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HeadlinesSeptember 16, 2022

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Texas Gov. Abbott Buses Asylum Seekers to VP Kamala Harris’s Home

Sep 16, 2022

Immigrant justice advocates are denouncing ongoing efforts by Republicans to send dozens of buses full of asylum seekers to sanctuary cities across the United States. On Thursday, about 100 asylum seekers from Colombia, Cuba, Guyana, Nicaragua, Panama and Venezuela were dropped off in front of Vice President Kamala Harris’s residence in Washington, D.C. The buses were sent from Texas by Republican Governor Greg Abbott. This is an asylum seeker from Venezuela.

David Morales: “It was a very long trip, quite tough. We didn’t expect to be left adrift here without knowing where to head to. Our objective is to reach New York.”

Asylum seekers were on the road for over 30 hours. At least two of them, including an infant, were taken to the hospital, while others were able to get food and shelter. Carla Bustillos is an immigrant rights advocate in Washington, D.C.

Carla Bustillos: “So, while we’re doing this political show, we have human beings feeling that their suffering is being exploited. They have come to the United States to seek asylum, and they have been told to get on these buses and promised that an organization would receive them here, give them food, shelter and a job.”

“We Are Not a Sanctuary State”: Florida Governor Sends Asylum Seekers to Martha’s Vineyard

Sep 16, 2022

Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis has sent two planes with some 50 asylum seekers to Martha’s Vineyard, an island off the coast of Massachusetts. DeSantis spoke Wednesday.

Gov. Ron DeSantis: “Yes, if you have folks that are inclined to think Florida is a good place, our message to them is we are not a sanctuary state, and it’s better to be able to go to a sanctuary jurisdiction, and, yes, we will help facilitate that transport for you to be able to go to greener pastures.”

Community members in Martha’s Vineyard welcomed the asylum seekers with food, water and other resources. Many had journeyed for months until reaching the U.S.-Mexico border in search of refuge and were lied to by Florida officials — told if they boarded the planes, they’d be sent to Boston to receive jobs and housing. On Thursday, the White House condemned Republican governors for using asylum seekers as “political pawns.”

U.N. to Investigate Mass Graves in Territory Reclaimed from Russia by Ukraine

Sep 16, 2022

The United Nations Human Rights Office says it will send monitors to Izium, after hundreds of bodies were reportedly discovered in mass graves by Ukrainian forces who retook the city from Russia earlier this month. Ukraine’s Defense Ministry said the largest of the mass burial sites contained 440 unmarked graves, and said most of the victims are civilians.

Russia Warns U.S. Arms Shipments to Ukraine Could Prompt “Direct Military Clash”

Sep 16, 2022

In Kyiv, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen met Thursday with President Volodymyr Zelensky, pledging EU support to Ukraine “for as long as it takes.” Von der Leyen’s pledge came as the Biden administration said it is sending another $600 million in military aid to Ukraine. On Thursday, Russia’s Foreign Ministry warned the U.S. against providing longer-range missiles to Ukraine.

Maria Zakharova: “We have repeatedly stated that pumping Ukraine with Western weapons leads to a prolongation of hostilities and new casualties among the civilian population. Moreover, this brings the situation closer to the dangerous line of a direct military clash between Russia and NATO countries.”

Vladimir Putin Meets Xi Jinping, Acknowledges “Questions and Concerns” over Ukraine

Sep 16, 2022

Russian President Vladimir Putin met Thursday with Chinese leader Xi Jinping at a regional summit in Uzbekistan. A Chinese Foreign Ministry statement after the meeting made no mention of the word “Ukraine,” but Putin said Xi told him that Russia needs to “demonstrate the responsibility of a major country to play a leading role and inject stability into a turbulent world.” Putin hinted at strains in the Russian-Chinese relationship by referring to President Xi’s “questions and concerns” about Ukraine.

President Vladimir Putin: “We highly value the balanced position of our Chinese friends when it comes to the Ukraine crisis. We understand your questions and your concern about this. During today’s meeting, we will of course explain our position.”

Putin also pledged Russian support for China’s territorial claim on Taiwan. The Xi-Putin summit was their first face-to-face meeting since Russia invaded Ukraine in February. It was also President Xi’s first trip outside of China since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Pakistan Suffers Surge of Waterborne Disease as Floodwaters Recede

Sep 16, 2022

In Pakistan, waterborne and mosquito-borne diseases are surging after unprecedented monsoon rains and glacial melt left a third of the nation underwater. Doctors in the southern Sindh province report a big rise in cases of malaria; severe gastric infections; and more than 4,000 cases of dengue that have led to at least nine deaths.

Dr. Fizza Naz: “Dengue is spreading fast these days. Out of every 100 patients, 90 are suffering from dengue. Some of them come here with severe symptoms.”

Pakistan’s floods have killed nearly 1,500 people and displaced an estimated 33 million people. This week climate experts at the World Weather Attribution initiative reported that climate change increased the intensity of Pakistan’s record rainfall by up to 50% during the flooding.

“An Unprecedented Global Crime”: House Hearings Probe Oil Companies’ Climate Denial

Sep 16, 2022

Back in the United States, a House congressional committee has uncovered documents revealing how oil company executives’ private actions contradicted their public promises to fight climate change. One set of emails obtained by the House Committee on Oversight and Reform shows how Exxon sought to undermine an oil industry pledge to uphold the Paris Climate Agreement. Other internal emails reveal Shell’s public pledge to go carbon-neutral amounted to corporate greenwashing. This week lawmakers heard testimony on how public relations firms worked to mislead the public over the climate crisis, while organizing phony grassroots campaigns to battle proposed regulations. This is environmental lawyer Raya Salter.

Raya Salter: “The climate crisis is an unprecedented global crime, and the smoking gun lies in the hands of Big Oil and Gas. They have known with precision for over 40 years that they were doing no less than creating a mass extinction event.”

Judge Blocks Proposed Petrochemical Plant in Louisiana’s “Cancer Alley”

Sep 16, 2022

A court in Louisiana has revoked air permits for a massive petrochemical complex in a region of the state known as “Cancer Alley” for its large number of polluting industries. The defeat of Formosa Plastics Corporation’s proposed $9.4 billion plant is a major victory for local environmental justice groups, including the Louisiana Bucket Brigade and RISE St. James, who have spent years fighting the project.

Federal Court Rules Enbridge Trespassed on Indigenous Land to Build Line 5 Pipeline

Sep 16, 2022

In Wisconsin, a federal judge has ruled in favor of an Indigenous tribe on the south shore of Lake Superior after it challenged construction of Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline. Judge William Conley found the Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians acted within its rights when it revoked permission in 2013 for the pipeline to cross tribal territory. The judge ruled the company is trespassing and must pay damages.

Boil Water Advisory Lifted for Jackson, Miss., After Nearly 7 Weeks

Sep 16, 2022

Mississippi has lifted a “boil water” advisory for Jackson, 40 days after the state’s Department of Health reported the city’s water supply was unsafe to drink. The problem was compounded in August, when torrential rains caused the Pearl River to overtop its banks, flooding Jackson’s main water treatment plant. Republican Governor Tate Reeves said Thursday tap water in Mississippi’s capital city is now safe to drink, though he admitted the system is “still imperfect.” The head of Mississippi’s chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics warns Jackson-area caregivers preparing baby formula should continue to use bottled water because infants remain at risk of heavy metals or other toxins in the water supply.

Patagonia Founder Gives Away $3 Billion Company to Fight Climate Crisis

Sep 16, 2022

The billionaire founder of Patagonia has given the outdoor apparel company away to a specially designed trust and a nonprofit that will use all revenue to combat the climate crisis and protect the environment. Yvon Chouinard founded Patagonia nearly 50 years ago. The company is valued at about $3 billion. In an interview with The New York Times, Chouinard said, “Instead of extracting value from nature and transforming it into wealth for investors, we’ll use the wealth Patagonia creates to protect the source of all wealth.”

WHO Says End of Coronavirus Pandemic “Is in Sight” as Deaths Fall to Lowest Rate Since 2020

Sep 16, 2022

The World Health Organization has given its most upbeat assessment on COVID-19 since declaring the disease an international emergency in January of 2020. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Wednesday the number of newly reported infections has dropped dramatically.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus: “Last week, the number of weekly reported deaths from COVID-19 was the lowest since March 2020. We have never been in a better position to end the pandemic. We are not there yet, but the end is in sight.”

This week the number of global confirmed COVID-19 deaths topped 6.5 million. But the WHO reports the number of excess deaths during the first two years of the pandemic totaled nearly 15 million.

Federal Judge Names Special Master and Orders DOJ to Delay Review of Documents Held by Trump

Sep 16, 2022

A federal judge has rejected a request by the Justice Department to resume its investigation into documents seized by the FBI from Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon upheld her earlier ruling which bars the Justice Department from further examining the documents — many of which are marked “Top Secret” — until a “special master” has a chance to review more than 11,000 pages. She also formally named retired federal Judge Raymond J. Dearie to the position. The ruling will add lengthy delays to the Justice Department’s criminal probe into Trump’s mishandling of government records. Judge Cannon was nominated to the federal bench in 2020 by then-President Trump.

Senate Democrats Won’t Hold Vote on Congressional Stock Trading Ban Before Midterm Elections

Sep 16, 2022

Senate Democrats have once again delayed debate on a bill to ban lawmakers and their families from trading stocks. On Thursday, Oregon Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley told Business Insider that any vote on the congressional stock trading ban will have to wait until after November’s midterm elections. Massachusetts Democrat Elizabeth Warren responded, “Every day that we delay on passing meaningful restrictions on stock trading among members of Congress is a day that further erodes the credibility of this body.” Ethics watchdog Walter Shaub of the Project on Government Oversight accused Senator Merkley of “slow-walking” the legislation until the Senate’s calendar ran out. This week The New York Times reported at least 97 current lawmakers — or their close family members — have bought or sold stocks or other investments that intersected with their legislative committee work.

El Salvador President Nayib Bukele Says He’ll Seek Reelection Despite Prohibition

Sep 16, 2022

El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele announced Thursday he will seek reelection despite the Salvadoran Constitution’s ban on consecutive presidential terms. The Salvadoran Constitution limits each term to five years. Bukele’s announcement came one year after he and allies appointed new judges to the Salvadoran Supreme Court in an effort to allow Bukele’s illegal reelection efforts. Bukele’s government has been accused of severe human rights violations, including the arbitrary detention and torture of people accused of being in gangs. His term is set to end in 2024.

Mexico Arrests Retired General over 2014 Disappearance of 43 Ayotzinapa Students

Sep 16, 2022

In Mexico, a retired general and at least two other members of the military were arrested Thursday in connection to the 2014 disappearance of 43 students from Ayotzinapa. Retired army general José Rodríguez Pérez was the commander of the military base in Iguala, Guerrero, when the students were ambushed and kidnapped. Last month, a truth commission established by Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador confirmed the military’s involvement in the crime and said their disappearance was a “crime of the state.” Mexico’s former attorney general, Jesús Murillo Karam, who served under former President Enrique Peña Nieto, was also arrested in August.

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