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HeadlinesNovember 18, 2022

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Negotiations over “Loss and Damage” Dominate Final Hours of COP27 Climate Summit

Nov 18, 2022

Talks are expected to go into overtime on the last official day of the COP27 climate conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, as delegates seek a compromise on an agreement over the issue of “loss and damage” and how to slow down global emissions to combat the climate catastrophe. Activists condemned an early draft agreement which failed to call for the “phase-down” of all fossil fuels. On Thursday, the EU agreed to a new loss and damage fund to compensate poor nations for the impacts of the climate crisis. But key actors, including the United States, have thus far objected to such a fund.

In an 11th-hour appeal to climate delegates, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres on Thursday urged nations to overcome a “breakdown in trust” between rich and poor, and stand together to prevent the worst effects of the climate crisis.

Secretary-General António Guterres: “This is no time for finger pointing. The blame game is a recipe for mutually assured destruction. I’m here to appeal to all parties to rise to this moment and to the greatest challenge that humanity is facing.”

We’ll have more from COP27 here in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, after headlines.

Nancy Pelosi, First Woman House Speaker, Steps Down from Democratic Leadership After 2 Decades

Nov 18, 2022

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she will not seek a leadership role in the next Congress, after two decades spent leading House Democrats. Pelosi spoke from the House floor Thursday after midterm election results showed Republicans have won a narrow majority in the House of Representatives.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi: “I will not seek reelection to Democratic leadership in the next Congress. For me, the hour has come for a new generation to lead the Democratic caucus that I so deeply respect. And I’m grateful that so many are ready and willing to shoulder this awesome responsibility.”

Democratic Rep. Katie Porter, Famous for Her “Whiteboard of Justice,” Wins Reelection

Nov 18, 2022

In California, Democratic Congressmember Katie Porter has been reelected to represent the 47th House district in Orange County after a narrow win over Republican Scott Baugh. Porter is a former UC Irvine law professor known for her tough questioning of witnesses during hearings of the House Oversight and Natural Resources committees, questioning, for example, the heads of Wells Fargo and Bank of America, as well as JPMorgan Chase.

Reelection Bid of Far-Right Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert Headed for Recount

Nov 18, 2022
Image Credit: Twitter: @laurenboebert

In Colorado, the race between far-right Republican Congressmember Lauren Boebert and Democratic challenger Adam Frisch appears headed for a recount after an initial tally showed Boebert’s lead at just over 500 votes out of 327,000 counted. Boebert is a far-right Trump supporter, an election denier, and infamously vowed to carry her Glock pistol on the Capitol grounds. Last year Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy refused to sanction Boebert after she used racist language to attack her Muslim colleagues.

Kremlin Hints at Prisoner Swap Involving Brittney Griner and Viktor Bout

Nov 18, 2022

Ukraine’s government says 10 million people have been left without electricity after dozens of Russian aerial attacks targeted Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure. On Thursday, the first snow of the season fell on Kyiv and other parts of Ukraine.

In Russia, U.S. political prisoner and women’s basketball star Brittney Griner has been moved to a penal colony 300 miles southeast of Moscow. Earlier today, Russia’s deputy foreign minister said he hopes to negotiate a prisoner swap with the U.S. that would include convicted arms trafficker Viktor Bout, known as the “Merchant of Death.”

Meanwhile, jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny said Thursday he’s been permanently transferred to a cramped solitary confinement cell in a notorious penal colony east of Moscow and will be largely cut off from the outside world. 

State Department Says Saudi Crown Prince Has Immunity from Lawsuit over Khashoggi Killing

Nov 18, 2022

The Biden administration is petitioning a U.S. court to grant Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sovereign immunity in a civil case seeking legal accountability for his involvement in the 2018 murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The State Department argued Bin Salman’s new role as Saudi Arabia’s prime minister means that he is “the sitting head of government and, accordingly, immune.” Biden vowed as a presidential candidate to make Saudi Arabia a “pariah” for the state-sponsored killing of Khashoggi, who was a Washington Post columnist, but since taking office, Biden has refused to condemn bin Salman for ordering Khashoggi’s killing and dismemberment.

Blaze Kills 21 People at Jabaliya Refugee Camp in Gaza

Nov 18, 2022

In the Gaza Strip, at least 21 people were killed and others injured on Thursday after a fire tore through an apartment complex in the crowded Jabaliya refugee camp. In response to a request from the Palestinian Authority, Israeli officials said they would lift Gaza’s normal travel restrictions to allow survivors to seek medical treatment in Israel.

World Cup Kicks Off in Shadow of Qatar’s Human Rights, Labor Abuses

Nov 18, 2022

The FIFA World Cup soccer tournament opens in Qatar on Sunday as human rights advocates condemn serious labor and human rights abuses against migrant workers who built stadiums and other infrastructure in preparation for Qatar to host one of the most anticipated international sports tournaments. Rights groups report thousands of migrant workers, from countries including India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, have died in the dozen years since Qatar won the right to host this year’s World Cup. Qatar has also deported migrant workers who’ve denounced wage theft. 

Adjunct Professors at NYC’s New School Launch Indefinite Strike

Nov 18, 2022
Image Credit: Twitter: @UAW7902

In New York City, part-time faculty members at the New School University have gone on an indefinite strike to demand a fair union contract. Adjuncts say they haven’t received a pay raise since 2018 and that administrators’ offer of a 3.5% wage increase falls far short of keeping pace with record inflation.

Meanwhile, nearly 50,000 student workers at all 10 University of California campuses are on the fifth day of an open-ended strike. The workers are demanding child care subsidies, better healthcare for dependents, lower tuition for international scholars, and are asking for their compensation to be tied to housing costs.

Starbucks Workers Walk Out Nationwide to Protest Chain’s Anti-Union Efforts 

Nov 18, 2022

In more labor news, thousands of Starbucks workers at over 100 stores nationwide walked off the job yesterday over the company’s refusal to bargain in good faith with newly unionized employees. Starbucks workers in New York joined the day of action dubbed the “Red Cup Rebellion.”

Dreyson: “Starbucks claims to be a progressive company, but they drive us to the bone every single day. Our healthcare is unaffordable for many of us. We have serious health and safety issues in our store.”

Hal Battjes: “We are on strike because we are fighting for better scheduling, fair wages, and the failure to bargain from Starbucks. They have not decided to bargain with the unions, which is an illegal activity. They’ve been stalling. They’ve been doing their best to avoid us.”

Hundreds of Twitter Workers Resign After Declining to Go “Hard Core” for Musk 

Nov 18, 2022

Hundreds of Twitter workers resigned Thursday after rejecting new owner Elon Musk’s one-day ultimatum to go “extremely hard core” or leave with three months’ severance pay. Twitter has closed its doors until Monday as it figures out which former workers it now needs to cut access for, and amid rumors Musk is worried about internal sabotage at the company. Musk reportedly met with some employees in hopes of convincing them to stay. The hashtag #RIPTwitter began trending on Twitter. On Thursday night, a light projection on Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters trolled Elon Musk with the words “bankruptcy baby,” “apartheid profiteer” and “space Karen,” among other insults.

Alabama Execution Called Off over Botched Attempt at Lethal Injection

Nov 18, 2022

Alabama prison officials called off the execution of Kenneth Eugene Smith Thursday after they struggled to establish an IV line for his lethal injection. Alabama canceled another execution in September for the same reason.

This comes after an execution team in Arizona struggled Wednesday with the killing of a prisoner for the third time this year. Seventy-six-year-old Murray Hooper had always maintained his innocence after being convicted of murder and sentenced to death in 1983 without any DNA evidence, but was repeatedly denied DNA testing. After failing to insert an IV into Hooper’s arms, his executioners used a vein near his groin. Hooper reportedly turned to witnesses and said, “Can you believe this?”

Staughton Lynd, Civil Rights Activist and War Critic, Dies at Age 92

Nov 18, 2022
Image Credit: Bettmann via Getty Images

Staughton Lynd, the longtime peace and civil rights activist, lawyer and author, has died at the age of 92. In the early 1960s, Lynd taught alongside his friend Howard Zinn at Spelman College in Atlanta and served as director of the SNCC Freedom Schools of Mississippi. He was a leading early critic of the Vietnam War. The State Department stripped him of his passport after he traveled to North Vietnam in 1965. Staughton Lynd was a conscientious objector during the Korean War and later supported U.S. soldiers who refused to fight in Iraq. He appeared on Democracy Now! in 2006.

Staughton Lynd: “The logic of those precedents is that a soldier in Iraq or, like Lieutenant Ehren Watada, under orders to be deployed to Iraq can say, 'I consider this to be a war crime. Even if my superiors tell me something different, I am obliged to use my own judgment, my own conscience. And so I say no.'”

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