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HeadlinesJune 22, 2023

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Nearly 40 Asylum Seekers Drown as Ship Sinks En Route to Canary Islands

Jun 22, 2023

A Spanish charity says as many as 39 asylum seekers have drowned — including four women and a baby — after their boat sank in the Atlantic Ocean near the Canary Islands. It’s the latest in a deadly series of shipwrecks involving asylum seekers along the Atlantic route to Spain, where last year at least 45 shipwrecks and over 500 deaths were reported.

Meanwhile, police in Pakistan have arrested seven people accused of sharing responsibility for the deaths of as many as 700 migrants who drowned last week after their overcrowded fishing vessel sank off the coast of Greece.

Israeli Drone Strike in West Bank Kills Three Palestinians

Jun 22, 2023

Israel’s military has killed three Palestinians in the first targeted assassination airstrike in the occupied West Bank in nearly two decades. Palestinian fighters with the Hamas and Islamic Jihad movements promised retribution for the drone attack, which came just two days after the Israeli military used U.S.-made Apache helicopters during a raid in Jenin that killed seven Palestinians and wounded dozens of others.

Elsewhere in the West Bank, hundreds of mourners joined a funeral procession for Omar Qattin, a 27-year-old Palestinian father of two who was killed Wednesday when hundreds of Israeli settlers attacked the village of Turmus Ayya, setting fire to homes and vehicles. Qattin’s mother, Hannan, spoke to reporters at the funeral.

Hannan Qattin: “He was the first one to go out whenever there were settlers. I would say, 'My darling Omar, stay a little farther away from them, and don't forget your kids.’ But he would say that I will take care of the kids. He used to tell me that every time.”

The U.S. State Department’s Office of Palestinian Affairs said it was “appalled” by the attacks on Palestinians by Israeli settlers, adding, “We call for Israeli authorities to immediately stop the violence, protect U.S. and Palestinian civilians, and prosecute those responsible.”

Putin Claims Ukraine’s Counteroffensive Hits “Lull” Due to Heavy Losses

Jun 22, 2023

In Ukraine, an explosion has damaged a key bridge connecting the Russian-occupied territory of Crimea to the Ukrainian mainland. Russia-backed officials say the damage to the Chongar bridge appeared to be caused by a long-range cruise missile of the kind supplied to Ukraine by the U.K. and France. Elsewhere, Russia’s military says it shot down three drones outside Moscow that appeared to be targeting military warehouses. At the Kremlin, Russian President Vladimir Putin said a counteroffensive launched by Ukraine earlier this month has largely stalled.

President Vladimir Putin: “As I’ve already said, as is well known, the Ukrainian Armed Forces started the counteroffensive on June 4th using their strategic reserves. Oddly enough, currently we’re seeing a certain lull. It has to do with the fact that the enemy is suffering serious losses.”

Russian Court Denies Pretrial Release to Wall Street Journal Reporter Evan Gershkovich

Jun 22, 2023

Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich appeared in a Moscow courtroom today, where a judge denied his request to be released from pretrial detention. Reporters were briefly allowed to photograph Gershkovich, who was held in a glass enclosure, wearing a T-shirt and blue jeans. He’s been jailed since March on espionage charges and faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

More Progressives to Boycott Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Speech to Congress

Jun 22, 2023

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is in Washington, D.C., as part of a four-day state visit. President Biden will hold a formal state dinner for Modi tonight, hours after Modi becomes the first Indian prime minister ever to address a joint session of Congress twice.

On Wednesday, New York Congressmember Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said she would join four other Democratic lawmakers in boycotting Modi’s address, writing in a statement, “A joint address is among the most prestigious invitations and honors the United States Congress can extend. We should not do so for individuals with deeply troubling human rights records.” All five Indian American members of Congress, including California’s Ro Khanna and Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal, are planning to attend Modi’s speech. We’ll have more on Narendra Modi’s state visit after headlines.

Capitol Rioter Sentenced to 12+ Years in Prison for Attacking Officer with Stun Gun

Jun 22, 2023

A federal judge in Washington, D.C., has sentenced a California man to more than 12 years in prison over his role in the January 6, 2021, insurrection at the Capitol. Forty-year-old Daniel “D.J.” Rodriguez shouted, “Trump won!” as he was led from the courtroom following his sentencing Wednesday. U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson called Rodriguez a “one-man army of hate” who came to Washington “spoiling for a fight.” Body-camera video played at the trial shows Rodriguez repeatedly used a stolen police Taser to electrocute officer Michael Fanone, who suffered a heart attack after he was violently dragged into the mob, beaten and shocked.

House Republicans Censure Rep. Adam Schiff over Trump-Russia Claims

Jun 22, 2023

On Capitol Hill, House Republicans voted Wednesday to censure California Democratic Congressmember Adam Schiff, accusing him of spreading false claims about former President Trump and the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia. Schiff is just the third member of Congress to face censure in the past four decades. He served as lead manager during Trump’s first impeachment trial and had a prominent role on the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the Capitol. Congressmember Schiff spoke from the House floor just ahead of Wednesday’s vote.

Rep. Adam Schiff: “Today I wear this partisan vote as a badge of honor, knowing that I have lived my oath, knowing that I have done my duty to hold a dangerous and out-of-control president accountable.”

After the House voted 213 to 209 along party lines to censure Congressmember Schiff, House Democrats erupted into chants of “Shame!” As House Speaker Kevin McCarthy called for order, several Democrats shouted, “What about Santos?” — a reference to New York Republican Congressmember George Santos, who has not faced censure by his party even after his indictment on multiple felony charges.

House Speaker McCarthy Rejects Immediate Vote on Resolution to Impeach Biden

Jun 22, 2023

Far-right Congressmembers Lauren Boebert and Marjorie Taylor Greene got into a heated argument on the House floor Wednesday over competing resolutions that seek to impeach President Joe Biden over his handling of the U.S. southern border. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy called on Republicans to vote today to send Boebert’s impeachment resolution for review by the Judiciary and Homeland Security committees.

Prosecutors Disclose Discovery of Video Showing Treatment of Guantánamo Prisoner Who Faced Torture

Jun 22, 2023

In news from Guantánamo, prosecutors have discovered there are videos of guards forcing a Saudi prisoner to leave his cell around the time the man reportedly admitted to plotting the attack on the USS Cole off the coast of Yemen in 2000, which killed 17 sailors. Attorneys for Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri have said his admission of guilt was tainted by years of torture, first at CIA black sites and later at Guantánamo. The U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention recently called for the immediate release of al-Nashiri due to his mistreatment.

Opponents of “Cop City” Begin Gathering Signatures for Atlanta Ballot Referendum

Jun 22, 2023

In news from Atlanta, opponents of a proposed massive police training center known as Cop City are hoping to begin collecting signatures soon to force a citywide referendum on the project in November. On Wednesday, the Atlanta city clerk approved the language of the referendum petition to stop the $90 million project. Meanwhile, The Intercept reports Georgia’s Attorney General Chris Carr has played a key role in the case of a legal observer with the Southern Poverty Law Center who faces domestic terrorism charges after being arrested in March. The DeKalb County district attorney had recommended dropping charges against the legal observer, Thomas Webb Jurgens, but Georgia’s attorney general overruled them.

U.S. Regulators Approve First-Ever Sales of Lab-Grown Meat

Jun 22, 2023

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved the sale of lab-grown meat for the first time. The USDA’s approval on Wednesday came after the Food and Drug Administration in March cleared “cultured chicken cell material” made by the company GOOD Meat as safe for use as human food. Proponents say lab-grown meat provides a humane option for people who wish to consume meat but don’t want to contribute to animal suffering, greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental damage caused by factory farming.

250+ Groups Petition Biden Administration to Drop Opposition to Youth Climate Lawsuit

Jun 22, 2023

A court in Montana has heard closing arguments in a landmark lawsuit brought by 16 young people who say their state violated their constitutional rights to a clean environment, as it pushed policies promoting the burning of coal, oil and gas. A witness for the plaintiffs testified that Montana has never denied a permit for a fossil fuel project. A ruling from a Montana state district judge is expected sometime in July; it could set an important precedent for similar lawsuits pending in other states.

Meanwhile, a coalition of more than 250 groups delivered a petition to Attorney General Merrick Garland Wednesday, demanding the Department of Justice end its opposition to allowing a youth climate lawsuit against the U.S. government to proceed in court. The petition was signed by over 50,000 people. This is John Beard Jr., executive director of the Port Arthur Community Action Network in Texas, which is supporting the children’s climate lawsuit.

John Beard Jr.: “Our youth will be living here long after us. Therefore, we must support their quest to secure climate justice and protect their constitutional rights. The youth across the nation, especially youth living in environmental justice communities, like the frontline Gulf Coastal communities of color in my own part of the country, Port Arthur, Texas, continue to suffer harm from the climate crisis, including pollution, and also from social and environmental injustice.”

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