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HeadlinesAugust 31, 2022

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Biden Approves Emergency Declaration over Water Crisis in Jackson, Mississippi

Aug 31, 2022

The White House has approved a federal emergency declaration for Mississippi over the water crisis in the state capital of Jackson, where the city’s largely Black population is without running water for a third day. Torrential rains caused the Pearl River to overtop its banks, flooding a water treatment plant and cutting off water supplies indefinitely to 180,000 residents in the area. On Tuesday, Mississippi activated its National Guard to distribute water to tens of thousands of Jackson residents, who have been dealing with water issues for years due in part to underfunding from the state government. We will speak with Chokwe Antar Lumumba, the mayor of Jackson, Mississippi, after headlines.

DOJ Filing Says Trump Likely Obstructed Government Probe into Top-Secret Documents

Aug 31, 2022

A new filing by the Justice Department shows federal prosecutors believe former President Donald Trump may have hidden and moved classified papers at his Mar-a-Lago estate in an effort to mislead investigators seeking to recover the documents. In a new 36-page filing, Justice Department counterintelligence chief Jay Bratt writes, “The government also developed evidence that government records were likely concealed and removed from the Storage Room and that efforts were likely taken to obstruct the government’s investigation.” In the new filing, the Justice Department included a photo showing a number of documents marked “Top Secret” spread out on a carpet. The new filing also calls into question earlier efforts by Trump’s team to voluntarily return the classified documents. As part of the filing, the Justice Department urged against the appointment of a special master to review the seized documents, saying it “is unnecessary and would significantly harm important governmental interests, including national security interests.”

Nuclear Inspectors Head for Russian-Occupied Zaporizhzhia Power Plant

Aug 31, 2022

In news from Ukraine, a team of nuclear inspectors with the International Atomic Energy Agency have left Kyiv and are headed for the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia power plant — Europe’s largest nuclear power station. In recent weeks Russia and Ukraine have accused each other of attacking the plant, sparking fears of a radiation disaster. IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi spoke earlier today in Kyiv.

Rafael Grossi: “We are now finally moving after six months of strenuous efforts. The IAEA is moving into the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. As you know, we have a very, very important task there to perform: to assess the real situation there, to help stabilize the situation as much as we can.”

Ukrainian Grain Ship Arrives in East Africa to Ease Starvation

Aug 31, 2022

In more news from Ukraine, a ship carrying Ukrainian grain has docked in Djibouti, Africa, for the first time in months. The grain is expected to be taken overland to northern Ethiopia, but renewed fighting in the Tigray region may jeopardize the plan. The World Food Programme recently reported 22 million people in Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia are at risk of starvation as the region faces its worst drought in 40 years. The World Food Programme’s Mike Dunford said the region is in desperate need of more grain shipments from Ukraine and Russia.

Mike Dunford: “What we want to see is more food flowing. We need, from WFP’s perspective, millions of tons in this region. In Ethiopia alone, three-quarters of everything that we used to distribute originated from Ukraine and Russia.”

In other news related to the war in Ukraine, Germany is accusing Russia of weaponizing energy supplies, after the Russian energy giant Gazprom announced a three-day shutdown of gas supplies to Germany. Gazprom said the shutdown was needed to address technical issues with the Nord Stream 1 pipeline tied to sanctions imposed by the West.

Former Soviet Leader Mikhail Gorbachev Dead at 91

Aug 31, 2022

Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev has died in Moscow at the age of 91. He led the Soviet Union from 1985 until its dissolution in 1991. He has been widely credited with bringing down the Iron Curtain, helping to end the Cold War and reducing the risk of nuclear war by signing key arms agreements with the U.S., including the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. In 1990, Gorbachev won the Nobel Peace Prize. On December 25, 1991, Gorbachev announced his resignation just days before the Soviet Union dissolved.

Mikhail Gorbachev: “In this situation, which follows the establishment of the Commonwealth of Independent States, I hereby cease to act as president of the Soviet Union.”

U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres said, “Mikhail Gorbachev was a one-of-a kind statesman who changed the course of history. The world has lost a towering global leader, committed multilateralist, and tireless advocate for peace.”

In Moscow, a top Kremlin spokesperson described Gorbachev as an extraordinary person but said his romanticism about rapprochement with the West was not justified. There are reports in Russian media that Gorbachev will not receive a state funeral. Russian President Vladimir Putin has called the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 the “greatest geopolitical catastrophe” of the 20th century.

World “Sleepwalking Toward the Destruction of the Planet,” Warns U.N. Secretary-General

Aug 31, 2022

U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres is warning that the world is sleepwalking toward the destruction of the planet. He made the comment in a plea for nations to help Pakistan recover from devastating floods that have left a third of the country underwater and have killed over 1,100 and displaced 33 million.

Secretary-General António Guterres: “The government of Pakistan has asked for the international community’s help. Let us work together to respond quickly and collaboratively to this colossal crisis. Let us all step up in solidarity and support to the people of Pakistan in their hour of need. Let’s stop sleepwalking towards the destruction of our planet by climate change. Today it is Pakistan. Tomorrow it could be your country.”

Pakistani officials estimate the flooding has damaged or destroyed 1 million homes and washed away over 2,000 miles of roads. In addition, authorities say about 1 million animals have died.

6 Million Afghans at Risk of Famine

Aug 31, 2022

Six million people in Afghanistan are at risk of famine. That’s according to the United Nations, which is trying to raise $770 million to help Afghans before winter. This comes as calls grow for the Biden administration to unfreeze $7 billion of Afghan money held in the United States. U.N. humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths addressed the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday.

Martin Griffiths: “Close to 19 million people are facing acute levels of food insecurity, including 6 million people at risk of famine. More than half of the population — some 24 million people — need humanitarian assistance. And an estimated 3 million children are acutely malnourished. They include over 1 million children estimated to be suffering from the most severe, life-threatening form of malnutrition. Without specialized treatment, these children could die.”

South Carolina Lawmakers Approve Near-Total Abortion Ban

Aug 31, 2022

In South Carolina, lawmakers in the Republican-led House have approved a near-total ban on abortion except in cases of pregnancies caused by rape or incest. Meanwhile, in Indiana, abortion clinics have sued to block Indiana’s near-total abortion ban, which is set to go into effect on September 15. Clinics say the law “will infringe on Hoosiers’ right to privacy [and] violate Indiana’s guarantee of equal privileges.”

U.S. Life Expectancy Plummets for Second Year in a Row

Aug 31, 2022

Life expectancy in the United States has plummeted for a second year in a row due in part to the coronavirus pandemic. It is the sharpest two-year drop in nearly a century. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the life expectancy of the average American is now 76 years — down from 79 before the pandemic. Life expectancy for Indigenous peoples has fallen to just 65 years — that’s a 6.5-year decrease since the pandemic began.

Police in Columbus, Ohio, Shoot Dead Unarmed Black Man in Bed

Aug 31, 2022

Police in Columbus, Ohio, have shot dead an unarmed 20-year-old Black man named Donovan Lewis as he lay on a bed. The shooting occurred just before 2:30 a.m. on Tuesday inside an apartment where police were serving a warrant. Bodycam footage shows an officer shot Lewis just one second after opening a door to the bedroom. Officers then handcuffed Lewis, who died less than an hour later at a hospital. It was the third police shooting in Columbus, Ohio, over the past eight days.

Google Employee Alleges Retaliation for Speaking Out Against Providing AI to Israeli Military and Government

Aug 31, 2022

In tech news, an employee at Google says she was forced out of the company for speaking out against a secretive Google project to provide artificial intelligence tools to the Israeli government and military. In her resignation letter, Ariel Koren wrote, “Google systematically silences Palestinian, Jewish, Arab and Muslim voices concerned about Google’s complicity in violations of Palestinian human rights — to the point of formally retaliating against workers and creating an environment of fear.”

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