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HeadlinesApril 19, 2023

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Fox News Settles Dominion Defamation Lawsuit over 2020 Election Lies for $787.5 Million

Apr 19, 2023

Fox News has agreed to pay $787.5 million to Dominion Voting Systems in the largest media defamation settlement in history. The 11th-hour deal was finalized just hours after a Delaware jury was sworn in and as opening statements were expected to begin. Dominion had sought $1.6 billion in damages from Fox for promoting lies about its voting machines being rigged against Trump in the 2020 election. Dominion CEO John Poulos called the settlement “historic.”

John Poulos: “Throughout this process, we have sought accountability, and believe the evidence brought to light through this case underscores the consequences of spreading lies. Truthful reporting in the media is essential to our democracy.”

Fox News is not required to apologize or admit they knowingly lied to their viewers as part of the settlement. It also means the network’s biggest stars and chair of Fox Corporation Rupert Murdoch will not have to take the stand. Evidence unveiled during the discovery process revealed hosts Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson knew that the election fraud claims were false.

Fox still faces other lawsuits over its pro-Trump lies, including a $2.7 billion defamation suit from another election technology company, Smartmatic. Dominion has also sued other news networks and high-profile Trump associates, including Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell.

Fighting in Sudan Continues as Terrorized Residents Grapple with Food and Power Shortages

Apr 19, 2023

A 24-hour ceasefire in Sudan has fallen apart, as military airstrikes rained down on Khartoum’s main international airport on the fifth day of fighting today, while paramilitaries shot at the Sudanese army jets in response. At least 185 people have died so far, as the U.N. warns the conflict has created a humanitarian catastrophe. The civilian population has been increasingly cut off from essentials including power, food and healthcare. This is a Sudanese activist and humanitarian worker who fled the capital Khartoum.

Mahmoud Alameen: “No one can buy their daily needs. Military clashes continue during the night, so it is not recommended to go out to buy your needs. It is dark. Power is off. So it is dangerous, because the fighting parties cannot figure out if you’re a civilian or a militant. I believe this Ramadan is like hell for people in Sudan.”

Aid workers continue to face violent attacks, with reports of sexual assaults. A Doctors Without Borders compound in Nyala, the capital of South Darfur, was raided by armed men. Residents describe the terror and chaos of war as they grapple with dwindling supplies.

Hadeel Mohamed: “At one point you’ll find yourself praying a lot to really be, you know, saved throughout this, and the country to be saved throughout this. And then, in other times, you’re too lost in what’s happening around you. Are you going to be OK? Are your friends going to be OK? Your family? Your neighbors? Even the people you don’t really know but you see around in the streets, you know?”

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Biden Issues Executive Order Seeking to Expand Child Care and Elder Care Access

Apr 19, 2023

President Biden signed an executive order Tuesday directing almost all federal agencies to implement new measures to make child care and elder care more affordable and accessible. The order is intended to improve care without congressionally approved legislation or extra funding, after Biden failed to deliver on his pledge of universal pre-K and fully covering child care for low-income families. Biden blamed Republicans for continuing to push cuts for social programs, including as part of the ongoing dispute over the debt ceiling.

Senate GOP Blocks Democrats from Replacing Ailing Dianne Feinstein on Judiciary Cmte.

Apr 19, 2023

Senate Republicans blocked Democrats from temporarily replacing Dianne Feinstein, who is recovering from shingles, on the Judiciary Committee. The prolonged absence of the 89-year-old Feinstein, who is retiring at the end of her current term, has stalled the confirmation of Biden’s judicial nominees and prompted some members of her party to call for her resignation.

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Tunisian Police Detain Prominent Political Rival, Raid Ennahda Party HQ in Crackdown on Opposition

Apr 19, 2023

In Tunisia, police arrested opposition leader Rached Ghannouchi and raided his Ennahda party’s headquarters in the latest crackdown on critics of President Kais Saied. Saied has been accused of carrying out a legislative coup after he dismissed the government, declared rule by decree and vowed to rewrite Tunisia’s constitution in 2021. This is Ghannouchi speaking just two days before he was detained.

Rached Ghannouchi: “Tunisia without Ennahda party and without political Islam, without the left or any of the components, is a civil war project. This is a crime, in fact. And therefore, those who welcomed this coup cannot be democrats.”

In other news from Tunisia, clashes broke out between mourning protesters and police at the funeral of professional soccer player Nizar Issaoui, who died last week after setting himself on fire, in what has been described as a protest against the “police state.” Prior to his death, Issaoui decried the police for accusing him of terrorism after a dispute with a fruit vendor over the price of bananas.

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Top Saudi Diplomat Meets Syria’s Bashar al-Assad in Damascus for 1st Time Since Start of War

Apr 19, 2023

In Syria, Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus in the first high-level Saudi visit to Syria since the start of the civil war in 2011. This comes as Syria’s Arab neighbors are discussing its possible return to the 22-member Arab League and other ways of bringing the war-torn nation out of isolation.

Meanwhile, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates are moving forward on restoring their countries’ ties, with plans to reopen embassies more than two years after the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt lifted a blockade on Qatar.

Indonesia Military Disputes Claim West Papuan Fighters Killed 12 Soldiers in Mission to Rescue Pilot

Apr 19, 2023

Indonesia’s military chief denied claims by the West Papua National Liberation Army that it killed a dozen Indonesian soldiers this weekend during a failed Kopassus operation to rescue a New Zealand pilot taken hostage by the pro-independence fighters. Indonesia says only one soldier was killed, while four others were missing. The attack has raised fears of a massive retaliation by Indonesian forces in West Papua, where protests for independence have been met by bloody repression by the Indonesian Army.

EU Seeks to Ramp Up Response to Climate Crisis by Increasing Cost of Carbon Emissions

Apr 19, 2023

The European Parliament approved major reforms to strengthen and accelerate the EU’s climate goals. This includes a plan to charge polluters on Europe’s carbon market for all of their emissions and adds shipping emissions to the market. The change is expected to cut emissions by 62% from 2005 levels by 2030. The EU would also start levying high-carbon imports. This is European Parliament President Roberta Metsola.

Roberta Metsola: “These laws will put a price on the carbon we produce, and it means that the most polluting industries will have to increase their emission reduction targets. It will also put a price for non-EU producers, providing a level playing field so that we will not leave our industry at a disadvantage vis-à-vis their external competitors.”

Germany Shuts Down Last Nuclear Reactors After Turning to Coal Amid Ukraine War

Apr 19, 2023

Germany shut down its last three nuclear reactors Saturday, after decades of debate and organizing by anti-nuclear activists. This is Jürgen Trittin, a lawmaker from the Green Party.

Jürgen Trittin: “The introduction of this technology, the introduction, was a historical mistake. And today we remedy this mistake.”

The long-anticipated move came as only a partial victory for environmental activists, as Europe’s largest economy has ramped up its coal production to make up for the loss of nuclear power and the energy crisis spurred by the Ukraine war. Anti-nuclear activists also noted there is still no definite plan for storing all the highly toxic nuclear waste from Germany’s decommissioned plants, which must be securely stored underground for 1 million years.

Holtec Pauses Plan to Dump Toxic Nuclear Waste Water into Hudson

Apr 19, 2023

Here in New York, Holtec International, the owner of the decommissioned Indian Point nuclear facility, said it has paused plans to dump 1 million gallons of radioactive water into the Hudson River. The plan provoked community outrage from residents and environmentalists. Tritium, a byproduct of nuclear fission, cannot be filtered out of water and has been linked to cancer.

Gov. Hochul Nominates Caitlin Halligan, Who Defended Chevron Against Steven Donziger, to Top NY Court

Apr 19, 2023

In more news from New York, environmental groups are blasting Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul over her nomination of Caitlin Halligan to the New York state Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court. Halligan represented Chevron as it pursued racketeering charges against the human rights lawyer Steven Donziger, who successfully sued Chevron on behalf of Ecuadorian Amazonian Indigenous peoples for massively polluting their ancestral land with oil. In a statement, the grassroots group Public Power NY said, “It’s time for Hochul to pick a side: does she stand with corporate polluters or with Environmental Justice communities here in New York and across the world?”

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