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HeadlinesJanuary 18, 2023

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Helicopter Crash Near Kyiv Kills 17, Including Ukrainian Interior Minister

Jan 18, 2023

The top three officials in Ukraine’s Interior Ministry have been killed, when their helicopter crashed near a kindergarten in a suburb outside Kyiv. At least 17 people died, including Ukraine’s interior minister, his first deputy minister and the state secretary. Three of the dead were children on the ground. The injured also included 17 children. At the time of the crash, the Ukrainian officials were heading to the frontlines in eastern Ukraine. It is not clear what caused the helicopter crash. There was heavy fog at the time. Ukraine’s Interior Minister Denys Monastyrsky is Ukraine’s highest-profile casualty since Russia invaded 11 months ago.

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U.S. Begins Training Ukrainian Troops at Fort Sill in Oklahoma

Jan 18, 2023

Direct U.S. involvement in the war in Ukraine continues to escalate. On Tuesday, U.S. General Mark Milley, the chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, met the head of the Ukrainian military at a Polish military base. It was their first face-to-face meeting since the war began.

Meanwhile, about 100 Ukrainian troops have arrived in the United States for training at Fort Sill, a U.S. Army base in Oklahoma. The Pentagon said the training will focus on using the Patriot missile system. In related news, The New York Times has revealed the Pentagon has sent hundreds of thousands of artillery shells to Ukraine from a little-known U.S. stockpile of ammunition in Israel.

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Filipino Journalist and Nobel Laureate Maria Ressa Acquitted of Tax Evasion Charges

Jan 18, 2023

In the Philippines, Nobel Peace Prize laureate and journalist Maria Ressa has been acquitted of tax evasion charges in what was widely seen as a politically motivated case. Ressa is the founder of the independent news outlet Rappler and was a vocal critic of former Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte, whose government filed the charges. Ressa spoke earlier today.

Maria Ressa: “These charges, as you know, were politically motivated. They were incredible to us, a brazen abuse of power, and meant to stop journalists from doing their jobs. … Today, facts win. Truth wins. Justice wins.”

Despite today’s acquittal, Maria Ressa’s legal problems are not over. She is currently on bail as she appeals a six-year prison sentence handed down in 2020 for a libel conviction. Click here to see our interviews with Maria Ressa.

Election Deniers Marjorie Taylor Greene & Paul Gosar to Join House Oversight Committee

Jan 18, 2023

House Republicans have placed far-right election deniers Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar on the powerful House Oversight and Accountability Committee. This comes two years after Democrats removed them from their committee posts for calling for violence against Democrats on social media. Greene, who once claimed there was an “Islamic invasion into our government offices,” will also serve on the Homeland Security Committee. Gosar will also rejoin the Natural Resources Committee. In 2021, the House censured him for posting an animated video on social media where he murders Congressmember Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and attacks President Biden. A number of other members of the far-right Freedom Caucus also received prominent committee posts.

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Serial Liar George Santos Picked by GOP for Two House Committees

Jan 18, 2023

Republican Congressmember George Santos has been picked to serve on two committees even though he is facing calls to resign after he lied about his educational background, employment history and religion. Santos will reportedly serve on the House Small Business Committee and the Science, Space and Technology Committee. This all comes a week after House Speaker Kevin McCarthy announced he would strip three prominent Democrats — Adam Schiff, Eric Swalwell and Ilhan Omar — of their committee assignments.

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White House: GOP Plan over Debt Ceiling Is “Recipe for Economic Catastrophe”

Jan 18, 2023

The White House is blasting Republican lawmakers for pushing for major spending cuts as part of a deal to raise the debt limit. White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre spoke on Tuesday.

Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre: “This is not a plan; it is a recipe for economic catastrophe. As President Biden has made clear, Congress must deal with the debt limit, and must do so without conditions. But congressional Republicans are threatening to hold the nation’s full faith and credit, a mandate of the Constitution, hostage to their demands to cut Social Security, to cut Medicare and to cut Medicaid.”

The U.S. will technically hit the debt ceiling on Thursday, but Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said extraordinary measures can be taken to keep paying the government’s bills until early June.

Brazil Charges 39 Bolsonaro Supporters with Staging a Coup

Jan 18, 2023

Brazil’s prosecutor general has charged 39 supporters of former President Jair Bolsonaro in connection with the January 8 attack on the Brazilian Supreme Court, Congress and presidential palace in the capital Brasília. The defendants are charged with staging a coup and other crimes. The charges come days after Brazil’s Supreme Court announced it would investigate Bolsonaro for inspiring the January 8 attack.

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Iranian American Jailed in Tehran Begins Hunger Strike

Jan 18, 2023

An Iranian American man who has been jailed in Tehran since 2015 has begun a week-long hunger strike. In an open letter to President Biden, Siamak Namazi describes himself as having the “unenviable title of the longest held Iranian American hostage in history.” He was arrested along with his father on a business trip in 2015 and convicted of cooperating with a hostile government.

Peru: Thousands Converge in Lima to Demand Resignation of Dina Boluarte

Jan 18, 2023

Thousands of Peruvians from rural areas are gathering in the capital of Lima to demand the resignation of President Dina Boluarte, who took power last month after the ouster and arrest of leftist President Pedro Castillo. The protests are being led by Indigenous, peasant and trade union groups opposed to the December coup. At least 50 protesters have been killed since Castillo’s ouster. On Tuesday, police in Lima fired tear gas at demonstrators, who vowed to remain in the streets.

Yorbin Herrera: “We are from Chota, Cajamarca. We have come to Lima to defend our country, considering that we are under a dictatorial government, a militarist government, which has stained our country with blood.”

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Greta Thunberg Detained for Second Time in Germany at Coal Mine Protest

Jan 18, 2023

Climate protests are continuing in Germany over the expansion of an open-pit coal mine in the village of Lützerath in western Germany. On Tuesday, police detained Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg for the second time this week. Three officers dressed in riot gear were seen carrying her away after she joined other activists attempting to block the front of the coal mine. Thunberg tweeted earlier today, “Climate protection is not a crime.”

Amnesty Seeks Investigation After Jailed Dissident Dies in Equatorial Guinea

Jan 18, 2023

Amnesty International is calling for an investigation into the death of a prominent imprisoned dissident in the oil-rich West African nation of Equatorial Guinea. The 51-year-old Julio Obama Mefuman, who is also a citizen of Spain, had been serving a 60-year-jail sentence. In 2017, he and another dissident had been kidnapped in South Sudan and brought to Equatorial Guinea to be imprisoned. Just two weeks ago, Spain announced it would investigate the circumstances of how the men were seized. Equatorial Guinea has been led by the U.S.-backed dictator Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo since 1979. He is the longest-serving president in the world.

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Justice Department Won’t Seek Death Penalty for Texas Gunman in Walmart Mass Shooting

Jan 18, 2023

Back in the United States, the Justice Department has decided it won’t seek the death penalty for the Texas man accused of shooting dead 23 people — mostly Latinos — at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, in 2019. It was one of the deadliest attacks on Latinos in U.S. history. The shooter, Patrick Crusius, admitted to targeting Latinos in the attack. He could still face the death penalty if convicted on state charges in Texas.

Faculty at University of Illinois Chicago Launch Strike

Jan 18, 2023

Hundreds of faculty at the University of Illinois Chicago launched an indefinite strike Tuesday after failed contract negotiations. Their demands include fair wages that reflect historic inflation, mental health support and learning disability assessments for students. This is Aaron Krall, a senior English lecturer, speaking at Tuesday’s rally.

Aaron Krall: “We’re also out here fighting for job security for nontenure-system faculty. We have seen universities around this country relying on contingent labor as the state retreats from the financing of higher education. Is that right?”

Crowd: “No!”

Aaron Krall: “Is higher education a public good?”

Crowd: “Yes!”

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