Israeli forces killed at least 10 Palestinians in a raid in the occupied West Bank city of Nablus. One hundred others were reported injured. It’s the latest fatal attack by Israel, which has killed at least 61 Palestinians, including 13 children, since the start of the year. Sixteen-year-old Muntaser al-Shawwa died Monday, two weeks after he was shot in the head by Israeli forces.
The U.N. has called on Israel to “pause” plans to gut the judiciary. The move by Benjamin Netanyahu’s extreme-right government has triggered two months of mass protests.
This comes after the U.N. Security Council unanimously approved a statement of opposition to Israel’s illegal expansion of settlements Monday. It’s the first time in over six years the U.S. has agreed to a rebuke of Israel, though advocates denounced the watered-down, nonbinding statement in place of a more consequential resolution.
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met with top Chinese diplomat Wang Yi in Moscow. This comes after Russia announced its withdrawal from the New START nuclear arms control treaty and as Beijing seeks to play a larger role in ending the year-long war in Ukraine. The Wall Street Journal reports Chinese President Xi Jinping plans to visit Moscow for a summit in the coming months.
Meanwhile, President Biden delivered a speech in Warsaw, Poland, Tuesday, following his visit to Ukraine.
President Joe Biden: “Kyiv stands proud. It stands tall. And most important, it stands free. … Brutality will never grind down the will of the free. And Ukraine — Ukraine will never be a victory for Russia.”
In Ukraine, Russian rockets killed six people at a bus station in Kherson Tuesday. The U.N. said at least 8,000 civilians have been confirmed killed since the start of the war but that the true death toll is likely “thousands higher.”
The Environmental Protection Agency has ordered Norfolk Southern to clean up the contamination from its derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, earlier this month, which led to a massive fire and the release of toxic chemicals. This is EPA head Michael Regan speaking from East Palestine.
Michael Regan: “If the company fails to complete any action ordered by EPA, the agency will immediately step in, conduct the work ourselves, and then force Norfolk Southern to pay triple in cost.”
Ohio Republican Governor Mike DeWine also spoke at Tuesday’s press conference and said it was “fundamentally wrong” that trains carrying toxic chemicals are not required to notify authorities. An investigation by local ABC affiliate WSYX revealed Norfolk Southern donated $29,000 to Governor DeWine since 2018, including $10,000 just last month for his inauguration. The train company gave nearly $100,000 to Ohio candidates over the past six years and extensively lobbied DeWine and other politicians.
Railroad Workers United and others are calling for the nationalization of the U.S. rail system in the wake of the East Palestine disaster.
Meanwhile, a Union Pacific coal-carrying train derailed in Gothenburg, Nebraska, early Tuesday. It’s the second such accident this week for Union Pacific trains after another derailment Monday in Riverbank, California. The company said no hazardous materials were involved in either instance.
California Congressmember Barbara Lee has announced her bid for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by the retiring Dianne Feinstein in 2024. Lee has served in the House for 25 years and is perhaps best known for being the only member of Congress to vote against authorizing military action following the 9/11 attacks. Congressmembers Katie Porter and Adam Schiff are also running for the Senate seat.
A Virginia state senator has won a special election for the 4th Congressional District and will become the first Black woman to represent Virginia in Congress. Jennifer McClellan will fill the seat of Congressmember Donald McEachin, who died in November.
In more congressional news, Rhode Island Democrat David Cicilline is leaving the House of Representatives in June to run the Rhode Island Foundation. Prior to becoming a U.S. congressmember in 2011, Cicilline was mayor of Providence, the first openly gay mayor of a state capital.
The U.S. Supreme Court rejected an appeal to an Arkansas law that penalizes the boycott of Israel. The case was brought on behalf of the editor of the Arkansas Times, who refused to sign a pledge that he would not boycott Israel in order to benefit from state advertising contracts. Over 30 such laws are in place around the country and have been used as a model to curb boycotts of oil companies and gun manufacturers, as well. The ACLU argued the Arkansas law should be overturned since boycotts have been established as protected speech under the First Amendment. Click here to see our interview on the subject.
Separately, on Tuesday, Supreme Court justices heard arguments in Gonzalez v. Google, a case challenging federal protections for social media and search engine companies that host and amplify potentially dangerous content. The plaintiff argues YouTube, which is owned by Google, bears responsibility in the death of Nohemi Gonzalez, a U.S. citizen who was killed in the Paris 2015 terror attack, because it recommended ISIS recruitment videos on its platform. The justices, however, seemed unlikely to reverse decades of status quo in legal protection for the tech companies.
In Wisconsin, a primary vote for a seat on the state Supreme Court has advanced a liberal candidate, Janet Protasiewicz, and conservative Daniel Kelly to the April 4 runoff, which could tip the court to the left for the first time in 14 years. At stake is the future of Wisconsin’s abortion ban, which went into effect after the overturning of Roe v. Wade last year. The balance of Wisconsin’s top court will also play a key role in voting, amid battles over the state’s heavily gerrymandered legislative and congressional maps, and possible challenges in the 2024 presidential election.
Here in New York, Genaro García Luna, Mexico’s former top security official, once charged with leading the fight against narcotrafficking, was convicted Tuesday for accepting millions of dollars in bribes from the Sinaloa Cartel under the former leadership of Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, who’s serving life in prison in the U.S. In exchange, García Luna protected cartel members from arrest and gave them safe passage for cocaine shipments and tip-offs about law enforcement operations.
García Luna served under former President Felipe Calderón, who launched Mexico’s U.S.-backed so-called war on drugs, that has led to the killing and disappearance of tens of thousands of people. García Luna also worked closely with U.S. counternarcotics and intelligence agencies as part of their supposed crackdown on drug cartels.
In immigration news, the Biden administration has proposed a new policy that could block tens of thousands of people from seeking asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border. The rule would force migrants to first seek protection in Mexico or another country they passed through on their trek to the U.S. They’d be able to ask for asylum in the U.S. only if those previous claims in another country are denied. Unaccompanied children would be exempt. The ACLU condemned Biden for mimicking asylum bans that were enacted by former President Trump. Those were ultimately ruled illegal and blocked in court following challenges from the ACLU.
In Texas, members of the Chinese community are organizing against a racist bill currently being debated in the Senate that would bar citizens from China, North Korea, Iran and Russia from purchasing property or land in the state. Republican Governor Greg Abbott has already signaled his support for the bill.
Asian Americans say the proposed legislation is a throwback to long-repealed xenophobic laws including the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and the so-called alien land laws of the early 1900s, which banned Asian immigrants from owning land. This is activist Ling Luo of the Asian Americans Leadership Council speaking at a rally earlier this month.
Ling Luo: “Texas Governor Abbott wanted to ban Chinese Americans from owning properties in Texas by passing S.B. 147 and S.B. 552. Chinese Americans have to prove their citizenship if they want to buy properties. This is blatant discrimination based on race, which violates the American Constitution. We must stand in solidarity to protest these discriminatory bills. We need to stand up, speak out and fight back.”
Seattle has become the first U.S. city to ban caste-based discrimination. City Councilmember Kshama Sawant, who proposed the measure, celebrated after the vote, tweeting, “Now we need to build a movement to spread this victory around the country.”