Britain’s Labour Party is pushing for an immediate general election in the United Kingdom, a day after Prime Minister Liz Truss announced her resignation less than seven weeks into her term. During her tenure as Britain’s shortest-reigning prime minister, Truss saw the value of the pound plummet while she pushed for sweeping tax cuts on the rich. Truss announced her resignation outside 10 Downing Street on Thursday.
Prime Minister Liz Truss: “We’ve agreed that there will be a leadership election to be completed within the next week. This will ensure that we remain on a path to deliver our fiscal plans and maintain our country’s economic stability and national security. I will remain as prime minister until a successor has been chosen.”
Leading candidates to replace Truss include former Chancellor Rishi Sunak, House of Commons leader Penny Mordaunt and even disgraced former Prime Minister Boris Johnson — whom Truss replaced. After headlines, we’ll go to the U.K. to speak with author, activist and Guardian columnist George Monbiot.
In Chad, security forces shot and killed dozens of anti-government protesters Thursday in the country’s two largest cities. Some 50 people were killed and hundreds injured. Protesters were demanding an end to transitional military rule and a return to democracy. Chad has been mired in a protracted political crisis following the death of former President Idriss Déby, who was killed on the battlefield in April of last year. This all comes as Chad declared a state of emergency over catastrophic flooding that has demolished crops and livestock, worsening food insecurity in the region.
Fatimé Tchari: “We subsist on selling milk to the surrounding population. But now there is not even enough to eat. Last year we saw our cows starve to death before our eyes. This year we are facing another disaster.”
The U.N. says 5.5 million people in Chad are in need of emergency humanitarian aid.
In Sudan, more than 150 people have been killed and scores more injured during two days of fighting in the southern state of Blue Nile. It’s the latest in a series of clashes between the Hausa people and rival groups in southern Sudan that have left hundreds of people dead this year, while driving tens of thousands from their homes.
Ukraine faces a worsening energy crisis after a series of Russian attacks on critical infrastructure brought nationwide shortages of power and heat. On Thursday, authorities began limiting supplies of electricity between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m. Officials say one-third of Ukraine’s power stations have been recently hit by missile and drone attacks. In Washington, State Department spokesperson Ned Price on Thursday cited “abundant evidence” that Iranian military trainers are helping Russian forces carry out drone strikes.
Ned Price: “We assess that Iranian personnel, Iranian military personnel, were on the ground in Crimea and assisted Russia in these operations. Russia has received dozens of these UAVs so far and will likely continue to receive additional shipments in the future. … We’re concerned that Russia may also seek to acquire advanced conventional weapons from Iran.”
Russian officials say Ukrainian forces firing U.S.-made HIMARS rockets killed six people and injured 10 others in the eastern Luhansk region earlier today. In southern Ukraine, Russia says four civilians were killed and 13 others injured in missile attacks on the occupied city of Kherson.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has accused Russia of mining a massive hydroelectric dam upstream from Kherson with explosives, and is calling for international monitors to ensure the security of the site. Ukraine has warned a breach of the dam could lead to catastrophic flooding downstream, impacting hundreds of thousands of people. It could also disrupt critical cooling systems at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, which relies on water from a reservoir created by the hydroelectric dam.
In the occupied West Bank, Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian teenager during a raid on the northern city of Jenin. Salah al-Braiki was 19 years old. Three other Palestinians were injured.
Here in the U.S., the ACLU is asking the Supreme Court to overturn an Arkansas law that penalizes companies that engage in Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, or BDS. BDS seeks to boycott Israel and Israeli goods to protest its violation of Palestinian rights. The ACLU says Arkansas’s anti-BDS law violates the right to free speech.
In Pakistan, former Prime Minister Imran Khan has been disqualified from holding office for five years. Pakistan’s Election Commission accused Khan of “corrupt practices” for the resale of gifts he received while in power. Khan’s party rejected the ruling and called on supporters to take to the streets. Khan was removed from power in April after a parliamentary vote of no confidence; Khan described the move as a form of “U.S.-backed regime change.”
Here in the United States, two attempts to block President Biden’s student loan debt relief plan were shut down Thursday. A federal judge in Missouri rejected a case brought by six Republican-led states that argued Biden overstepped his authority by bypassing Congress. Separately, Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett denied a challenge to the plan brought by a right-wing advocacy group. The Biden administration started accepting applications this week for up to $20,000 of individual relief for federal student loans.
A federal appeals court said Thursday South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham must testify before a Georgia grand jury that’s probing attempts by former President Trump and his allies to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. Fulton County prosecutors subpoenaed Senator Graham to testify about two calls he placed just after the 2020 election to Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s Republican secretary of state. Raffensperger told reporters after the calls that Graham had hinted he should throw away ballots from areas where Joe Biden likely got more votes.
In the Pacific Northwest, large wildfires in Oregon and Washington state have sent up massive plumes of smoke that brought some of the world’s worst air quality to cities in the region. On Thursday, Seattle residents were warned to shutter windows, avoid exercise, and were cautioned to wear masks outdoors. Portland and other cities issued similar warnings about unhealthy air quality. This is Brian Harvey, professor of forest sciences at the University of Washington.
Brian Harvey: “As the climate continues to warm, we are going to see a lengthening of the fire season. And that’s been shown in many regions around the globe.”
The Environmental Protection Agency is launching a civil rights investigation into whether the state of Mississippi discriminated against the majority-Black residents of Jackson when it refused to use federal funds to address the city’s dangerous water crisis. The EPA said Thursday it’s probing Mississippi’s Department of Health and Department of Environmental Quality over its role in the crisis that left tens of thousands of mostly Black households without drinking water. The main water treatment plant in Jackson was damaged after torrential rains and flooding in late August. Some viral videos showed undrinkable brown liquid coming out of taps.
In California, a Los Angeles jury found former UCLA gynecologist James Heaps guilty of sexually abusing his patients. Hundreds of women have accused Heaps of sexual assault. In May, the University of California agreed to pay out a record $700 million to the survivors. Heaps now faces up to 28 years in prison when he is sentenced next month.
In labor news, a tentative agreement has been reached between thousands of unionized mental healthcare workers and Kaiser Permanente — the U.S.’s largest nonprofit healthcare organization — ending a two-month strike. The National Union of Healthcare Workers had been denouncing chronic staff shortages at Kaiser, forcing patients to wait months for an appointment. The strike began in August, led by thousands of workers in California; Kaiser healthcare workers in Hawaii, Oregon and Washington state later joined.