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HeadlinesJanuary 18, 2022

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MLK’s Family Leads Protests Demanding Passage of Voting Rights Legislation

Jan 18, 2022

Senate Democrats are opening debate today on legislation that would protect communities of color from Republican-led efforts to roll back voting rights. The effort appears doomed after two Senate Democrats — Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema — said they will not vote for a filibuster carveout that would allow the legislation to pass with a simple majority of senators. On Monday, the federal holiday marking Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the family of Dr. King marched with thousands of others in Washington, D.C., to demand Manchin and Sinema drop their support for the Senate filibuster. This is Dr. King’s granddaughter, 13-year-old Yolanda Renee King.

Yolanda Renee King: “For all the elected leaders out there who are tweeting, posting and celebrating my grandfather, Dr. King, today, my message to you is simple: Do not celebrate. Legislate. The Senate must do the right thing when this legislation comes to a vote tomorrow. Senator Sinema, Senator Manchin, our future hinges on your decision, and history will remember what choice you make.”

This comes as Republicans are leading voter disenfranchisement efforts nationwide, with GOP-led state legislatures passing more than 30 laws restricting ballot access, and introducing at least 400 more. After headlines, we’ll have more on the struggle for voting rights with Bishop William Barber, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign.

U.S. COVID-19 Hospitalizations Hit New Record High

Jan 18, 2022

U.S. COVID-19 hospitalizations have soared to a new record high, with over 150,000 patients. Nearly 2,000 U.S. residents are dying of the disease each day — the vast majority of them unvaccinated — and the number of confirmed daily infections is averaging about 800,000, down only slightly from last week’s record toll.

Among the latest high-profile people to test positive are two members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, including top military leader General Mark Milley.

On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidance to recommend medical-grade masks over cloth masks, saying well-fitting N95 respirator masks offer the best protection.

China Won’t Sell Winter Olympics Tickets to Public After Beijing Logs First Omicron Case

Jan 18, 2022

China says members of the general public will not be allowed to buy tickets to the Beijing Winter Olympics next month, after Beijing reported its first locally transmitted case of the Omicron variant over the weekend. The single infection, in a 26-year-old woman who visited high-end shops in Beijing, is challenging China’s “zero-COVID” strategy less than three weeks from the start of the Olympic Games. 

Novak Djokovic Deported for Violating COVID-19 Rules, Will Miss Australian Open

Jan 18, 2022

The government of Greece on Monday ordered a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for people 60 years and older. Anyone flouting the mandate will face fines of more than $100 per month.

In Serbia, top-ranked tennis player Novak Djokovic has arrived in Belgrade after he was deported from Australia Sunday for refusing to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and lying on his Australian travel declaration form. France’s health ministry said Monday Djokovic won’t be able to participate in the French Open tournament in May unless he completes his vaccinations.

Hostages in Texas Synagogue Escape; Police Shoot and Kill Gunman

Jan 18, 2022

In Texas, a rabbi and three congregants of a Jewish synagogue escaped without harm Saturday after an armed man took them hostage, prompting an 11-hour standoff that ended when police shot and killed the gunman. The assailant has been identified as Malik Faisal Akram, a British citizen who’s believed to have arrived in the United States in December. Akram reportedly bought his guns on the street. His brother, who assisted police during the standoff, said Malik had suffered mental health issues for years. President Biden later called the violence an “act of terror” and promised to battle antisemitism.

President Joe Biden: “I wanted to make sure we got the word out to synagogues and places of worship that we’re not going to tolerate this, that we have this capacity to deal with the assault on particularly the antisemitism that has grown up.”

During hours of negotiation, Malik Faisal Akram repeatedly called for the release of Pakistani neuroscientist Aafia Siddiqui, who is serving an 86-year sentence in the United States. We’ll have more on her case — and the standoff at the Texas synagogue — later in the broadcast.

Volcano Erupts Near Tonga, Devastating Islands and Triggering Pacific Tsunamis 

Jan 18, 2022

In the South Pacific, an underwater volcano erupted Saturday near the archipelago nation of Tonga, blanketing islands with volcanic ash, severing communications and sending people rushing to higher ground as a four-foot tsunami crashed into Tonga’s capital. At least three people are dead, but the toll is expected to rise sharply amid early reports that Tonga’s small outer islands suffered catastrophic damage.

Saturday’s eruption triggered tsunami warnings across the Pacific, striking Japan, the western United States and Peru, where waves triggered an oil spill that polluted beaches near Lima.

Sudanese Forces Kill Seven More Anti-Coup Protesters

Jan 18, 2022

In Sudan, security forces shot dead at least seven protesters in the capital Khartoum Monday as mobilizations demanding civilian rule continue. Over 70 protesters have been killed since October 25, when Sudan’s military took control of the government in a coup.

Palestinian Family Threatens Self-Immolation, Resisting Eviction from East Jerusalem Home

Jan 18, 2022

A Palestinian family threatened with eviction by Israel is threatening to burn down their home in East Jerusalem rather than be displaced from land where they’ve lived since before Israel occupied the area in 1967. On Monday, scores of Israeli police in riot gear surrounded the home of the Salhiyeh family in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, seeking to demolish the home and clear the site to build a school. Palestinians say it’s the latest in a series of evictions aimed at expropriating land for Israeli settlers — in violation of international law. Resident Mahmoud Salhiyeh stood on the roof of his home clutching a bottle of gasoline and surrounded by gas canisters.

Mahmoud Salhiyeh: “I will burn the house and everything in it. I will not leave here, from here to the grave, because there is no life, no dignity. I have been in court battles with them for 25 years. They sent me settlers who offered to buy the house, and I did not agree.”

After a tense standoff, an Israeli official agreed to postpone the eviction and will allow the Salhiyeh family to remain in their home, for now.

Authorities in Indian-Administered Kashmir Shut Down Independent Press Club

Jan 18, 2022

The Kashmir Press Club, the largest independent media body in the Himalayan region, has been shut down after police and pro-Indian government journalists raided its office over the weekend and took over operations. Press freedom groups are condemning the move as an illegal attack on Kashmiri independent journalists, who are often harassed and arrested for their work. The Kashmir Press Club opened in 2018, and at least 300 journalists were members.

Salvadorans Protest Following Reports That Phones of Journalists and Civil Society Groups Were Hacked

Jan 18, 2022

In El Salvador, people took to the streets of San Salvador Sunday to mark the 30th anniversary of the signing of the peace accords that ended the Salvadoran U.S.-backed war in 1992. Protesters demanded justice for the tens of thousands who were killed and disappeared during the conflict. People also condemned recent news that the phones of dozens of Salvadoran journalists and human rights defenders were hacked with the Israeli NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware. Among them were at least 22 journalists with the independent news outlet El Faro, which has led a number of investigations into the government of President Nayib Bukele. This is one of the protesters in San Salvador.

Patricia Velazquez: “The president needs to know we are aware that we are being spied on, both journalists and the civil society. But we won’t be silenced. We will always denounce all the abuses that happen in this country.”

North Korea Carries Out Fourth Missile Test This Month

Jan 18, 2022

North Korea says it has carried out its fourth weapons test this month, launching a pair of tactical guided missiles on Monday. State media reported the missiles “precisely hit an island target,” showing the accuracy of North Korean weaponry. Earlier this month North Korea tested a new hypersonic missile, triggering a launch alert from the North American Aerospace Defense Command — or NORAD — that briefly grounded some flights on the West Coast in the United States.

New Jersey Chemical Fire Nearly Caused “Catastrophic” Release

Jan 18, 2022

In New Jersey, fire officials say a massive chemical blaze at a chlorine manufacturing plant in Passaic could have turned into one of the most catastrophic chemical disasters in the region if firefighters hadn’t quickly responded. The fire at Majestic Industries and the Qualco chemical plant burned through Friday night and into Saturday morning. The smoke was so thick it was seen and smelled in New York City. Hundreds of firefighters were deployed; one of them was injured.

World’s Richest Saw Their Wealth Double as Pandemic Pushed 160 Million People into Poverty

Jan 18, 2022

The wealth of the world’s richest 10 men doubled since the start of the pandemic, even as 160 million more people were pushed into poverty. That’s the conclusion of Oxfam in its report “Inequality Kills,” released as the World Economic Forum kicked off its annual meeting — virtually, due to the pandemic. The report found global inequality is “contributing to the death of at least 21,000 people each day” — or one person every four seconds — even as the combined wealth of Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and eight other men grew by $1.2 billion a day. On Monday, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres echoed Oxfam’s warning on global inequality.

Secretary-General António Guterres: “The last two years have demonstrated a simple but brutal truth: If we leave anyone behind, in the end we leave everyone behind. If we fail to vaccinate every person, we give rise to new variants that spread across borders and bring daily life and economies to a grinding halt. And if we fail to provide debt relief and financing to developing countries, we create a lopsided recovery that can send an interconnected global economy into a tailspin.”

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