families of the 17 people who were killed during the 2018 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have reached a $25 million settlement with the Broward County school district. Others who were wounded or survived the mass shooting were also part of the agreement. This comes as shooter Nikolas Cruz, a former student at the high school, is expected to plead guilty today to 17 counts of premeditated murder and 17 counts of attempted murder.

Texas Poised to Enact Gerrymandered Electoral Map Favoring White and GOP Voters

Oct 20, 2021

Texas is one step closer to enacting a heavily gerrymandered redistricting plan after both chambers of the Legislature approved the new map, sending the measure to Republican Governor Greg Abbott’s desk for signing. The map severely diminishes the electoral voice of communities of color, giving disproportionate voting power to white Texans and Republicans. Texas also gained two House seats this year. The state’s population growth is largely due to an increase in people of color, but Republicans still gave white voters effective control of the new districts.

Family of Elijah McClain Reaches Tentative Deal with the City of Aurora over 2019 Killing

Oct 20, 2021

In Colorado, the family of Elijah McClain has reached a tentative settlement deal with the city of Aurora in a federal civil rights lawsuit over McClain’s 2019 death. Elijah McClain, a 23-year-old Black man, was tackled by police, placed in a chokehold and later injected with a large amount of the powerful sedative ketamine. He died several days later. Separately from this settlement, three police officers and two paramedics were indicted last month on manslaughter and homicide charges. A recent investigation confirmed a pattern of racially biased policing and use of excessive force in the Aurora Police Department.

New York City Hall Will Take Down Racist Statue of Thomas Jefferson

Oct 20, 2021

In New York City, a prominent statue of Thomas Jefferson will be removed from City Hall, after a years-long push from Black and Latinx councilmembers. This is Councilmember Adrienne Adams.

Councilmember Adrienne Adams: “Thomas Jefferson was a slaveholder who owned over 600 human beings, African slaves he reaped the economic benefits of slave labor from. He maintained the notion that Black people were inferior to white people. … I believe it’s time for us as the city to turn the page and move forward.”

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