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HeadlinesApril 21, 2023

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Sudan’s Warring Factions Announce 72-Hour Ceasefire, But Fighting Continues

Apr 21, 2023

Two warring factions of Sudan’s military have announced a 72-hour ceasefire coinciding with the start of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr. Despite the announcement, residents of Sudan’s capital Khartoum and neighboring cities report gunfire and shelling have continued. The World Health Organization reports at least 413 people have been killed and more than 3,500 others injured in the week since fighting erupted between Sudan’s army and the Rapid Support Forces paramilitary group. Earlier today, Sudan’s top general and de facto ruler Abdel Fattah al-Burhan made his first public remarks since the fighting broke out.

Abdel Fattah al-Burhan: “There remains hope that we are with our great people and we will overcome this tribulation and emerge from it unified, strong and coherent. And our slogan will only get stronger: 'One army, one people.'”

In his speech, General al-Burhan claimed Sudan’s military is committed to a transition to civilian rule, even though he led the coup 18 months ago that toppled Sudan’s civilian Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok. CNN is reporting the Russian mercenary Wagner Group has been supplying Sudan’s Rapid Support Forces with missiles. Meanwhile, the Pentagon has been rotating more troops into its base in Djibouti to prepare for the possible evacuation of U.S. diplomatic personnel from Sudan.


Accelerating Ice Melt from Greenland and Antarctica Is Driving Sea Levels Higher

Apr 21, 2023

A new study finds the vast ice sheets covering Greenland and Antarctica are melting three times faster than they were just 30 years ago. Study co-author Ruth Mottram described the findings as “disastrous,” warning coastal communities will face increasing amounts of flooding as sea level rise accelerates due to the melting ice. On Thursday, the European Commission’s climate agency reported 2022 was the continent’s second-warmest year on record, and warned this year is on track to set more record temperatures across Europe and around the world. This is Samantha Burgess of the Copernicus Climate Change Service.

Samantha Burgess: “We saw prolonged and extensive heat waves and also prolonged and extensive drought over much of the continent. We had the highest emissions of carbon from wildfires in a number of countries, and those wildfires were bigger than average, they started earlier than average, and the season persisted longer than average. We also saw record ice melt from glaciers in the European Alps. So climate change isn’t a future problem; it is a current problem.”

Ukraine’s Zelensky Asks NATO Leader for Invitation to Join Alliance

Apr 21, 2023

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg made a surprise visit to Ukraine’s capital Kyiv Thursday for talks with President Volodymyr Zelensky. During a joint press conference, Zelensky said it is time for NATO to invite Ukraine to join the military alliance. Stoltenberg replied that the issue would be discussed at a NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, in July.

Jens Stoltenberg: “This will be high on the agenda of the meeting and also in the lead-up and the preparations for the Vilnius summit. Ukraine’s future is in the Euro-Atlantic family. Ukraine’s future is in NATO. All allies agree on that.”

This week, Ukraine received U.S.-made surface-to-air Patriot missile systems for the first time. Meanwhile, Russian officials have admitted that a Russian warplane bombed the city of Belgorod near Ukraine late Thursday after it accidentally fired a weapon. Russia’s Defense Ministry said some buildings had been damaged but no one was injured in the blast, which left a huge crater in a street near several apartment buildings.

Labor Secretary Nominee Julie Su Defends Pro-Union Views in Senate Confirmation Hearing

Apr 21, 2023

President Biden’s pick to lead the Labor Department testified before a Senate panel Thursday as her nomination hearings got underway. Julie Su appears to face roadblocks by both Republicans and conservative Democrats who oppose her pro-worker, pro-union track record. Su, who is serving as the deputy labor secretary and is also a civil rights attorney, would be the first Asian American to serve as secretary in Biden’s Cabinet.

Julie Su: “After law school, I spent nearly two decades representing workers. What I learned is that too many people still work full-time, year round, and live in poverty. Too many are denied a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work. At the same time, I learned that working people, when given a chance to organize, to be heard, not only make things better for themselves but help to bring the American dream within reach to those around them.”

Ugandan President Asks Parliament to Make Draconian Anti-LGBTQ Bill Even Harsher

Apr 21, 2023

In Uganda, President Yoweri Museveni has refused to sign into law a draconian anti-LGBTQ bill which allows for the death penalty in some cases and criminalizes even identifying as gay. Instead, Museveni urged the Ugandan Parliament to make the legislation even harsher. Museveni made the announcement Thursday as he praised lawmakers for their efforts and rejected international pressure to undo the controversial measure. The intensifying violence against the LGBTQ community has forced many to flee. This is a Ugandan photographer and LGBTQ activist speaking from Johannesburg, South Africa.

Papa De DeLovie Kwagala: “Queer people can’t get medication. Queer people can’t get education. And at the moment, there is a lot of mob justice that is happening, beating people up, killing people. Suicide rates are also rising, because, again, living the crisis of this is traumatic. You know, many people can’t really handle that, so before the government kills you, people are killing themselves.”

Click here to see our interview with Ugandan LGBTQ activist Frank Mugisha.

House Republicans Approve Bill Banning Trans Women and Girls from Scholastic Sports Teams

Apr 21, 2023

Back in the United States, the Republican-controlled House has passed a bill that would ban transgender women and girls from competing in sports at schools and colleges that receive federal funding. The measure has no chance of passing the Democratic-led Senate, while the White House said President Biden would veto the bill if it made it to his desk. Bans on transgender athletes are being challenged by the ACLU in Idaho, Tennessee and West Virginia. This week, North Dakota became the latest state to enact a law criminalizing gender-affirming care for minors. Over 450 bills attacking the rights of transgender people have been introduced in state legislatures nationwide.

Colin Kaepernick to Fund Autopsy of Lashawn Thompson; Protesters Demand Closure of Fulton Co. Jail

Apr 21, 2023

In Atlanta, Georgia, protesters rallied outside the Fulton County Jail Thursday demanding the closure of the 11-story, 1,300-bed facility, and demanding justice for Lashawn Thompson. The 35-year-old, who was being held in the jail’s psychiatric wing, was “eaten alive” by insects and bedbugs in his cell last year, according to Thompson’s family. Civil rights lawyer Ben Crump reports former NFL quarterback and activist Colin Kaepernick has agreed to pay for an independent autopsy of Thompson’s body. Meanwhile, Fulton County commissioners have approved $5 million in funding for emergency improvements to the jail. Thompson’s family and local activists are calling on the Department of Justice to launch an investigation. Tiffany Roberts of the Southern Center for Human Rights said, “How long will we hide from the reality that Fulton County is chronically dysfunctional and there is no humanity in a system like this?” Click here to see our Democracy Now! broadcast exclusive interview with the family attorney, as well as Lashawn Thompson’s brother and sister.

Richard Glossip Faces Execution in One Month After Oklahoma Court Denies Bid for New Trial

Apr 21, 2023

Oklahoma’s Court of Criminal Appeals has denied the latest request by death row prisoner Richard Glossip for a new trial, paving the way for his execution on May 18. Thursday’s ruling came after Oklahoma’s attorney general asked for Glossip’s 1998 murder conviction to be vacated, in a decades-long case in which Glossip narrowly escaped execution three times. Glossip has always maintained his innocence.

MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell Must Pay $5M to Man Who Proved His Election Rigging Claims Were False

Apr 21, 2023

Mike Lindell, the CEO of MyPillow and staunch Trump ally, was ordered to pay $5 million for losing his 2021 “Prove Mike Wrong” challenge, after a computer forensics expert showed that there was no Chinese interference in the 2020 election, as Lindell had claimed. An arbitration panel found Robert Zeidman, a Republican who twice voted for Trump, disproved Lindell’s data, which he called “manufactured” and “bogus.”

Texas Residents Report Environmental Fallout from SpaceX Launch After Rocket Explodes in Flight

Apr 21, 2023

SpaceX is claiming success after the first launch of its massive new rocket, dubbed “Starship.” The two-stage prototype lifted off Thursday morning from SpaceX’s sprawling base on Texas’s Gulf Coast near the U.S. border with Mexico, becoming the largest and heaviest machine ever to fly under its own power. At least six of the rocket’s 33 engines failed during flight, and the vehicle self-destructed over the Gulf of Mexico about four minutes after liftoff. Residents of Port Isabel, near the launch site, reported particulates rained down on their neighborhoods. The fiery end to the launch was the latest in a series of explosions around SpaceX’s launch site near the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge. After headlines, we’ll go to Brownsville, Texas, for the latest.

BuzzFeed News Shuts Down, Citing Lack of Profitability

Apr 21, 2023

BuzzFeed News is shutting down. The announcement was made by BuzzFeed CEO and co-founder Jonah Peretti in an email to staff, where he said the company is laying off 15% of its employees across multiple divisions. HuffPost, which BuzzFeed acquired in 2020, will now be the company’s sole news brand. This came on the same day the digital news media company Insider said it would cut 10% of its workforce.

Chile Will Require National Stake in Lithium Industry as It Expands Int’l Copper Mining Permit

Apr 21, 2023

In Chile, President Gabriel Boric announced he is moving to nationalize his country’s lithium industry.

President Gabriel Boric: “Chile has one of the largest lithium reserves of the world. It is a mineral that, being in bus and electric cars’ energy storage batteries, is key in the fight against the climate crisis and in the fight against climate change. This is an opportunity for economic growth that will be difficult to beat in the short term.”

Any private companies extracting lithium will have to partner with the state, which will hold majority stakes in new production contracts. This comes as environmental activists this week protested Chile’s approval to extend Anglo American’s copper mining activities in the Andes, which activists say threatens a nearby glacier and the area’s water supply.

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