West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin said Sunday he would not support the For the People Act, which would restore and expand the protections of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, gutted by the Supreme Court in a 5-4 ruling in 2013. The House passed the act in March without the support of a single Republican. It appears doomed in the Senate unless Democrats move to eliminate the legislative filibuster — something that Senator Manchin has said he won’t support.
In an op-ed published Sunday, Manchin wrote, “I believe that partisan voting legislation will destroy the already weakening binds of our democracy, and for that reason, I will vote against the For the People Act. Furthermore, I will not vote to weaken or eliminate the filibuster.”
Manchin’s decision set off a torrent of criticism from his Democratic colleagues. New York Congressmember Mondaire Jones says H.R. 1 is “of foundational importance” to preserving U.S. democracy against Republican attacks on voting. He tweeted Sunday, “Manchin’s op-ed might as well be titled, 'Why I'll vote to preserve Jim Crow.’”
At least 14 states have enacted 22 new laws this year restricting access to the vote, with Republicans pushing hundreds of similar bills in state legislatures.
Meanwhile, HuffPo reports that former Arizona Attorney General Grant Woods, who prominently backed Democratic Senator Kyrsten Sinema’s election to the Senate, is now saying she doesn’t belong in office anymore unless she helps abolish the filibuster.
Finance ministers from seven of the world’s wealthiest nations have backed a plan to set a global minimum corporate tax rate of at least 15% on multinational companies. The agreement was reached during a Group of 7 — or G7 — meeting in Britain. German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz welcomed the deal.
Olaf Scholz: “Tax evasion will be more difficult for big companies all over the world, and this is a good message for the people of our countries. And especially the big tech giants will have to pay their fair share, and this is also a good success.”
Oxfam criticized the G7 agreement. In a statement, the group said, “It’s absurd for the G7 to claim it is 'overhauling a broken global tax system' by setting up a global minimum corporate tax rate that is similar to the soft rates charged by tax havens like Ireland, Switzerland and Singapore. They are setting the bar so low that companies can just step over it.”
The captain of Brazil’s national soccer team has suggested his entire squad wants to postpone a major soccer tournament while COVID-19 continues to spread. Superstar Carlos Casemiro is the latest high-profile Brazilian to oppose hosting the Copa America tournament in Brazil, which has recorded 17 million COVID cases and nearly 475,000 deaths — though the true toll is likely far higher.
Colombia was originally slated to host the Copa America but withdrew amid massive anti-government protests. And late last month, the South American Football Confederation ruled out Argentina as a host as it recorded some of the highest daily caseloads of COVID-19 in the world.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has claimed, without evidence, that an inconclusive March 23 election was rigged. Speaking to members of his right-wing Likud party Sunday, Netanyahu said the election was marred by the “biggest election fraud … in the history of any democracy.” Netanyahu’s remarks drew comparisons to former President Donald Trump’s false claims about the 2020 election. They came as Netanyahu faces a corruption trial and as a coalition of opposition parties led by far-right nationalist politician Naftali Bennett is poised to end Netanyahu’s 12-year term as prime minister.
Israel is cracking down on Palestinians living in the occupied West Bank, occupied East Jerusalem and inside Israel. The newspaper Haaretz reports Israeli police have arrested nearly 2,000 Palestinians over the past month in an attempt to quell protests and uprisings against the occupation. On Saturday, Israeli police arrested Al Jazeera journalist Givara Budeiri as she covered a protest in Sheikh Jarrah. During the arrest, officers fractured her left hand and destroyed the equipment of her camera operator. She told Al Jazeera she was beaten while being taken to an Israeli police interrogation center.
Givara Budeiri: “They broke my hand. I spent all the night in the hospital. My back hurt me a lot. And here, my hand, from the cuffs, also they hurt so much, because the soldiers in the car were tightening it all the time. I have a headache. And my leg — I can’t walk very well.”
Al Jazeera denounced Budeiri’s violent arrest as a “crime against the journalistic profession.” The Foreign Press Association called it the “latest in a long line of heavy-handed tactics by Israeli police.”
Meanwhile, on Sunday, Israeli police in East Jerusalem detained Muna and Mohammed El-Kurd. The 23-year-old twins have been leading efforts to fight the forced expulsion of Palestinians living in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Jerusalem where their family lives. Jewish settlers already live in part of their home. We’ll have more from the Occupied Palestinian Territories later in the broadcast.
In Burkina Faso, at least 132 people were killed and dozens more injured Friday as gunmen swept through a village near the northern border with Niger, burning homes and razing a market to the ground. It was among the deadliest assaults Burkina Faso has faced in years, as militants linked to al-Qaeda and the self-proclaimed Islamic State have stepped up attacks. The conflict has forced 1.2 million people in Burkina Faso to flee their homes.
Nigeria has ordered prosecutors to arrest anyone using Twitter, after banning the social media platform nationwide. Nigeria’s Ministry of Information announced Friday — ironically, in a tweet — that it had suspended Twitter operations in Nigeria. The crackdown came after Twitter deleted a tweet by President Muhammadu Buhari that threatened secessionists in southeastern Nigeria with violence. Many saw Buhari’s tweet as a threat of genocide against members of the minority Igbo group, who make up about 20% of Nigeria’s population.
In Mexico, voters cast their ballots Sunday in one of the country’s largest elections in history as about 21,000 local and national seats were up for grabs. Preliminary midterm election results show President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s political party, MORENA, and allies have won over half of the 500 seats in Mexico’s lower house but have failed to secure a supermajority. This would prevent AMLO from passing any major legislation or enacting constitutional reforms — which require a two-thirds approval — without support from the opposition. This election was largely seen as a referendum on AMLO’s government, which rose to power in 2018. Final results are expected next week. This midterm election was also described as one of the deadliest. Human remains were found in at least two voting booths in the northern Mexican state of Baja California Sunday. In the run-up to the election, over 80 politicians were killed, including 35 candidates running for Sunday’s vote.
In Peru, the presidential runoff between leftist candidate Pedro Castillo and right-wing politician Keiko Fujimori is still too close to call. Early counts were showing a slight lead for Fujimori, the daughter of former dictator Alberto Fujimori, who had strong support in urban areas. Meanwhile, Castillo, a former teachers’ union leader, was a favorite among Peru’s rural communities.
Voters cast their ballots Sunday as coronavirus infections continued to spread. Peru’s recently revised death toll indicates it has the highest COVID-19 mortality rate in the world.
In Guatemala, U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris is meeting with Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei today to discuss U.S. economic interests in the Central American country and efforts to further militarize the region to prevent asylum seekers from reaching the U.S.-Mexico border. This is Harris’s first international trip as vice president. Meanwhile, many Central American advocates continue to denounce U.S. intervention in the region, which they argue is at the root of corruption, extreme poverty and violence in Central America. Harris will also travel to Mexico City Tuesday to meet with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
At the Vatican, Pope Francis on Sunday acknowledged the discovery of the bodies of 215 Indigenous children on the grounds of the Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia — which was run by the Catholic Church until 1969 — but stopped short of offering the formal apology that Indigenous advocates had demanded.
Pope Francis: “I join the Canadian bishops and the entire Catholic Church in Canada in expressing my closeness to the Canadian people traumatized by the shocking news. The sad discovery further raises awareness of the pains and sufferings of the past.”
The school opened in 1890 and was used to house Indigenous children forcibly separated from their families by the Canadian government. The school officially closed in 1970. Click here to see our interview on the subject.
Back in the United States, a federal judge has overturned California’s long-standing ban on assault weapons, declaring it an unconstitutional “failed experiment.” U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez, a George W. Bush appointee, wrote in his ruling, “Like the Swiss Army Knife, the popular AR-15 rifle is a perfect combination of home defense weapon and homeland defense equipment.” The judge stayed his ruling for 30 days, giving California Attorney General Rob Bonta time to appeal. Bonta wrote, “There is no sound basis in law, fact, or common sense for equating assault rifles with Swiss army knives — especially on Gun Violence Awareness Day and after the recent shootings in our own California communities. We need to take action to end gun violence now.”
In North Carolina, there’s a mounting outcry after a high school in Asheboro refused to give student Ever López his diploma for wearing a Mexican flag over his gown at his graduation ceremony last week. The moment was captured on a TikTok video that has since gone viral. López was born in the U.S. to Mexican immigrant parents and said he wanted to honor his Mexican roots as he would become the first member of his immediate family to graduate high school. The family says school officials denied López his diploma in a closed-door meeting with his parents and that they were escorted from the building by four police officers. López has still not received his diploma.