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HeadlinesOctober 13, 2022

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U.N. General Assembly Condemns Russia’s Annexation of Ukrainian Territories

Oct 13, 2022

The United Nations General Assembly has voted overwhelmingly to condemn Russia’s annexation of four territories seized from Ukraine after Russia’s military invaded in February. One hundred forty-three countries voted Wednesday to reaffirm Ukraine’s sovereignty within its internationally recognized borders. Just four countries sided with Russia: Belarus, Nicaragua, North Korea and Syria. India and China abstained from Wednesday’s vote.

Ukraine Nuclear Plant Loses External Power Again; Fresh Russian Airstrikes Kill 13

Oct 13, 2022

In Ukraine, Russia is continuing a stepped-up campaign of bomb and missile attacks following Saturday’s explosion that damaged a key bridge linking Russia with the Russian-annexed Ukrainian territory of Crimea. Ukraine’s government says at least 13 people were killed and 37 wounded by Russian strikes over the past 24 hours. Among the latest attacks, they say, are Iranian-made drones piloted by Russia that have blown up critical infrastructure facilities near the capital, Kyiv.

Meanwhile, the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant lost external power on Wednesday for the second time in five days, after fighting knocked an electrical substation offline. Workers activated emergency diesel generators needed to keep critical cooling systems online in order to prevent a radiation disaster. Power was restored after about eight hours. This comes after the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi, met with Vladimir Putin Tuesday in St. Petersburg, where he urged the Russian president to agree to establish a security protection zone around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant.

Russia Warns Ukraine Joining NATO Would Spark World War III

Oct 13, 2022

Russia has warned the U.S. and its allies against allowing Ukraine to join NATO. This morning, a member of Russia’s Security Council told Russian state media, “Kyiv is well aware that such a step would mean a guaranteed escalation to a World War III.” The comments came as officials from 50 countries, including all 30 NATO members, met in Brussels, where they pledged to step up arms shipments to Ukraine, including new air defense systems. Following the talks, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was asked about Russia’s threats to use nuclear weapons.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin: “Putin’s saber-rattling is reckless — nuclear saber-rattling is reckless and irresponsible. We don’t expect to see and hear that kind of behavior from a major nuclear power, and so that’s very dangerous. And you’ve heard a number of leaders around the world emphasize that.”

Austin’s comments come just days after Poland’s president said he’s open to stationing nuclear weapons on Polish soil and has discussed the idea with the United States.

North Korea Says It Test-Fired Nuclear-Capable Cruise Missiles

Oct 13, 2022

North Korea says it has test-launched two long-range strategic cruise missiles capable of delivering a nuclear warhead. It’s the latest in a series of North Korean missile launches that have coincided with joint naval drills by the U.S., Japan and South Korea in waters off the Korean Peninsula.

U.S. Regulators Approve Bivalent COVID Boosters for Children 5 and Older

Oct 13, 2022

The Biden administration has authorized reformulated COVID-19 booster shots for children as young as 5 years old. On Wednesday, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky approved emergency use of the vaccines produced by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, just hours after the Food and Drug Administration authorized them. Only about 4% of eligible U.S. adults have received updated, bivalent booster shots, which are meant to protect against two Omicron subvariants that currently make up most U.S. coronavirus infections. COVID-19 continues to kill nearly 400 people a day across the United States.

White House Warns Congressional Inaction Is Harming U.S. COVID Response

Oct 13, 2022

At the White House, COVID task force leader Dr. Ashish Jha said frontline healthcare workers could face shortages of personal protective equipment this winter, after the White House redirected resources away from the national stockpile in order to continue making vaccines widely available.

Dr. Ashish Jha: “All of this is made just dramatically harder by congressional inaction. You can’t fight a deadly virus without resources. And congressional inaction is really costly.”

U.S. Treasury Probes Whether Florida Gov. DeSantis Misused COVID Funds on Migrant Flights

Oct 13, 2022

The Biden administration is investigating whether Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis misused COVID aid money to pay for flights that brought 48 Venezuelan asylum seekers from Texas to Massachusetts as part of a political stunt. The Treasury Department’s inspector general said it’s part of a larger probe into how states used — or misused — billions of dollars of public health funds disbursed under the American Rescue Plan.

U.S. Reaches Deal with Mexico to Expel Most Venezuelan Asylum Seekers

Oct 13, 2022

The Biden administration says it has reached a deal with Mexico that will allow for 24,000 Venezuelan migrants with financial sponsors to enter the U.S., while expelling others who don’t meet the economic criteria or who cross the border outside of a port of entry. The U.S. will expel those migrants to Mexico under the pandemic-era Title 42 program. This comes amid reports the Biden administration is preparing to scale down sanctions on Venezuela to allow the Chevron Corporation to resume pumping oil there.

Nury Martinez Resigns from L.A. City Council over Racist Audio Tape

Oct 13, 2022

Los Angeles City Councilmember Nury Martinez has resigned from her position amid the political firestorm sparked by her racist comments, recently leaked on an audio recording. Gil Cedillo and Kevin de León, her fellow councilmembers who were also on the recording, have yet to resign despite the mounting outrage. Among the racist comments, which attacked Black and Indigenous communities in L.A., Martinez went after the adopted Black son of white councilmember Mike Bonin. Bonin addressed the hateful remarks at an emotional City Council meeting on Tuesday.

Councilmember Mike Bonin: “My husband and I are both raw and angry and heartbroken and sick, for our family and for Los Angeles. … I am reeling from the revelations of what these people said, trusted servants who voiced hate and bile. Public officials are supposed to call us to our highest selves, and these people stabbed us and shot us and cut the spirit of Los Angeles.”

On Wednesday, California Attorney General Rob Bonta said he would investigate the recent redistricting process in Los Angeles as a result of the City Council scandal.

Nigeria Flooding Death Toll Rises to 500, with 1.4 Million Displaced

Oct 13, 2022

Nigeria’s government says 76 people drowned when a ferry boat capsized in a flooded river in the southern state of Anambra. It’s the latest disaster to flow from a wetter-than-normal rainy season that many Nigerians say has led to the worst flooding in at least a generation. Officials say about 500 people have died as a direct result from flooding this year, with 1.4 million people displaced by floodwaters.

Climate Activists Call Out World Bank’s $15 Billion Financing of Fossil Fuel Projects

Oct 13, 2022

In Washington, D.C., climate activists held a bicycle protest Wednesday outside the World Bank as it held its annual meetings. The demonstration came after a new report found the World Bank financed at least $14.8 billion in fossil fuel development since the signing of the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015. That’s despite pledges by World Bank officials to stop supporting oil and gas projects. This is Mark Moreno Pascual, a protester from the Philippines.

Mark Moreno Pascual: “But what we’re seeing now is that they’re funding more than $15 billion on fossil fuels. And this isn’t even the complete picture. There’s more money flowing through indirect financing, and we’re seeing that being coursed through coal power plants in the Philippines and Indonesia. And we’re demanding the bank to stop doing this right now.”

Jan. 6 Committee to Share New Evidence of Trump’s Role in Capitol Insurrection

Oct 13, 2022

The House committee investigating the January 6 insurrection is holding what could be its last public hearing today. Lawmakers are expected to share more evidence that Trump deliberately encouraged his violent supporters who attacked the Capitol, despite knowing some were armed, and refused to step in as the situation spiraled out of control. This comes as a witness in a trial for five members of the far-right Oath Keepers says the group kept a large stash of firearms in a hotel room before the Capitol riot. Democracy Now! will be streaming the January 6 hearings starting at 1 p.m. today on democracynow.org.

Alex Jones Ordered to Pay $965 Million to Sandy Hook Families

Oct 13, 2022

A Connecticut jury has ordered Alex Jones to pay $965 million in damages to the families of eight victims of the Sandy Hook massacre and an FBI agent for repeatedly spreading conspiracy theories about the mass shooting and inflicting years of suffering on the grieving families. This is Erica Lafferty Garbatini, daughter of Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung, who was the principal of Sandy Hook Elementary when she was shot dead.

Erica Lafferty Garbatini: “I’m incredibly proud and thankful for the message that was sent here today: The truth matters, and those who profit off of other people’s pain and trauma will pay for what they have done. There will be more Alex Joneses in this world, but what they learned here today is that they absolutely will be held accountable.”

That was the daughter of Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung, the principal of Sandy Hook Elementary School, who was killed on December 14, 2012, along with 25 others — 20 of them schoolchildren.

T-Mobile Customer Service Workers Form Union

Oct 13, 2022

In labor news, T-Mobile workers are forming an independent union covering some 300 social media customer service workers. T-Mobile merged with Sprint in 2019, leading to thousands of layoffs. The workers say they were inspired by recent unionization efforts at Starbucks and Amazon. This is Tyler Roquemore, a member of the newly formed T-Force Social Care Alliance union.

Tyler Roquemore: “If we don’t do something as far as getting federal protection through unionizing, our jobs are next. And, you know, ever since the merger with T-Mobile, it’s been more and more layoffs, more and more pay cuts, more and more work pressure. So, this is what we feel is the right thing to do, is stand in solidarity for worker rights.”

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