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HeadlinesOctober 26, 2021

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Sudan’s Military Opens Fire on Protesters Opposing Coup

Oct 26, 2021

In Sudan, thousands of protesters have poured into the streets for a second straight day after military ruler General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan declared a state of emergency, arresting Sudan’s prime minister, most of his Cabinet, and civilian members of a governing council. The coup comes two years after mass protests toppled Sudan’s longtime leader Omar al-Bashir. News outlets are reporting at least 10 protesters have been shot dead during today’s protests demanding an end to military rule.

Al-Tayeb Mohamed Ahmed: “They fired stun grenades. Then they fired live ammunition. Two people died. I saw them with my own eyes. Then they came back twice and killed one more. This is the third one I saw.”

U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres condemned Monday’s military coup and called for the immediate release of Sudan’s prime minister and other detainees. In Washington, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said the U.S. would suspend a $700 million emergency aid package for Sudan. The coup occurred just a day after the U.S. special envoy for the Horn of Africa, Jeffrey Feltman, was in Khartoum, where he met with both the head of Sudan’s military and the now-detained Sudanese prime minister.

FDA Panel to Review Pfizer’s Application for COVID Vaccines for Children

Oct 26, 2021

Moderna said Monday that two smaller-sized doses of its COVID-19 vaccine produced a powerful immune response in children enrolled in a clinical trial and proved to be safe for people as young as 6 years old. Moderna hasn’t yet publicly released its data, and the results are not yet peer reviewed.

Today an FDA advisory committee meets to review Pfizer’s application for emergency use of its COVID vaccine for U.S. children aged 5 to 11. Final approval from the CDC could come as soon as next week. The American Academy of Pediatrics reports about a quarter of all COVID-19 cases over the last week were among children, with over 118,000 infections. 

U.S. to Allow Entry to International Travelers Who Prove Vaccination

Oct 26, 2021

The Biden administration said Monday it will soon end a ban on international travelers from 33 countries. Beginning on November 8, most travelers 18 and older will have to show proof of vaccination before boarding a flight to the U.S. Children won’t need to prove vaccination but will still need a negative test result. 

New York City Police Union Sues to Roll Back COVID Vaccine Mandate

Oct 26, 2021

New York City’s largest police union on Monday asked a judge to suspend Mayor Bill de Blasio’s vaccine mandate for municipal employees, arguing officers should have broader rights to claim a religious exemption. This follows an offer by Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis to hire police officers who were fired from their jobs in other states for refusing to get vaccinated. DeSantis is offering the officers $5,000 bonuses to relocate to Florida.

U.N. Warns Greenhouse Gas Levels Hit Record High in 2020

Oct 26, 2021

The United Nations said Monday that greenhouse gas levels hit a record high in 2020, with clear signs that nations are far off track from the Paris Climate Agreement’s goal of limiting global heating to 1.5 degrees Celsius. This is Petteri Taalas, head of the World Meteorological Organization.

Petteri Taalas: “We have again broken records in main greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide. … At the moment, we are heading towards 2.5 to 3 degrees warming rather than 1.5 to 2 degrees.”

Meanwhile, a new report finds wealthy nations are falling well short of their pledge to mobilize $100 billion a year to help poorer nations adapt to the climate crisis.

U.N. Blames Climate Crisis for South Sudan’s Worst Flooding in 60 Years

Oct 26, 2021

In South Sudan, over 700,000 people have been affected by torrential rains, which brought the region the worst flooding it’s seen in over 60 years. A representative for the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said climate change is to blame.

Arafat Jamal: “Climate change does not have to lead to despair, because there are solutions. Solutions include pumping, include canalization, and they include good planning. What we would like to do as an international community, and what we must do, is support the efforts of the people and the government of South Sudan.”

Rare Mediterranean Hurricane Strikes Italy; California Sees Record October Rainfall 

Oct 26, 2021

In southern Italy, at least one person was killed Monday after a rare Mediterranean hurricane slammed into Sicily and Calabria. The storm also brought severe flooding to Algeria and Tunisia. Just two months ago, Sicily recorded the highest temperature ever observed in Europe, at nearly 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

Here in the U.S., record-setting October rainfall brought flooding to central and northern California, with Sacramento and San Francisco logging their wettest October days on record. The heavy rains will likely end fire season for much of California but produced dangerous mudslides in recently burned areas.

This comes as a severe weather pattern known as a “bomb cyclone” will bring excessive rainfall to parts of the northeastern U.S., with New York City set to receive a month’s worth of rain in less than 48 hours.

Extinction Rebellion Climate Protesters Block Busy Streets in New York, Madrid

Oct 26, 2021

In related news, at least 33 climate justice advocates were arrested Monday after blocking two of New York City’s main highways during morning rush hour. The act of civil disobedience called on President Biden to push for climate crisis provisions in the Build Back Better Act.

In Spain, climate justice activists with Extinction Rebellion also held a protest Monday in central Madrid demanding world leaders enact stronger action against the climate crisis. Protesters blocked traffic and chained themselves to barrels.

Alberto: “Greenhouse gas emissions are already causing climate catastrophes all over the planet, and we do not have time. It is too late. If we do not join the action against everything that is happening, we will not arrive in time to save the planet.”

Netherlands’ Largest Pension Fund to Divest from Fossil Fuels

Oct 26, 2021

In the Netherlands, Dutch pension fund giant ABP says it will divest more than $17 billion in assets from fossil fuel companies. The announcement came ahead of the COP26 U.N. climate summit, which opens next week in Glasgow. ABP said as recently as June that it would keep its fossil fuel investments, but reversed course amid widespread protests and legal challenges.

Facebook Whistleblower to U.K. Parliament: “Zuckerberg Has Unilateral Control Over 3 Billion People”

Oct 26, 2021

In Britain, Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen testified before the British Parliament for more than two hours Monday, providing more damning evidence on how the social media giant prioritized profitability while allowing misinformation and violent and hateful content to spread on its platform. Haugen’s testimony came as the United Kingdom and the European Union are both expected to introduce new digital and consumer protection measures.

Frances Haugen: “You know, Mark Zuckerberg has unilateral control over 3 billion people, right? There is no will at the top to make sure these systems are run in an adequately safe way. And I think until we bring in a counterweight, things will be operated for the shareholders’ interest and not for the public interest.”

Haugen turned over thousands of pages of internal Facebook documents to U.S. regulators, which are now the basis of a damning series of reports called the Facebook Papers that are being published this week. 

Guatemala Puts Town Under Martial Law as Indigenous Leaders Protest Mining Project

Oct 26, 2021

In Guatemala, Indigenous leaders are denouncing the government’s enactment of a month-long, 12-hour curfew and a ban on public gatherings in the northern coastal town of El Estor in retaliation for protests against a nickel mining project. Some 500 soldiers have also been deployed to the region. Indigenous communities say they were never consulted on plans for the massive mining project, led by the Swiss-based Solway Investment Group. In recent days Guatemalan police and military have violently repressed peaceful protests led by Maya Q’eqchi’ Indigenous communities, who say the mine would have catastrophic impacts on the land, water and people.

Amnesty International to Close Hong Kong Office, Citing Fear of Reprisal from Beijing

Oct 26, 2021

Amnesty International is closing its Hong Kong office by the end of the month, citing fears for the safety of staff working under a sweeping national security law imposed by Chinese authorities in Beijing. Amnesty’s regional headquarters will close before year’s end. In a statement, Amnesty International said Hong Kong’s national security law has “made it effectively impossible for human rights organizations in Hong Kong to work freely and without fear of serious reprisals from the government.”

Turkish President Reverses Threat to Expel Western Ambassadors

Oct 26, 2021

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has reversed plans to order the expulsion of 10 foreign ambassadors from NATO allies. The row began after diplomats from the U.S. and its allies issued a joint statement urging the release of Turkish political prisoner Osman Kavala.


Lyft Reports Over 4,000 Incidents of Sexual Assault 

Oct 26, 2021

Back in the United States, a new safety report released by the ride-hailing app Lyft is shedding light on an increasing number of sexual assaults during rides in recent years. Over 4,000 reports of sexual violence were made from 2017 to 2019. At least 360 were reports of rape. The report also listed 10 deaths from physical assaults. It’s been three years since Lyft first pledged to disclose the information, along with its rival Uber, as both companies have come under fire over sexual violence and other serious safety problems.

Planners of Deadly Charlottesville “Unite the Right” Rally Face Federal Civil Charges

Oct 26, 2021

In Virginia, jury selection has begun in a federal civil trial that charges the organizers of the deadly, white supremacist “Unite the Right” rally in 2017 with an unlawful conspiracy to commit violent acts. The lawsuit cites an 1871 law known as the Ku Klux Klan Act, which allows private citizens to sue other citizens for civil rights violations.

White House Rejects Trump’s Latest Claims of Executive Privilege in January 6 Probe

Oct 26, 2021

The White House has rejected former President Trump’s latest claims of executive privilege as he attempts to block the handing over of documents requested by the congressional committee investigating the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol. Trump has already filed a lawsuit to stop the National Archives from releasing documents to Congress as part of the probe. The National Archives is set to begin turning over records to the U.S. House next month, unless Trump wins a court order to block the request.

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