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HeadlinesMarch 10, 2022

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Ukraine Condemns “Atrocities” as Russia Bombs Maternity Hospital and Shells Refugee Corridors

Mar 10, 2022

Russian forces are continuing to shell the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol, a day after a Russian missile struck a maternity hospital, killing three people and injuring 17 others. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky condemned the bombing as an “atrocity” and accused Russia of shelling a humanitarian corridor meant to allow Mariupol residents to flee. The Red Cross has described the situation as “apocalyptic,” with residents cut off from food, water, power and heat for over a week amid freezing temperatures. The city’s mayor says 1,200 civilians have been killed over the past 10 days, but that figure has not been verified. City officials have begun burying bodies in mass graves. Those who managed to escape Mariupol described harrowing scenes.

Irina: “We needed to run for 50 meters to the place of evacuation. We quickly packed our things. And then the mortars started shooting. We fell on the ground. I was thinking I would never stand up again.”

Mariupol evacuee: “There were bodies laying near one of the stores in Mariupol for three days, women and men. Locals covered them with carpets, and they’re just laying there.”

The World Health Organization says it has verified 20 attacks on healthcare facilities, workers and ambulances across Ukraine since Russia invaded two weeks ago.

Russian and Ukrainian Foreign Ministers Fail to Reach Ceasefire Agreement

Mar 10, 2022

In Turkey, top diplomats from Ukraine and Russia wrapped up a meeting today without reaching an agreement on a ceasefire to ease the humanitarian crisis. Ukraine says it has opened seven humanitarian corridors but that only one of them — near the city of Sumy — was currently functioning. After headlines, we’ll spend the rest of the hour on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the resulting refugee crisis.

U.S. Amends U.N. Ambassador’s Condemnation of Russia’s Use of Cluster Bombs

Mar 10, 2022

The White House warned Wednesday Russia may deploy banned weapons in its assault on Ukraine. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki tweeted, “we should all be on the lookout for Russia to possibly use chemical or biological weapons in Ukraine, or to create a false flag operation using them.” Psaki’s comments came after the Biden administration’s mission to the United Nations amended remarks made by U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield to the U.N. General Assembly last week in which she condemned Russia’s use of cluster munitions.

Linda Thomas-Greenfield: “We’ve seen videos of Russian forces moving exceptionally lethal weaponry into Ukraine, which has no place on the battlefield. That includes cluster munitions and vacuum bombs, which are banned under the Geneva Convention.”

Within hours of those remarks, the U.S. Mission to the United Nations edited Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield’s transcript, changing her comments to read that the weapons have no place on the battlefield if they are directed against civilians. The United States fought against the creation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions and is not among the 110 nations that have ratified the treaty.

The U.S. has repeatedly used cluster bombs throughout its history, dropping them over Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Iraq and elsewhere. Under President Barack Obama in 2009, a U.S. cluster bomb attack in Yemen killed 55 people, the majority of them women and children. Russia and Ukraine also have not signed on to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

House Passes $1.5T Spending Bill After Democrats Drop $15B for Coronavirus Relief

Mar 10, 2022

The House of Representatives passed a $1.5 trillion spending bill Wednesday to fund the government through September, which includes $13.6 billion for Ukraine. The measure does not include a planned $15 billion coronavirus relief package, after Democrats could not agree on how to fund it. The money would have gone toward treatments, research to combat new variants and funding a global vaccination push. A reauthorization and expansion of the Violence Against Women Act is also included in the bill. The program lapsed in 2018 during a government shutdown. Progressives condemned increased funding for ICE and $782 billion earmarked for the military. The measure now heads to the Senate.

U.S. on Pace to Miss Its COVID Vaccine Donation Goal

Mar 10, 2022

The Biden administration is lagging far behind its goal of donating 1.1 billion COVID vaccine doses to other nations by September. That’s according to a new analysis by Public Citizen, which finds the U.S. would have to increase its donation rate by 50% between now and September in order to reach its target. Ninety countries are currently falling behind the U.N.’s goal of vaccinating 70% of their population by mid-2022.

Conservative Ex-Prosecutor Yoon Suk-yeol Wins South Korean Presidential Election

Mar 10, 2022

In South Korea, conservative former prosecutor and political newcomer Yoon Suk-yeol has narrowly won the presidential election, defeating the ruling Democratic Party’s candidate. Voters cited out-of-control housing prices as a top concern, as well as political corruption and the lack of progress in relations with North Korea. Younger and women voters have called out Yoon’s anti-labor and anti-feminist stances.

Israel & Turkey Agree to Renew Relations as Turkish Activists Protest Visit from Israeli President

Mar 10, 2022

Israeli President Isaac Herzog traveled to the Turkish capital Ankara Wednesday, where he met with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan — the first such visit by an Israeli president in 14 years. While the leaders agreed to a fresh start in Turkish-Israeli relations, a group of activists staged a protest against Herzog’s visit, recalling the deadly 2010 Israeli raid on the Gaza-bound Turkish aid ship, the Mavi Marmara. The Israeli assault killed 10 Turkish activists, including one Turkish American.

Behesti Ismail Songur: “Future generations will view this partnership poorly. We are calling out to Turkish authorities: Turn back from this kind of a political and commercial relationship before it is too late. The world is not just about trade.”

Prominent Western Saharan Activist in Morocco Targeted with Pegasus Spyware

Mar 10, 2022

A prominent human rights activist from Moroccan-occupied Western Sahara was targeted with Pegasus spyware in recent months. That’s according to a new investigation by Amnesty International, which discovered software from the Israeli firm the NSO Group on two smartphones belonging to Sahrawi human rights defender Aminatou Haidar. Pegasus uses a “zero-click” exploit to secretly infect a mobile phone and harvest its information.

TX Flags 27,000 Primary Mail Ballots for Rejection; FL Legislature Approves Election Police Force

Mar 10, 2022

Florida state lawmakers on Wednesday approved the creation of a first-of-its-kind elections “police force.” Democrats and voting rights advocates sounded alarm over the plan, which could see people being fined or jailed for things that were commonly accepted until a recent voter suppression bill became law, such as gathering ballots at churches and community centers before dropping them off at an official election site or drop box.

Meanwhile, Texas election workers have flagged over 27,000 mail ballots for possible rejection from the March 1 primary. Although the final count of rejected ballots will be lower, the preliminary number shows the unprecedented impact of new voter suppression laws on Texas elections.

In more voting news, Colorado county official Tina Peters was indicted on 10 counts Wednesday as part of a vote-tampering investigation linked to the 2020 election. She’s accused of leaking sensitive voting machine data. Peters is a pro-Trump Republican currently running as a candidate for Colorado secretary of state.

Trial Opens over 2020 Plot to Kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer

Mar 10, 2022

In Michigan, a trial is underway for four men accused of plotting to kidnap Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer ahead of the 2020 election. Prosecutors say the men discussed buying supplies to be used in the kidnapping with members of the militia group the Wolverine Watchmen. They’re also accused of surveilling the governor’s vacation home. One of the defendants is charged with ordering explosives from an undercover FBI agent posing as a co-conspirator, and two others allegedly tested improvised explosive devices.

Michigan Charges Ex-Boy Scouts Leader Charged for Sexual Assault

Mar 10, 2022

In Michigan, a former Boy Scouts leader has been charged with sexually assaulting two boys in a Detroit suburb. Fifty-one-year-old Mark Chapman is the first former Boy Scout leader to be charged under a review of thousands of sexual abuse claims in Michigan. Survivors say sexual abuse in the Boy Scouts has long been an “unspoken norm.”

Guatemalan Congress Approves Bill Upping Prison Sentence for Abortions, Banning Same-Sex Marriage

Mar 10, 2022

In Guatemala, activists took to the streets Wednesday to condemn a new bill which would increase prison sentences for people who have an abortion to 10 years. The law was approved by Congress on Tuesday, International Women’s Day. It also bans same-sex marriage and teaching about sexual identity in schools. Guatemala’s conservative President Alejandro Giammattei is expected to sign the measure into law. This is human rights lawyer Stephanie Rodriguez.

Stephanie Rodriguez: “As a lawyer who has worked for several years on women’s rights, we are concerned about the criminalization of women, derived from two issues. One is that abortion is criminalized with penalties much higher than the current ones. On the other hand, they also criminalize spontaneous or natural abortions.”

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