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HeadlinesOctober 25, 2021

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Sudanese Military Dissolves Transitional Gov’t, Detains Prime Minister in Coup

Oct 25, 2021

In Sudan, the military says it has placed Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok under house arrest in an undisclosed location and detained most of his Cabinet members, in what the Information Ministry is calling a coup. Sudan’s military ruler has declared a national state of emergency and said he had dissolved a joint military-civilian governing council meant to transition Sudan to civilian rule. He said a new government would lead Sudan until elections in July 2023. This comes after a failed coup attempt last month and two years after a popular uprising and military takeover ousted longtime President Omar al-Bashir. The internet went down across most of Sudan as a reported tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets, blocking roads in Khartoum and facing gunfire near Sudan’s military’s headquarters.

Protester: “An urgent call to all Sudanese civilians who want to protect their revolution: What the military is doing is a betrayal to all civilians on all fronts. It is the duty of all civilians to move and to block all the roads outside to prevent any military force to move. Right now all of us must unite to show the truth. It’s to be or not to be. And we will.”

“Facebook Papers” Reveal How Co. Fueled Violence in India, Facebook’s Role in Jan. 6 Insurrection

Oct 25, 2021

A trove of internal documents turned over to federal regulators by the Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen is continuing to shed new light on the social media giant’s role in spreading misinformation and polarizing content. A consortium of 17 news outlets examining the so-called Facebook Papers has revealed how Facebook fueled hate speech and violence in India and helped to foment the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. The documents reveal that most of Facebook’s efforts to combat online hate are focused on the United States, with little investment in safety protocols for the rest of the world. One test account set up by Facebook managers to represent an average young adult user in India quickly became flooded with Hindu nationalist propaganda, anti-Muslim hate speech and incitements to violence. A Facebook staffer monitoring the account said, “I’ve seen more images of dead people in the past 3 weeks than I’ve seen in my entire life total.”

Another trove of documents reveals internal anger and regret at Facebook over the company’s role in spreading the QAnon conspiracy theory and so-called Stop the Steal pages that helped fuel the violence at the U.S. Capitol on January 6. Today Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen testifies to lawmakers in the U.K. as they consider an online safety bill.

“Stop the Steal” Organizers Say GOP Lawmakers, Trump Staffers Involved in Planning Jan. 6 Rallies

Oct 25, 2021

Two planners of the pro-Trump rallies that preceded the U.S. Capitol insurrection have named multiple members of Congress who they say were intimately involved in planning both Trump’s efforts to overturn his election loss and the events that turned violent on January 6. That’s according to Rolling Stone, which names the representatives as Lauren Boebert, Mo Brooks, Madison Cawthorn, Andy Biggs, Louie Gohmert, Paul Gosar and Marjorie Taylor Greene. Trump’s White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows also reportedly played a major role in helping to plan the protests. Congressmember Gosar reportedly went as far as to promise a “blanket pardon” from the White House to encourage the rally planners to proceed with their so-called Stop the Steal rallies.

Israel Designates Palestinian Human Rights Orgs as “Terrorist” Groups

Oct 25, 2021

In the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz outlawed six human rights groups, branding them “terrorist organizations,” in the latest attack on Palestinian rights. The groups are Al-Haq, Addameer, Defense for Children International, the Bisan Center for Research and Development, the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees and the Union of Agricultural Work Committees. The move allows Israel to raid and close the groups’ offices, arrest and imprison their staff and ban their funding. This is Shawan Jabarin, director general of Al-Haq.

Shawan Jabarin: “An occupation that can do anything, occupation that kills children, destroys property and homes over the heads of the residents, that can raid and close offices. Yet, the question is: How will we deal with this decision? We will continue to work and deliver our message using all means.”

In other news from the region, Israel said it will build 1,300 more units for settlements in the occupied West Bank. The settlements are illegal under international law.

Turkey’s Erdogan Orders 10 Western Ambassadors Expelled over Support for Jailed Dissident

Oct 25, 2021

In Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ordered the expulsion of 10 foreign ambassadors in a sign of escalating tensions with Western powers.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan: “You cannot dare to come to the Turkish Foreign Ministry and give orders here. I gave the necessary order to our foreign minister and said what must be done. These 10 ambassadors must be declared personae non gratae at once.”

Seven of the ambassadors are from NATO allies. The move came after diplomats from the U.S., Canada, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Norway and New Zealand issued a joint statement urging the release of jailed businessman and civil society leader Osman Kavala, who has been in pretrial detention since 2017 on charges related to the 2013 Gezi Park protests and a 2016 coup attempt.

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U.N. Fears Possible “Mass Atrocity Crimes” in Burma as Troops Mobilize

Oct 25, 2021

The United Nations is warning of possible “mass atrocity crimes” in Burma amid reports that tens of thousands of troops are massing into relatively restive regions in the north and northwest. The U.N. special rapporteur for the region said the military government likely engaged in crimes against humanity and war crimes. According to a local monitoring group, nearly 1,200 civilians have been killed and over 7,000 arrested since protests erupted following February’s military coup.

Refugees in Libya Camp Outside U.N. Office to Demand Evacuation

Oct 25, 2021

In Libya, thousands of refugees have been camping outside a U.N. office in Tripoli, calling for the organization to evacuate them, following massive raids and the arrests of some 5,000 migrants over the past month. Refugees are being indefinitely detained in overcrowded Libyan prison camps, which are plagued with accusations of human rights violations, including torture.

Barbados Elects First-Ever President to Replace British Queen as Head of State

Oct 25, 2021

Barbados has elected its first-ever president, who will replace the U.K.'s Queen Elizabeth as head of state. Sandra Mason, Barbados's governor-general, received a two-thirds majority vote in Parliament last week. She will be sworn in as president on November 30, the 55th anniversary of Barbados’s independence from Britain.

Thousands of Asylum Seekers Form Caravan in Southern Mexico, March Toward U.S.

Oct 25, 2021

In Mexico, some 3,000 asylum seekers — mostly from Haiti and Central America — who’ve been trapped in the southern city of Tapachula, organized a caravan over the weekend and started trekking north toward Mexico City, with many hoping to reach the U.S. for refuge. The Mexican National Guard tried to block the caravan, but members of the group were able to break through the roadblock, as some shouted “Libertad!” meaning “Freedom!” Asylum seekers, who fled extreme poverty, violence and the impacts of the climate crisis in their home countries, have been protesting a lack of aid, major delays in their asylum claims, restrictions on their movement and human rights abuses.

Apache Nation Asks Federal Court to Halt Proposed Copper Mine at Oak Flat

Oct 25, 2021

Indigenous advocates fighting to protect Oak Flat, a historic site in eastern Arizona sacred to the San Carlos Apache Nation and other Native communities, argued their case against a proposed copper mine in federal court Friday. The legal efforts at the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals are being led by the grassroots group, Apache Stronghold. Native communities have long warned the massive copper mine would destroy Oak Flat, depriving them of their religious rights and other freedoms. This is Wendsler Nosie Sr., founder of Apache Stronghold and former chair of the San Carlos Apache Nation.

Wendsler Nosie Sr.: “We heard it loud and clear in Indian Country that anything on federal land is not safe. Nothing is holy, and nothing is sacred to them. That was clearly spoken. The emotionals that run through us is the fact that it answers the question that we are still prisoners of war in this country.”

The copper mine is being run by Resolution Copper, a joint venture of multinational mining corporations BHP and Rio Tinto.

Supreme Court Again Refuses to Halt Texas’s Near-Total Abortion Ban

Oct 25, 2021

The Supreme Court on Friday refused once again to block Texas’s near-total abortion ban. But the court did agree to expedite their review of appeals to the nation’s most restrictive anti-choice law, with arguments scheduled for November 1. Justices will focus on whether the federal government is able to challenge the enforcement mechanism of the law, which deputizes private entities to sue anyone who either performs or “aids and abets” an abortion.

Neera Tanden Named White House Staff Secretary Despite Progressives’ Protests

Oct 25, 2021

Neera Tanden has been appointed as White House staff secretary, where she will oversee which documents make it to President Biden’s desk. Tanden was forced to withdraw her nomination to head the Office of Management and Budget in March over lack of congressional support after coming under fire from both the right and progressives.

Union Members Walked Off “Rust” Set Ahead of Prop Gun Killing of Halyna Hutchins

Oct 25, 2021

More information has emerged about last week’s deadly shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the New Mexico set of the Western “Rust.” Crew members say they made multiple complaints about safety on set, with two accidental discharges from prop guns occurring before the fatal shooting of Hutchins by Alec Baldwin, who was falsely told a prop gun was “cold” — meaning unloaded — before he started rehearsing a scene. “Corners were being cut,” one person told the Los Angeles Times. The day of the shooting, all but two members of the camera crew reportedly walked off the job to protest working conditions. The departed crew members — who belonged to the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees — were replaced by nonunion workers. Over the weekend, film workers in Albuquerque held a vigil for Halyna Hutchins.

Efraín Villa: “There are so many protocols when you’re on set. It almost becomes a ceremony every time that you are handed a gun to use. Obviously something failed. And I don’t know what failed, but the fact that this happened shows that an elemental piece of that safety protocol didn’t work.”

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