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HeadlinesOctober 04, 2023

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U.S. House Is Without a Leader After Historic Vote to Remove Kevin McCarthy as Speaker

Oct 04, 2023

For the first time ever, the U.S. House voted to remove its speaker, California Republican Kevin McCarthy, plunging the chamber into even greater turmoil. The far-right flank of the Republican Party and all Democrats voted Tuesday to oust McCarthy in a 216-210 vote. It came just days after McCarthy worked with Democrats to pass a stopgap bill to avert a government shutdown. McCarthy spoke after his ouster.

Rep. Kevin McCarthy: “I don’t regret standing up for choosing governing over grievance. It is my responsibility. It is my job. I do not regret negotiating. Our government is designed to find compromise.”

McCarthy has accused Florida’s far-right Congressmember Matt Gaetz, who set the vote in motion, of a personally motivated attack. The House Ethics Committee has been investigating Gaetz for a range of possible crimes, including sex trafficking and misuse of campaign funds. The House will now have to vote for a new leader with no clear successor in sight, as Congress has just over six weeks to again avoid a shutdown. We’ll go to D.C. for the latest with California Congressmember Ro Khanna after headlines.

Judge Places Gag Order on Trump After He Posts Attack on Law Clerk During Civil Fraud Trial

Oct 04, 2023

Here in New York, the judge overseeing Donald Trump’s civil fraud trial imposed a gag order on the former president Tuesday, after Trump posted a photo of the judge’s law clerk with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, falsely claiming she was Schumer’s “girlfriend.” Trump also wrote that the case against him should be dismissed. Judge Arthur Engoron barred Trump from posting, sending emails or making public remarks about members of the judge’s staff.

Meanwhile, in Georgia, Fulton County prosecutors have reportedly reached plea deals with at least half of the “fake electors” for their cooperation in the wide-ranging racketeering case around Trump’s efforts to overturn the result of the 2020 election.

Hunter Biden Pleads Not Guilty to Federal Gun Charges

Oct 04, 2023

Hunter Biden pleaded not guilty to lying about his drug use on a 2018 form he filled out to buy a firearm. Joe Biden’s son faces a potential federal trial during the 2024 presidential campaigning period, after a plea deal fell apart over the summer.

Colombia Issues Apology for Extrajudicial Killings in “False Positives” Affair

Oct 04, 2023

Colombia’s government has issued a long-awaited public apology for the extrajudicial killings of 19 civilians, who were mislabeled as rebel fighters in what became known as the “false positives” scandal. The killings took place between 2004 and 2008 as the Colombian military intensified its crackdown against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC. Colombian soldiers and officers were paid bonuses and granted promotions based on their kill count; thousands of civilians were killed and purposefully mislabeled. But some family members rejected the apology, including this mother of a victim.

Lucero Carmona: “Let it be very clear that today my family and I are not granting forgiveness. For us, it is very painful, because we are still in a moment of total impunity. I have been waiting for more than 16 years for justice to be served, for the truth to be found and for there to be no more repetition of these cases.”


Indian Police Raid Journalists in Ongoing Crackdown on Press

Oct 04, 2023

On Tuesday, police in New Delhi raided the homes and offices of dozens of journalists working for a left-leaning independent news outlet critical of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government. NewsClick’s founder and editor-in-chief Prabir Purkayastha and another journalist were arrested. The mass raid and interrogations came as part of an investigation involving a sweeping anti-terror law critics say has been used to attack press freedom. Earlier this year, Indian authorities also raided the offices of the BBC in a separate investigation.

A group of protesters gathered in front of the New York Times building yesterday, as they accused the Times of complicity in the crackdown after the paper previously accused NewsClick and other outlets of being part of a Chinese news propaganda network

Pakistan Tells Undocumented Immigrants to Leave by Nov. 1

Oct 04, 2023

Pakistani authorities have ordered all undocumented immigrants to leave the country by November 1 or face mass deportations. This includes over 1.7 million asylum seekers from Afghanistan who’ve fled to neighboring Pakistan since the Taliban returned to power in 2021. Pakistan’s Interior Minister Sarfraz Bugti said Tuesday after the November deadline Afghans will only be allowed to enter if they have a valid passport or visa — a process that can take months due to a massive backlog.

Sen. Cardin Halts U.S. Military Funding for Egypt in Wake of Menendez Bribery Indictment

Oct 04, 2023

Maryland Senator Ben Cardin, the new chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has blocked $235 million in U.S. military funding to Egypt, citing human rights concerns. Cardin replaced New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez as head of the powerful committee after Menendez was indicted on federal bribery charges, including accusations he used his position to help New Jersey businessmen and the Egyptian government.

After Israel, Egypt is the second-largest recipient of U.S. foreign military aid, despite the well-known abuses of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s government, including its harsh crackdown on dissent and the press. Cardin said the funding would be blocked until his committee saw reforms on pretrial detention and the release of political prisoners. El-Sisi is widely expected to win Egypt’s upcoming December election.

Sahel Unrest: Attack in Niger Kills 29 Soldiers; Siege on Timbuktu Puts Malians on Edge

Oct 04, 2023

In Niger, the government has declared three days of national mourning after an attack by suspected militants killed at least 29 soldiers in the country’s western border with Mali. Niger’s Defense Ministry also said “several dozen terrorists” were killed. Local residents lamented the attack and the ongoing insecurity.

Naomi Binta Stansley: “We wish that this mourning, this sadness that the families of the soldiers feel, that the Nigeriens feel, that this would be the last time and that this insecurity stops. We want peace to return to Niger, peace to return to the Sahel, peace to return to Mali, peace to return to Burkina.”

Violence in the Sahel has plagued Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso for over 10 years, leading to military takeovers in the three countries, which recently formed a defense alliance to fight armed groups and external military intervention. The countries have moved to sever ties with former colonizer France, whose mission to combat terrorism has largely failed or worsened the situation. The U.N. also recently withdrew its forces from Mali, as the country’s military attempts to repel conflicts from armed groups on multiple fronts. A blockade and bombing of Timbuktu by al-Qaeda-affiliated insurgents has led to fears of a possible civil war. This is a Timbuktu resident.

Sory Touré: “What worries us is the shelling of the town. This creates a real psychosis and leaves its mark on people’s minds. I, myself, have this fear inside of me. What’s much more serious is the fact that it affects people’s psychology.”

Oil Blast at Nigerian Homemade Refinery Kills 37 People

Oct 04, 2023

In Nigeria, Reuters reports at least 37 people are dead after a homemade refinery ignited a nearby oil reservoir and exploded into flames. Illegal oil refining is common along the Niger Delta region of Nigeria, where local residents living in extreme poverty tap pipelines to make and sell fuel.

Climate Groups Sue TotalEnergies over East African Pipeline, Climate Destruction

Oct 04, 2023

Four environmental groups are suing TotalEnergies in French criminal court, accusing it of “involuntary homicide” over its oil projects, including the contested EACOP pipeline in Tanzania and Uganda. Activists have been heavily campaigning to bring international attention to the East African Crude Oil Pipeline, which threatens the fragile surrounding ecosystem and communities in the pipeline’s path.

This comes as South Africa has given the green light for TotalEnergies to drill off its shores for gas and oil, despite challenges from climate groups. One of the groups, Climate Justice Charter Movement, said it will continue to fight the government’s decision.

Climate Activists Descend on Insurance Forum to Demand Industry Stop Funding Fossil Fuels

Oct 04, 2023

Here in the U.S., climate activists disrupted a talk packed with executives at the Insurance Leadership Forum in Colorado Springs Tuesday to demand companies stop insuring and investing in fossil fuel expansion.

Protester: “Hello, insurance executives. We are here today to call out the contributions that you’re making, specifically Liberty Mutual, Chubb” —

Bob Klonk: “I had a whole opening line set up here. I had some good lines.”

Protester: — “the Hartford and Travelers” —

Bob Klonk: “Hey, yeah, I don’t really care. Let’s go.”

Protester: — “for your continuing expansion” —

Bob Klonk: “Let’s go!”

Protester: — “of fossil fuels” —

Bob Klonk: “Not on the program.”

Protester: — “including methane gas.”

Earlier this week, protesters with Rainforest Action Network and 350 Colorado gathered in front of another event at the insurance forum, demanding companies like Chubb, Travelers and Liberty Mutual insure communities instead of fossil fuels. A growing number of homeowners are not able to afford insurance as the cost of coverage goes up and major companies have started pulling out of states that are at high risk of wildfires, flooding and storms. A recent report found 39 million homes are at risk of losing their insurance due to the climate crisis.

Shooter on the Loose After Injuring 5 People at Morgan State Homecoming Event

Oct 04, 2023

In Maryland, five people were shot at Morgan State University in Baltimore Tuesday night. Police have not yet located a suspect in the shooting, which happened during a homecoming week event at the historically Black school. The victims are not in critical condition.

Baltimore Archdiocese Files for Bankruptcy as Maryland Enacts Child Victims Act

Oct 04, 2023

In Baltimore, a federal judge has blocked lawsuits against Catholic schools, charities and parishes that are part of insurance plans with the Archdiocese of Baltimore. This comes days after the Catholic Church in Baltimore filed for bankruptcy Friday, ahead of Maryland’s new Child Victims Act, which went into effect Sunday and removes the statute of limitations for child sex abuse lawsuits. A flood of lawsuits is expected against the Archdiocese. A report last year found at least 600 children suffered sexual abuse and physical torture by over 150 Baltimore clergy members over decades. Dozens of survivors also filed a suit Sunday against the state of Maryland and its agencies for sexual abuse suffered in its juvenile prisons.

75,000 Kaiser Permanente Healthcare Workers Walk Off Job Across Half a Dozen States

Oct 04, 2023

Seventy-five thousand healthcare workers with Kaiser Permanente are walking off the job in a major strike that will run through the end of this week. Talks have failed to yield a new agreement as workers seek higher pay, better staffing, and improvements in their pension plans and other benefits. The strike would affect Kaiser workers in California, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Virginia and Washington, D.C. It’s the largest strike of healthcare workers in U.S. history.

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