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HeadlinesSeptember 27, 2022

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Russian-Held Parts of Ukraine Hold Final Day of Voting on Whether to Join Russia

Sep 27, 2022

Russian President Vladimir Putin is addressing parliament today, where he’s expected to announce the results of referendums held in four Russian-occupied regions of Ukraine. The U.S. and its allies have condemned the votes as a violation of international law and a pretext for Russia to unlawfully annex territory seized since its invasion in February.

Earlier today, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev repeated Putin’s warning that Russia is prepared to use nuclear weapons if it’s provoked by Ukraine or its allies, saying the threat was “certainly not a bluff.”

Meanwhile, the operator of the Nord Stream pipelines, which carry Russian gas to terminals in Europe, says it detected damage simultaneously at three underwater pipes in the Baltic Sea. It’s not yet known what caused the damage, but Denmark’s prime minister said she believed it was the result of sabotage.

Russian Military Mobilization Prompts Mass Exodus of Draft-Age Men

Sep 27, 2022

In Russia, a Kremlin spokesperson said Monday “no decisions have been taken” on whether to close Russia’s borders, after thousands of military-age men lined up for hours to cross into neighboring countries in an effort to avoid conscription. The mass exodus comes after President Putin ordered the mobilization of 300,000 additional Russian troops to Ukraine. This is a 36-year-old man from Moscow who spoke to reporters just after crossing into Georgia on Monday.

Draft resister: “Of course, this has scared many people. No one wants to go off to die. Probably people choose this way of protesting, to leave the country, you could say practically to nowhere. People are crossing on foot, with one bag, leaving their whole life behind, you could say all their possessions, absolutely everything, just to live peacefully.”

Hurricane Ian Lashes Western Cuba with Sustained 125-Mile-Per-Hour Winds

Sep 27, 2022

In Cuba, Hurricane Ian made landfall early this morning as a major Category 3 storm, bringing sustained winds of 125 miles per hour to western parts of the Island. There were early reports of moderate flooding in coastal areas, where Cuban officials evacuated some 50,000 people ahead of the storm’s arrival.

Hundreds of Thousands Ordered to Evacuate Florida’s Gulf Coast as Hurricane Ian Approaches

Sep 27, 2022

Ian is expected to strengthen into a powerful Category 4 hurricane capable of catastrophic damage as it heads toward the Florida Keys. The latest forecast models show Ian tracking toward Florida’s west coast or northwestern panhandle, with a possible direct hit on Tampa Bay — a densely populated, low-lying region that’s highly vulnerable to storm surge. On Tuesday, officials in Hillsborough County, which covers portions of Tampa, ordered a mandatory evacuation of 300,000 people. County Administrator Bonnie Wise said people should seek shelter with friends or family well away from Florida’s Gulf Coast.

Bonnie Wise: “We did not make this decision easily, but the storm poses a serious threat, and we must do everything we can to protect our residents. And I can’t stress this enough: Evacuation shelters are a last resort. They are not comfortable places. They could be crowded, and they could be noisy, and you could be in a shelter for days.”

Puerto Rico’s Governor Calls on Biden to Waive Shipping Restrictions in Aftermath of Hurricane

Sep 27, 2022

In Puerto Rico, an estimated three-quarters of a million homes and businesses remain without electricity nearly 10 days after Hurricane Fiona devastated the island’s fragile electrical grid. Hundreds of thousands of people continue to face shortages of clean water, fuel, medicine and other necessities.

Milagros Mercado: “We have spent a week without water or power. The authorities haven’t done anything for us. It’s very bad here. It’s rough. Those who come by give us a little water and leave. We are in a rough shape. We lost everything. We are in a bad situation.”

On Monday, Puerto Rico’s Governor Pedro Pierlusi called on President Biden to waive shipping restrictions under the Jones Act — a century-old law requiring that only U.S.-flagged ships carry goods between two points in the U.S. This comes as a ship carrying diesel for the BP oil company remains idling off the coast of Puerto Rico.

Hurricane Ian Forces NASA to Delays Test Launch of New Moon Rocket

Sep 27, 2022

Hurricane Ian has delayed NASA’s plans to test launch its massive new moon rocket, the Space Launch System. This morning, officials began rolling the 320-foot-tall rocket back to its hangar at Cape Canaveral ahead of the storm’s arrival.

NASA Crashes Spacecraft into Asteroid in First-Ever Planetary Defense Test

Sep 27, 2022

In more space news, NASA has successfully crashed a robotic spacecraft into an asteroid, in a first-of-its-kind test of technology that could one day, perhaps, prevent a comet or asteroid from hitting the Earth. Mission engineers at the Applied Physics Laboratory erupted in cheers Monday as the Double Asteroid Redirection Test spacecraft, or DART, live-streamed its final moments plunging toward the asteroid Dimorphos at 14,000 miles per hour.

Lori Glaze: “Oh wow!”

Samson Reiny: “Awaiting visual confirmation.”

Lori Glaze: “All right! We got it?”

Samson Reiny: “Waiting.”

Lori Glaze: “Waiting. Come on.”

Samson Reiny: “And we have impact!”

Lori Glaze: “And we’ve done it!”

Samson Reiny: “A giant leap for humanity in the name of planetary defense.”

Astronomers will observe Dimorphos and the much larger asteroid it orbits to measure how DART altered their path around the sun. Impacts from comets and asteroids have been described as “the only preventable natural disasters,” though the odds of a catastrophic impact in any given year are remote.

This comes amid warnings from NASA over the ongoing threat of unnatural disasters. Peter Kalmus, a climate scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, tweeted, “It’s great that NASA is testing the ability to deflect an asteroid or comet if necessary, but the actual clear and present danger to humanity is of course Earth breakdown from burning fossil fuels. #DontLookUp.”

Protesters Rally at Mississippi Governor’s Mansion to Demand Clean Water for Jackson

Sep 27, 2022

In Mississippi, about a thousand homes and businesses are once again under “boil water” orders, after construction crews accidentally severed a water line on Monday, leading to a drop in pressure. It’s the latest of about 300 “boil water” notices issued in Jackson over the past two years, including a citywide advisory lasting 40 days that began in August, when torrential rains flooded Jackson’s main water treatment plant. On Monday, pastor and co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign Dr. William Barber led a rally outside the Governor’s Mansion in Jackson, demanding elected officials reverse decades of disinvestment that’s left the water unfit to drink in Mississippi’s capital city, where 80% of residents are African American.

Bishop William Barber II: “People are willing to use every voice of love and justice and movement building. And I believe some of y’all are ready even for nonviolent direct action, because you’re tired of drinking poison. You’re tired of your members washing their babies in poison. And there comes a time you must show people how tired you are.”

Russia Grants Citizenship to NSA Whistleblower Edward Snowden

Sep 27, 2022

In Russia, President Vladimir Putin signed a decree Monday granting Russian citizenship to Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor who in 2013 leaked a trove of secret documents about how the United States built a massive surveillance apparatus to spy on Americans and people across the globe. After sharing the documents with American reporters in Hong Kong, Snowden was charged in the U.S. for violating the Espionage Act and other laws. As he fled in an attempt to reach political exile in Latin America, Snowden became stranded at Moscow’s international airport after the U.S. revoked his passport. He has lived in political exile in Russia ever since. In 2019, Snowden offered to return to the United States if he could be guaranteed a fair trial.

Thousands Protest Outside State Funeral for Japan’s Assassinated Former Leader Shinzo Abe

Sep 27, 2022

In Japan, hundreds of dignitaries and more than 50 current and former world leaders gathered in Tokyo earlier today for the state funeral of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, three months after he was shot dead by an assassin wielding a homemade gun. Members of Japan’s Self-Defense Forces fired cannons in a 19-gun salute, as Abe’s widow, Akie Abe, carried the late leader’s ashes to a funeral ceremony. Among those attending were Vice President Kamala Harris and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Meanwhile, thousands of protesters marched through Tokyo’s streets chanting, “No state funeral!” Protesters took aim at Abe’s push to revise Japan’s pacifist constitution, his ultranationalist views and his refusal to apologize for war crimes committed by Japanese soldiers during World War II.

Two-Thirds of Cuban Voters Approve Referendum on Marriage and Gender Equality

Sep 27, 2022

Cubans have voted overwhelmingly to legalize marriage equality. In a nationwide referendum held Sunday, more than two-thirds of Cuban voters backed a family code that allows LGBTQ people to marry or form civil unions, and to adopt children. It also promotes the equal distribution of domestic responsibilities between men and women and takes steps to address domestic- and gender-based violence. On Monday, Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel tweeted, “Starting today, we will be a better nation.” He added the hashtag “#ElAmorYaEsLey,” or “Love is now the law.”

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