The United Nations General Assembly has approved a resolution calling on Russia to pay reparations for its invasion of Ukraine and other violations of international law. A little less than half of the General Assembly’s 193 members voted in favor of the resolution, while 14 voted against it, including Russia, Iran and China. Seventy-three countries abstained, including Brazil, India and South Africa. Ahead of Monday’s vote, Ukraine’s U.N. ambassador said it was time to hold Russia accountable.
Sergiy Kyslytsya: “Accounts of atrocities committed by Russians in the occupied territories — murder, rape, torture, forced deportation, looting — they all speak for themselves. Millions of Ukrainians have been forced to leave their homes and seek shelter elsewhere. Ukraine will have the daunting task of rebuilding the country and recovering from this war.”
President Joe Biden said Monday he does not believe China is preparing to invade Taiwan. Biden’s remark at the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, came after his first face-to-face meeting as president with Chinese leader Xi Jinping. Speaking to reporters after their three-hour talk, Biden dismissed his critics’ claims that U.S. military maneuvers in the Taiwan Strait were provoking a new Cold War.
President Joe Biden: “I absolutely believe there need not be a new Cold War. We — I met many times with Xi Jinping, and we were candid and clear with one another across the board. And I do not think there’s any imminent attempt on the part of China to invade Taiwan.”
Here in Egypt, imprisoned British-Egyptian writer and technologist Alaa Abd El-Fattah has ended his hunger strike after more than seven months. The news came in a letter from prison today to his family. They are scheduled to have their monthly visit with him on Thursday, one day before his 41st birthday. In the letter, Alaa wrote, “I’ll see you on the visit day and tell you everything then and we’ll get back to long letters after the visit. The important thing is I want to celebrate my birthday with you on Thursday, I haven’t celebrated for a long time, and want to celebrate with my cellmates, so bring a cake, normal provisions, I’ve broken my strike. I’ll explain everything on Thursday. Lots of love. I miss you and long for your company. Alaa.” In response, his sister Mona Seif said, “I feel cautiously relieved now knowing that at least he’s not on hunger strike but my heart won’t really be settled until Thursday when my mother and sister see him with their own eyes.”
The Biden administration has opened an FBI investigation into the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh, the Palestinian American journalist who was shot in the head and killed last May while covering an Israeli raid in the occupied West Bank — even as she wore a helmet clearly labeled ”PRESS.” Israeli officials initially blamed Palestinians for her death, then called evidence “inconclusive,” before once again changing their story in September to say Abu Akleh may have been “accidentally” hit by Israeli troops’ gunfire after they came under fire from Palestinian gunmen. But eyewitness accounts and videos of the area where Shireen was killed do not show a gun battle, and investigations by Al Jazeera, The New York Times, CNN and other news outlets also challenge the official Israeli version of Abu Akleh’s killing.
Abu Akleh’s family called the U.S. investigation an important step toward accountability, writing, “It is what the United States should do when a U.S. citizen is killed abroad, especially when they were killed, like Shireen, by a foreign military.”
Israel’s Minister of Defense Benny Gantz called the U.S. decision to investigate Abu Akleh’s killing a “grave mistake,” adding, “I have made it clear to the U.S. that we won’t cooperate with any external investigation and won’t allow any interference in Israel’s internal affairs.”
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, fighting between the army and M23 rebels has moved closer to the eastern city of Goma. It’s some of the worst violence in Congo’s North Kivu region since government forces chased the rebels into neighboring Rwanda in 2013. The fighting has pushed thousands of internally displaced people into makeshift camps, where they face dangerous and squalid conditions.
Ndazimana Kasigwa: “The M23 attacked us the day before yesterday, and that’s how we immediately made the decision to flee. I even left my wife and children behind. I didn’t even take clothes. I don’t have food here, and the hunger will kill us.”
According to the United Nations, at least 188,000 people have been displaced in eastern Congo in recent weeks. Over the weekend, Kenya’s military began sending 900 troops to Congo in support of government forces.
In Arizona, Democrat Katie Hobbs has been elected governor after nearly a week of ballot counting in the highly contested race. Hobbs narrowly defeated her Republican, Trump-endorsed challenger Kari Lake with 50.39% of the votes. Lake, a former news anchor and loyal supporter of Trump’s false claims of a rigged 2020 presidential election, received 49.61%. Hobbs served as Arizona’s secretary of state and vocally defended the state’s election system and the legitimacy of the 2020 election, making her the target of harassment from the far right. Ahead of November 8, Kari Lake would not say whether she would accept the results of the election. On Monday night, just after major news organizations called the race for her opponent, Kari Lake tweeted, “Arizonans know BS when they see it.”
In more news from Arizona, voters have passed a ballot measure that will grant undocumented students in-state college tuition and scholarships if they attended high school in Arizona. The historic victory comes after a massive organizing campaign led by undocumented advocates who have for years fought for state benefits. Nearly 16 years ago, Arizona overwhelmingly voted to ban undocumented students from getting in-state tuition.
A federal appeals court has temporarily blocked the Biden administration’s student loan relief program while it reviews a lawsuit by six Republican-led states. The challenge is being pushed by Nebraska, Missouri, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas and South Carolina, arguing Biden’s plan to cancel up to $20,000 in student debt per person would deprive these states of tax revenue. The program had already been put on hold even after the Education Department had approved 16 million borrowers for up to $20,000 of relief — out of 26 million people who have applied for the program.
In the largest higher education strike in U.S. history, some 48,000 graduate student workers at all 10 University of California campuses walked off the job Monday denouncing the university’s bad-faith bargaining practices with their union. The student workers, including researchers, teaching assistants and tutors, have organized with the United Auto Workers and are fighting for higher living wages, more child care benefits, expanded family leave, among other demands.
The University of Virginia lifted a campus-wide shelter-in-place order on Monday, after police arrested a suspect in Sunday evening’s mass shooting, following a 12-hour manhunt. A 22-year-old former football player and UVA student is accused of killing three football players and wounding two other people. According to the Gun Violence Archive, there have been nearly 600 mass shootings and 39,000 gun deaths in the United States so far this year.
The Supreme Court has paved the way for the House January 6 committee to subpoena the records of Kelli Ward, the chair of Arizona’s Republican Party, who played a key role in efforts to overturn Joe Biden’s win in the 2020 presidential election. Two justices, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, dissented from Monday’s emergency ruling, without citing reasons. Clarence Thomas’s refusal to recuse himself from yet another January 6 ruling has led to renewed calls for his impeachment. Thomas’s wife, Ginni Thomas, is a far-right activist who played a key role in efforts to keep Donald Trump in the White House after he lost the election.
Former Vice President Mike Pence told ABC News in an interview broadcast on Monday that Trump’s actions on January 6 “endangered” his family, as well as everyone at the Capitol that day. And Pence said he was “angered” over Trump’s tweet on January 6 that Pence “didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done.”
Mike Pence: “And I said, 'It doesn't take courage to break the law; it takes courage to uphold the law.’ I mean, the president’s words were reckless. It was clear he decided to be part of the problem.”
Pence granted ABC News the interview just as he published his new memoir, entitled “So Help Me God.” Today Donald Trump is expected to announce from his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, that he’s running for the presidency again in 2024.
Amazon is planning to carry out massive layoffs and could cut as many as 10,000 jobs this week. That’s according to multiple news outlets, including The Washington Post, which reports the layoffs are likely to target Amazon’s corporate workforce. This follows recent mass layoffs at Facebook, Twitter and Salesforce.
Prices of digital currencies fell sharply over the weekend after the leading cryptocurrency exchange FTX filed for bankruptcy on Friday. FTX’s rapid collapse has been compared to the implosion of Lehman Brothers in 2008 and the Ponzi scheme masterminded by Bernie Madoff. Overnight, it wiped out nearly all the wealth of 30-year-old CEO Sam Bankman-Fried, whose personal net worth was once valued at $26 billion. Regulators in the U.S. and the Bahamas have opened civil and criminal investigations into how hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of assets flowed out of FTX just ahead of its collapse.
In more tech news, Google has agreed to pay nearly $400 million to 40 states to settle lawsuits accusing the tech giant of tracking smartphone users’ movements — even after they changed a software setting to opt out of sharing their location data. In a statement announcing the settlement, Oregon’s attorney general said, “For years Google has prioritized profit over their users’ privacy.”
Over a dozen climate scientists and advocates were arrested last week as they blocked several U.S. airports, protesting the destructive toll private jets have on the environment. Climate protesters targeted private airports in New Jersey, North Carolina, California and Washington state as part of a coordinated global action that also saw demonstrations at at least 13 other private airports in 12 other countries. Among the protesters arrested was Peter Kalmus, a climate scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab.
Peter Kalmus: “I feel so awful doing this. It just — I feel sick at heart, and it just feels, like, incredibly messy. I feel gaslit by society. But I know this is the right thing to do. So, despite the messiness of this moment, I’m standing in solidarity with all of the Earth protectors around the world and with all the young people who feel desperate for their futures.”
Click see our interview with Peter Kalmus.