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HeadlinesDecember 05, 2023

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Gaza Death Toll Approaches 16,000 as Israel Intensifies Attacks and Lays Siege to Hospitals

Dec 05, 2023

The World Health Organization says the situation in Gaza is “worsening by the hour,” as Israel’s military lays siege to hospitals and intensifies its assault on areas it previously ordered civilians to flee to. The death toll from the Israeli bombardment is approaching 16,000 — with thousands more believed to be trapped under the rubble.

Twenty-six of Gaza’s 35 hospitals are now out of service. In the north, Israeli tanks encircled Kamal Adwan Hospital and began shelling the medical complex. Doctors there say Israeli snipers are firing on anyone attempting to leave. Images from the hospital’s courtyard show bodies swaddled in white sheets lined up in rows, after medical staff were unable to bury the dead.

In southern Gaza, an intense Israeli assault on the city of Khan Younis has left hospitals overrun. This is Ibrahim Esbeitan, whose 2-month-old son was injured in an Israeli airstrike Monday. 

Ibrahim Esbeitan: “They told us to leave Gaza City. There’s a war in Gaza. So we left the north and came here to the south, just like they asked. But this is what we found in the south. What can we do? This is my son. He was born on the second day of the war, and we haven’t been able to register his birth yet.”

As he spoke, Ibrihim Esbeitan gestured to his infant son, who lay motionless while medical workers connected him to an oxygen supply. The United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, has called Gaza the “most dangerous place in the world to be a child.”

Israeli Strikes Kill World-Renowned Researcher Sofyan Taya, Journalist Montaser Al-Sawaf

Dec 05, 2023

More than three-quarters of Gaza’s population is displaced, with some 2 million people forced into a 90-square-mile area in the south which Israel is actively bombing. 

Among the dead is Sofyan Taya, president of the Islamic University of Gaza and a renowned researcher in physics and applied mathematics. Taya was killed along with his family in an Israeli airstrike Saturday in Jabaliya, just north of Gaza City.

On Monday, Israel cut phone and internet access across Gaza for the fourth time, plunging most of Gaza’s residents into another total communications blackout. This comes as Israeli attacks continue to kill journalists at an unprecedented pace. On Friday, Montaser Al-Sawaf, a freelance journalist working for the Turkish Anadolu Agency, was killed along with his brother and other relatives in an Israeli airstrike on his home. Al-Sawaf reportedly bled to death after no ambulances were available to save him. The Committee to Protect Journalists says at least 56 Palestinian media workers have been killed by Israeli forces since October 7.

U.S. State Department Says It’s “Too Soon” to Judge Whether Israel Is Protecting Civilians

Dec 05, 2023

In Washington, D.C., State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said Monday it was “too soon” to judge whether Israel has been doing enough to protect civilians in Gaza. Miller was challenged by veteran Palestinian journalist Said Arikat.

Said Arikat: “And you don’t think that Israel intentionally kills civilians?”

Matthew Miller: “We think far too many people” —

Said Arikat: “When you bomb — when you bomb neighborhoods” —

Matthew Miller: “I have not seen evidence that they are intentionally killing civilians. We believe that far too many civilians have been killed. But again, this goes back to the underlying problem of this entire situation, which is that Hamas has embedded itself inside civilians” —

Said Arikat: “Come on.”

Matthew Miller: — “inside civilian homes, inside mosques, in schools, in churches. It is Hamas that is putting these civilians in harm’s way.”

Lawsuit Accuses Netherlands’ Government of Complicity in Israeli War Crimes

Dec 05, 2023

A court in the Netherlands has heard a lawsuit brought by human rights groups challenging the government’s export of F-35 fighter jet parts to Israel. Oxfam and Amnesty International argue the arms transfer violates the Netherlands’ obligations under international law to prevent war crimes, citing Israel’s wide-scale and serious violations of humanitarian law in Gaza. Dutch human rights lawyer Liesbeth Zegveld argued the case.

Liesbeth Zegveld: “The state must immediately stop its deliveries of F-35 parts to Israel. That is its obligation under Common Article 1 of the Geneva Conventions, it is its obligation under the Genocide Treaty to prevent genocide, and it is its obligation under export law. The position of the state that we can’t confidently establish whether violations are taking place is a charade.”

Death Toll from Tanzania Floods Rises to 63

Dec 05, 2023

In Tanzania, at least 63 people have been killed since torrential rains over the weekend triggered flooding and mudslides. On Monday, Tanzania’s President Samia Suluhu Hassan cut short her trip to the COP28 climate talks to oversee her government’s response to the disaster. Since October, persistent heavy rains across East Africa have killed at least 350 people and displaced about a million residents of Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Tanzania. 

Fossil Fuel Lobbyists Flood COP28 Climate Summit as Carbon Emissions Reach Record Pace 

Dec 05, 2023

A new report by the Global Carbon Project finds greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels soared to a new record high this year, with carbon dioxide releases approaching nearly 41 billion metric tons. Despite dire warnings over the rapid acceleration of the climate crisis, humanity has burned coal, oil and gas at a faster pace in 2023 than it did last year.

Here in Dubai, a new analysis finds nearly 2,500 fossil fuel lobbyists have been credentialed to attend this year’s COP28 United Nations climate talks. That’s nearly four times as many industry lobbyists as attended last year’s COP27 summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. This is Drue Slatter of the group Pacific Climate Warrior speaking during a COP28 event on Monday. 

Drue Slatter: “We can achieve a phaseout of fossil fuels. We can achieve 100% renewable energy. We can achieve a fair and efficient finance package for the energy transition in the Pacific. But the obscene number of big polluters at these climate negotiations threatens that. In Glasgow, fossil fuel lobbyists outnumbered Pacific delegates 12 to one. If I’m not wrong, last year the number rose to 15 to one. And the number this year is expected to be even higher.”

Later in the broadcast, we’ll speak with Rachel Rose Jackson, the director of climate research and policy at Corporate Accountability, part of the Kick Big Polluters Out coalition, which authored the report, “Record number of fossil fuel lobbyists at COP28.”

Trial Opens of Two Paramedics Charged with Negligent Homicide in Death of Elijah McClain

Dec 05, 2023

In Aurora, Colorado, a trial is underway of two paramedics who face criminal charges over the 2019 death of Elijah McClain. Police videos show Jeremy Cooper and Peter Cichuniec injected McClain with the powerful sedative ketamine after police arrested him and placed him in a dangerous carotid hold as he was walking home from a grocery store. McClain suffered a cardiac arrest within minutes of being injected and died days later. A pulmonary critical care specialist testified there was “no reason to give” McClain ketamine. Prosecutors also accuse the paramedics of neglecting to assist McClain after they drugged him and he lay dying on the ground.
Meanwhile, Aurora police officer Nathan Woodyard, who was acquitted last month of homicide and manslaughter charges in McClain’s death, returned to work after a two-year suspension, receiving over $200,000 in back pay.

Ex-U.S. Ambassador Victor Manuel Rocha Charged with Spying for Cuba

Dec 05, 2023

Federal agents in Miami, Florida, have arrested a former State Department official who once served as U.S. ambassador to Bolivia, accusing him of working as an agent of the Cuban government for more than four decades. On Monday, Justice Department officials said Victor Manuel Rocha sought out and obtained positions within the United States government that would provide him with access to nonpublic information to pass along to Havana. However, the charging document reveals few details about what information Rocha might have shared with the Cuban government. 

Supreme Court Hears Challenge to Bankruptcy Plan Shielding Sacklers from Opioid Liability 

Dec 05, 2023

The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments Monday in a case challenging Purdue Pharma’s bankruptcy plan, which shields members of the billionaire Sackler family from civil liability over their role in creating and fueling the opioid epidemic. In 2019, Purdue filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as it faced thousands of lawsuits seeking trillions of dollars in compensation from the Sacklers, who profited from selling the highly addictive drug OxyContin while fully aware it was directly fueling the opioid epidemic in America. According to the CDC, opioid overdoses have killed over half a million people in the U.S. over the past two decades. Outside the Supreme Court Monday, family members held photos of loved ones lost to the opioid crisis. This is Rebecca Finnerty, whose son died of an overdose in 2016.

Rebecca Finnerty: “They were all little slaps on the wrist with little financial fines. And if that continues, there’s really no real justice here for what’s happened in this country. There are hundreds of thousands of lives that are gone, and a fine doesn’t do it. And hiding behind bankruptcy protection because you’re a billionaire — they’re worth $11 billion. And it’s ridiculous that they profited off the deaths of our children and are walking away with that.”

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