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HeadlinesNovember 28, 2023

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Israel and Hamas Agree to Extend Truce by 48 Hours to Exchange More Captives 

Nov 28, 2023

Israel and Hamas have agreed to pause fighting for an additional 48 hours after mediators secured a deal for both sides to release more captives. On Monday, the Red Cross said it facilitated the release and transfer of 11 Israeli hostages held in Gaza. Their release came as Israel freed three Palestinian women and 30 children from Israeli prisons. It was the fourth exchange since the Gaza truce came into effect last week. Israeli attacks on Gaza since October 7 have killed about 15,000 people — more than 6,000 of them children. The World Health Organization warns more Palestinians could soon die of preventable diseases than of Israel’s bombardment unless Gaza’s health system is rapidly repaired. On Monday, British Palestinian surgeon Dr. Ghassan Abu-Sittah spoke about his experiences in Gaza hospitals.

Dr. Ghassan Abu-Sittah: “One of the most horrific scenes that I witnessed in Shifa Hospital was when, after the air raid and the dead and the wounded were brought in, members of the Shifa medical staff and nursing staff would be running frantically in the emergency department looking at the faces of the wounded and the dead to see whether their relatives had been amongst the wounded, and in many cases their children had been amongst the dead and the wounded.”

Vermont Man Pleads Not Guilty to Attempted Murder of Three Palestinian Students

Nov 28, 2023

In Vermont, a 48-year-old man accused of shooting three Palestinian college students pleaded not guilty Monday to three counts of attempted second-degree murder. He allegedly shot the students from his porch as they walked by. U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said the FBI is investigating whether the shooting was a hate crime. Two of the students remain hospitalized. Hisham Awartani, who was shot in the spine, has reportedly lost feeling in the lower part of his body. We’ll have more on this story after headlines. 

Former Obama Adviser Pleads Not Guilty to Hate Crimes over Racist Harassment of NYC Vendor

Nov 28, 2023

Here in New York, a former senior State Department official has pleaded not guilty to hate crime and stalking charges, after a viral video showed him harassing and threatening a Halal food cart vendor with violent, racist and Islamophobic language. Stuart Seldowitz served as deputy director of the U.S. State Department’s Office of Israel and Palestinian Affairs from 1999 to 2003. He was a national security adviser under former President Obama. 

Activists at White House Launch Hunger Strike Demanding Biden Press for Gaza Ceasefire

Nov 28, 2023

In Washington, D.C., a group of state lawmakers, Palestinian rights advocates and supporters have launched a hunger strike demanding a permanent ceasefire in Gaza. On Monday, they gathered outside the White House for the five-day peaceful action. This is Rana Abdelhamid, a former candidate for Congress and an Egyptian American community organizer from Queens, New York.

Rana Abdelhamid: “Over the past couple of weeks, we have seen an incredibly harmful uptick in violence, impacting across all of our communities. When we normalize the deaths and murder of Palestinian people vis-à-vis our foreign policy, we normalize death and violence here in the United States across all of our communities. We need to understand that violence only allows for more violence. What we need is negotiation. What we need is diplomacy. What we need is human rights and for all families to be able to be safe, to return safely, to not have to endure more bombing, more violence and more destruction.”

Activist and actor Cynthia Nixon, best known for her role in “Sex and the City,” is among those who joined the hunger strike. Nixon, a former candidate for New York governor, also spoke Monday.

Cynthia Nixon: “We are hunger-striking as a way of amplifying that, yes, that Palestinians are being bombed and killed, but they’re also being starved, and so many of them are on the brink of starvation.”

Ahead of COP28 Climate Summit, U.N. Warns of Rapidly Melting Antarctic Sea Ice 

Nov 28, 2023

The United Nations secretary-general has once again called on nations to act to prevent a catastrophic rise in global temperatures. António Guterres spoke to reporters in New York Monday ahead of the COP28 U.N. climate summit, which opens later this week in Dubai. Over the weekend, Guterres visited Antarctica to witness firsthand “the deadly impact of the climate crisis.” Guterres warned sea ice along Antarctica’s coast is now 1.5 million square kilometers below average for this time of year, while southern sea ice is melting three times faster than the rate in the early 1990s.

Secretary-General António Guterres: “It is profoundly shocking to stand on the ice of Antarctica and hear directly from scientists how fast the ice is disappearing. … This year Antarctica’s sea ice hit an all-time low. That matters for us all. What happens in Antarctica doesn’t stay in Antarctica. We live in an interconnected world.”

Biden Won’t Join World Leaders at COP28 Climate Talks

Nov 28, 2023

President Biden will not attend the world leaders’ summit at COP28 in Dubai next weekend. The White House has not officially confirmed whether Biden will make an appearance at the U.N. climate summit at a later date. Biden has attended the last two COP summits and just this month said climate change was “the ultimate threat to humanity.” COP28 is expected to be the largest summit yet, with some 70,000 delegates, and world leaders and senior officials from nearly every nation in attendance. Last week, the European Parliament approved a resolution for its COP delegation to push for an end to all fossil fuel subsidies worldwide “as soon as possible and by 2025 the latest.” Join Democracy Now! next week when we will be broadcasting from COP28 in Dubai.

Meanwhile the labor rights group Equidem has released a report highlighting the ongoing abuse of migrant workers in the UAE, including at Expo City in Dubai, the site of the climate summit. Workers cite extreme heat, inadequate food allowances and wage theft as some of the violations they are facing. 

Climate Reporters’ Sting Reveals Saudi Plan to “Hook” Poorer Countries on Fossil Fuels

Nov 28, 2023

An undercover sting operation by the Centre for Climate Reporting has exposed a Saudi government plan to artificially raise global oil demand, just days before the COP28 summit. A team posing as oil investors spoke to officials from Saudi Arabia’s Oil Sustainability Programme, or OSP, who admitted to targeting Africa and Asia with oil and diesel products under a program controlled by the Saudi Ministry of Energy. Their investigation aired as part of a report on Channel 4 News.

Narrator: “An extraordinary admission from the Saudis that they’re trying to artificially raise oil demand in a climate crisis.”

David George: “My impression is that with the issues of climate change, there’s a risk of kind of declining oil demand, so the OSP has kind of been set up to artificially stimulate demand?”

Nawaf Al-Fallaj: “Yes, it is one of the aspects that we are trying to do. It’s one of the main objectives that we are trying to accomplish.”

Mohamed Adow, the director of the climate and energy think tank Power Shift Africa, said in response, “The Saudi government is like a drug dealer that is trying to get Africa hooked on its harmful products. The rest of the world is weaning itself off dirty and polluting fossil fuels, and Saudi Arabia is getting desperate for more customers and is turning its sights on Africa.”

In related news, documents obtained by the Centre for Climate Reporting have revealed the COP28 host, the United Arab Emirates, planned to use the climate talks as an opportunity to strike oil and gas deals with 15 nations. 

U.N. Warns of Worsening Humanitarian Crisis in Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo

Nov 28, 2023

More United Nations officials are expressing grave concern over the worsening humanitarian crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The U.N. Refugee Agency and UNICEF said they’re “greatly alarmed” by the escalating violence between armed groups and government forces in eastern Congo that’s led to the displacement of millions of people. The ongoing conflict has also hindered the access of humanitarian aid. The agencies also warn of severe human rights violations, including against children, with reports of rapes, kidnappings and arbitrary killings of civilians. Many shelter sites are overcrowded with limited access to food and clean water.

Jean Baptiste Munyanzinza: “We don’t want this life of begging. At home, we had fields, cattle, and we lived very well. … The most important thing is to stop the war so that we can return home.”

This comes as the DRC is gearing up for a presidential election in December. Security in the eastern region has been a central issue for candidates who hope to unseat Congolese President Félix Tshisekedi.

Russia Cracks Down Further on Journalists Masha Gessen, Evan Gershkovich

Nov 28, 2023

Russia has opened a criminal case against award-winning Russian American writer and journalist Masha Gessen. The Kremlin is accusing the New Yorker staff writer of spreading false information over their remarks about the massacre of Ukrainian civilians by Russian forces in the city of Bucha in March 2022. Gessen lived and worked in Russia for decades before returning to the U.S. in 2013, after the Kremlin began enforcing brutal anti-LGBTQ+ laws. The criminal charges in Russia will also limit Gessen’s travel to countries with extradition treaties with Moscow.

In related news, a Russian court has extended the pretrial detention of Wall Street Journal journalist Evan Gershkovich for another two months. The ruling was made in a closed-door hearing earlier today. He’s been jailed since March on espionage charges and faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

Vermont Community Radio Pioneer and NASCAR Enthusiast Ken Squier Dies at 88 

Nov 28, 2023

Ken Squier, an American broadcasting legend, lifelong advocate of independent media and owner of WDEV, one of the oldest community radio stations in the country, died on November 15 at the age of 88. Squier was the first journalist inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, in recognition of his role in bringing car racing to national television as an announcer for CBS. Squier also brought Democracy Now! to Vermont, when WDEV became one of the only commercial radio stations to carry it beginning in 2004. Ken Squier believed that radio must serve the community and have a diversity of views so that everyone felt represented on the air.

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