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HeadlinesAugust 03, 2021

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Louisiana Orders Mask Mandate as U.S. Logs Highest Coronavirus Toll Since February

Aug 03, 2021

The United States has finally hit the Biden administration’s goal of administering COVID-19 vaccines to 70% of U.S. adults — one month later than it had hoped. The milestone came as the U.S. reported more than 135,000 new cases — the highest number of daily infections since February. On Monday, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards reimposed a statewide mask mandate, as his state set a record for new infections and hospitals became overwhelmed with COVID patients.

Gov. John Bel Edwards: “We are the worst in the country in terms of this COVID surge. And that is because of the Delta variant, which is a game changer, and the fact that, quite frankly, not enough people have been vaccinated here in Louisiana.”

Federal Employees Must Show Proof of Vaccination or Face Regular Tests

Aug 03, 2021

On Monday, county officials across the San Francisco Bay Area ordered new mask mandates indoors — even for vaccinated people — joining Los Angeles, which reimposed similar measures last month. 

In New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio urged unvaccinated people to wear masks indoors, but stopped short of ordering a new mandate. Meanwhile, Governor Andrew Cuomo said tens of thousands of New York transit workers must show proof of vaccination or face weekly testing. 

At the White House, Jeff Zients, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, said Monday similar rules will apply to some 4 million federal workers.

Jeff Zients: “Any federal employee who does not attest or is not vaccinated will be required to mask, no matter where they work; get tested once or twice a week; socially distance; and, generally, will not be allowed to travel for work.”

U.S., U.K. Say Afghan Taliban Massacred Civilians in Spin Boldak

Aug 03, 2021

The United States and the United Kingdom have accused the Afghan Taliban of massacring civilians as they captured a town in Kandahar province near the Pakistan border. The U.S. and U.K. embassies in Kabul both tweeted Monday that dozens of civilians were slaughtered in Spin Boldak in revenge killings that could constitute “war crimes.” The statements came as the U.S. stepped up airstrikes aimed at slowing a rapid advance by the Taliban in several Afghan provincial capitals. 

State Department Offers to Resettle Thousands of Afghans Who Worked with U.S. 

Aug 03, 2021

Secretary of State Tony Blinken said Monday the U.S. would offer refugee status to Afghans who worked for U.S.-funded projects and NGOs in Afghanistan. The State Department said “Operation Allies Refuge” could resettle as many as 50,000 people.

Refugee Advocates Sue as Biden Admin Continues Trump-Era Border Policy

Aug 03, 2021

Immigrant justice groups are suing the Biden administration over its use of Title 42 — a Trump-era policy that allows for the expedited deportations of asylum seekers arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border, citing so-called public health concerns during the pandemic. The Biden administration says it will continue enforcing the policy, which could bar entry to hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers. Already, Human Rights Watch says over 600,000 asylum seekers have been expelled from the U.S. under Title 42 since March of 2020. The lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, RAICES and Oxfam, among other groups, which denounce Title 42 as cruel, illegal and a violation of due process rights. 

HHS Watchdog to Probe Reports of Dire Conditions at Migrant Youth Detention Camp 

Aug 03, 2021

In Texas, the inspector general for the Department of Health and Human Services is launching an investigation into allegations of unsafe conditions at Fort Bliss, a military base used by the Biden administration to detain thousands of unaccompanied migrant children. The probe comes after two whistleblowers last week warned about the dire and filthy conditions at the tent camp, saying children are also facing inadequate mental and health care. 

Progressives Blast White House for Allowing Eviction Moratorium to Expire

Aug 03, 2021

In Washington, D.C., President Biden and Democratic leaders faced backlash Monday from progressives who blasted them for allowing a federal moratorium on evictions to expire. At the White House, presidential adviser Gene Sperling said a June Supreme Court ruling prevented the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from taking steps to extend the moratorium without congressional action — despite the worsening pandemic.

Gene Sperling: “To date, the CDC director and her team have been unable to find legal authority even for a more targeted eviction moratorium that would focus just on counties with higher rates of COVID spread.”

Missouri Congressmember Cori Bush — who has been camped out on the steps of the Capitol since Friday in protest — spoke briefly with Vice President Kamala Harris Monday and reportedly came away disappointed. Joining the protest Monday were New York Congressmember Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Vermont independent Senator Bernie Sanders, who tweeted, “It’s outrageous that in the middle of a deadly pandemic the eviction moratorium has ended. … We cannot allow people to be thrown onto the streets.” 

200+ Arrested at D.C. Protest Demanding End to Filibuster, Voting Rights

Aug 03, 2021

Washington, D.C. police arrested at least 204 people Monday as they held a nonviolent civil disobedience protest demanding that Senate Democrats end the filibuster and enact voting rights legislation. Among those arrested were Reverend William Barber of the national Poor People’s Campaign, along with his co-director, Reverend Liz Theoharis, and the longtime civil rights leader Reverend Jesse Jackson. 

Study: Gerrymandering Could Win Republicans House Majority in 2022

Aug 03, 2021

A new study shows Democrats could lose control of the House next year thanks to Republican gerrymandering in the states of Georgia, Florida, North Carolina and Texas. An analysis by the data firm TargetSmart shows Republicans could win as many as 13 House seats simply by redrawing congressional districts in their favor. Republicans need just five seats to regain control of the House.

Two More Officers Who Responded to January 6 Capitol Insurrection Die by Suicide

Aug 03, 2021

A fourth Washington, D.C.-area police officer who responded to the violent January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol has died by suicide. D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department says officer Gunther Hashida was found dead in his home last Thursday. The department also reported Officer Kyle DeFreytag was found dead on July 10th. Officers Howard Liebengood and Jeffrey Smith also took their own lives in the wake of the assault by a mob incited by then-President Trump. More than 100 officers were injured.

In the United States, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255.

5 Miami Beach Police Officers Face Criminal Charges over Brutality Caught on Video

Aug 03, 2021

In Florida, five Miami Beach police officers have been suspended from their jobs and criminally charged after they were filmed repeatedly kicking and body-slamming a Black man in handcuffs, before brutally assaulting a bystander who filmed the incident. The bystander, 28-year-old Khalid Vaughn, had faced charges of impeding a police investigation and resisting arrest with violence, but those charges were dropped when video showed he posed no threat to the officers who assaulted him. 

NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo Questioned for 11 Hours on Sexual Harassment Allegations

Aug 03, 2021

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was questioned for 11 hours by investigators from the State Attorney General’s Office looking into sexual harassment allegations against him. That’s according to The New York Times, which reported the meeting took place in Cuomo’s office last month. At least 10 women have accused Cuomo of sexual misconduct, prompting New York Attorney General Letitia James to launch a probe. Members of Cuomo’s inner circle have also been interviewed by investigators.

Palestinian Families in Occupied East Jerusalem Reject Israeli Court Offer to Delay Evictions

Aug 03, 2021

Israel’s Supreme Court has deferred a ruling on the expulsion of four Palestinian families from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem. The court instead offered the families a deal: They could stay in their homes for now if they begin paying rent to a Jewish settlement organization which claims ownership over the disputed properties. The Palestinian families rejected the deal, insisting they were the legal owners. The United Nations has described the planned evictions as a possible war crime. Later in the broadcast, we’ll go to East Jerusalem for the latest. 

Brutal Heat Wave Threatens to Topple Europe’s All-Time Temperature Record

Aug 03, 2021

In climate news, Chinese officials say over 300 people were killed during record-shattering floods that devastated Henan province last month. That’s more than triple the number previously reported.

Elsewhere, the eastern Mediterranean is enduring a record heat wave, with massive wildfires continuing to spread across Turkey. Greece’s prime minister warned Monday of the potential for rolling blackouts, with some forecasters predicting Europe could soon surpass its all-time high temperature record of 48 degrees Celsius — or 118 degrees Fahrenheit.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis: “We are dealing with the worst heat wave since 1987. As you can imagine, the increased demand for electricity creates a significant burden on the system.”

Water Protectors Shot with “Less Lethal” Police Munitions at Line 3 Pipeline Protests

Aug 03, 2021

In Minnesota, the Giniw Collective is reporting at least 20 water protectors were brutally arrested over the weekend — including Indigenous lawyer and activist Tara Houska — as resistance to the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline continues. Water protectors say state and local police used tear gas, rubber-coated bullets and pepper bullets, and denied medical care to those held in jail. Some were reportedly held in solitary confinement. Houska on Monday published photos of herself with bruises on her arms and several wounds from police rubber bullets. Click here to see our interviews with Tara Houska about resistance to the Line 3 pipeline.

Zürich Protesters Block Entrances to Swiss Banks That Finance Climate Crisis

Aug 03, 2021

In Switzerland, some 30 climate justice advocates were arrested Monday after peacefully blocking the entrances to two of the country’s largest banks in Zürich’s financial district. On Twitter, the group Collectif Breakfree Suisse, which led the demonstration, said, “Either phase out fossil fuels or face forest fires, famines, droughts, and floods.” This is one of the protesters.

Stephanie Wyss: “We are not here because we’re stupid or have nothing else to do. We’re here because we no longer know what we can do. We have fought for two years.”

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