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HeadlinesJune 08, 2021

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Over 100 Water Protectors Arrested in Minnesota as Mass Civil Disobedience Targets Line 3 Pipeline

Jun 08, 2021

In northern Minnesota, over 100 water protectors were arrested Monday in the largest act of civil disobedience to date aimed at halting the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline. If completed, Line 3 would carry more than 750,000 barrels of Canadian tar sands oil a day through Indigenous land and fragile ecosystems, endangering lakes, rivers and wild rice beds. The day of action began when over 1,000 water protectors blockaded a pipeline pump station north of the town of Park Rapids. Many of the activists locked themselves together or to heavy machinery, including bulldozers and diggers.

Kerry Labrador: “I’m a mother of three children. I trooped out here from Boston. I’m a Mi’kmaq woman. And I’m here because they need backup. They need voices. There’s strength in numbers. You know? All these kids out here — I’m going to say it over and over and over again: All the kids out here deserve the future that we, as parents, promised our kids. And if this is how I have to fulfill that promise, then this is how I’m going to fulfill that promise, and not just for my kids, but for every kid sitting out here in this world.”

Protesters are calling on President Biden to shut down the pipeline.

Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Hits 420 Parts Per Million, Highest Level in 4 Million Years

Jun 08, 2021

New data shows atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have reached their highest level in over 4 million years. Scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration measured CO2 levels averaging 419 parts per million in May — about 50% higher than preindustrial levels.

This comes as Amnesty International is blasting the Group of 7 world leaders for failing to meet the challenge posed by the climate crisis. Amnesty said in a statement, “The unambitious climate plans submitted by G7 members represent a violation of the human rights of billions of people. These are not administrative failures, they are a devastating, mass-scale assault on human rights.”

Meanwhile, June temperature records continue to fall in many parts of the world. Five countries in the Middle East have topped 50 degrees Celsius this week — or more than 122 degrees Fahrenheit. And much of the U.S. continues to bake in extreme heat, with weekend highs in parts of South Dakota and Minnesota topping 100 degrees.

“A Two-Track Pandemic”: Wealthy Nations Ease Restrictions as COVID Surges in Unvaccinated Countries

Jun 08, 2021

India has begun easing coronavirus restrictions after daily infections hit a two-month low. India is still reporting about 100,000 cases and 2,000 deaths from COVID-19 each day.

Uganda has ordered schools, churches and markets to close and will restrict travel amid a second wave of infections that’s disproportionately affecting young people. The World Health Organization says eight African nations have reported a 30% rise in cases in just one week. Only about 2% of people in Africa have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

Norway’s top coronavirus official has declared an end to the country’s COVID-19 crisis. More than 22% of people are fully vaccinated in Norway, where hospitals are experiencing their lowest level of admissions in a year.

Here in the United States, daily cases continue to fall — even as the pace of vaccinations has slowed to a trickle. The Biden administration now appears unlikely to hit its goal of getting at least one vaccine dose to 70% of U.S. adults by the Fourth of July.

In Geneva, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Monday urged G7 leaders to commit immediately to sharing vaccine doses with the rest of the world.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus: “Increasingly, we see a two-track pandemic: Many countries still face an extremely dangerous situation while some of those with the highest vaccination rates are starting to talk about ending restrictions.”

ProPublica: Vast Trove of IRS Data Shows How U.S. Billionaires Pay Little in Income Tax

Jun 08, 2021

ProPublica has obtained a vast trove of IRS data showing how U.S. billionaires pay little in income tax compared to their massive wealth — sometimes even nothing. The data show Warren Buffett paid a true tax rate of just 0.1% on income of $125 million between 2014 and 2018. Over the same period, Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and Michael Bloomberg all paid a true tax rate of less than 3.5% as their collective wealth grew by over $100 billion. ProPublica says it will use the IRS data in the coming months to detail how the ultra-wealthy avoid taxes, exploit loopholes and escape scrutiny from federal auditors.

Canadian Police Say Hit-and-Run That Killed Four Was Deliberate Islamophobic Attack

Jun 08, 2021

In Canada, police say a 20-year-old man who ran down five pedestrians with his pickup truck in London, Ontario, on Sunday targeted his victims because they were Muslim. All five victims were members of a family that immigrated from Pakistan more than a decade ago. Among those killed was a teenage girl. The only survivor was a 9-year-old boy who was hospitalized with serious injuries. The suspect fled the scene but was pulled over and arrested by police a few miles from the crime scene. This is London, Ontario, police chief Stephen Williams.

Stephen Williams: “We believe that this was an intentional act and that the victims of this horrific incident were targeted. We believe the victims were targeted because of their Islamic faith.”

Prosecutors are considering terrorism charges. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Twitter, “Islamophobia has no place in any of our communities. This hate is insidious and despicable — and it must stop.”

VP Harris to Refugees Fleeing Violence, Poverty and Climate Crisis: “Do Not Come to the U.S.”

Jun 08, 2021

Vice President Kamala Harris has announced plans to work with Guatemala’s government to block asylum seekers from heading to the United States. The efforts include further border militarization and a task force purportedly aimed at boosting anti-corruption efforts in Guatemala. Harris met at the presidential palace with Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei on Monday, issuing a jarring warning to asylum seekers forced to flee Central America over poverty, violence and the impacts of the climate crisis: Do not come to the United States, Harris said repeatedly.

Vice President Kamala Harris: “The United States will continue to enforce our laws and secure our border. There are legal methods by which migration can and should occur. But we, as one of our priorities, will discourage illegal migration. And I believe if you come to our border, you will be turned back.”

Blocking migrants from requesting asylum in the U.S., or other countries that offer the relief, is a violation of international law. In her remarks, Harris also failed to acknowledge how U.S. intervention and foreign policy in Guatemala and Central America have contributed to the root causes of why people flee in the first place. Harris is meeting today with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador in Mexico City.

Supreme Court Rules Immigrants with Temporary Protected Status Are Ineligible for Green Cards

Jun 08, 2021

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday unanimously ruled that undocumented immigrants who were granted temporary protected status are not eligible to seek permanent residency in the country. As many as 400,000 people from 12 countries, including El Salvador, Honduras, Haiti and Nicaragua, are protected by TPS. Immigrant advocates say many of them were previously undocumented. In response to Monday’s ruling, the National TPS Alliance vowed to keep fighting and said, “This news only emphasizes the fact that Congress must act now to guarantee permanent protections and for President Biden to expand the TPS status to everyone who deserves it.”

Peruvian Presidential Candidate Fujimori Claims Electoral Fraud as Leftist Opponent Gains Lead

Jun 08, 2021

In Peru, where the presidential election runoff is still too close to call, leftist candidate Pedro Castillo has widened his lead against right-winger Keiko Fujimori. Fujimori — who is the daughter of jailed human rights abuser and former dictator Alberto Fujimori — has claimed, without evidence, she believes there are signs of fraud, and reiterated that she won’t concede yet. Meanwhile, Castillo, a former teachers’ union leader who has overwhelming support from Peru’s rural communities, asked his followers to remain calm as the last batch of votes are counted.

Pedro Castillo: “The homeland, Peru needs its children to rescue her. And thanks to every one of you. Thank you for showing solidarity. We have to be respectful of the popular will. And I will be the first to enforce the will of the Peruvian people here and there.”

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Biden Administration Won’t Rule Out Military Action Against Ransomware Hackers

Jun 08, 2021

The Biden administration says it has recovered millions of dollars in cryptocurrency paid by the Colonial Pipeline company to hackers after a ransomware attack last month. The cyberattack left Colonial unable to bill its customers, prompting the company to shut down fuel shipments across the East Coast. The FBI says it seized a bitcoin wallet used by the Eastern Europe-based hacking group DarkSide to collect Colonial Pipeline’s payment. The news came as the Biden administration suggested it might take military action to stop ransomware attacks. This is Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, speaking Sunday with ABC’s George Stephanopolous.

George Stephanopoulos: “Should we be contemplating military action even if these are private, not government, entities?”

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo: “As I said, all options are on the table. This is a top priority. And all of us in the Cabinet and National Security Council are focused on it and considering all possible consequences. This week, when the president meets with Putin and other world leaders, this will be at the top of the agenda.”

Ransomware attacks regularly target school districts, government agencies and small businesses. One recent attack on a Massachusetts hospital exposed patients’ sensitive medical and financial information. In another attack, hackers released a trove of internal documents from the Washington, D.C., police department.

Massive Internet Outage Hits Websites and Apps Worldwide

Jun 08, 2021

Thousands of websites and smartphone apps went dark around the world for about an hour Tuesday morning after a major network failure, though service was quickly restored in most places. The outage was linked to a problem with the cloud service provider Fastly.

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NJ Governor Orders Closure of Edna Mahan Women’s Prison over Widespread Abuses

Jun 08, 2021

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said Monday he has ordered the Edna Mahan state women’s prison to close over its history of abuses. Murphy’s surprise announcement came as New Jersey officials released a partially redacted report detailing sexual abuse, exploitation, physical violence and excessive force against women prisoners by prison guards and civilian staffers. Governor Murphy said the report’s findings left him “deeply disturbed and disgusted.”

Biden Administration Defends Trump Against Defamation Suit Brought by Rape Accuser E. Jean Carroll

Jun 08, 2021

The Biden administration will defend former President Trump against a defamation lawsuit brought by E. Jean Carroll, who accused Trump of raping her in the 1990s. In a court filing with a federal appeals court in New York, the Justice Department argued Monday that Trump could not be sued for defamation because Trump’s rape accusation denial was done in his official capacity as president.

Meanwhile, a bipartisan Senate investigation has concluded that security and intelligence failures led to the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. The 95-page report makes no mention of Trump’s role in inciting the violence.

1,100 Alabama Coal Miners Enter Second Week of Strike for Better Wages and Benefits

Jun 08, 2021

In Alabama, 1,100 coal miners have entered the second month of their strike against the Warrior Met Coal company. Six years ago, the miners accepted a huge pay cut in order to help their company emerge from bankruptcy. Now they say Warrior Met is failing to repay them as it rakes in hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue. The workers went on strike April 1 after rejecting a contract proposal they say offered too little in wages and benefits. Last month, 11 of the striking miners were arrested as they blocked strikebreakers from entering their worksite.

Striking miner 1: “We don’t feel like we’re breaking the law, when this company is trying to starve our people and their families from their livelihood.”

Striking miner 2: “I’ll die for my family. And I’ll do whatever it takes for this union right here.”

The United Mine Workers says there have been three separate cases of vehicular assault on picketing workers by persons working for Warrior Met Coal in recent days.

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