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HeadlinesOctober 27, 2021

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U.N.'s Guterres Warns World on Track for Climate Catastrophe, Even with Gov't Pledges Ahead of COP26

Oct 27, 2021

U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres issued yet another stark warning just days ahead of the COP26 global climate summit.

Secretary-General António Guterres: “Less than one week before COP26 in Glasgow, we are still on track for climate catastrophe, even with the last announcements that were made. The 2021 Emissions Gap Report shows that with the present nationally determined contributions and other firm commitments of countries around the world, we are indeed on track for a catastrophic global temperature rise of around 2.7 degrees Celsius. Now, even if the announcements of the last few days will materialize, we would still be on track to clearly more than 2 degrees Celsius.”

In more encouraging climate news, a new report highlights the power of the grassroots divestment movement, as some 1,500 institutions and other investors have committed to divesting $40 trillion in assets from fossil fuels over the past decade.

Brazilian Senators Back Report Accusing Bolsonaro of Crimes Against Humanity for Pandemic Response

Oct 27, 2021

In Brazil, a Senate committee has approved a report calling for criminal charges, including crimes against humanity, against far-right President Jair Bolsonaro over his deadly mishandling of the pandemic. The Senate report also accuses dozens of other officials and two companies of committing crimes. Brazil has reported over 600,000 COVID fatalities, the second-highest official death toll after the U.S.

In related news, Facebook and YouTube have removed a video by Bolsonaro in which he falsely claims that COVID vaccines are linked to AIDS.

Deborah Birx Says 130,000 Lives Could Have Been Saved, But Trump Admin “Distracted” by Election

Oct 27, 2021

In the U.S., Dr. Deborah Birx, former President Trump’s coronavirus coordinator, told lawmakers over 130,000 lives could have been saved in the U.S. if the Trump administration had quickly implemented effective public health measures. Birx said the White House was too “distracted” by the election and ignored recommendations to slow down the pandemic.

FDA Panel Recommends Pfizer Vaccine for Children Aged 5-11; Moderna to Sell 110M Vaccines to African Countries

Oct 27, 2021

In vaccine news, an FDA panel voted to recommend the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID vaccine for children 5 to 11 years old, bringing it one step closer to becoming available for 28 million more kids as early as next week.

Moderna said it would sell up to 110 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine to African nations, after coming under fire for only distributing its highly effective shot in wealthy countries.

Afghanistan Heading Toward Collapse as Half the Country Faces Acute Food Insecurity

Oct 27, 2021

Pakistan’s information minister warned Afghanistan is on the brink of collapse and urged the international community to engage with the Taliban and unfreeze billions of dollars of Afghan assets overseas in order to prevent a humanitarian disaster.

The U.N. warned over half the Afghan population is likely to face acute food insecurity this winter. Forty-five percent of the population — nearly 19 million Afghans — are already experiencing high levels of food insecurity. The economic crisis following the Taliban takeover in August has compounded an already dire situation, marked by massive displacement from the conflict and a severe drought in a majority-rural nation. Afghanistan’s fragile health system is also facing critical shortages of medicine, food for malnourished children, and staff. This is a supervisor in the nursery ward of Kabul’s main children’s hospital.

Marwa: “Our request for the current government is to increase the number of our staff, because every nurse is usually responsible for about four children, and now, due to a lack of staff, every nurse is taking care of 24 children.”

In related news, a Pentagon official told Congress Tuesday the Islamic State in Afghanistan could be capable of attacking the U.S. within six months.

Four People, Including 3 Children, Drown Off Greek Coast

Oct 27, 2021

Four people, three of them children, died Tuesday as they attempted to cross the Aegean Sea in an overcrowded dinghy. Twenty-two others were rescued. The boat was traveling from Turkey to Greece, a common route into the European Union for refugees.

Dozens Arrested as Protesters in Ecuador Condemn Fuel Price Hike, New Economic Policies

Oct 27, 2021

In Ecuador, thousands of people took to the streets around the country for another round of Indigenous-led protests against a hike in fuel prices and other economic policies pushed by the right-wing government of President Guillermo Lasso. Some three dozen people were arrested as protesters blocked roads.

Víctor Sánchez: “We do not agree with the economic measures being implemented, which passes the crisis on to the shoulders of the workers and the middle classes of the country.”

Colombian Indigenous Misak Leader Nazaria Calambás Murdered by Gunmen

Oct 27, 2021

In Colombia, another Indigenous Misak leader has been assassinated in the region of Cauca. Thirty-four-year-old Nazaria Calambás Tunubalá was a former mayor and community organizer. She was reportedly gunned down by three unknown assailants. Misak Indigenous women denounced the killing and are demanding the Colombian government provide protection against skyrocketing violence. Over 100 Indigenous leaders and other human rights defenders have been assassinated in Colombia this year alone.

African Union Suspends Sudan After Military Coup

Oct 27, 2021

The African Union has suspended Sudan over its military coup. The suspension will remain in place until the civilian-led transitional government is restored. Meanwhile, deposed Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok was allowed to return home, according to his office, after being detained by the coup forces, sparking widespread protests.

Rittenhouse Trial Judge Says the Word “Victims” Cannot Be Used to Describe Victims of Fatal Shooting

Oct 27, 2021

In Kenosha, Wisconsin, the judge overseeing the murder trial of Kyle Rittenhouse has ruled the three protesters shot by the white teenager during racial justice protests last year cannot be labeled “victims” during the trial but can be called “rioters,” “looters” or “arsonists,” if the defense can provide evidence to justify such terms. Two of the protesters, Anthony M. Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum, were killed by Rittenhouse. The trial will start next week, on November 1.

Senate Democrats Push Tax Plan for Billionaires to Help Fund Build Back Better Act

Oct 27, 2021

Senate Democrats have unveiled a new plan centered around capital gains taxes on billionaires as lawmakers seek workarounds to help pay for the reconciliation package that is being obstructed by conservative Democrats Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin. The tax would apply to just the 700 wealthiest people in the U.S.

Staten Island Amazon Workers File Union Vote Petition

Oct 27, 2021

In New York City, Amazon warehouse workers and labor organizers in Staten Island filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board to hold a union election. It’s the second time this year Amazon workers are attempting to form the company’s first-ever U.S. union. The New York effort was led by Christian Smalls, who was fired by Amazon last year for organizing a strike demanding better worker protections amid the pandemic. Smalls was met by cheers after filing the petition with the NLRB.

Christian Smalls: “That’s it. Yeah, we did it. It’s officially done. Notice to employees will be sent out in a matter of a week. Everybody in their facilities will be notified that the petition has been filed.”

Crowd: [cheering]

El Milagro Tortilla Company Facing Investigations over Working Conditions

Oct 27, 2021

In Chicago, tortilla manufacturer El Milagro is facing city and state investigations into its labor conditions, following worker walkouts and protests denouncing low pay, staff shortages and workplace abuse, including intimidation and sexual harassment.

AZ Secretary of State Katie Hobbs and Others Testify on Threats to Election Workers

Oct 27, 2021

A Senate committee held a hearing Tuesday on the mounting threats to election workers. Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, who is running for Governor, testified before lawmakers.

Secretary of State Katie Hobbs: “Two weeks after the election, armed protesters gathered outside my home and chanted, 'Katie, come out and play. We are watching you.' I never expected that holding this office would result in far-right trolls threatening my children, threatening my husband’s employment at a children’s hospital, or calling my office, saying I deserve to die and asking, 'What is she wearing today, so she'll be easy to get?’ These threats have continued against me and others, but what concerns me more is the near-constant harassment faced by the public servants who administer our elections.”

Earlier this year, the Justice Department launched a new task force to tackle the rise in threats against election officials.

Ex-Member of Weather Underground David Gilbert Granted Parole After 4 Decades in Prison

Oct 27, 2021

Former Weather Underground member David Gilbert has been granted parole after spending 40 years in prison. He is scheduled for release on November 30. Seventy-seven-year-old Gilbert was incarcerated for his role in the robbery of an armored truck in 1981 that left a security guard and two police officers dead. Release Aging People in Prison Campaign said, “Mr. Gilbert spent decades in prison creating rehabilitative programs and has been an unparalleled positive influence on the lives of countless incarcerated people. There is no doubt that he will be an asset to his community.” Gilbert’s son is Chesa Boudin, who’s serving as the district attorney of San Francisco.

Ex-Black Panther Russell “Maroon” Shoatz Freed After Half-Century Behind Bars, 22 Years in Solitary

Oct 27, 2021

After nearly 50 years behind bars, former Black Panther Russell “Maroon” Shoatz was freed from prison in Pennsylvania on Tuesday, after a judge granted his compassionate release the day before. Shoatz was sentenced to life without parole in 1970 for an attack on a Philadelphia police station that left one officer dead and another wounded. He escaped prison twice, earning him the nickname “Maroon,” and endured 22 consecutive years of solitary confinement. Shoatz is now entering hospice care. He has stage 4 colorectal cancer and must receive nutrition through an IV. This is his son Russell Shoatz III speaking Monday.

Russell Shoatz III: “What’s in the transcripts are the evidence that the prisons don’t have the capabilities to take care not just of their healthy prisoners, they definitely don’t have the ability to take care of their geriatric prisoners, and that they have effectively killed my father.”

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