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Senate Republicans blocked the sweeping voter protection bill, the For the People Act, from advancing Tuesday, in a major but expected blow to Democrats and to voting rights. The move comes amid a crackdown on voting rights in Republican-led states and as calls mount to abolish the filibuster so Democrats can circumvent Republican stonewalling. Vice President Kamala Harris spoke after the vote.
Vice President Kamala Harris: “This is about the American people’s right to vote, unfettered. It is about their access to the right to vote in a meaningful way, because nobody is debating, I don’t believe, whether all Americans have the right to vote. The issue here is: Is there actual access to the voting process, or is that being impeded?”
President Biden and Democrats have vowed to keep fighting to protect voting rights at the federal level.
In Ethiopia, Reuters reports dozens of people have been killed after an airstrike in the Tigray region. A bomb was reportedly dropped on a market Tuesday afternoon. Health workers are reporting that Ethiopian military blocked several ambulances from reaching the scene. Thousands of people have been killed in the Tigray region since the Ethiopian military invaded last November with support from Eritrea. There have also been widespread reports of war crimes, including sexual violence. Aid groups warn millions in the region are at risk of famine.
Japan has restarted its first nuclear reactor in over three years, despite major concerns over its safety and widespread public opposition to Japan’s continued use of nuclear power. Energy experts say the government is not heeding the lessons of the devastating triple disaster of 2011, which killed nearly 20,000 people after a 9.0 magnitude earthquake triggered a tsunami and a nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima power plant. Some residents still remain displaced, 10 years later.
The U.N. and other rights groups are condemning the government of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega over its mounting crackdown on opposition ahead of the November election. At least 15 people have been arrested this month, including five presidential candidates. Ortega is widely expected to run for a fourth presidential term. Meanwhile, Mexico and Argentina have withdrawn their ambassadors to Nicaragua. The Biden administration also imposed new sanctions on four Nicaraguan officials and Ortega allies earlier this month. This is José Miguel Vivanco of Human Rights Watch.
José Miguel Vivanco: “We are asking Secretary-General António Guterres to go to the United Nations Security Council and report on the seriousness of what is happening in Nicaragua, not only around the abuses, the flagrant violations of fundamental rights and human rights, but also on the repercussions this may have for the region and from the point of view of the refugees who have had to flee Nicaragua.”
In Mexico, at least 15 people were killed this weekend in the northern border city of Reynosa after a series of shootings. Four suspected gunmen were also killed. The majority of victims are believed to be bystanders caught in the crossfire. Among the victims were taxi drivers, workers and a nursing student. Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has called for an investigation. The city of Reynosa is located across the border from McAllen, Texas, and has been contested territory for drug cartels. On Tuesday, the top prosecutor in the state of Tamaulipas blamed infighting between members of the Gulf Cartel for the weekend shooting. Tens of thousands of people have been killed or disappeared in Mexico amid a years-long, U.S.-backed war on drugs.
The Committee to Protect Journalists says Israel must investigate last week’s bombing of Arab Israeli journalist Hassan Shelan’s home. Shelan, who writes for Ynet, survived the attack. The group says it’s at least the third attack on an Arab Israeli journalist in less than a month.
In Hong Kong, news outlet Apple Daily says it is shutting down, less than a week after authorities raided its newsroom, arresting editors and executives of the pro-democracy paper, and froze its accounts under the sweeping national security law. Meanwhile, the trial for the first person to be charged under the national security law started today. Tong Ying-kit was arrested last year after he collided with police officers while riding a motorbike and flying a flag with a popular protest slogan.
In Spain, a group of Catalan separatist leaders have been released from prison a day after they were pardoned. In 2017, the Spanish central government cracked down on the separatists following an independence referendum and the Catalan Parliament’s declaration of independence. Some of the freed leaders will still face a ban on holding public office. Political leaders who fled Spain are not included in the pardon. This is Pere Aragonès, president of the Government of Catalonia.
Pere Aragonès: “The decision taken today by the Spanish government is a recognition that the sentences were unjust. … It is time for amnesty and the right to self-determination.”
An international coalition of over 200 groups is calling on the Biden administration to permanently end the so-called global gag rule, which bars non-profits in other countries from receiving U.S. funds if they provide abortions or even refer or counsel people on abortion. Biden rescinded the rule but it remains at risk of being reinstated in future Republican administrations.
The New York Times reports that four of the Saudi men who participated in the abduction and killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018 received State Department-approved paramilitary training in the U.S. The training was provided by the security company Tier 1 Group, which is owned by private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management.
The Biden administration will allow asylum seekers who were enrolled in Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” program and ordered deported to their home countries to revive their asylum cases. Under Remain in Mexico, thousands of asylum seekers were forced to wait in often dangerous conditions in Mexico while their cases made their way through U.S. courts. BuzzFeed reports many of them were denied asylum because they couldn’t make it to court because conditions were too dangerous to travel, while other asylum seekers never arrived at their court hearings in the U.S. because they were kidnapped by cartels, were ill or denied entry because they were pregnant.
This comes as immigrant justice advocates continue to denounce the Biden administration for expelling and turning away asylum seekers who recently arrived to the U.S.-Mexico border. As of June, the group Human Rights First has tracked 3,250 kidnappings and other attacks, including rape, human trafficking and violent armed assaults, against asylum seekers and migrants expelled at the U.S.-Mexico border since President Biden took office.
Interior Secretary Deb Haaland announced Tuesday her agency will investigate the impact of government-run schools that sought to force the assimilation of Indigenous children. The Interior Department, which oversaw the schools, will also seek to identify burial sites at the schools. Last month, the remains of 215 Indigenous children were discovered at one such school in Canada. This is Secretary Haaland.
Interior Secretary Deb Haaland: “I come from ancestors who endured the horrors of Indian boarding school assimilation policies carried out by the same department that I now lead, the same agency that tried to eradicate our culture, our language, our spiritual practices and our people. To address the intergenerational impact of Indian boarding schools and to promote spiritual and emotional healing in our communities, we must shed light on the unspoken traumas of the past.”
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones says she will not join the faculty of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill next month without tenure. Hannah-Jones, creator of The 1619 Project, says “political interference and influence” led to the school board’s decision to deny her tenure, which drew protest and sharp criticism from faculty, students, fellow academics and some donors.