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HeadlinesFebruary 04, 2022

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Biden Claims ISIS Leader Detonated Bomb That Killed 13 at Site of U.S. Raid

Feb 04, 2022

President Biden has confirmed the death of Islamic State leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi, who reportedly died as U.S. warplanes, helicopters and special forces assaulted a residential compound in northwest Syria Thursday. Biden blamed Qurayshi for the deaths of at least 13 people — including women and children — who were killed during Thursday’s early-morning raid.

President Joe Biden: “As our troops approached to capture the terrorist, in a final act of desperate cowardness, he — with no regard to the lives of his own family or others in the building, he chose to blow himself up, not just with a vest, but to blow up that third floor, rather than face justice for the crimes he has committed, taking several members of his family with him, just as his predecessor did.”

Witnesses described a gruesome scene inside the partially destroyed compound, with six children and four women among the dead. Images showed remnants of U.S.-made explosive devices scattered near the site of the assault. Thursday’s raid came less than a week after Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin directed the military to do more to protect civilians from harm in U.S. drone strikes and other combat operations.

Vladimir Putin Meets Xi Jinping in Beijing as Winter Olympics Open

Feb 04, 2022

Russian President Vladimir Putin has met Chinese leader Xi Jinping for talks in Beijing coinciding with the start of the Winter Olympic Games. It was President Xi’s first face-to-face meeting with another world leader in nearly two years due to the pandemic. In a joint statement, Putin and Xi called for an end to NATO expansion in Eastern Europe and blasted the newly formed ”AUKUS” military alliance between the United States, United Kingdom and Australia. Xi and Putin also discussed a deal on a new pipeline that would ship Russian gas to China.

State Dept. Questioned over Claims Russia Is Plotting “False Flag” Operation in Ukraine

Feb 04, 2022

The Biden administration has accused Russia of fabricating a pretext to invade Ukraine. State Department spokesperson Ned Price said Thursday he has evidence the Russian government is planning to stage a “false flag” operation by producing a propaganda video falsely incriminating Ukraine’s military or intelligence forces for attacks.

Ned Price: “A video with graphic scenes of false explosions, depicting corpses, crisis actors pretending to be mourners, and images of destroyed locations or military equipment, entirely fabricated by Russian intelligence.”

The claims drew skepticism from reporters. This is Associated Press diplomatic writer Matt Lee questioning Ned Price.

Matthew Lee: “Crisis actors? Really? This is like Alex Jones territory you’re getting into now. What evidence do you have to support the idea that there is some propaganda film in the making?”

Ned Price: “Matt, this is derived from information known to the U.S. government, intelligence information that we have declassified. I think you know —

Matthew Lee: “OK, well, where is it? Where is this information?”

Ned Price: “It is intelligence information that we have declassified.”

Matthew Lee: “Well, where is it? Where is the declassified information?

Ned Price: “I just delivered it.”

Russia’s foreign minister dismissed the claims as “total disinformation” and once again denied Russia is planning to invade Ukraine.

South African Plant Produces mRNA COVID Vaccine Based on Moderna Data

Feb 04, 2022

Global coronavirus cases have begun to decline from record highs set in late January, as new infections from the Omicron variant continue to fall in the United States and much of Europe. Countries worldwide are still reporting more than 3 million infections and over 10,000 deaths per day. 

In South Africa, workers at a technology transfer hub launched by the World Health Organization have produced the continent’s first-ever domestically produced doses of mRNA vaccines. The Afrigen Biologics vaccine candidate was produced using a publicly available, reverse-engineered sequence of Moderna’s COVID vaccine. It was produced without the assistance and approval of Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech after the drug companies refused to transfer technology for the lifesaving vaccines to countries in the Global South.

Chicago Ex-Cop Who Murdered Laquan McDonald Released After Just Three Years in Prison

Feb 04, 2022

In Chicago, the former police officer who shot and killed Black teenager Laquan McDonald in 2014 walked free from prison Thursday. Jason Van Dyke, who is white, served a little over three years — less than half his nearly seven-year prison sentence — before being released for good behavior. Van Dyke shot 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times, but the Chicago Police Department attempted to cover up the events, with the help of then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Activists are now calling for federal charges against Van Dyke. Several protests took place in Chicago yesterday, including in front of the Federal Plaza. This is Bishop Tavis Grant of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition.

Bishop Tavis Grant: “We know that night 12 officers were on the scene who did not render any aid to Laquan McDonald, and he died on the street. We know that reports were falsified. We know that witnesses were tampered with. And we know that the video was suppressed by the City Hall for over 400 days. Sixteen shots and a cover-up.”

Rev. Jesse Jackson was also present. He hand-delivered a letter to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Chicago backing the call for federal charges. Later in the broadcast, we’ll speak to community organizer Will Calloway, who pushed for the release of the video showing Laquan McDonald’s murder. We’ll also be joined by Justin Blake, the uncle of Jacob Blake.

Biden on Crime in New York City: “The Answer Is Not to Defund the Police”

Feb 04, 2022

Here in New York City, President Biden met with Mayor Eric Adams Thursday on a visit to discuss efforts to reduce gun violence. Adams is a former police captain who ran on a law-and-order platform. Biden spoke during a news conference at the NYPD headquarters with Adams, Governor Kathy Hochul and New York lawmakers.

President Joe Biden: “Mayor Adams, you and I agree: The answer is not to abandon our streets. That’s not the answer. The answer is to come together, the police and communities, building trust and making us all safer. The answer is not to defund the police; it’s to give you the tools, the training, the funding to be partners, to be protectors. And the community needs you.”

Turkey Blames Greek Border Guards After 12 Asylum Seekers Freeze to Death

Feb 04, 2022

At least one refugee drowned, and 16 others are missing at sea, after their boat capsized off Spain’s Canary Islands Wednesday night. About 40 other refugees were rescued. 

Meanwhile, at least 12 refugees froze to death on the Greece-Turkey border Wednesday. Turkey’s interior minister accused Greek border guards of expelling the refugees back into Turkey after taking their shoes and stripping them of some of their clothing. Greece denied the claims as “false propaganda.”

Texas Butterfly Conservation Center Shuts Doors Following Right-Wing Harassment   

Feb 04, 2022

In Mission, Texas, the National Butterfly Center is closing down indefinitely after facing years of harassment from right-wing groups. In 2019, the conservation center sued the Trump administration and the group We Build the Wall to prevent construction of the U.S.-Mexico border wall on its property. Right-wing groups proceeded to smear the National Butterfly Center and started a conspiracy theory that the nonprofit facilitates human trafficking and sex trafficking. The center says it hopes to reopen as soon as it becomes safe for its staff and visitors.

Mexican Auto Workers Form Independent Union After Breaking Off from Corrupt Labor Group

Feb 04, 2022

In a historic victory for international labor rights, thousands of Mexican workers at a General Motors plant in the city of Silao, Guanajuato, have voted to form an independent union. The union election was the first ever since the implementation of new labor reforms in Mexico, written into the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. Many powerful unions in Mexico, with ties to elite politicians and businesspeople, had for years gone behind workers’ backs to make deals with multinational corporations to keep workers’ pay low and deny them other benefits. With an independent union, GM workers in Silao have now broken ties with one of Mexico’s most influential labor organizations, which had held the plant’s contract for 25 years.

Daniel Ortega’s Critics Convicted as Trials Resume in Nicaragua

Feb 04, 2022

In Nicaragua, the criminal trials of dozens of opponents of President Daniel Ortega’s government — including students, journalists, activists and political leaders — resumed this week. Several have been convicted, after trials that lasted less than a day and had been delayed for months. They were jailed last year leading up to November’s election, where Ortega won a fourth term. This is the mother of Yaser Vado González, a member of the opposition party Unamos who was convicted Tuesday.

Zenobia González: “It makes no sense for it to go on like this. There has to be a solution for this problem, for this conflict we are going through. There has to be a solution between the state of Nicaragua, the government and the citizens. Many mothers are suffering, wives and children, too. As a mother, I understand all of their feelings.”

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