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HeadlinesSeptember 21, 2021

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U.S. Border Patrol Agents on Horseback Whip Haitian Asylum Seekers

Sep 21, 2021

In Del Rio, Texas, photographs and video footage of Border Patrol agents on horseback chasing, grabbing and whipping Haitian asylum seekers have sparked widespread condemnation. One border agent was heard screaming obscenities at refugees, including children, after they attempted to return to a makeshift camp where thousands have been staying underneath a bridge for days.

Border Patrol agent: “Hey! You use your women? This is why your country’s shit, because you use your women for this!”

White House officials said they will investigate the violent attacks. Meanwhile, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas traveled Monday to the makeshift camp in Del Rio, where he once again warned asylum seekers not to come to the United States.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas: “Only Haitians living in the United States before July 29th are eligible for temporary protected status. … If you come to the United States illegally, you will be returned. Your journey will not succeed, and you will be endangering your life and your family’s lives.”

Driven by hunger, hundreds of Haitian refugees crossed back into Mexico and returned to the makeshift border camp in the U.S. carrying food. This is a Haitian asylum seeker who says he and his two children went without food for four days.

Nerline Clerge: “People in the United States don’t give us anything, just water. Since children only receive water, children are going hungry. We are out in the open. The United States government has no conscience.”

Advocates say at least three more deportation flights were sent to Haiti yesterday. Several more are expected today and in the coming days as the Biden administration continues its mass expulsion of Haitian asylum seekers, including families and children.

Biden to Raise U.S. Cap on Refugee Admissions to 125,000 Per Year

Sep 21, 2021

The Biden administration signaled Monday it will set a cap on refugee admissions to the United States at 125,000 — a significant increase from the Trump administration, which admitted fewer than 12,000 refugees last year. Amnesty International called on President Biden to go much further, citing political crises in Afghanistan and Haiti. Amnesty said, “The very least the United States can do is set a resettlement goal that meets the moment: anything but a robust commitment to humanitarian protections for refugees and asylum-seekers is a dismal failure.”

Fears Grow of Coronavirus Superspreader Event at U.N. General Assembly

Sep 21, 2021

Here in New York, world leaders have gathered for the United Nations General Assembly, with COVID-19 and the climate emergency set to dominate talks. On Monday, President Biden flew to New York ahead of his first address to the U.N. assembly today. Biden met with U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres, who warned the U.S. against provoking a new Cold War with China.

Last year’s General Assembly was a mostly virtual affair due to the pandemic, but this year thousands of people from around the world are converging on Manhattan, raising fears of a superspreader event.

On Sunday evening, Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro — who has bragged about not being vaccinated — was spotted eating pizza with his entourage on the sidewalk outside a Manhattan pizzeria. New York restaurants require proof of vaccination against COVID-19 for entry. This comes after a member of Bolsonaro’s U.N. delegation tested positive for coronavirus after arriving in New York. On Monday, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio had this response.

Mayor Bill de Blasio: “We need to send a message to all the world leaders, including, most notably, Bolsonaro from Brazil, that if you intend to come here, you need to be vaccinated. If you don’t want to be vaccinated, don’t bother coming.”

U.N. Leader Calls for Countries to Meet $100 Billion Climate Fund Commitments

Sep 21, 2021

U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres hosted a roundtable discussion with world leaders on the climate crisis, calling on nations, including the United States, to meet their commitments to a $100 billion-a-year climate fund. Guterres’s call came just weeks before the U.N. is set to convene a crucial climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland.

Secretary-General António Guterres: “My message this morning and to the Conference of Parties in November is that we need decisive action now to avert climate catastrophe. And for that, we need solidarity. Saving these and future generations is a common responsibility.”

Student Activists to Lead Global Climate Strike on Friday

Sep 21, 2021

Youth activists around the globe are holding a climate strike on Friday, September 24, including here in New York City, which will coincide with the U.N.’s Climate Week. Ahead of the strike, Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg said the movement also needs to tackle racism, sexism and inequality.

Greta Thunberg: “The climate crisis is caused by the same thing that is also fueling other crises and inequality around the world and the ecological crisis. And we cannot just solve one of these crises without also addressing the others.”

U.S. COVID-19 Deaths Surpass Toll of 1918 Flu Pandemic

Sep 21, 2021

The United States reported over 2,200 coronavirus deaths on Monday, bringing its death toll since the start of the pandemic to 676,000. That’s more people than were killed by influenza across the U.S. during the 1918 pandemic. Areas with the lowest vaccination rates remain the hardest hit by the Delta coronavirus variant.

For the first time in history, Alabama recorded more deaths than births in 2020.

In Mississippi, Republican Governor Tate Reeves condemned President Biden’s vaccine mandate for federal workers as a “tyrannical move.” Mississippi has the highest death rate from COVID-19 in the U.S. If it were a country, Mississippi would be second only to Peru in per capita coronavirus deaths.

Meanwhile, the Biden administration said Monday it will lift COVID-19 travel restrictions in November on vaccinated passengers from the U.K., European Union, China, Iran, Brazil, South Africa and India.

Wealthy Nations on Track to Waste 100 Million COVID-19 Vaccine Doses This Year

Sep 21, 2021

India said Monday it will resume exporting domestically produced COVID-19 vaccines to other nations, five months after it suspended exports of AstraZeneca shots amid a devastating wave of infections. Meanwhile, a new study finds wealthy nations have stockpiled more vaccines than their populations are willing to consume, with about 100 million doses set to expire, unused, by the end of the year.

Sudan’s Government Says It Thwarted a Coup Attempt by Bashir Loyalists

Sep 21, 2021

In Sudan, government and military leaders say they’ve thwarted an attempted coup d’état. Sudanese state media says military officers and civilians linked to the former regime of President Omar al-Bashir unsuccessfully tried to seize a state-run radio and TV building and several other government institutions around the capital, Khartoum. President al-Bashir ruled Sudan from 1993 until April 2019, when he was ousted from power by the military amid massive popular protests. As tanks and other heavy vehicles surrounded Sudan’s parliament, a member of the ruling military-civilian council wrote on social media, “All is under control. The revolution is victorious.”

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Justin Trudeau Reelected as Canada’s Prime Minister But Doesn’t Win Majority

Sep 21, 2021

Canada’s Liberal Party is poised to hold on to power and will form a minority government, after a narrow election win over opposition Conservatives on Monday. Incumbent Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the snap election in mid-August in a bid to win support for his response to the pandemic.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: “You are sending us back to work with a clear mandate to get Canada through this pandemic and to the brighter days ahead. And, my friends, that’s exactly what we are ready to do.”

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Supreme Court to Hear Challenge to Roe v. Wade; Texas Doctor Sued for Performing Abortion

Sep 21, 2021

The U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear arguments in December on a case involving a Mississippi law that bans most abortions 15 weeks into a pregnancy. Reproductive justice advocates warn the case poses a direct threat to the landmark 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade.

In related news, a doctor in San Antonio, Texas, is being sued after admitting to performing an abortion in violation of a new Texas law. The legislation bans all abortions in the state after six weeks — before most people even realize they are pregnant — and allows for private citizens to sue anyone who “aids and abets” a person in getting an abortion. The civil lawsuit against physician Alan Braid was filed by a man in Arkansas, who has no connection to the abortion at issue and who said he filed the suit in part because of the potential $10,000 reward he could receive if the lawsuit is successful.

10 Women and Girls Killed Each Day in Mexico, Warns Amnesty International

Sep 21, 2021

At least 10 women and girls are killed every day in Mexico. That’s according to a chilling new report published by Amnesty International, which also condemns Mexican authorities for failing to investigate femicides. The report, titled “Justice on Trial,” focuses on Mexico state — which accounts for some of the highest numbers of femicides in the country — and details how families and loved ones of victims are often forced to launch their own investigations as they’re ignored by law enforcement. Mexico recorded the murders of over 3,700 women in 2020 — only 940 of those killings were investigated as femicides.

Prosecution Rests in R. Kelly Sex Trafficking Trial

Sep 21, 2021

In New York, federal prosecutors have rested their case in the trial against accused sexual predator and trafficker R. Kelly, who faces several charges, including sexual exploitation of children, kidnapping and forced labor. Nearly a dozen survivors and over 30 other witnesses detailed the singer’s pattern of sexual and other abuse against dozens of women and underage girls for nearly two decades. Cases against R. Kelly have also been filed in Illinois and Minnesota. If convicted, he faces decades behind bars.

Man Jailed for Parole Violation Becomes 11th Prisoner to Die at Rikers Jail This Year

Sep 21, 2021

New York City’s Medical Examiner’s Office says it will investigate the death of a disabled prisoner who died Sunday evening at the Rikers Island jail after complaining he was feeling unwell. Forty-two-year-old Isa Abdul-Karim was being held for a parole violation. Under the Less Is More Act, signed just last week by New York Governor Kathy Hochul, he might have been cleared for release as early as this week. Abdul-Karim is the 11th prisoner to die at Rikers since December. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has pledged to close Rikers, with plans to replace it with a network of smaller borough-based jails.

“Hotel Rwanda” Dissident Paul Rusesabagina Sentenced to 25 Years on Terrorism Charges

Sep 21, 2021

In Rwanda, opposition political leader Paul Rusesabagina has been found guilty of terrorism and sentenced to 25 years in prison. He’s credited with protecting the lives of some 1,200 people who took refuge at the hotel he managed during the 1994 Rwandan genocide. His story is portrayed in the Hollywood film “Hotel Rwanda.” Amnesty International denounced Rusesabagina’s prosecution, saying his trial was riddled with violations. This is Rusesabagina’s daughter Carine Kanimba.

Carine Kanimba: “My father was tortured, kidnapped, denied his basic rights. And then, now they just gave him a guilty verdict, a verdict that comes without any credible evidence. … The co-accused came on the stand and said that they had been forced and coerced and tortured into saying false things against my father. And the witnesses are paid government agents.”

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