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HeadlinesApril 06, 2022

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Zelensky Blasts U.N. for Failing to Stop Russian Atrocities in Ukraine

Apr 06, 2022

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the United Nations Security Council Tuesday and blasted the U.N. for failing to take action to end Russia’s invasion. He accused Russian forces of executions, torture and rape, including in the city of Bucha, where videos have emerged showing dead bodies lying in the street.

President Volodymyr Zelensky: “Due to the Russian actions on the territory of my country, on Ukrainian territory, the most terrible war crimes since World War II are committed.”

The killings in Bucha have led to new calls for sanctions. On Tuesday, the European Union proposed banning coal imports from Russia. Meanwhile, Russia is continuing to deny it killed civilians in Bucha.

Russia Denies Killing Civilians in Bucha, Accuses Ukraine of Spreading Propaganda

Apr 06, 2022

On Tuesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov accused Ukraine and its allies of spreading propaganda about what happened in Bucha.

Sergey Lavrov: “In recent days the propaganda machine of the West and Ukraine has been working purely to fuel the hysteria over the video that was filmed, as we understand, by the Ukrainian military, by the Security Service, in the town of Bucha in Kyiv region. … We are inclined to think that the reason is the intention to derail negotiations with Ukraine — moreover, to do it at the moment when it began to gleam, even if it was not too bright yet.”

The Russian Defense Ministry has claimed the killings in Bucha occurred after Russian troops withdrew from the region on March 30, but multiple news outlets report satellite imagery shows bodies lying in the streets of Bucha before the Russian troops left. Meanwhile, Ukrainian officials say another massacre occurred in the town of Borodyanka outside of the capital Kyiv. Local officials fear as many as 200 people have died.

U.S. Pledges $100M to Ukraine to Buy More Javelin Missiles as War Enters New Phase

Apr 06, 2022

On Tuesday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg warned the war in Ukraine is entering a new phase.

Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg: “In the coming weeks we expect a further Russian push in the eastern and southern Ukraine to try to take the entire Donbas and to create a land bridge to occupied Crimea. So this is a crucial phase of the war.”

The Biden administration pledged an additional $100 million in military aid to Ukraine for the purchase of Javelin anti-tank missiles. Since the invasion began, the U.S. has approved at least $1.7 billion in military aid for Ukraine.

Gen. Mark Milley: Ukraine War Will Be “Very Protracted Conflict” Lasting Years

Apr 06, 2022

General Mark Milley, the chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told lawmakers Tuesday that he expects the fighting in Ukraine to continue for years.

Gen. Mark Milley: “But I do think this is a very protracted conflict, and I think it’s at least measured in years. I don’t know about decade, but at least years, for sure. This is a very extended conflict that Russia has initiated, and I think that NATO, the United States, Ukraine and all of the allies and partners that are supporting Ukraine are going to be involved in this for quite some time.”

Aid Groups Warn West Africa Faces Worst Food Crisis in a Decade

Apr 06, 2022

A coalition of aid groups are warning that West Africa is facing its worst food crisis in a decade, due in part to drought, floods, fighting and the war in Ukraine. Twenty-seven million people in West Africa now need food assistance — that’s four times the number in 2015. The groups warn the number could jump to 38 million in June if urgent action is not taken.

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Human Rights Watch: Malian & Russian Forces Summarily Executed 300 Detained Men

Apr 06, 2022

Human Rights Watch is reporting Malian armed forces summarily executed 300 detained men last week in what the group describes as the worst single atrocity reported in Mali’s decade-long armed conflict targeting Islamist groups. Human Rights Watch reports at least 100 Russian troops or mercenaries took part in the operation. Human Rights Watch’s West Africa Director Corinne Dufka said, “Abuses by armed Islamist groups is no justification at all for the military’s deliberate slaughter of people in custody.”

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Oklahoma Lawmakers Approve Near-Total Ban on Abortions

Apr 06, 2022

Lawmakers in Oklahoma have passed a near-total ban on abortion. The bill makes performing an abortion a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $100,000 fine. Reproductive rights advocates say the Oklahoma bill is one of the most sweeping abortion bans because there is no exception for rape or incest and the ban starts at conception. This is Tamya Cox-Touré, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma.

Tamya Cox-Touré: “So, what we do know right now is that this bill has no exceptions and would, essentially, potentially end abortion access in Oklahoma. And what we also know is that, for so many reasons, people will have to travel to out of the state to get the care that they need. And we know this because when Texas lost its abortion access, patients traveled to Oklahoma, and providers were seeing more Texas patients than they’ve ever seen before. So this will just continue kind of that domino effect of now Texas and Oklahoma patients going to other states to get care.”

Colorado Governor Signs Reproductive Health Equity Act

Apr 06, 2022

In other news about reproductive rights, Colorado Governor Jared Polis has signed into law the Reproductive Health Equity Act. The law codifies the right to abortion in Colorado and bans local governments from imposing any restrictions on abortions.

Obama & Biden Reunite at White House to Mark 12 Years of Affordable Care Act

Apr 06, 2022

Barack Obama returned to the White House Tuesday for the first time since leaving office five years ago. Obama reunited with Joe Biden to mark the 12th anniversary of the 2010 Affordable Care Act, often known as Obamacare.

Barack Obama: “It’s prevented insurance companies from denying people coverage based on a preexisting condition. It’s lowered prescription drug costs for 12 million seniors. It’s allowed young people to stay on their parents’ plan until they’re 26. It’s eliminated lifetime limits on benefits, that often put people in a jam. So we are incredibly proud of that work.”

While Biden and Obama hailed the success of Obamacare, there are still 31 million uninsured Americans.

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GOP Threaten to Block COVID-19 Aid Bill over Title 42

Apr 06, 2022

In other health news, Republican lawmakers are vowing to reject a new $10 billion COVID-19 aid deal if Democrats block a vote to reinstate Title 42. Last week, the White House announced it is soon ending the Trump-era rule, which has been used to block over 1.5 million people from seeking asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border. The COVID-19 aid package has also been criticized by many public health advocates, in part because it strips out funding for global efforts to fight COVID-19. A coalition of aid groups criticized the proposal, saying, “If passed, this package would send the signal that Congress has not only turned its back on the rest of the world, but it risked the safety and security of the American people and contributed to prolonging the pandemic.”

Biden Administration Extends Pandemic Pause on Student Loan Debt

Apr 06, 2022

The Biden administration is extending a pandemic pause on federal student loan repayments through August 31, after the relief was due to expire in May. News of the latest extension came less than 24 hours after hundreds of protesters in Washington, D.C., led a march to the Education Department for a national day of action Monday demanding the Biden administration cancel all student debt and calling for a May Day student debt strike if payments resumed.

House Jan. 6 Committee Interviews Ivanka Trump

Apr 06, 2022

The House committee investigating the January 6 insurrection interviewed Donald Trump’s daughter and former White House adviser Ivanka Trump for about eight hours on Tuesday. Ivanka’s husband, Jared Kushner, testified last week. Both appeared before the committee voluntarily.

U.S. Approves $95M in Military Aid for Taiwan as AUKUS Develops Hypersonic Missiles

Apr 06, 2022

In news from Asia, the U.S. State Department has approved $95 million in additional military aid to Taiwan for its Patriot missile defense system. This comes as the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom announced plans to work together to develop hypersonic missiles in an effort to counter China militarily. The U.S. has also acknowledged it tested a hypersonic weapon in mid-March, just days after Russia fired one of its own hypersonic missiles in Ukraine.

Protests Escalate in Peru over Rising Prices & Curfew

Apr 06, 2022

In Peru, protests are continuing in the capital Lima as anger mounts over the rising prices of fuel, food and fertilizers. On Sunday, the Peruvian government announced it would temporarily scrap a fuel tax to try to stabilize prices. Peruvian President Pedro Castillo faced widespread criticism from human rights groups after he imposed a near-24-hour curfew in Lima and the port city of Callao in response to the nationwide demonstrations. Hundreds of protesters defied the lockdown, forcing Castillo to lift the curfew yesterday. On Tuesday, police assaulted protesters with tear gas. Meanwhile, at least four protesters have died in clashes with the police this past week, according to Peruvian government officials.

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First Starbucks in NYC Unionizes as CEO Claims Company Is Being “Assaulted” by Organizing Efforts

Apr 06, 2022

In labor news, workers at a high-end Starbucks in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan have voted to become the first Starbucks to unionize in New York City and the 10th store nationwide. During a recent town hall, Starbucks’s billionaire CEO Howard Schultz spoke out against the unionization drives.

Howard Schultz: “We can’t ignore what is happening in the country as it relates to companies throughout the country being assaulted, in many ways, by the threat of unionization.”

Earlier this week, Senator Bernie Sanders referenced Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz during a speech on the floor of the Senate.

Sen. Bernie Sanders: “What these recent union victories tell me is that working people all over this country are sick and tired of being exploited by corporations who today are making record breaking profits. They are sick and tired of billionaires, like Jeff Bezos and Howard Schultz, the founder of Starbucks, becoming obscenely richer during the pandemic, while they, the workers, put their lives on the line, working for inadequate wages, inadequate benefits, and unfair working conditions and schedules.”

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Peggy Bellecourt, Co-Founder of American Indian Movement, Dies at 78

Apr 06, 2022

Peggy Bellecourt has died at the age of 78. In 1968, she co-founded AIM, the American Indian Movement, with her husband Clyde Bellecourt and others. Peggy Bellecourt was born in 1944 to an Ojibwe mother and a Japanese American father. Her parents separated after Peggy’s birth to prevent her from being sent to a U.S. internment camp during World War II.

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19-Month-Old Gazan Baby Dies After Israel Refused to Allow Her to Leave for Treatment

Apr 06, 2022

In Gaza, a 19-month-old baby named Fatima al-Masri has died after waiting for five months for Israeli authorities to give her approval to leave Gaza for medical treatment. Fatima was diagnosed last year with a hole in her heart. Her family had booked medical appointments for her in Jerusalem in December and February, but she was forced to miss both because her family’s request to leave Gaza was “under review.”

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