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HeadlinesFebruary 09, 2023

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Death Toll from Turkey and Syria Earthquakes Tops 17,000, Continues to Rise

Feb 09, 2023

The death toll from Monday’s devastating earthquakes in Turkey and Syria has topped 17,000 and continues to rise, as search-and-rescue crews warn the chance of finding survivors in the rubble is rapidly dwindling. Survivors face unfathomable conditions — without shelter, heat, food, water or medical care. The first U.N. aid has finally reached northwest Syria three days after the quakes. Rescue efforts there have been complicated by damage and displacement from 12 years of war and harsh sanctions. This is Rob Holden, the World Health Organization’s incident manager for the earthquakes.

Rob Holden: “We have got a large, unfolding and huge-scale disaster unfolding on us, with large geographical spread. We’ve got a lot of people who have survived now out in the open and in worsening and horrific conditions. We’ve got major disruption to basic water supplies. We’ve got major disruption to fuel, electricity supplies, communication supplies — the basics of life. We are in real danger of seeing a secondary disaster, which may cause harm to more people than the initial disaster, if we don’t move with the same pace and intensity as we are doing on the search and rescue side.”

Even before Monday’s earthquakes, the U.N. estimated over 14 million people inside Syria needed humanitarian assistance, and more than 12 million struggled to find enough food to eat. We’ll get the latest on this story after headlines.

In Brussels, Ukrainian President Pushes Bid for EU Membership

Feb 09, 2023

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is in Brussels to meet with European leaders as Ukraine pushes its bid for EU membership and stronger sanctions against Russia. He addressed the EU Parliament earlier today.

President Volodymyr Zelensky: “While we are fighting, we are also upgrading our institutions. We are moving closer to the European Union. Ukraine will be a member of the European Union. Victorious Ukraine will be a member of the victorious European Union.”

Zelensky’s remarks in Brussels came during a surprise visit to Europe, with stops in the U.K. and France Wednesday, where President Emmanuel Macron bestowed the prestigious Legion of Honor on the Ukrainian president. British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak confirmed heavy tanks were being sent to the battlefield, and pledged to train Ukrainian forces on NATO-standard jets, indicating the U.K. would likely follow up by providing fighter planes.

Meanwhile, in Ukraine, Russian forces are continuing their advance on the strategic city of Bakhmut in eastern Donetsk region. And Ukrainian officials say shelling is increasing in parts of the Kharkiv region, which was recaptured by Ukraine in September.

Probe Finds “Strong Indications” Putin Approved Missiles Used to Down Passenger Jet in 2014

Feb 09, 2023

In the Netherlands, an international team of investigators at The Hague said Wednesday they’ve uncovered “strong indications” that Russian President Vladimir Putin approved the supply of missiles used by pro-Russia separatists to shoot down a Malaysia airlines flight over Ukraine in 2014. The disaster killed all 298 people on board.

White House Denies Seymour Hersh Report That U.S. Sabotaged Nord Stream Pipelines

Feb 09, 2023

The Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh has accused the United States of sabotaging the Nord Stream pipelines, which were built to carry natural gas from Russia to Europe. The pipelines were severely damaged last September in a series of underwater explosions in the Baltic Sea. In a self-published piece on his new Substack page, Hersh alleges the sabotage was carried out by the U.S. Navy, which he says planted remotely triggered explosives during NATO exercises last summer with the help of Norway’s military and secret service. Hersh alleges President Joe Biden authorized the sabotage. Hersh cited a single unnamed source “with direct knowledge of the operational planning.” A White House spokesperson described the report as “complete fiction,” while the CIA called it “completely and utterly false.” The Norwegian Foreign Ministry also denied the claims.

Hersh’s report comes two weeks after Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland made these remarks during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the war in Ukraine.

Victoria Nuland: “I am, and I think the administration is, very gratified to know that Nord Stream 2 is now, as you like to say, a hunk of metal at the bottom of the sea.”

In December, The New York Times reported Russia had begun expensive repairs on the pipelines — a move which has raised questions about Western claims that Russia had bombed its own pipelines. The sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines released up to 150,000 tons of methane gas into the atmosphere, making it one of the largest methane leaks ever recorded from a single source.

Antarctic Sea Ice Shrank to Lowest Extent on Record in January

Feb 09, 2023

In climate news, researchers reported Wednesday that the area of the Antarctic Ocean covered by sea ice shrank to its lowest extent on record for January, in the latest sign that global heating is accelerating. The European Union’s Copernicus climate monitor also reported Arctic sea ice was at its third-lowest concentration on record for January. Melting sea ice can help accelerate climate change, as dark ocean water absorbs heat, while white sea ice reflects up to 90% of the sun’s energy back into space.

Rail Operator Behind Ohio Crash That Released Toxic Chemicals Lobbied Against Safety Measures

Feb 09, 2023

Ohio authorities have lifted an evacuation order for residents of East Palestine, following Friday’s freight train crash and fire, and the controlled release of toxic chemicals into the air by authorities Monday. The accident has drawn scrutiny to so-called bomb trains, which transport crude oil and other dangerous chemicals across the U.S. Some residents of East Palestine have sued the rail company Norfolk Southern for negligence. New reporting by The Lever reveals that Norfolk Southern helped lobby against federal safety rules for freight trains, including a requirement to update Civil War-era braking systems. Meanwhile, Norfolk Southern paid executives millions and spent billions on stock buybacks while slashing thousands of jobs.

Black Reporter Attacked and Arrested Covering Ohio Train Derailment News Conference

Feb 09, 2023

At a Wednesday press conference with Ohio Governor Mike DeWine about the Norfolk Southern train disaster, a reporter was attacked, handcuffed and arrested for supposed trespassing. NewsNation reporter Evan Lambert, a member of the National Association of Black Journalists, was held for five hours. He spoke about the ordeal after his release.

Evan Lambert: “This essentially says that there are still charges pending against me, so, you know, considering that, I don’t think I’m going to talk too specifically about those moments. But what I can say is that no one expects — no journalist expects to be arrested when you’re doing your job. And I think that’s really important that that doesn’t happen in our country.”

Asylum Seeker at Brooklyn Migrant Facility Attempts Suicide Amid Backlash to “Inhumane Conditions”

Feb 09, 2023

Here in New York City, an asylum seeker at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal migrant facility attempted suicide Tuesday. The 26-year-old is in stable condition at a local hospital. The city has come under fire after a group of migrants refused to stay at the 1,000-bed facility and endure inhumane conditions, they said, including freezing temperatures. On Friday, Mayor Eric Adams spent the night at the Brooklyn facility. He later defended the site but said the city would make some improvements.

Meanwhile, New York City has helped some recently arrived migrants travel to Canada to seek asylum. Mayor Adams defended the decision to buy migrants bus tickets to the U.S.’s northern border, months after blasting Texas officials for busing them to New York.

Mayor Eric Adams: “We are not telling anyone to go to any country or state. People who arrived here and already had other destinations in mind were basically — basically compelled to come to New York, and when they are part of our intake process and we speak with people, and they say their desire was to go somewhere else.”

Click here to see our full coverage of this story.

El Paso Walmart Shooter, Who Killed 23 People in Racist Attack, Pleads Guilty to Hate Crimes

Feb 09, 2023

In Texas, the white supremacist gunman who killed 23 people at an El Paso Walmart in 2019 pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday to hate crimes and weapons charges. The gunman still faces state murder charges that could bring him the death penalty. The shooting was the deadliest attack on the Latinx community in modern U.S. history. Shortly before the massacre, the shooter published a racist online manifesto echoing President Trump’s rhetoric about an “invasion” of immigrants crossing the southern border. That language has since been echoed by other Republican leaders, including Texas Governor Greg Abbott.

Atlanta Police Release Bodycam Video Amid Growing Outrage over Activist’s Killing and “Cop City”

Feb 09, 2023

In Georgia, the Atlanta Police Department has released four body-camera videos recorded during the deadly January 18 raid on an encampment of activists opposing “Cop City,” a proposed $90 million police training complex in the Weelaunee Forest. Twenty-six-year-old Manuel Esteban Páez Terán, who went by the name Tortuguita, was shot dead by police during the raid. A private autopsy commissioned by Terán’s family found they were struck by at least 13 bullets. The videos don’t directly show Terán’s death, but the sound of the gunfire is clearly audible in the footage.

Police officer: “Oh [bleep]. Is this target practice?”

The Georgia State Patrol says it does not have footage of Terán’s killing because it doesn’t issue body cameras to its officers. The Atlanta police footage shows some officers warned about the threat of crossfire and questioned whether the wounded state trooper was shot by another officer.

Police officer: “You [bleep]ed your own officer up. … Did they shoot their own man? Hmm?”

Police have said the injured officer was hit in the stomach by a bullet fired by a 9mm pistol purchased by Terán. Georgia’s Department of Public Safety said it would not release the name of the trooper, “because disclosure would compromise security against criminal or terroristic acts due to retaliation.”

The video’s release comes after a member of a Community Stakeholder Advisory Committee for Cop City filed an appeal, claiming DeKalb County improperly issued a license for the project. Another committee member, Nicole Morado, resigned in protest of Terán’s killing. Morado said, “Deescalation is possible, and a family lost a child because all they wanted to was save a forest, and that doesn’t sit well with me.” Click here to see our coverage of Cop City and the killing of Tortuguita.

Temple University Rescinds Tuition Aid and Benefits for Striking Graduate Workers

Feb 09, 2023

In Philadelphia, teaching and research assistants at Temple University who’ve been on strike since January 31 have been told they’ll lose their tuition and healthcare benefits. The Temple University Graduate Students’ Association called the strike in an effort to boost pay and conditions for the student workers, who earn less than $20,000 a year. The cutoff in health benefits left some students unable to fill prescriptions, while others have had to cancel doctor’s appointments. The strikers were given until March 9 to pay the entire balance of their tuition or they will face a $100 late payment fee, with a financial hold placed on their accounts. A lead negotiator for the union called Temple’s decision “needlessly cruel.”

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