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HeadlinesOctober 17, 2022

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Fire Erupts at Iran’s Evin Prison as Anti-Government Protests Continue 

Oct 17, 2022

In Iran, a massive fire engulfed parts of Tehran’s infamous Evin prison Saturday, killing at least eight people and injuring dozens of others. It’s unclear exactly what happened, though Iranian state media reported prisoners and guards clashed before the blaze erupted. Witnesses reported hearing explosions and gunfire coming from the prison. Evin is well known for housing political prisoners and anti-government protesters. Many of its former captives have said they were mistreated or tortured there. The blaze came as Iran remains roiled by mass protests and just a day before the one-month anniversary of the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who died while in the custody of Iran’s so-called morality police. 

Explosions Rock Ukraine’s Capital; Gunmen Kill 11 Russian Military Recruits in Belgorod

Oct 17, 2022

In Ukraine, Kyiv was rocked by explosions this morning as Russia renewed its attack on the capital with fresh air raids, one week after last Monday’s deadly barrage of missiles. Ukrainian officials say explosive Iranian devices known as “kamikaze drones” appeared to target energy facilities in Kyiv, though Iran has denied supplying weapons to Russia. Over the weekend, two gunmen killed at least 11 volunteer soldiers and injured 15 others at a Russian military training area in Belgorod, near the Ukrainian border. That’s according to the Russian Defense Ministry, which reported the gunmen were from a former Soviet republic and were shot dead after staging their attack. On Friday, the Biden administration said it is sending another $725 million in weapons and military assistance to Ukraine.

Xi Jinping Set to Win Third Presidential Term as Chinese Communist Party Congress Opens

Oct 17, 2022

In China, Xi Jinping is poised to claim a historic third term as president, after the Communist Party kicked off its weeklong congress on Sunday. Xi, who has been in power for a decade, could remain China’s leader indefinitely, after lawmakers abolished presidential term limits in 2018. During his opening address, Xi lauded his government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and addressed the economy, China’s military and foreign policy. He also praised Beijing’s crackdown on Hong Kong, claiming Hong Kong shifted from “chaos to governance.” President Xi also addressed the issue of Taiwan, which has become a flashpoint between China and the U.S.

President Xi Jinping: “The resolution of the Taiwan issue is a matter for the Chinese ourselves to decide. We insist on striving for the prospect of peaceful reunification with the greatest sincerity and with the greatest effort. However, we are not committed to abandoning the use of force, and we reserve the option of taking all necessary measures.”

Ahead of the Communist Party congress, a rare anti-government protest took place on a busy overpass in Beijing, where a banner was unfurled calling for Xi’s removal. Another banner read in part, “We want a vote, not a leader. We want to be citizens, not slaves.” Social media users inside China said images of the protest online were quickly removed and accounts disabled. 

U.S. and Canada Send Armored Vehicles to Haiti 

Oct 17, 2022

The U.S. and Canada have shipped military equipment, including tactical and armored vehicles, to Haiti amid a mounting security crisis. This comes after the government of U.S.-backed Prime Minister Ariel Henry called for international involvement to combat gang activity. The U.N. warned last week a blockade of a major fuel terminal by gangs was compounding food insecurity for millions of people, with 19,000 Haitians already experiencing famine. Thousands took to the streets of Port-au-Prince last week in opposition to foreign military aid and intervention. Demands are also mounting for Henry’s resignation. This comes as Haiti is facing a fresh cholera outbreak, with prisons particularly vulnerable to large clusters of cases. 

Australian PM Warns Historic Flooding May Worsen

Oct 17, 2022

In Australia, catastrophic flooding has forced the evacuation of thousands of homes in the nation’s southeast. Hardest hit has been the state of Victoria, home to Melbourne, where at least two people have been killed. Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese warned the situation could deteriorate. 

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese: “I do want to say that we are living in very dangerous times in the days and weeks ahead. What we have is a potential of further rain events here in western New South Wales, further rain events in Victoria and in Tasmania, all of them combining and having an impact, because you essentially have — a single drop of rain has nowhere else to go except stay on the surface.”

Huge Protest in Paris Demands Action on Inflation and Climate Crisis

Oct 17, 2022

In France, an estimated 140,000 people took to the streets of Paris Sunday to protest the surging cost of living and to demand action on the climate crisis. The march was called by the leftist France Unbowed party.

Natalie Meriau: “I am angry because everything is going wrong: public services, mistreatment at work, the superprofits that are not taxed. We have a lot of reasons to be here today. … And there is also everything to do with climate. Inaction on climate over all these years starts to build up and to have heavy consequences. We had a terrible summer, and this will continue. If we don’t do anything, well, then — we have all these young people behind there — what kind of future will they have?”

Transport and other public sector strikes are planned for this week in France, following weeks of strikes in the energy industry.

U.K. Protesters Throw Soup on Van Gogh Painting to Demand Climate Action

Oct 17, 2022

In Britain, two climate activists glued their hands to the walls of London’s National Gallery Friday to call out the U.K. government’s role in fueling the climate catastrophe. The activists from the group Just Stop Oil first flung two cans of soup onto Vincent Van Gogh’s “Sunflowers” painting, which was protected by a glass screen.

Just Stop Oil activist: “What is worth more: art or life? Is it worth more than food, worth more than justice? Are you more concerned about the protection of a painting or the protection of our planet and people?”

It’s the latest climate protest involving prestigious artworks and museums. Last week, two people glued their hands to a Pablo Picasso painting in Melbourne, Australia, as activists seek to disrupt normal life in unexpected settings to call attention to the climate crisis.

Meanwhile, protesters from the group Animal Rebellion poured milk onto the floors of grocery stores across the United Kingdom on Sunday, calling for a shift to a more sustainable, plant-based food system. Their protest came as the British government unveiled plans to further crack down on climate activists through a new “public order” bill that could also be used to break labor strikes.

Greek Authorities Discover 92 Migrants Stripped Naked Near Turkish Border

Oct 17, 2022

The United Nations has called for an investigation into the “cruel and degrading treatment” of 92 migrants who were discovered near the Turkish border by Greek authorities Friday, completely stripped of their clothes, some with injuries. Both Turkey and Greece have deflected responsibility and blamed the other side for the situation, though details of what happened remain unclear.

Outrage in Turkey as President Erdogan Blames “Fate” for Mine Blast That Killed 41

Oct 17, 2022

In Turkey, an explosion Friday at a coal mine in the northern Black Sea region killed at least 41 people. As Turkey mourned the victims over the weekend, union leaders and opposition politicians called out President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for blaming the deadly blast on “fate.” The explosion came as tensions were already running high in Turkey following the passage of a new bill press freedom groups say worsens censorship. The new law could land journalists and others in prison for up to three years if accused of spreading “disinformation.”

GOP’s Herschel Walker Skips Second Debate with Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock

Oct 17, 2022

Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock debated Libertarian Senate candidate Chase Oliver in Atlanta, Georgia, on Sunday. Next to the two men stood an empty lectern for Republican candidate Herschel Walker, Senator Warnock’s main competitor, who refused to participate in the debate. The event came two days after Warnock and Walker faced off Friday night in what is expected to be their only debate. Walker was forced to defend his anti-abortion stance, after a former romantic partner recently said the ex-football player once paid for her to have an abortion and later urged her to terminate another pregnancy. She had the child. Walker has denied the claims. Senator Warnock, meanwhile, defended abortion rights in light of the recent reversal of Roe v. Wade.

Sen. Raphael Warnock: “A patient’s room is too narrow and small and cramped a space for a woman, her doctor and the United States government. We are witnessing right now what happens when politicians — most of them men — pile into patients’ rooms.”

Warnock and Walker also clashed over their positions on the police, Medicaid expansion and who they supported as the respective leaders of their parties.

Oklahoma City Apple Store Employees Vote to Join CWA, Becoming 2nd to Unionize

Oct 17, 2022

In labor news, workers at an Apple store in Oklahoma City voted Friday to join the Communication Workers of America, making them the second retail outlet of the tech giant to unionize. Senator Bernie Sanders celebrated the successful organizing campaign, tweeting, “Last year, Apple made a record $95 billion profit. Its billionaire CEO made $99 million in 2021. It’s time for Apple to treat its workers with respect.”

“Defuse Nuclear War”: Protesters Rally at Dozens of U.S. Congressional Offices

Oct 17, 2022

Anti-nuclear activists gathered in front of dozens of congressional offices across the United States, at the United Nations and elsewhere to demand leaders “Defuse Nuclear War.” The protests coincided with the 60th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis and as nuclear powers have been ratcheting up tensions amid the war in Ukraine. This is David Borris from the group Chicago Area Peace Action.

David Borris: “The mathematical possibility of a nuclear weapon being detonated by accident, by design is not zero. If it’s not zero, it’s inevitable.”

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