Aid groups are again sounding the alarm over the worsening humanitarian disaster in Somalia, which is facing famine on a scale not seen in half a century. One child is hospitalized for malnutrition every minute, according to UNICEF. The U.N. says over $2 billion in aid is needed to help fight the catastrophic effects of the ongoing drought as the region appears to be in the throes of its fifth consecutive failed rainy season. The situation has spurred a mass displacement crisis. This is Falhad Hussein, a displaced Somali mother and street vendor.
Falhad Hussein: “I had fled from drought from Buulo Mareer town of Lower Shabelle region. I have five children. I had seven children; two died while they were babies because of thirst and hunger of the drought. And we fled from locusts and wars. Now we are in these IDP camps and still need support.”
In Ukraine, Russia is warning the battle for Kherson is imminent, and says it will evacuate some 60,000 people in the coming days. Ukrainian forces have recently driven back Russian fighters in the occupied city.
Elsewhere, Russian strikes have cut power to over 1,000 towns and villages across Ukraine as residents face the prospect of a winter without heat.
The U.N. Security Council is set to discuss today the issue of Iranian drones being used in Moscow’s assault on Ukraine. Iran has recently agreed to provide Russia with more drones and surface-to-surface missiles. Meanwhile, Lockheed Martin says it will up its production of HIMARS long-range rocket artillery systems, which the U.S. has been providing to Ukraine.
Officials in Denmark confirmed that “powerful explosions” caused the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines to leak in the Baltic Sea last month, though did not specify the origin of the blasts.
Here in the U.S., President Biden is announcing the release of another 15 million barrels of fuel from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The move seeks to ease prices at the gas pump amid the ongoing war and three weeks ahead of the midterm election.
On Tuesday, President Biden vowed to enshrine access to abortion into law if Democrats can expand their narrow majorities in Congress in the upcoming midterms.
President Joe Biden: “Here’s the promise I make to you and the American people: The first bill that I will send to the Congress will be to codify Roe v. Wade. And when Congress passes it, I’ll sign it in January, 50 years after Roe was first decided the law of the land.”
Biden made the remarks yesterday at a Democratic National Committee event in Washington. As many Democratic candidates hope to harness public outrage over the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade, Senator Bernie Sanders has warned Democrats against focusing solely on abortion rights, while neglecting to address the economy, healthcare and inequality.
In Florida, Republican Senator Marco Rubio and his Democratic challenger, Congressmember Val Demings, faced off in their only debate ahead of November’s election. The candidates sparred over abortion, voting rights, foreign policy and guns, with Demings going after Rubio for his inaction on gun control.
Rep. Val Demings: “How long will you watch people being gunned down in first grade, fourth grade, high school, college, church, synagogue, a grocery store, a movie theater, a mall and a nightclub, and do nothing?”
In Florida, the Tampa Bay Times has obtained video showing police officers arresting people — for voting. In 2018, Florida overwhelmingly voted in favor of a ballot measure allowing formerly incarcerated people with past felony convictions to cast ballots. But the law excludes residents who were convicted of murder or felony sex offenses. The arrested individuals say they were encouraged to vote by Florida officials and were not made aware of this exclusion, which is not stated on voter registration forms. This is Tampa resident Tony Patterson and his arresting officer, as captured on a police bodycam.
Police officer 1: “Apparently, I guess you have a warrant.”
Tony Patterson: “For what?”
Police officer 1: “I’m not sure.”
Police officer 2: “It’s for voter stuff, man.”
Police officer 1: “For voter” —
Police officer 2: “It’s — what it is, it — I think the agents with FDLE talked to you last week about some voter fraud, voter stuff, when you weren’t supposed to be voting maybe.”
Tony Patterson: “This here is crazy, man. Y’all putting me in jail for something I didn’t know nothing about. Why would you all let me vote if I wasn’t able to vote?”
The arrests in the bodycam footage are from August 18 and come under the auspices of Republican Governor Ron DeSantis’s recently formed Office of Election Crimes and Security. Of the 19 people arrested that day, 12 were registered Democrats, and at least 13 are Black.
In the United Kingdom, the family of jailed Egyptian writer and activist Alaa Abd El-Fattah has begun a sit-in in front of the British foreign affairs office. Sanaa and Mona Seif are demanding the release of their brother, who has been on hunger strike for 200 days. El-Fattah also has British citizenship. British shadow foreign secretary David Lammy joined the protest yesterday. Supporters of El-Fattah are ramping up pressure to release the human rights activist ahead of next month’s COP27 climate summit in Sharm el-Sheikh. The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights in Gambia has voted to adopt the Egyptian civic space petition, which links COP27 to human rights and demands an end to human rights abuses.
In Saudi Arabia, a U.S. citizen has received a 16-year jail sentence for writing tweets critical of the Saudi government. Seventy-two-year-old Saad Ibrahim Almadi is a dual citizen and was arrested in November after traveling from Florida to Riyadh to visit family. One of the tweets referenced slain Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. Saad’s son says his father is being held in conditions that amount to torture, and has criticized the U.S. government for not doing more to free his father.
Over 100 Haitian migrants, including pregnant people and children, were found stranded on an uninhabited island west of Puerto Rico Tuesday. Mona Island, located midway between the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, has become a popular drop-off point for boats of migrants departing from the Dominican Republic. Smugglers often abandon migrants there, falsely telling them they’ve reached the main island of Puerto Rico. Haiti is facing one of its worst crises of instability and violence as gangs continue to control a major port in Port-au-Prince, triggering critical shortages of food, water, fuel and other resources. Harsh U.S. immigration policies blocking migrants from seeking asylum have forced many to rely on smugglers and embark on extremely dangerous routes to enter the U.S.
In California, the Los Angeles City Council has voted for Paul Krekorian to become the new council president, following the resignation last week of disgraced former president Nury Martinez, who was heard making racist remarks on a leaked audiotape. Meanwhile, protests continue demanding the resignation of the two other councilmembers who were caught on the recording: Gil Cedillo and Kevin de León. This is Melina Abdullah from Black Lives Matter Los Angeles speaking in front of City Hall.
Melina Abdullah: “We don’t have any room for blatant anti-Black racists on L.A. City Council. They gotta go. They gotta go. And every other city councilmember that is meeting with them is co-conspiring with them and locking community out. They are just as guilty.”
In upstate New York, Amazon workers in Albany overwhelmingly voted against forming a union with the recently established Amazon Labor Union. The defeat comes after months of union busting from Amazon, including intimidating workers and firing union organizers and supporters.
New Jersey is suing five oil and gas companies and a lobbying group for lying about the harm caused by fossil fuels and its link to catastrophic climate change. A lawsuit filed Tuesday names ExxonMobil, Shell, Chevron, BP, ConocoPhillips and the American Petroleum Institute. This is New Jersey Attorney General Matthew Platkin.
Attorney General Matthew Platkin: “They led a decades-long disinformation campaign to confuse the public about fossil fuels and climate change, even though the scientific consensus was secure. They did this to avoid — specifically to avoid — a cleaner, lower-carbon future and to preserve their market for their commodities at the expense of the global environment, and, frankly, at all of our expense. They also did this to stave off public opinion or government action that could have cut into their profits.”
New Jersey officials say the state is “ground zero” for climate change. The suit comes just days ahead of the 10th anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, which killed 38 people in New Jersey and cost an estimated $65 billion in damage in the U.S.
The Interior Department announced it will hold the first-ever lease sale for wind energy off the coast of California in December. The development of wind energy in the area could eventually power over 1.5 million homes.
Retail stores have begun selling hearing aids over the counter as the Food and Drug Administration starts rolling out a new policy allowing the sale of the devices without the need for a doctor’s visit or a prescription. The move is aimed at making hearing aids more accessible and affordable — though over-the-counter prices still range from $200 to over $1,000.
The Biden administration has started accepting applications to cancel up to $20,000 in student debt per person. Borrowers earning up to $125,000 per person and $250,000 per household are eligible for the relief. Advocates continue to demand Biden cancel all student debt.