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HeadlinesDecember 12, 2023

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Israeli Troops Storm Kamal Adwan Hospital as Gaza’s Humanitarian Crisis Deepens

Dec 12, 2023

Israeli troops backed by tanks and heavy artillery have stormed the besieged Kamal Adwan Hospital in the northern Gaza Strip, where 3,000 displaced people are sheltering from Israeli’s unrelenting assault. Al Jazeera reports medical staff inside the hospital were among those shot and killed, as were two mothers killed Monday when Israel’s military bombarded the hospital’s maternity ward. The hospital’s remaining patients include a dozen children in an intensive care unit and six newborns in incubators. Palestinian health officials say Israeli soldiers were rounding up men in the hospital courtyard, stripping them, blindfolding them and taking them away for interrogation. A Human Rights Watch official said such treatment “amounts to a war crime.”

The assault on the Kamal Adwan Hospital came as Israel’s military continued to bombard the southern Gaza Strip, including Rafah on the Egyptian border, where thousands of Palestinians expelled from northern Gaza face dire shortages of food, water, medicine, fuel and shelter. This is Fatma Soliman Al-Malihy, who was displaced along with her family from northern Gaza.

Fatma Soliman Al-Malihy: “There is no food or drink. The house is destroyed. There is nothing. There is no money. Please stop the war on us, for God’s sake. We are innocent people. We have nothing. We own nothing. We are unarmed people, for God’s sake. Look at us. Muslims, foreigners, the U.S. itself, stop the war, for God’s sake. We are destroyed. Where would we go? You moved us from the north to Rafah. We don’t know where to go. We don’t sleep. By God, we don’t sleep. We are depressed. We are scared, dead scared about our sons and children. We have children with disabilities, paralyzed ones. Where would we go?”

Protesters Hold Global Strike to Demand Ceasefire in Gaza

Dec 12, 2023

Palestinians and their supporters around the world joined a global strike Monday demanding an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. The action, which saw businesses closed and other activities suspended for the day, came in response to the United States’ veto of a U.N. Security Council resolution calling for an urgent ceasefire in Gaza.

In Washington, D.C., over a dozen Jewish elders chained themselves to the fence in front of the White House, urging President Biden to end his opposition to a ceasefire. The 18 women who participated in the act of civil disobedience read the names of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces since Hamas’s October 7 attack. They also chanted, “Biden, Biden, pick a side, ceasefire not genocide!”

Also on Capitol Hill, over 100 protesters occupied the Senate atrium Monday, urging lawmakers and the Biden administration to cease all military aid to Israel, and instead divest funds for affordable housing, healthcare and other needs. Many protesters wore black shirts with the words “Invest in life.” Dozens were arrested.

Harvard Rejects Calls to Fire President Claudine Gay Amid Crackdown on Pro-Palestinian Speech

Dec 12, 2023

The Harvard Corporation, Harvard University’s highest governing body, has rejected calls to fire President Claudine Gay following a contentious congressional hearing on antisemitism and a broader effort to restrict pro-Palestinian speech on college campuses. That’s according to The Harvard Crimson, which reports the decision came after more than 700 faculty members signed an open letter calling on the Harvard Corporation to “defend the independence of the university and to resist political pressures that are at odds with Harvard’s commitment to academic freedom, including calls for the removal of President Claudine Gay.” The letter continues, “The critical work of defending a culture of free inquiry in our diverse community cannot proceed if we let its shape be dictated by outside forces.” Claudine Gay also won the backing of Harvard’s alumni association and more than 70 Black faculty members who called attacks on her “specious and politically motivated.” Gay was inaugurated in October as the first African American and second woman to lead Harvard University. She’s the daughter of Haitian immigrants. Efforts to unseat her came as University of Pennsylvania President Elizabeth Magill resigned her position following intense Republican-led backlash and a Capitol Hill grilling by far-right Republican Congressmember Elise Stefanik.

Zelensky Visits Washington, D.C., to Press for More U.S. Military Aid to Ukraine

Dec 12, 2023

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky is in Washington, D.C., hoping to break a Republican-led deadlock over U.S. military aid. On Monday, Zelensky said any further delay of U.S. support for Ukraine’s military will play into the hands of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Zelensky’s visit comes as Ukrainian military leaders admit their monthslong counteroffensive aimed at reclaiming territory occupied by Russia has largely failed. The White House has asked Congress to approve more than $61 billion in additional aid to Ukraine — part of a larger $110 billion package that also includes arms for Taiwan and Israel and money to further militarize the U.S.-Mexico border. But Senate Republicans have rejected the aid package, calling for even greater restrictions on immigration.

This comes as The Guardian reports allies of Hungary’s far-right Prime Minister Viktor Orbán are holding a closed-door meeting with Republicans in Washington to push for an end to U.S. military support for Ukraine, in a two-day event hosted by the Heritage Foundation think tank.

Jailed Russian Opposition Leader Alexei Navalny Goes Missing from Penal Colony

Dec 12, 2023

In Russia, supporters of Alexei Navalny say the jailed opposition leader is missing. The Kremlin critic has been locked in a penal colony since 2022, sentenced to more than three decades on what he says are trumped-up charges of fraud and “extremism.” Those charges came after Navalny narrowly survived an assassination attempt in 2020 when he was poisoned with the nerve agent Novichok. On Monday, Navalny’s spokesperson said she feared for his life.

Kira Yarmysh: “The main thing for us is to find him as soon as possible, because right now he is completely alone and he is literally in the hands of people who once tried to kill him. So we don’t know what they will do again.”

The Intercept: Indian Government Memo Targeted Sikh Separatists Ahead of Activist’s Murder

Dec 12, 2023

A secret memorandum issued by India’s government last April ordered diplomatic staff in North America to launch a “sophisticated crackdown scheme” against Sikh diaspora organizations in Western countries. That’s according to The Intercept, which reveals the memo lists several Sikh dissidents under investigation by India’s intelligence agencies, including the Canadian citizen Hardeep Singh Nijjar, who was murdered in Vancouver in June in what Canada’s government said was an assassination arranged by India’s government. The memo said, “Concrete measures shall be adopted to hold the suspects accountable.” Prime Minister Narendra Modi has long been accused of targeting Sikh leaders at home and abroad.

Activists Slam COP28 Draft Agreement That Omits Phaseout of Fossil Fuels

Dec 12, 2023

In Dubai, frustration is mounting as a draft agreement for the U.N.'s COP28 climate summit so far omits the phasing out of fossil fuels, drawing widespread criticism from climate activists who've denounced the draft text as a death warrant for the planet. The document released Monday instead calls for “reducing both consumption and production of fossil fuels.” Environmentalist and former U.S. Vice President Al Gore said on social media, “COP28 is now on the verge of complete failure.” Meanwhile, a peaceful action broke out Monday as several activists gathered outside a meeting room in Dubai’s Expo City where COP28 President Sultan Al Jaber was expected to hold a news conference. Protesters held hands and formed a line demanding a fossil fuel phaseout. This is Emma Buretta, a 17-year-old climate activist from the U.S.

Emma Buretta: “If we don’t get a phaseout in the text at this COP, then there’s a very high chance that we are going to exceed 1.5 degrees of warming, which will ensure a completely unlivable future for youth like me, for marginalized people, for Indigenous people, for people of color and for everyone.”

Youth Activists in California Sue EPA for Failing to Regulate Greenhouse Gases

Dec 12, 2023

In California, a group of children has filed a federal lawsuit charging the Environmental Protection Agency and its administrator with failing to regulate life-threatening greenhouse gases, despite knowing the harm it causes to children’s health and welfare. It’s the latest in a series of youth-led climate lawsuits brought by the nonprofit law firm Our Children’s Trust. Fourteen-year-old plaintiff Avroh S. said in a statement, “We are experiencing what no one should have to experience. We’re facing constitutional negligence. We’re challenging the EPA’s failure to protect us. The air we breathe has become a casualty of their opposition.” In August, a court in Montana ruled in favor of a similar lawsuit brought by young people who had sued Montana’s government for violating their constitutional rights as it pushed policies that encouraged the use of fossil fuels.

Special Counsel Jack Smith Asks SCOTUS If Trump Is Immune from Prosecution

Dec 12, 2023

The prosecutor behind Donald Trump’s federal election interference case has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to clarify whether the former president has immunity from prosecution. Special counsel Jack Smith made the request for an expedited answer from the Supreme Court on Monday, in a bid to stave off any delays ahead of Trump’s trial scheduled for March 4. Trump is accused of leading efforts to overturn the 2020 election and inciting the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. Trump has claimed the Constitution accords him absolute immunity from prosecution.

Over the weekend, Trump doubled down on his claims that he would not be a dictator if he becomes president again, “other than day one.” Trump was speaking at the New York Young Republican Club’s annual gala on Wall Street.

Donald Trump: “And you know why I wanted to be dictator? Because I want a wall, right? I want a wall, and I want to drill, drill, drill!”

Civil Trial Will Determine What Damages Rudy Giuliani Must Pay to Defamed Georgia Election Workers

Dec 12, 2023

In Washington, D.C., a federal jury will decide how much ex-President Trump’s disgraced former attorney Rudy Guiliani will pay, after a judge found him liable for defaming two Georgia election workers whom Giuliani falsely accused of ballot tampering after the 2020 election. As the trial got underway Monday, Giuliani’s lawyers argued the millions of dollars in damages sought by the workers — Ruby Freeman and her daughter Shaye Moss — would amount to the “civil equivalent of the death penalty” and would “end Mr. Giuliani.”

Texas Supreme Court Won’t Allow Woman with Nonviable Pregnancy to Seek Abortion

Dec 12, 2023

In Texas, Kate Cox, a woman seeking to terminate her 20-week pregnancy, has fled the state to obtain emergency abortion care after the Texas Supreme Court blocked a ruling that would have allowed her to get the procedure. Cox sought an abortion in Texas after learning the fetus has a lethal abnormality that, if carried to term, could make it impossible for her to have more children. This is Molly Duane, an attorney with the Center for Reproductive Rights.

Molly Duane: “We’re talking about a very real woman and a family who’s not only grieving the loss of a child but is dealing with serious health conditions that — exacerbated by the pregnancy that she is, you know, challenged with every single day. And for the attorney general to basically say, 'No, I know better than your doctors, and I get to veto the healthcare that everyone else says you need,' is really a stunning thing to see.”

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