At least 21 people died in Somalia after militants stormed an upscale hotel in Mogadishu Friday, beginning a 30-hour siege. Somali officials say at least 117 people were wounded. Authorities accused members of the group al-Shabab of attacking and seizing the hotel at about 7 p.m. local time on Friday. An intense battle for control of the hotel lasted until Saturday night. It was the first large attack in Mogadishu since Somalia’s new president, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, took office in May.
The attack in Somalia comes at a time when the country is on the brink of famine. The head of the World Food Programme, David Beasley, visited Somalia last week and warned the humanitarian crisis is intensifying.
David Beasley: “Climate change is impacting the entire world. And where I stand, here in the Horn of Africa, is absolutely no different. We’re now looking at 20 million people marching to starvation here in the Horn of Africa. In fact, where I stand, in Somalia, 7 million people, and that’s twice as many as it was just six months ago. Why? Conflict, extremist groups, coupled with the driest season that we have seen in decades. Four, five rainy seasons have just disappeared.”
In other climate news, monsoon rains have triggered flooding and mudslides across northern India in recent days, inundating hundreds of villages and leaving at least 50 people dead. In neighboring Pakistan, weekend flooding killed three dozen people, while heavy rains brought flash floods to eastern Afghanistan, destroying thousands of homes and killing at least 20 people. In Sudan, officials say flooding has destroyed over 14,000 homes and claimed 77 lives during this year’s rainy season. Here in the United States, a new study finds the climate crisis has doubled the chance California could be hit by a “megaflood” that would bring widespread catastrophic flooding across virtually all of the state’s lowlands.
Police in Pakistan have charged former Prime Minister Imran Khan under Pakistan’s anti-terrorism laws. This comes just a day after Pakistani authorities banned television stations from broadcasting Khan’s speeches live. The charges against Khan stem from a speech he gave on Saturday when he accused police officers of torturing one of his close aides who was jailed on sedition charges. Khan was removed from power in April in what he described as a form of “U.S.-backed regime change.” Khan’s political party remains popular. In July, members of the PTI won 15 of 20 seats up for grabs in an election in Pakistan’s most populous state.
A prominent Russian journalist died in a car bombing outside of Moscow on Saturday. Darya Dugina is the daughter of the ultranationalist Russian philosopher Alexander Dugin, who is a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Many believe Alexander Dugin was the intended target of the attack. Both he and his daughter had been at a cultural festival prior to the blast, but they left in separate cars. Both Alexander Dugin and his daughter were vocal supporters of Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine six months ago. The Ukrainian government has denied any involvement in the car bombing.
In news from Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin has expressed support for sending experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency to monitor the situation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. Putin made the comment in a call with French President Emmanuel Macron. In recent weeks Russia and Ukraine have accused each other of attacking Zaporizhzhia, the largest nuclear power plant in Europe. Russia has controlled the plant since March, but Ukrainian workers continue to operate it. On Sunday, President Biden discussed the situation at Zaporizhzhia by phone with Macron, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. In a joint statement, the leaders called on the IAEA to visit the plant “as soon as feasible” and for military operations to be avoided near the plant.
U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres visited the port city of Odessa on Friday. He called on world leaders to help bring Russian, as well as Ukrainian, food and fertilizer to the global market.
Secretary-General António Guterres: “Other parts that are also important and we have been defending relate to the unimpeded access to the global markets of Russian food and fertilizers, which are not subject to sanctions. It is important that all governments and the private sector cooperate to bring them to market. Without fertilizers in 2022, there may not be enough food in 2023. I am deeply committed to those objectives, but it will only happen if all parties cooperate. And I am here in Odessa to salute the work being done and to urge that those efforts continue.”
Mexico’s former attorney general has been arrested on charges related to the disappearance of 43 students in Ayotzinapa eight years ago. Murillo Karam, who served as Mexico’s attorney general from 2012 to 2015, was arrested on Friday, a day after a truth commission formed by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said the students’ disappearance was a “crime of the state.” Mexican authorities also issued over 80 other arrest warrants. Those facing charges include 20 military commanders and troops who were from battalions in the city of Iguala. Charges have also been filed against local officials, police officers and members of the drug cartel Guerreros Unidos.
In news from the Occupied Territories, Israeli authorities summoned and briefly detained the head of a prominent Palestinian organization which documents Israeli attacks on children. Khaled Quzmar, the general director of Defense for Children Palestine, was summoned on Sunday for interrogation by a Shin Bet agent. Israeli forces also tried to summon the head of the Palestinian human rights group Al-Haq, but he refused to go in for questioning. This comes just three days after Israeli forces raided the offices of both organizations and five other Palestinian rights groups. Israel had previously designated six of the NGOs, including Defense for Children Palestine and Al-Haq, to be terrorist organizations. Click here to see our coverage of the raids.
Singapore’s prime minister has announced plans to repeal a colonial-era law that criminalizes sex between men, but he voiced his continued opposition to same-sex marriage. Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong spoke Sunday at the country’s annual National Day Rally.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong: “For these reasons, the government will repeal Section 377A and decriminalize sex between men. I believe this is the right thing to do and something that most Singaporeans will now accept. … Hence, even as we repeal 377A, we will uphold and safeguard the institution of marriage. Under the law, only marriages between one man and one woman are recognized in Singapore.”
A coalition of LGBTQ+ groups in Singapore said the repeal of the colonial-era law was a “triumph of love over fear,” but they expressed disappointment over the continued ban on same-sex marriage.
Louisiana’s State Bond Commission is withholding nearly $40 million in funding for flood control in New Orleans after the state’s Republican attorney general objected to city officials’ opposition to Louisiana’s strict abortion ban. The funding is meant to pay for drainage pumps critical to protecting New Orleans from flooding and rising sea levels due to the climate crisis. Attorney General Jeff Landry successfully pushed commissioners to withhold the funds as punishment, after the New Orleans City Council passed a resolution asking law enforcement officers not to enforce Louisiana’s near-total abortion ban — which does not include exemptions for rape or incest. This comes after a Baton Rouge resident who was 10 weeks pregnant was denied an abortion at a Louisiana hospital even though an ultrasound showed her fetus was developing without a skull. The condition, known as “acrania,” does not appear on a list of accepted conditions for an abortion in Louisiana.
In Arkansas, two Crawford County sheriff’s deputies and a Mulberry city police officer have been suspended after they were caught on camera brutally beating a man as they pressed him face-first into the pavement. Video posted to social media shows one officer holding the man down as two others repeatedly kick and punch him. At one point, one of the officers is seen slamming the man’s face into the pavement. Twenty-seven-year-old Randal Worcester was taken to a hospital with head injuries after his violent arrest, where he refused treatment. The Arkansas State Police said Sunday it has launched an investigation.
In labor news, nearly 2,000 dockworkers at Britain’s largest container port began an eight-day strike on Sunday. It’s the first strike at the Port of Felixstowe in 30 years. Meanwhile, here in the United States, over 500 staffers at American University are set to begin a strike today as they demand wage and benefit increases. The workers are represented by SEIU Local 500.
The longtime anti-nuclear activist and Catholic priest Carl Kabat has died at the age of 88. In 1980, he took part in the first Plowshares action when he, along with Dan and Phil Berrigan and others, broke into a General Electric missile plant in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. They hammered on missile nose cones, damaging them beyond repair, and poured their blood on the damaged parts. Kabat would go on to spend over 17 years in prison for his anti-nuclear activism.