HeadlinesMay 12, 2021

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At Least 50 Palestinians Killed as Israeli Attacks Continue; Protests Call Out Israeli Crimes

May 12, 2021

In Gaza, the death toll has risen to at least 48 Palestinians, as Israeli forces continued their bombing attack on the besieged territory. At least 14 children have been killed. Hundreds have been wounded. In the occupied West Bank, Israeli forces have killed two Palestinians, including a Palestinian teenager who was shot dead during a raid. Israel reported six deaths and at least 100 injured in Hamas-led strikes. On Tuesday, a 13-story residential tower block in Gaza collapsed after an Israeli air raid, but no casualties were reported, as residents were able to vacate the building before it was hit. Israeli rockets attacked a nine-story building in Gaza early today. This is a resident of Gaza City, speaking in front of a car that was hit by Israeli rocket fire earlier today, killing multiple people.

Abed Aldayah: “What should I say? This is a crime. They were civilians: a woman, her children, a barber, a shop owner. These are the people who were at the scene. It didn’t hit a militant, nor an official. We are civilians sleeping at our homes.”

The deadly attacks come after hundreds of Palestinians were injured in Jerusalem and the West Bank by Israeli security forces on Monday and over the weekend, including during crackdowns at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, and over ongoing protests to stop the expulsion of Palestinians from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. The International Criminal Court has said recent violence in the Occupied Territories may constitute war crimes. On Tuesday, the U.S. blocked a U.N. Security Council statement calling for a ceasefire. The Security Council is holding more meetings today. President Biden has yet to publicly address the situation, but an increasing number of Democratic lawmakers have raised concerns about abuses committed by Israel. Senator Chris Van Hollen of Maryland said that “evictions of families in East Jerusalem would violate international law. If the Biden Administration puts the rule of law and human rights at the heart of its foreign policy, this is not a moment for tepid statements.”

Meanwhile, protests in solidarity with the Palestinian people have been taking place across the U.S. and the world. These are two protesters who attended a massive rally here in New York City Tuesday.

David Roush: “I’m here in solidarity with the people of Palestine, who are obviously under brutal subjugation from the occupation and the pointless acts of terrorism perpetrated by the Israeli military.”

Maher Abdeluader: “Israelis, they are going above and beyond, harassing Palestinians. So this gathering today among Palestinian and solidarity people from all different groups of lives — you know, Hispanic, Latino, Blacks, Chinese, everybody here, Arab, Muslims — in demonstration and in support of the Palestinian. The Palestinian is no longer alone by themself.”

Red Cross Warns COVID Cases “Exploding” in Asia as India Continues to Break New Records

May 12, 2021

India has topped 23 million COVID-19 cases as the nation reported a record 4,200 fatalities today, bringing its total official death toll to over a quarter of a million. As India continues to grapple with its devastating second wave, the Red Cross is warning coronavirus cases are “exploding” across the world, and in particular throughout Asia and the Pacific. The group says the region represents seven out of the 10 countries with the fastest-rising caseloads. Meanwhile, the World Health Organization says the Indian coronavirus variant has now spread to almost 50 countries, with Britain reporting the highest number of cases related to the variant.

Algeria Moves to Ban Unauthorized Protests as Pro-Democracy Movement Gains Steam

May 12, 2021

The U.N. warned Tuesday against the crackdown on freedom of speech in Algeria after authorities moved to ban demonstrations ahead of parliamentary elections in June. Ongoing protests by the Hirak movement are seeking an end to the entrenched political establishment and ruling military leadership. The protest movement, which led to the resignation of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika in 2019, resumed earlier this year after taking a break due to the pandemic.

Malika: “We want independence, and the army gang must leave. The army must give power to civil people. People are tired. It’s enough.”

French Court Tosses Lawsuit from Agent Orange Victim Against Chemical Companies

May 12, 2021

A French court has thrown out a lawsuit by a French Vietnamese activist against over a dozen companies, including Dow Chemical and Monsanto, that produced and sold Agent Orange, which was used by the U.S. military during the Vietnam War. The case was brought by Tran To Nga, herself a victim of Agent Orange. She vowed to appeal the decision.

Tran To Nga: “The cause is just, because truth is on our side. It’s for justice, it’s for the truth, it’s for people more unfortunate than us, that we continue on.”

U.S. warplanes dumped about 18 million gallons of the poisonous chemical during the Vietnam War, leaving millions of people with disabilities and illnesses, including cancer, heart and birth defects.

Family of Andrew Brown Jr. Views More Footage of Police Killing, Confirms Shooting Was Unjustified

May 12, 2021

Back in the U.S., the family of Andrew Brown Jr., a 42-year-old Black man shot dead by North Carolina sheriff’s deputies last month, viewed more footage of his killing Tuesday. Lawyers for the family say the nearly 20 minutes of tape only confirmed that Brown, who was shot in his car, never threatened the officers or even made contact with them. This is Brown family attorney Bakari Sellers.

Bakari Sellers: “What we saw on that video was an unjustified killing. What we saw on that video is something that we believe also denotes further investigation and does have some criminal liability.”

Ahmaud Arbery’s Killers Plead Not Guilty to Federal Hate Crimes

May 12, 2021

In Georgia, the three white men indicted in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery — a 25-year-old Black man who was chased down and shot to death while out for a jog last year — have pleaded not guilty to federal hate crime and attempted kidnapping charges. The men — retired police officer Greg McMichael, his son Travis and their friend William Bryan — also face numerous charges in Georgia, including felony murder.
In related news, Georgia Republican Governor Brian Kemp on Monday signed legislation repealing the 1863 citizen’s arrest law that’s being used to defend the three men. The law allowed citizens to arrest another person if an alleged crime was being committed. The men who killed Arbery claimed, without any evidence, he had committed a burglary.

Arizona Passes Law to Cut Voters from Early Mail-in Voting List

May 12, 2021

Arizona has become the latest state to pass new voter suppression laws. On Tuesday, Republican Governor Doug Ducey signed a bill that could remove over 100,000 voters from the state’s early mail-in voting list. Ducey signed the bill just hours after the state Senate passed the new measure. Voters who did not cast ballots by mail in two consecutive election cycles will be removed from the early voting list and no longer automatically receive ballots, unless they respond to a notice from county officials. This comes as a Republican-ordered recount in the 2020 presidential election continues in Arizona, overseen by Cyber Ninjas, whose CEO has espoused conspiracy theories claiming the election was stolen from former President Trump.

In related news, former acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen is expected to tell a congressional committee today that there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election. Lawmakers are investigating the response to the deadly January 6 riot by a Trump and Republican-incited mob.

Liz Cheney Delivers Scathing Rebuke as GOP Prepares to Vote on Her Ouster from House Leadership

May 12, 2021

House Republicans are voting today on whether to oust Wyoming Congressmember Liz Cheney from her leadership role for her criticisms of former President Trump and his lies about election fraud, and voting to impeach him earlier this year. On Tuesday, Cheney addressed her Republican colleagues from the House floor.

Rep. Liz Cheney: “Today we face a threat America has never seen before. A former president, who provoked a violent attack on this Capitol in an effort to steal the election, has resumed his aggressive effort to convince Americans that the election was stolen from him. He risks inciting further violence. Millions of Americans have been misled by the former president. … The election is over. That is the rule of law. That is our constitutional process. Those who refuse to accept the rulings of our courts are at war with the Constitution.”

Judge Dismisses NRA Bankruptcy Bid

May 12, 2021

A federal judge dismissed the National Rifle Association’s bid to declare bankruptcy Tuesday, meaning a lawsuit filed last year by New York’s attorney general can go ahead. The judge says the group filed “in bad faith.” The NRA was hoping to use bankruptcy as a strategy to evade the potential dissolution of the group by New York officials, who are accusing the NRA and its CEO Wayne LaPierre of financial misconduct. New York Attorney General Letitia James tweeted, “The @NRA does not get to dictate if and where it will answer for its actions, and our case will continue in New York court. No one is above the law.”

Prosecutors Will Seek Death Penalty for Suspect in Atlanta Spa Massacre

May 12, 2021

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty and enhanced hate crime charges for the massacre at three Atlanta-area spas in March that killed eight people, six of them Asian women. Robert Aaron Long, a white man, was indicted Tuesday on murder charges. Georgia’s hate crimes law was passed last year in the wake of Ahmaud Arbery’s killing. This case will be the first test of the new law.

AP Reports Biden Admin Holding 21,000 Migrant Children in Crowded Facilities with No Oversight

May 12, 2021

In immigration news, the Associated Press is reporting the Biden administration is currently detaining over 20,000 unaccompanied migrant children — including toddlers — across more than 200 facilities in two dozen states with little to no oversight. In at least five so-called shelters, over 1,000 children are being held in extremely crowded conditions during the pandemic. Some of the facilities are run by contractors facing lawsuits and accusations of physical and sexual abuse. The government is also using about a dozen unlicensed facilities, including former military installations, to hold children. Advocates and attorneys are sounding the alarm on the health and safety of the children, who are at times detained without their parents knowing where they are. The number of migrant children detained by the Biden administration has more than doubled in the past two months as asylum seekers continue to flee extreme poverty, violence and the effects of the climate crisis, all issues that have been exacerbated by U.S. foreign policy in Central America, the Caribbean and other regions.

Pollution from Animal Farming Causes Tens of Thousands of U.S. Deaths Each Year

May 12, 2021

A new study finds nearly 18,000 premature deaths in the U.S. are caused each year by pollution generated by farms. Animal farming is the leading culprit. Particulate matter created by gases from manure and animal feed, which can mix with other pollutants in the atmosphere, is highly irritating to human lungs and accounts for more deaths than pollution from coal power plants. Scientists say more sustainable farming practices and reducing our consumption of meat would sharply reduce mortality from agricultural air pollution.

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