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HeadlinesMay 02, 2022

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In Trip to Kyiv, Pelosi Vows U.S. Will Back Ukraine “Until the Fight Is Done”

May 02, 2022

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi became the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit Ukraine over the weekend. Her surprise trip came just days after President Biden asked Congress for an additional $33 billion for Ukraine. During a meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Pelosi vowed the United States would keep backing Ukraine militarily “until the fight is done.”

Speaker Nancy Pelosi: “We believe that we are visiting you to say thank you for your fight for freedom, that we are on a frontier of freedom and that your fight is a fight for everyone. And so our commitment is to be there for you until the fight is done.”

On Friday, the Pentagon confirmed U.S. troops are now training Ukrainian soldiers in Germany on the use of advanced weapons. Over the weekend Russia Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the U.S. and NATO should stop arming Ukraine if they are “really interested in resolving the Ukraine crisis.”

Ukraine: About 100 Civilians Evacuated from Mariupol Steel Plant

May 02, 2022

The Ukrainian government says about 100 civilians have been able to evacuate the besieged Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol after the United Nations helped establish what it described as a “safe passage operation.” One evacuee said she had been staying inside a basement in the steel plant for two months after her home was destroyed.

Natalya Tsyntomirska: “We lived in the basement starting from the 27th of February. We didn’t leave the basement because our house is in close proximity to Azovstal. The whole time we were shelled with mines, and then airstrikes started. Our house is completely destroyed. We have a two-story building. It’s not there anymore. It burned to the ground.”

Hundreds of more civilians and many fighters remain trapped at the steel plant in Mariupol, but Russia has reportedly resumed shelling the plant. This comes as the United Nations says the number of Ukrainians who have fled the country has now topped 5.5 million.

In other developments, a Russian rocket attack has destroyed an airfield in southern Ukraine. Meanwhile, a large fire broke out at a Russian military facility Sunday in the southern Belgorod region, which borders Ukraine. It is the latest incident suggesting Ukraine is carrying out attacks inside Russia.

AP: Ukraine Arrests Hundreds Accused of Collaborating with Russians

May 02, 2022

The Associated Press is reporting Ukrainian authorities have arrested hundreds of people accused of collaborating with the Russians. Ukraine is currently under martial law, which gives authorities the power to detain anyone without a court order for 30 days. The AP reports nearly 400 people have been detained in the Kharkiv region alone. Dozens of pro-Russian activists have also been detained in Kyiv.

Rep. Kinzinger Introduces AUMF to OK U.S. Troops in Ukraine If Russia Uses WMDs

May 02, 2022

Republican Congressmember Adam Kinzinger has introduced a joint resolution to give President Biden congressional authority to send U.S. troops to fight in Ukraine if Russia deployed chemical, biological or nuclear weapons. Kinzinger unveiled his plan during an interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

Rep. Adam Kinzinger: “I don’t think we need to be using force in Ukraine right now. I just introduced an AUMF, an authorization for the use of military force, giving the president basically congressional leverage or permission to use it if WMDs — nuclear, biological or chemical — are used in Ukraine.”

Ukrainian Journalist Dies in Russian Missile Strikes on Kyiv Apartment Building

May 02, 2022

A Ukrainian journalist died Thursday in Kyiv in a Russian missile strike on the apartment building where she lived. The journalist, Vira Hyrych, worked for the U.S.-funded outlet Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty. According to Ukrainian authorities, Hyrych is the 23rd known member of the media to be killed since Russia launched its invasion.

Former U.S. Marine Working for Private Military Security Firm Dies Fighting in Ukraine

May 02, 2022

A former U.S. marine has died while fighting alongside Ukrainian forces. Willy Joseph Cancel died last Monday. His mother said he was working for a private military contractor; the name of the company has not been released.

EU Holds Emergency Talks About Proposed Ban on Russia Oil

May 02, 2022

European Union energy ministers are holding emergency talks today about a proposal to ban the import of Russian oil by the end of the year. Hungary has threatened to veto the measure. This comes as Big Oil is reporting significant profits as the war in Ukraine disrupts global energy markets.

Big Oil, Big Profits: Chevron Records $6.3B Profit, Exxon $5.5B — in Just Three Months

May 02, 2022

Over the first three months of the year, Chevron reported $6.3 billion in profits, and ExxonMobil reported $5.5 billion in profits. Meanwhile, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres has criticized how fossil fuel companies are responding to the war. In a tweet, he wrote, “Fossil fuel interests are now cynically using the war in Ukraine to try to lock in a high carbon future. A shift to renewables is crucial to mending our broken global energy mix & offering hope to millions suffering climate impacts today.”

At Least 10 Die in Blast at Sufi Mosque in Kabul

May 02, 2022

In Afghanistan, a powerful explosion ripped through a prominent Sufi mosque in Kabul on Friday in the latest attack on civilians during the month of Ramadan. The blast caused the mosque’s roof to cave in on worshipers. The confirmed death toll is 10, but some officials say 50 people died in the blast.

200,000 Palestinians Mark Eid at the Al-Aqsa Mosque Days After Israeli Raid

May 02, 2022

Some 200,000 Palestinian worshipers gathered today at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem to mark Eid. Over the past month Israeli authorities have repeatedly raided the mosque. At least 42 Palestinians were injured on Friday. Meanwhile, Israel has conducted a number of raids in the occupied West Bank after the killing of a guard at an illegal Jewish settlement. The al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade claimed responsibility for the shooting. Two suspects were arrested. Israeli authorities also fatally shot a young Palestinian man in the back during a raid in the West Bank town of Azzun.

Millions March on May Day, from France to Turkey to Chile

May 02, 2022

Millions of protesters took to the streets of cities and towns around the world Sunday to mark May Day, or International Workers’ Day. In France, tens of thousands marched through Paris, warning newly reelected President Emmanuel Macron against rolling back workers’ rights. Unions say they’re prepared to strike if Macron presses ahead with plans to slash unemployment and pension benefits, while raising the age of retirement from 62 to 65.

Joshua Antunes: “Macron has just been reelected, but he was reelected to stop the far right, yes, but not for his program. And so, today I think it is important to show Macron and the rest of the political world that we are ready to protest to defend our social rights, defend what we stand for, defend minorities, minimum wages, retirement age at 60 and many other things.”

In Turkey, police arrested more than 160 people on Sunday after protesters ignored a ban on protests in Istanbul’s main Taksim Square.

In Chile, three people were wounded by gunfire at a rally in the capital Santiago after vigilante street vendors opened fire on May Day protesters. Elsewhere in Santiago, thousands marched to celebrate a 12.5% increase in the minimum wage approved by the newly elected government of socialist President Gabriel Boric.

In Buenos Aires, thousands of protesters marched to demand a reversal of austerity measures Argentina recently agreed to in exchange for a bailout from the IMF.

Protesters in Wisconsin Hold “Day Without Latinxs and Immigrants” Protests

May 02, 2022

Hundreds of May Day protesters marched in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in support of immigrant workers. Protesters organized two “Days Without Latinxs and Immigrants,” calling on Republican lawmakers to stop blocking immigration reform, and demanding President Biden use his executive powers to protect all immigrants.

Sri Lanka Opposition Rejects Presidential Offer to Form Proposed Unity Government

May 02, 2022

In Sri Lanka, opposition parties ended a week-long march to the capital Colombo on May Day with thousands of protesters demanding relief from a devastating economic crisis and calling on President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to resign. For months Sri Lanka has faced dire shortages of food, fuel and medicine amid mounting foreign debt and government corruption. On Friday, President Rajapaksa agreed to remove his older brother as prime minister as part of a plan to form an interim government made up of all parties in Parliament. The leader of Sri Lanka’s main opposition party rejected the plan as insufficient.

Sajith Premadasa: “The country can’t be rescued by making deals with thieves. I would like to tell you all that we have taken a decision not to make any deals with a government of thieves or their partners.”

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Trump Faces Grand Jury Probe in Georgia into Efforts to Overturn Election

May 02, 2022

In the state of Georgia, prosecutors in Fulton County are moving ahead with convening a special grand jury to consider whether Donald Trump should be criminally charged for his efforts to pressure Georgia’s secretary of state and other officials to overturn the 2020 election. Jury selection begins today. Meanwhile, in New York, a grand jury looking into Trump’s business practices has wrapped up without bringing charges against the former president.

DOJ Sues Alabama for Law Barring Gender-Affirming Medicine for Trans Youth

May 02, 2022

The Biden administration has sued the state of Alabama, seeking to block a new law barring gender-affirming medicine for transgender youth while making it a felony to provide such care. In a court filing on Friday, the Justice Department argues the ban violates the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees equal protection under the law. It’s the first time the administration has sued to stop state restrictions on gender-affirming care, and comes as Republican-controlled state legislatures are set to break records for the number of new anti-LGBTQ bills introduced across the U.S.

Florida Prison Guards Charged with Murder for Beating Death

May 02, 2022

In Florida, three prison guards have been charged with murder for the beating death of a handcuffed man who was being moved from a prison’s mental health unit. Authorities accuse the guards of beating the man even though he was in handcuffs and being compliant. In a statement, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement said, “The inmate was beaten so badly he had to be carried to the transport van.” Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle announced the charges.

Katherine Fernandez Rundle: “Misconduct, abuse or criminal behavior have no place in Florida’s correctional system. Individuals who are sentenced to incarceration by our criminal courts, they have lost their freedom but not their basic rights.”

FBI Carried Out at Least 3.4 Million Warrantless Searches of U.S. Residents’ Data

May 02, 2022

New government data shows the FBI conducted at least 3.4 million searches of private electronic data from Americans last year without a warrant — that’s triple the number from the previous year. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence released the data Friday which showed how many times the FBI submitted queries to a database of emails, texts and other electronic domestic communications. It is unclear how many individuals were spied on.

New York Drops Charges Against Peace Activists Arrested at 2019 Drone Protest

May 02, 2022

In New York state, charges have been dismissed against two longtime peace activists who were arrested in 2019 for blocking the entrance to Hancock Air Force Base to protest the U.S. drone war program. Over the past 13 years, about 150 peace activists have been arrested in actions outside the base as part of a campaign organized by the Upstate Drone Action Coalition.

Former Cuban Diplomat Ricardo Alarcón Dies at 84

May 02, 2022

The longtime Cuban diplomat Ricardo Alarcón has died at the age of 84. He was a student leader during the Cuban Revolution who eventually became Cuba’s foreign minister and president of Cuba’s National Assembly. He played a key role in talks between the United States and Cuba for many years. Democracy Now! spoke to him in 2015 after the Cuban Embassy reopened in Washington for the first time in 54 years.

Ricardo Alarcón: “The real force that brought about this result was the struggle of the peoples — first of all, the Cuban people, for having resisted for so long time all the odds that that U.S. policy imposed upon us, but also a victory for the rest — the resistance of the rest of the peoples in this hemisphere, including many, many American friends.”

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Kathy Boudin, Ex-Weather Underground Member Who Fought for Prisoners’ Rights, Dies at 78

May 02, 2022

The longtime prison activist and educator Kathy Boudin has died at the age of 78. Boudin was a former member of the Weather Underground who was jailed in 1981 along with her then-husband David Gilbert in connection with an armed car robbery carried out by the Black Liberation Army in Rockland County, New York, that left a security guard and two police officers dead. She served 22 years in prison, where she helped create programs for women who are infected with HIV. She was freed on parole in 2003 and spent the last two decades organizing to fight mass incarceration and to help people — especially women — returning from prison. Kathy Boudin was the co-director and co-founder of the Center for Justice at Columbia University. This is her speaking at NYU School of Law in 2013.

Kathy Boudin: “If we could get under the stereotypes and the stigma that are attached to people who have committed violent crimes and be able to see the person underneath it and understand that holding them in prison has nothing to do with them being a public risk, nothing to do with whether they’ve transformed themselves, nothing to do with the community that they can serve, if we can get under that and know that they’re being kept in only for the purpose of punishment, then maybe we can look at the entire system and be able to change it.”

Kathy Boudin speaking in 2013. Her death comes just months after her ex-husband David Gilbert was released from prison in New York. Their son, Chesa Boudin, has served as the district attorney of San Francisco since 2020.

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