Ukrainian drones have struck two Russian air bases hundreds of miles from the frontlines. On Monday, Kremlin officials acknowledged the attacks damaged two Russian warplanes, and reported three people were killed and five others wounded in an explosion at a military base about 150 miles from Moscow. Russia responded with a fresh barrage of missile strikes across Ukraine that knocked out power supplies and killed at least four civilians. The attacks triggered air raid sirens across Ukrainian cities and towns. Among those seeking cover in a Kyiv bomb shelter Monday was the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, Volker Türk.
Volker Türk: “There was a wave of missile attacks against Ukraine, including some of them ending up in the proximity of Kyiv. You can imagine what this means for the population. It has become almost a new normal, but it has a huge impact on civilians. And it has to stop.”
On Monday, Russian state media broadcast images of President Vladimir Putin touring the Kerch Bridge, a key link between Russia and the Russian-annexed Ukrainian territory of Crimea, which was heavily damaged by an explosion in October.
Here in the United States, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments Monday in a case brought by a website designer from Colorado who’s seeking to deny services to LGBTQ people. During two-and-a-half hours of debate, the court’s conservative majority appeared to side with the plaintiff, who said her religious beliefs ought to outweigh Colorado’s public accommodations law, which bans businesses from discriminating against people based on their gender and sexual orientation. Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser, who led the defense, spoke to reporters outside the Supreme Court.
Attorney General Phil Weiser: “We are very concerned that if our side loses in this case, the court would open up an exemption that would make possible all sorts of professions — photographers, people who make cakes, others who write books — to say, ’I’m not going to sell to someone based on who they are.’ The court has never recognized that exception. And to do so would threaten the core of our civil rights laws.”
In immigration news, the Biden administration has expanded temporary deportation relief to tens of thousands of Haitians after mounting pressure from immigrant rights advocates. Haitian migrants who arrived in the United States as of November 6 will now qualify for temporary protected status, TPS, and the program’s expiration date has been extended from next February to August 2024. Biden officials warned asylum seekers who arrive after the November cutoff date will likely be deported. This comes as Haiti faces a political, economic and humanitarian crisis with skyrocketing violence taking over the streets.
U.S. senators have reportedly drafted a last-minute bipartisan immigration bill that could grant a path to citizenship to at least 2 million undocumented people brought to the U.S. as children, known as “DREAMers.” The Washington Post reports Republican Senator Thom Tillis and Democratic Senator Kyrsten Sinema have reached a deal on the legislation, which would also increase funding to further militarize the U.S.-Mexico border and try to speed up portions of the asylum application process.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is encouraging all U.S. residents to resume wearing high-quality, well-fitting masks in public, as 44 states report “very high” rates of influenza. This week, hospitalizations from influenza hit a 10-year high for this point in the flu season. Rates of RSV, or respiratory syncytial virus, are also high in many regions, and U.S. hospitalizations from COVID-19 are once again climbing. In Illinois, 12 counties are recommending masks in public after reporting “high” levels of community spread, while in California, Los Angeles County officials are poised to restore a mask mandate after COVID cases reached their highest levels since August.
In northern Ethiopia, the commander of Tigrayan forces says two-thirds of troops have relocated away from the frontlines, a month after a ceasefire agreement ended fighting in the war-torn region. This comes as Ethiopia’s military has been accused of massacring Tigrayan prisoners of war captured during the conflict. The Washington Post reports at least 83 Tigrayan soldiers in a makeshift Ethiopian prison camp were slaughtered by guards in November 2021, with their bodies dumped in a mass grave by the prison gate. Other witnesses reported Ethiopian guards have killed imprisoned soldiers in at least seven other locations.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, government officials said Monday at least 272 civilians were killed in a massacre blamed on the M23 rebel group in the eastern town of Kishishe last week. DRC security forces initially estimated some 50 people were killed. M23 has denied responsibility. Dozens of young activists gathered in the city of Goma Monday demanding justice for the victims and denouncing the international community for ignoring the intensifying violence faced by people in the DRC.
Claude Lwaboshi Buhazi: “We find it inadmissible that the international community is passive in the face of the ignoble acts that are perpetrated in the Democratic Republic of Congo. We say no, because it has been more than a decade. Our populations are massacred in the Rutshuru territory. In Bunagana, people are still living in disaster. We say no.”
Al Jazeera has filed a formal request at the International Criminal Court asking it to investigate and prosecute those responsible for the killing of Palestinian American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh. On May 11, an Israeli soldier shot Shireen in the head as she was reporting just outside the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank. Shireen and other reporters were wearing blue helmets and blue flak jackets clearly emblazoned with the word “press.” Shireen’s niece, Lina Abu Akleh, spoke to reporters from The Hague in the Netherlands earlier today.
Lina Abu Akleh: “It’s important that there continue to be support for Shireen, we continue to talk about her, and to continue to pressure governments, members of parliament, policymakers to take action and pressure those in power to seek justice and accountability.”
Click here to see our interview with Lina Abu Akleh and Sharif Abdel Kouddous, the correspondent on the documentary “The Killing of Shireen Abu Akleh” for Al Jazeera last Friday.
In Mongolia, thousands of people took to the streets of the capital Ulaanbaatar Monday braving the freezing cold to protest allegations of corruption within the state-owned coal mining company. Reports recently surfaced accusing a group of Mongolian lawmakers with ties to the coal industry of stealing billions of dollars. Meanwhile, people are suffering through a worsening economic crisis as inflation and living costs have soared since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and as the closure of borders have impacted Mongolia’s trade with China. On Monday, protesters tried to storm a government building, calling for Mongolia’s parliament to be dismissed and for corrupt politicians to be brought to justice.
Protester: “And that’s the reason why a lot of government members are richer and live a [more] luxurious life than, like, the citizens, and how they could just be like so calm when the citizens are like buying bread, like, by slice, not by the loaf. So that’s the reason why I’m protesting today, for the good of the people.”
Georgia voters are casting their final ballots today in a runoff election that pits Democratic incumbent Senator Raphael Warnock against Republican Herschel Walker. Two of Walker’s former romantic partners have accused him of pressuring them to have abortions — even though he’s an avowed abortion opponent who said during the campaign he would ban the procedure, even in cases of rape or incest. Last week, a third former partner accused Herschel Walker of violently attacking her. Senator Warnock spoke from the campaign trail in Atlanta on Monday.
Sen. Raphael Warnock: “Maya Angelou said, 'When someone shows you who they are, believe them.' We don’t believe anything Herschel Walker says, but he’s shown us who he is. He’s certainly not a United States senator.”
Later in the broadcast, we’ll go to Atlanta to speak with Cliff Albright, executive director of Black Voters Matter.
Here in New York, a judge has dismissed the murder charge against domestic violence survivor Tracy McCarter, a nurse and grandmother who was arrested in 2020 after her husband died of a stab wound when she defended herself during an altercation. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg declined to move forward on the case after he’d said while running for office, “Prosecuting a domestic violence survivor who acted in self-defense is unjust.” The judge left the case unsealed for 60 days to give Bragg “the opportunity” to seek further charges. Bragg’s office says it is “reviewing the decision.” McCarter said in a statement Friday, “I am innocent. And I am devastated that on March 2, 2020, a man whom I loved lost his life. We were both the victims of the cruel disease of alcoholism. Dismissing the unjust charge against me can’t give back what I’ve lost, but I am relieved that this nightmare is over, and I am determined to once again thrive.” Click here to see our coverage of this case.
In labor news, at least 17 University of California academic workers were arrested Monday after staging a peaceful sit-in in the lobby of the UC president’s office in Sacramento. Hundreds of other academic workers led a march at a separate UC building in California’s capital as their strike entered its fourth week. Some 48,000 academic workers across all 10 UC campuses have walked off the job demanding living wages and better working conditions. Click here to see our coverage of the largest strike of academic workers in U.S. history.