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HeadlinesJune 13, 2022

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Senators Reach Bipartisan Deal on Guns Without Ban on Assault Weapons

Jun 13, 2022

A bipartisan group of senators has reached a watered-down agreement on gun safety that could lead to some new federal gun restrictions, as well as increased funding for mental health and school security. The plan would also provide funding to states to create red flag laws that would prohibit some people from owning firearms. The deal, however, does not include a ban on assault weapons or raise the age required to buy assault weapons to 21. It also does not establish universal background checks. In a statement, President Biden said,, “It does not do everything that I think is needed, but it reflects important steps in the right direction, and would be the most significant gun safety legislation to pass Congress in decades.”

The deal was reached by 20 senators — 10 Democrats and 10 Republicans. Negotiations began after the recent mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, where 19 fourth graders and two teachers were shot dead, and the massacre in Buffalo, when a white supremacist attacked a grocery store, shooting dead 10 people, all of whom were Black.

On Sunday, Christian Heyne, vice president of the gun control group Brady, praised the bipartisan deal.

Christian Heyne: “We have not seen the likes of a framework like what we see in this package for the last 30 years. And I think it’s significant not only because of how this can have a real impact on lives, but to me it feels like a moment in time and a sign of things to come, right? This is sort of testing ground that we can pass bipartisan gun laws and the sky won’t fall. And for all of those reasons, I think that this agreement is really important.”

March for Our Lives: Protests Held in Hundreds of Cities Against Gun Violence

Jun 13, 2022

The bipartisan Senate deal on gun safety was announced a day after hundreds of thousands of people across the country took to the streets to end gun violence. Thousands rallied in Parkland, Florida, where a gunman shot dead 17 students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018. Speakers in Parkland included 16-year-old Zoe Weissman, the president of March for Our Lives Parkland.

Zoe Weissman: “Four years later, we still have to march. We still have to fight for the basic right to safety, the right to go to school or synagogue or grocery shopping or work or a concert or home without being shot. Today survivors and activists stand before you as we demand change. I am so proud of our community. Today we will march with over 400 communities worldwide. Thank you for joining us in a fight for a world without gun violence. Thank you.”

On Sunday, over 1,000 people gathered in Orlando, Florida, to mark six years since 49 people were shot dead at Pulse, a popular LGBTQ nightclub.

Amnesty Accuses Russia of Killing Hundreds of Civilians in Kharkiv

Jun 13, 2022

Heavy fighting is continuing in the eastern Ukrainian city of Severodonetsk as Russia moves closer to seizing all of the Luhansk region. Just one bridge remains connecting Severodonetsk to other areas still under Ukrainian control. This comes as Amnesty International has accused Russia of using indiscriminate shelling and cluster munitions to kill hundreds of civilians in the northeastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv. As Ukraine continues to press Western nations for more advanced weapons, Russia is claiming it struck a large arms depot Sunday in western Ukraine where Ukraine was storing weapons sent by the United States and allies. Twenty-two people were reportedly injured in the strike.

Russia Has Earned Nearly $100B in Fossil Fuel Exports Since War Began

Jun 13, 2022

In other news related to the war, a new report by the Center for Research on Energy and Clean Air estimates Russia earned nearly $100 billion in fossil fuel exports during the first 100 days after it invaded Ukraine.

SIPRI Warns Risk of Nuclear War Is Highest Since the Cold War

Jun 13, 2022

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, or SIPRI, is warning the risk of nuclear war is higher today than at any time since the height of the Cold War. In its annual report, SIPRI says the global stockpile of nuclear weapons is expected to soon rise for the first time in decades as the United States, Russia, China, France and the United Kingdom move to expand or modernize their arsenals. The U.S. and Russia possess about 90% of the world’s nuclear warheads.

New Details Emerge of Ginni Thomas’s Support of Trump Coup

Jun 13, 2022

The House committee investigating the January 6 Capitol insurrection is holding its second public hearing today. Witnesses scheduled to testify include Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign manager Bill Stepien. Chris Stirewalt, a former top editor at Fox News, was scheduled to testify but canceled due to a family emergency. During its first hearing on Thursday, the panel accused Donald Trump of staging an attempted coup in an effort to overturn the 2020 election. Democracy Now! will be streaming today’s hearing at democracynow.org beginning at 10 a.m. ET.

In related developments, The Washington Post is reporting Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, pressed at least 29 Republican state lawmakers in Arizona to help overturn Joe Biden’s victory in the state.

Meanwhile, Trump’s former personal attorney Rudy Giuliani is facing new ethics charges from the District of Columbia Bar for spreading lies about alleged voter fraud in an effort to overturn Biden’s election victory in the state of Pennsylvania.

Bolivia: Jeanine Áñez Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison for 2019 Coup

Jun 13, 2022

A court in Bolivia has sentenced former President Jeanine Áñez to 10 years in prison after finding her guilty of orchestrating the 2019 coup that ousted President Evo Morales, Bolivia’s first Indigenous president. After the coup, Áñez served as Bolivia’s president for one year until November 2020. Áñez, who is a former right-wing senator, was convicted of making “decisions contrary to the constitution.” A former Bolivian Army commander and police commander were also sentenced to jail for their role in the coup.

Meanwhile, at the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles, a protester interrupted a presentation last week by Luis Almagro, the head of the Organization of American States, over his support for the 2019 coup.

Luis Almagro: “… eliminated impunity, and eliminated the impunity” —

Walter Smolarek: “Luis Almagro, you have blood on your hands! Because of your lies, there was a coup in Bolivia, a coup against a democratically elected government. And that dictatorship that you helped install massacred 36 people” —

Luis Almagro: “You are completely wrongly informed.”

Walter Smolarek: — “36 innocent people who were protesting” —

Luis Almagro: “You are completely wrongly informed.”

Walter Smolarek: — “for the restoration of their democracy —

Luis Almagro: “You are completely wrongly informed.”

Walter Smolarek: — “for the restoration of the independence of their country.”

Luis Almagro: “You are completely wrongly informed.”

Walter Smolarek: “In the towns of Sacaba and Senkata” —

Luis Almagro: “You are completely wrongly informed.”

Walter Smolarek: — “people were protesting peacefully” —

Luis Almagro: “You are completely wrongly informed.”

Walter Smolarek: — “Indigenous people, workers, women, students.”

Topics:

Biden Unveils New Plan to Address Migration at Summit

Jun 13, 2022

President Biden spoke on Friday on the closing day of the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles. He unveiled a new plan to address migration.

President Joe Biden: “Twenty countries coming together to launch the Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection. With this declaration, we’re transforming our approach to managing migration in the Americas. Each of us — each of us is signing up to commitments that recognizes the challenges we all share and the responsibility that impacts on all of our nations.”

The Summit of the Americas was marred by Biden’s decision to exclude the leaders of Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela. Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador boycotted the summit in response. The leaders of Bolivia, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador also skipped the gathering.

Macron Fights to Keep Parliamentary Majority

Jun 13, 2022

In France, President Emmanuel Macron is fighting to keep his parliamentary majority after a strong showing by a left-wing alliance led by Jean-Luc Mélenchon. During the first round of voting in parliamentary elections, the blocs led by Macron and Mélenchon each received around a quarter of the vote. Marine Le Pen’s far-right party came in third with just under 19% of the vote. Voters will return to the polls next Sunday for a second and final round of voting.

Israel Bombs Damascus International Airport in Syria

Jun 13, 2022

Syria has suspended all flights at the Damascus International Airport after an Israeli attack damaged the airport’s runway and observation tower. Israel reportedly launched a volley of missiles from the occupied Golan Heights early Friday morning. Syria, Iran and Russia condemned the attack. In recent years Israel has quietly carried out hundreds of strikes inside Syria targeting Syrian forces, as well as Iranian-backed fighters.

Brazil: Two Bodies Found During Search for Dom Phillips & Bruno Pereira

Jun 13, 2022

What are likely the bodies of British journalist Dom Phillips and Indigenous expert Bruno Pereira, who had been missing for more than a week in Brazil’s Amazon jungle, were found on Monday. The Guardian reports that the Brazilian ambassador to the U.K. broke the news to Phillips’s family in the U.K. during a phone call early on Monday. Over the weekend a search team has found items belonging to the two men. Brazilian federal police said Sunday they had found a backpack, laptop and clothes in the Javari Valley, a remote portion of the Amazon where the two were conducting research. The area is one of Brazil’s largest Indigenous territories and home to drug trafficking, poaching and illegal fishing networks. This comes after police reported finding traces of blood in the boat of a fisherman who was arrested last week in connection to their disappearance.

China Begins Testing 5 Million in Beijing Following COVID Outbreak at Bar

Jun 13, 2022

In news on the COVID pandemic, Chinese authorities have begun testing 5 million people in the most populous section of Beijing after a new COVID outbreak at a bar that had just reopened after earlier restrictions had been lifted. Beijing officials have postponed reopening schools in parts of the city and placed numerous people under lockdown.

FDA Announces Pfizer-BioNTech’s Vaccine Safe and Effective for Children Under 5

Jun 13, 2022

In other pandemic news, the Food and Drug Administration said Pfizer-BioNTech’s three-dose vaccine for children under the age of 5 is safe and effective. The FDA appears poised to soon authorize vaccines by both Pfizer and Moderna for young children.

31 Members of Neo-Nazi “Patriot Front” Arrested on Riot Charges in Idaho Near Pride Event

Jun 13, 2022

In Idaho, 31 members of the Patriot Front, a white supremacist neo-Nazi group, were arrested Saturday in the city of Coeur d’Alene ahead of a pride event. Police say the men were found packed into a U-Haul truck armed with riot gear. A tipster had called police saying they had seen a “little army” being loaded into the truck at a nearby hotel. At a news conference, Coeur d’Alene Police Chief Lee White said the members of the Patriot Front were arrested on charges of conspiracy to riot.

Lee White: “They were wearing arm patches. One of them said 'Patriot Front.' The majority of them had logos on their hats that were consistent with the Patriot Front group that you would see online. They were also wearing khaki pants, and everyone was dressed exactly the same — well, very, very similar anyway. And if you go online, look up Patriot Front, this is exactly how these individuals were dressed.”

FDA Admits That Contaminated Formula May Have Killed Up to Nine Children

Jun 13, 2022

The Food and Drug Administration has acknowledged for the first time that nine children may have died after consuming contaminated baby formula made by Abbott at the largest baby formula manufacturing plant in the nation. Up until Friday, the FDA had only acknowledged the deaths of two children linked to the contamination outbreak at an Abbott plant in Michigan. A whistleblower at the plant sent the FDA a report detailing safety and sanitation violations by Abbott in February 2021, but it took the FDA a year to take action and close the plant. Meanwhile, baby formula shortages are still increasing in parts of the country, especially in the South and Southwest.

Larry Nassar Abuse Survivors Sue FBI for Delayed Action in Sexual Assault Allegations

Jun 13, 2022

Olympian Simone Biles and almost 100 other sexual abuse survivors have sued the FBI over its failures to promptly investigate Larry Nassar, the former team USA Gymnastics doctor. The FBI first received reports of sexual abuse by Nassar in 2015, but the agency failed to act for a full year, leaving Nassar free to continue his abuse. In 2017, Nassar pleaded guilty to sexual assault, child pornography and evidence tampering charges. He was sentenced to over 40 years in jail. Former University of Michigan gymnast Samantha Roy said, “If the FBI had simply done its job, Nassar would have been stopped before he ever had the chance to abuse hundreds of girls, including me.”

Google to Pay $118 Million to Employees in Gender Discrimination Suit

Jun 13, 2022

Google has agreed to pay $118 million to over 15,000 workers to settle a class-action gender discrimination lawsuit. The lawsuit accused Google of systematically underpaying women in California in violation of state law. Meanwhile, female employees at the software company Oracle are facing a new setback in their lawsuit against the company. On Friday, a judge stripped them of their class-action status.

Gen. John Allen, Subject of FBI Probe, Resigns as Brookings Institution President

Jun 13, 2022

Retired Marine four-star General John Allen has resigned as the president of the Brookings Institution. The FBI recently seized Allen’s electronic data as part of a probe into whether he lied about his role in secretly lobbying for the government of Qatar.

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