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HeadlinesJune 01, 2023

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House Approves Debt Ceiling Deal Slammed by Progressives as “Extortion” 

Jun 01, 2023

The House of Representatives has approved legislation to suspend the debt ceiling, just days before the U.S. is set to run out of money to pay its bills. Wednesday’s vote was 314 to 117, with a majority of House Democrats voting in favor. If it’s approved by the Senate, the legislation will cap domestic spending below the current rate of inflation, while allowing larger increases to the military budget. House Minority Whip Katherine Clark said Republicans had forced Democrats’ hand.

Rep. Katherine Clark: “There is no perfect negotiation when you are the victims of extortion. Nobody likes to pay a ransom note, and that’s exactly what tonight’s vote is.”

Some Republicans voted against the deal, saying it didn’t cut enough from social programs; meanwhile, nearly 40 members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus voted “no.” Caucus chair Pramila Jayapal of Washington slammed the legislation, saying it “rips food assistance away from poor people and disproportionately Black and brown women, pushes forward pro-corporate permitting policies and a pipeline in direct violation of the community’s input, and claws back nearly 25% of the funding Democrats allocated for the IRS to go after wealthy tax cheats.”

The legislation now heads to the Senate, which will need to act quickly to avoid a catastrophic default on U.S. debts before a June 5 deadline set by the Treasury Department.

19 Killed, 100+ Injured as Shells Fall on Market Near Sudan’s Capital

Jun 01, 2023

In Sudan, at least 19 people were killed and more than 100 injured as shells fired from a tank hit a market in a neighborhood south of Khartoum. The deadly violence came after Sudan’s army said it was abandoning U.S.- and Saudi-brokered ceasefire talks with the rival Rapid Support Forces paramilitary group. On Wednesday, the U.N.'s World Food Programme said aid workers had been able to reach civilians in the Khartoum metropolitan area for the first time since fighting broke out on April 15. The WFP says Sudan's conflict could increase the number of people facing food insecurity by about 2.5 million in the coming months.


U.S. to Send Additional $300 Million in Weapons to Ukraine

Jun 01, 2023

Ukrainian officials say Russian airstrikes on Kyiv overnight killed three people, including a mother and her 11-year-old daughter. Those attacks came as pro-Russia officials said five people had been killed by artillery fire in a Russian-occupied village in eastern Ukraine. Russia also said Ukrainian drones struck two oil refineries near Russia’s biggest oil export terminals, triggering a large fire at one of the sites.

In Washington, D.C., White House spokesperson John Kirby announced the Biden administration was sending Ukraine an additional $300 million in military equipment, including more Patriot air defense systems, anti-aircraft Stinger missiles and ammunition.

Failed North Korean Rocket Launch Triggers Evacuation Alert in Seoul

Jun 01, 2023

North Korea has failed in its first attempt to put a spy satellite into orbit. On Wednesday, a North Korean rocket crashed into the sea west of South Korea after its second stage reportedly lost thrust. Kim Yo-jong, the powerful sister of leader Kim Jong-un, said afterward North Korea would attempt more satellite launches. The rocket’s launch triggered air raid sirens in South Korea and Japan. In Seoul, a “presidential alert” sent to all mobile phones warned 10 million citizens to prepare to evacuate, triggering panic. Seoul’s mayor later defended the alert.

Mayor Oh Se-hoon: “This emergency message could be a working-level official’s overreaction, but it was not a mistake. Our principle is to respond in a manner that can be seen as excessive, and there can be no compromise on safety.”

Protests Mount over Planned Release of Radioactive Water from Fukushima Plant into Pacific

Jun 01, 2023

The Tokyo Electric Power Company is facing mounting opposition over its plans to pump 1.3 million tons of contaminated wastewater from the Fukushima nuclear power plant into the sea. The water contains dangerous radionuclides from the 2011 meltdown of three reactors at the site, triggered by a massive earthquake and tsunami. This week, the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency signed off on the planned release of the wastewater by the plant's operator, the Tokyo Electric Power Company. The plan has triggered protests in Japan and in South Korea, where anti-nuclear activists recently staged demonstrations.

Choi Heewon: “I can’t believe that the Japanese government’s plan to release nuclear-contaminated water has gone as far as it has. The impact on our oceans and the rest of the Pacific Rim will be enormous. So I think South Korea and the neighboring countries should work together to postpone the decision on nuclear-polluted water discharge.”

Tennessee Woman Is Left Infertile After She’s Denied Abortion Care

Jun 01, 2023

In Tennessee, a 32-year-old woman has received an emergency hysterectomy after doctors initially refused to provide abortion care to end her high-risk pregnancy. The surgery left Mayron Hollis unable to bear more children. Hollis was finally granted surgery nearly a week after she was first admitted to a Tennessee hospital for “excessive bleeding.” She only survived after receiving a large transfusion of blood. Tennessee law criminalizes performing an abortion as a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison, with only a narrow exception for medical emergencies.

Meanwhile, the Biden administration says it’s reconsidering a plan to move the headquarters of the U.S. Space Command to Alabama, citing the state’s near-total ban on abortions. In response, Republican lawmakers from Alabama threatened to freeze federal spending on Space Command’s temporary headquarters in Colorado Springs.

Georgia Police Arrest 3 Organizers of Bail Fund for Cop City Protesters

Jun 01, 2023

In news from Georgia, a police SWAT team raided a home in Atlanta Wednesday and arrested three organizers with the Atlanta Solidarity Fund. The nonprofit organization has been raising money to bail out protesters opposed to the construction of a massive police training facility known as Cop City. Lawyers have described the raids and arrests on the bail fund as unprecedented. On Wednesday, Kamau Franklin with the group Community Movement Builders spoke at a rally outside the DeKalb County Jail.

Kamau Franklin: “We will not be intimidated. We will not be stopped. We will not be outorganized. We will not let them, time and time again, take the only thing that they have at their disposal, which is the brutal nature of their police force, tearing themselves on us to stop us. We will fight back here in the city of Atlanta. We will fight back in the state of Georgia. We will call our caravans and organizers to come all the way across the country one more time to stop Cop City!”

Protester: “Stop Cop City!”

The raid on the bail fund comes as 42 activists face domestic terrorism charges for opposing Cop City. The Atlanta City Council is expected to hold a key vote on Cop City on June 5. The city recently admitted the public cost of the project will top $67 million — twice as high as originally stated.

Danny Masterson Found Guilty of Raping Women He Met Through Church of Scientology

Jun 01, 2023

A jury in Los Angeles has found actor Danny Masterson guilty of raping two women he met through the Church of Scientology. The jury hung on a third rape charge. Witnesses testified during the trial that officials in the Church of Scientology pressured them not to talk to police about the rape allegations. Masterson is best known for his starring role in the sitcom “That ’70s Show.” He faces 30 years to life in prison at a sentencing hearing scheduled for August.

NASA Holds First Public Meeting on “Unidentified Aerial Phenomena”

Jun 01, 2023

NASA has held its first public meeting of a panel studying unidentified aerial phenomena, commonly known as “UFOs.” The 16-member panel said Wednesday more high-quality data is needed to explain many of the sightings, but that there’s no evidence any of them could be explained by extraterrestrial origins. Wednesday’s event at NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C., came after Congress last year held its first hearings on the subject in over half a century.


Mike Pence, Chris Christie and Doug Burgum to Enter Crowded 2024 GOP Presidential Race

Jun 01, 2023

The 2024 field of Republican presidential candidates is expected to soon grow. Former Vice President Mike Pence, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum are all expected to formally launch campaigns next week. Many political analysts say the crowded field could help increase Donald Trump’s chances of securing the Republican nomination again.

CUNY Law Graduate Faces Death Threats After Condemning Israel’s Treatment of Palestinians

Jun 01, 2023

Here in New York, the elected student commencement speaker at the City University of New York School of Law is facing death threats after she criticized the Israeli government’s treatment of Palestinians during her speech. Fatima Mohammed, who is Yemeni American, addressed the CUNY Law School’s graduating class in early May after being elected to speak by her classmates.

Fatima Mohammed: “Israel continues to indiscriminately rain bullets and bombs on worshipers, murdering the old, the young, attacking even funerals and graveyards, as it encourages lynch mobs to target Palestinian homes and businesses, as it imprisons its children, as it continues its project of settler colonialism, expelling Palestinians from their homes.”

Fatima Mohammed also spoke out against white supremacy and the New York Police Department. Mohammed has since faced a torrent of criticism from the New York Post and other right-wing media outlets and Republican politicians, as well as some Democrats, including Congressmember Ritchie Torres and New York City Mayor Eric Adams. On Tuesday, more than two weeks after Mohammed spoke, the CUNY Board of Trustees and the chancellor responded to the criticism by declaring Mohammed’s remarks to be a form of “hate speech.” However, Mohammed has received public support from the Jewish Law Students Association at CUNY and other groups. The New York City chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace issued a statement saying, “We decry the false characterization of her speech as anti-Semitic simply because she accurately describes the conditions Palestinians live under every day.”

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