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HeadlinesMay 30, 2023

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Debt Ceiling Deal Would Cap Nonmilitary Spending, Add Welfare Work Requirements, Slash IRS Funds

May 30, 2023

President Joe Biden and Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy have agreed to a tentative deal that would suspend the limit on the U.S. national debt until 2025. Biden said Saturday the compromise agreement would prevent the U.S. from defaulting on its loans — something Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says could happen as soon as June 5 unless members of Congress move quickly to raise the debt ceiling.

President Joe Biden: “And it takes the threat of catastrophic default off the table, protects our hard-earned and historic economic recovery, and the agreement also represents a compromise, which means no one got everything they want. But that’s the responsibility of governing.”

The deal calls for nonmilitary discretionary spending to remain mostly flat, while boosting military spending by about 3%. It would cut IRS funding and would add new work requirements for some recipients of food assistance and the Temporary Aid for Needy Families program. The deal would also lift a moratorium on student loan payments and would fast-track the approval and construction of the proposed $6.6 billion Mountain Valley Pipeline in Virginia and West Virginia. We’ll have more on the debt ceiling after headlines.

Sudan’s Rival Military Factions Extend Shaky Truce

May 30, 2023

Sudan’s army has agreed to extend a ceasefire with a rival paramilitary group for a further five days, despite ongoing breaches of a week-long truce. Clashes have continued in the capital Khartoum, where victims include dozens of babies who died in Sudan’s largest orphanage, after workers fled heavy gunfire in the area. There’s been no letup in fighting in Sudan’s West Darfur region, where aid agencies are warning of a humanitarian catastrophe, after militias burned entire villages to the ground. More than 90,000 people from the region have crossed into neighboring Chad. On Monday, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi predicted more than a million people may flee Sudan by October. Grandi spoke from Cairo after a visit to Sudan.

Filippo Grandi: “What I heard is stories of loss, of separated families, of hardship, of very dangerous journeys from Sudan of people fleeing from fighting to try to find security in — first in other parts of Sudan, then in neighboring countries like Egypt.”

Drone Attacks on Moscow Follow Russian Airstrikes on Kyiv

May 30, 2023

Russia has unleashed its largest drone attacks on Ukraine’s capital Kyiv since the start of its invasion 15 months ago. Ukraine’s military says it shot down most of the Iranian-made drones launched at Kyiv by Russia. Dozens of explosions and frequent air raid sirens throughout the weekend sent civilians running for cover; thousands of people spent the weekend sheltering inside Kyiv’s subway stations. At least two people were killed and several others injured by falling debris from downed drones.

Meanwhile, Russian officials say eight Ukrainian drones reached Moscow earlier today and were intercepted by Russian air defenses. At least two of the drones reportedly crashed into residential apartment towers but caused no injuries. Russia’s Defense Ministry called it a “terrorist attack.” Elsewhere, an anti-Kremlin paramilitary group said it had carried out another cross-border attack from Ukraine. The group includes self-avowed neo-Nazis.

Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdoğan Wins Reelection in Presidential Runoff

May 30, 2023

Turkey’s Supreme Election Council has declared longtime incumbent Recep Tayyip Erdoğan the victor of Sunday’s runoff presidential election. Erdoğan will extend his 20-year rule for a further five years, by far the longest rule of any leader since the founding of the Republic of Turkey a century ago. Erdoğan received just over 52% of the vote, beating challenger Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, who rallied supporters after his defeat.

Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu: “In this election, the will of the people to change an authoritarian regime emerged, despite all the pressures. We will continue our struggle on all fronts.”

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Israeli Settlers Move to Reestablish Illegal Outpost in Occupied West Bank

May 30, 2023

Israel’s military killed a Palestinian security officer during an overnight raid Monday in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin. Thirty-seven-year-old Ashraf Mohammad Ibrahim died from gunshot wounds to the chest and stomach; eight other Palestinian men were injured by live fire.

Elsewhere, Jewish settlers on Monday moved to reestablish the evacuated West Bank outpost of Homesh. The settlement was dismantled in 2005 by then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, but was recently approved for resettlement by Benjamin Netanyahu’s far-right government. The U.S. State Department said it was “deeply troubled” by the reopening of Homesh.

This follows an attack Friday by Israeli settlers on Palestinian farmers in a village near Ramallah which left five Palestinians wounded — one of whom was shot in the head. Palestinian Attaf al-Naasan says Israeli soldiers assisted the settlers in the assault.

Attaf al-Naasan: “We came here to help the people who were planting and harvesting after the settlers attacked them. We came to help them and protect them. The settlers and soldiers attacked us. They burned this car. They didn’t let us put out the fire. They burned it in front of our eyes.”

Libyan Court Sentences 23 Men to Death over ISIS Takeover of Sirte

May 30, 2023

A court in Libya has sentenced 23 men to death over their roles in the 2015 takeover of the city of Sirte by ISIS fighters. The men were blamed for crimes including the kidnapping and beheading of dozens of Coptic Orthodox Christians. Fourteen others were sentenced to life in prison. ISIS rose to power during Libya’s civil war that followed the 2011 assassination of longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi by U.S.-supported rebels.

Ugandan President Signs Draconian Anti-LGBTQ Bill That Includes Death Penalty

May 30, 2023

In Uganda, human rights advocates are condemning President Yoweri Museveni for signing a sweeping anti-LGBTQ measure into law that makes same-sex relationships punishable by life imprisonment — and even the death sentence, in some cases. It’s one of the most draconian anti-LGBTQ laws in the world. This is Ugandan LGBTQ activist DeLovie Kwagala.

DeLovie Kwagala: “There’s no hope. But where are we supposed to go? You don’t want us in your country. You’re not giving us jobs. You’re not giving us education. You’re not giving us medication. You are criminalizing people renting to us. Where do you want us to go? You are arresting us for literally doing nothing, for simply existing, you know? Where are we supposed to go? How did we become refugees in our own countries?”

Lula Welcomes Venezuelan President Maduro to Brazil, Blasts U.S. Sanctions

May 30, 2023

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro arrived in Brazil Monday, marking his first visit since he was banned by former far-right President Jair Bolsonaro. Maduro was welcomed to the national palace in the capital Brasília by President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva ahead of a meeting of 11 South American presidents today. During a joint news conference, President Lula sharply criticized the United States for failing to recognize Maduro’s legitimacy, and for economic sanctions that have devastated Venezuela’s economy.

President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva: “Is it his fault? No, it’s the fault of the United States, which created an extremely exaggerated blockade. I always say that a blockade is worse than war, because in a war it’s usually soldiers who die in battle, but a blockade kills children, women, people who have nothing to do with the ideological dispute in play.”

16 Killed Across U.S. in Memorial Day Mass Shootings

May 30, 2023

Here in the United States, mass shootings killed at least 16 people over the Memorial Day weekend and left dozens more injured. In New Mexico, three people were killed in a shootout on Saturday by rival motorcycle gangs in the resort town of Red River. In Florida, nine people were hospitalized with bullet wounds Monday when two groups began a gunfight on the crowded Hollywood Broadwalk. Among those injured was a 1-year-old child. The Gun Violence Archive reports nearly 17,500 people across the U.S. have been killed by firearms so far this year, with 70 separate mass shootings in the month of May.

South Carolina Court Puts Temporary Hold on Near-Total Abortion Ban

May 30, 2023

A judge in South Carolina has suspended the state’s ban on abortions after six weeks of pregnancy until it can be reviewed by the South Carolina Supreme Court. The temporary injunction was granted Friday, one day after Republican Governor Henry McMaster signed the legislation. South Carolina’s abortion ban provides only limited exceptions for rape and incest survivors, or when a patient’s life and health are in danger.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton Impeached and Suspended over Corruption Allegations

May 30, 2023

In Texas, the Republican-led state House has voted overwhelmingly to impeach Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton, suspending him from office over accusations that include accepting bribes, obstruction of justice, and abuse of office. The move comes after a House committee launched an investigation into Paxton, describing a years-long pattern of misconduct. The FBI has also been probing Paxton for years over allegations he used his office to help a donor. The Texas Senate will now conduct an impeachment trial, where at least two-thirds of senators must support Paxton’s removal from office.

Texas GOP Approves Bill Giving Secretary of State Power to Overturn Houston-Area Elections

May 30, 2023

The impeachment proceedings came as Texas lawmakers wrapped up this year’s legislative session with the approval of a bill that gives Texas’s Republican secretary of state authority over elections in Harris County — home to Houston and a stronghold for Democratic voters. Last week, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo called the legislation a “boldfaced power grab.”

Judge Lina Hidalgo: “They’re couching this in the language of reform, but they’re not reform. With a grin on their faces, these legislators are taking power away from the constituents they pledged to represent. … Because, by the way, Harris County is one of the most diverse counties in the state. We’re 44% Hispanic; we’re 20% Black; 7.4% Asian; 25% immigrant. And we are proud of our diversity. That is a Texas this governor and those leaders do not recognize.”

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