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HeadlinesApril 26, 2023

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Dozens of Drowned Refugees Found Off Coasts of Libya, Tunisia After Attempting to Flee to Europe

Apr 26, 2023

The bodies of at least 57 asylum seekers, including children, were found off the coast of western Libya Tuesday after two boats sank in the Mediterranean. The migrants were from Pakistan, Syria, Tunisia and Egypt. Survivor Bassam Mahmoud, who is from Egypt, described the horrifying moments before one of the boats sank.

Bassam Mahmoud: “While the driver was turning the boat, some passengers started arguing with him. The weight was gathered at the front of the boat, not the back, so this made the boat sink. We started fighting for our lives, screaming and asking for help. … It was an indescribable scene. I ask people from my country not to even think of trying this. Stay in your country.”

Meanwhile, in Tunisia, the remains of at least 70 asylum seekers, mostly from Africa, have been recovered from the waters near the coastal city of Sfax. Local officials said morgues are nearly at capacity due to the rising number of migrant drownings as they attempt to reach Europe for safety.

Fighting Continues in Sudan Despite Ceasefire as U.N. Pleads for End to Conflict

Apr 26, 2023

In Sudan, a fragile U.S.-brokered ceasefire between the country’s warring military factions is in its second day as civilians on the ground report airstrikes are continuing and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces say it seized an oil refinery and power plant. Foreign countries continue to evacuate their citizens as fuel shortages, skyrocketing food prices and a dearth of functioning health services are leading to a spiraling humanitarian crisis. The U.N. envoy to Sudan said neither side was willing to negotiate. This is U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres.

Secretary-General António Guterres: “It is incumbent on Sudanese leaders to put the interests of their people front and center. This conflict will not, and must not, be resolved on the battlefield with the bodies of Sudan’s people.”


Harry Belafonte, Pioneering Singer and Civil Rights Activist, Dies at Age 96

Apr 26, 2023

Harry Belafonte, pioneering activist, singer and actor, has died at the age of 96. Harry Belafonte was born in Harlem to Jamaican immigrant parents. He is credited with popularizing Caribbean music in the U.S. with his chart-topping 1956 album “Calypso,” which included the hits “Jump in the Line,” “Jamaica Farewell” and “Day-O.” His musical success led to multiple acting offers, and he went on to star in dozens of films and TV shows.

But his driving force was activism, and he leveraged his successful entertainment career to shine a spotlight on civil rights and to fund movements like the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference. He participated in the 1963 March on Washington. Belafonte famously said, “I was an activist who became an artist, I was not an artist who became an activist.” After headlines, we’ll air clips of the legendary Harry Belafonte for the rest of the hour.

Neil Gorsuch Failed to Disclose Conflict of Interest in Property Sale After Confirmation to SCOTUS

Apr 26, 2023

Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch sold a property he co-owned to the head of a major law firm that has since had 22 cases before the Supreme Court. The sale to Greenberg Traurig CEO Brian Duffy came just nine days after the Trump-appointed Gorsuch was confirmed by the Senate in 2017. Previously, the property in rural Colorado had languished on the market for two years. Gorsuch reported the sale but left the box for the identity of the buyer on disclosure forms blank. The news, first reported by Politico Tuesday, comes in the wake of explosive revelations about fellow conservative Justice Clarence Thomas and his ties to GOP megadonor Harlan Crow, who lavished Thomas with luxury gifts for two decades and bought property from the Thomas family, which was never disclosed.

Democrats are calling for investigations into both justices and for lawmakers to pass the Supreme Court ethics bill, which was reintroduced earlier this year. On Tuesday, Chief Justice John Roberts turned down a request from Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Dick Durbin to testify at an ethics hearing next week, offering instead a signed statement by the justices reaffirming a commitment to “foundational ethics principles.” Durbin deemed the statement inadequate and said, “It is time for Congress to accept its responsibility to establish an enforceable code of ethics for the Supreme Court, the only agency of our government without it.”

Graduate Workers at University of Michigan on Strike, Report Retaliation from University President

Apr 26, 2023

Graduate student teachers at the University of Michigan have been on strike for the past month demanding fair wages, sexual harassment protections and new provisions for campus safety, among other issues. In response to the strike, University of Michigan’s president moved to withhold worker salaries and sent police officers to intimidate strikers, resulting in one graduate worker being attacked by an officer. This is Amir Fleischmann of the Graduate Employees’ Organization.

Amir Fleischmann: “Over the past three years, we’ve seen the gap between our salary and the cost of living triple. This is something that’s being felt by workers all across the country, where corporate profits are at record highs, CEOs are getting humongous bonuses and even bigger salaries, while workers are being left to struggle and to take scraps. Workers at the University of Michigan are saying enough is enough, and that’s why we’re on strike.”

Washington Bans Assault Weapons as Part of New Gun Control Legislation

Apr 26, 2023

In Washington state, Democratic Governor Jay Inslee signed into law a trio of bills Tuesday in an effort to prevent gun violence. The legislation bans the new sale of dozens of firearms, including some semiautomatic rifles, imposes a 10-day waiting period for gun purchases and will allow for certain lawsuits against gunmakers and dealers. This is Governor Inslee.

Gov. Jay Inslee: “These weapons of war, of assault weapons, have no reason other than mass murder. Their only purpose is to kill humans as rapidly as possible in large numbers. And I will say this: AR-15s should not be idolized; they should be prohibited. And that’s what we’re doing today.”

The White House praised Washington for the move, but gun groups have already launched legal challenges to the measures, claiming a violation of the constitutional right to bear arms.


Somali Fighters Kill 21 People, Including 18 Militants

Apr 26, 2023

Somali authorities say U.S.-backed forces killed at least 18 al-Shabab militants over the weekend. Three civilians are also reported to have been killed in the fighting. There are roughly 500 U.S. troops in Somalia. In Washington, D.C., Republican Congressmember Matt Gaetz has been pushing a War Powers Resolution to remove the troops.


Iran Charges Two Prominent Actresses for Violating Hijab Mandate

Apr 26, 2023

In Iran, two renowned actresses have been criminally charged for not wearing a hijab. Katayoun Riahi and Pantea Bahram could face prison time, accused of removing their headscarves in public and posting photos on social media. This comes as the Iranian government has intensified the enforcement of its strict dress code. Authorities are now planning to prosecute people who encourage women to remove their headscarves, while surveillance cameras have been installed in public places to catch anyone violating the hijab mandate.

Parinaz Mobarhan: “This harsh and rude response will definitely either make things worse or will not lead anywhere.”

Texas State Agency Imposes “Biological Gender”-Based Dress Code as Florida Seeks to Ban Drag Shows

Apr 26, 2023

The Texas Department of Agriculture issued a memo forcing its employees to wear clothing that is consistent with their so-called biological gender. The move is the latest attack on the rights of transgender people in Texas. Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller is a Republican and loyal supporter of former President Trump.

In related news in Florida, hundreds of drag performers and supporters marched to the state Capitol in Tallahassee Tuesday protesting a new bill that bans children from attending “adult live performances,” which LGBTQ advocates say targets drag shows. This is one of the demonstrators.

Kevin Parker: “Drag is not a crime. It’s an art form, and it gives us a community that we didn’t previously have. And that’s what — that’s what today is about. Today is about community. Today is about showing the Florida Legislature that no matter what they do, no matter how hard they try, our community — LGBTQ, trans, drag — our community will always exist, and we will always continue to thrive.”

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