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HeadlinesJune 09, 2023

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Donald Trump Indicted on Federal Criminal Charges over Mishandling of Classified Documents

Jun 09, 2023

The Justice Department has indicted former President Donald Trump on multiple felony charges, accusing him of mishandling classified documents and obstructing the government’s attempts to recover them. Trump is the first former president ever to face federal criminal charges. In a video posted on his social media platform Truth Social, Trump lashed out against the Biden administration and insisted, “I’m an innocent man.”

Donald Trump: “Our country is going to hell. And they come after Donald Trump, weaponizing the Justice Department, weaponizing the FBI. We can’t let this continue to go on, because it’s ripping our country to shreds.”

Trump reportedly faces seven charges, including the willful retention of national defense information in violation of the Espionage Act, conspiracy to obstruct justice, and false statements and representations. The charges bring maximum sentences ranging from five to 20 years in prison. Trump will reportedly be arraigned at a federal courthouse in Miami, Florida, on Tuesday. We’ll have more on Trump’s indictment after headlines.

Smoke from Canadian Wildfires Spreads South and West Across United States

Jun 09, 2023

Hundreds of climate change-fueled wildfires continue to scorch Canada, where tens of thousands have been displaced and residents have dealt with weeks of hazardous, smoke-filled air. Here in the U.S., the Northeast is beginning to see a glimpse of relief after experiencing its worst air quality in recorded history, as the smoke pushes south and westward, prompting alerts in states including Indiana and Kentucky. But Governor Kathy Hochul warned New Yorkers to remain vigilant.

Gov. Kathy Hochul: “We saw yesterday some very disturbing numbers in New York City. They’re still — they’ve come down from the 400 level, but we should never get complacent and think that the 200 air quality quotient index is satisfactory. … The message is this is not over. You know, we might get a little respite, but I don’t want people to let down their guard and to become complacent about this, because we have to be prepared for the winds to shift.”

Supreme Court Orders Alabama to Redraw Racially Gerrymandered Congressional Maps

Jun 09, 2023

The U.S. Supreme Court handed a surprise victory to the Voting Rights Act on Thursday, as it rejected Alabama’s gerrymandered congressional maps that disempowered Black voters. Justices John Roberts and Brett Kavanaugh joined the court’s three liberal justices in ordering Alabama’s Legislature to redraw a second Black-majority district. The gerrymandered maps left only one of seven congressional districts with a Black majority despite African Americans making up more than a quarter of Alabama’s population.

SCOTUS Upholds Ability of Medicaid Recipients to Sue States That Violate Their Rights

Jun 09, 2023

In another Supreme Court ruling Thursday, justices voted to uphold the right of state nursing home residents and other recipients of Medicaid to sue if states violate their rights. The 7-2 vote came as a relief to many who worried the conservative-led Court could seek to weaken government health programs. One public health expert explained, “This case is to Medicaid what Dobbs was to abortion.”

SCOTUS Justices Thomas and Alito Get Extensions on Financial Disclosure Filings

Jun 09, 2023

In more Supreme Court news, seven out of the nine justices released their financial disclosure reports for 2022 this week. Justices Samuel Alito and scandal-ridden Justice Clarence Thomas were given 90-day extensions to file. ProPublica recently revealed Thomas received luxury travel and other gifts from Republican megadonor Harlan Crow for decades without reporting them.

U.S. Halts Food Aid to Ethiopia, Accuses Military of Diverting Deliveries Away from Civilians

Jun 09, 2023

The Biden administration said Thursday it is halting all food assistance to Ethiopia, citing a “widespread and coordinated campaign” to divert the aid away from people in need. Reuters reports USAID believes the food has been seized by Ethiopian military units. The U.S. is by far the largest donor of humanitarian aid to Ethiopia, where some 20 million people are experiencing food insecurity due to the recently ended war in Tigray and a persistent drought fueled by the climate crisis.

Israeli Forces Shoot Palestinian Journalist During Demolition of Home in Ramallah

Jun 09, 2023

Israeli soldiers shot a Palestinian journalist in the head during a raid in the city of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank. Twenty-two-year-old Moamen Sumreen was hospitalized in serious condition after he was struck by a rubber-coated steel bullet as he documented Israeli troops’ demolition of an apartment building Wednesday evening. The building was home to the family of a man who allegedly carried out a bombing attack in Jerusalem last November. Moamen Sumreen was one of six people hospitalized as hundreds of Palestinians gathered to protest the demolition, which officials condemned as collective punishment, a war crime. Four sisters were displaced, along with their father and mother.

Umm Islam: “We, as Palestinians, are used to experiences like this. It is not the first home they’ve destroyed, and it will not be the last. Their demolition activities are all about how much they hate us.”

Aid Groups Say New EU Measures for Asylum Seekers Do Nothing to Aid Humanitarian Disaster

Jun 09, 2023

The European Union has agreed on a new plan for hosting asylum seekers, following years of debate and infighting. The new proposal calls for more involvement from nations that are not on Europe’s southern coast, where asylum seekers first reach the continent. Those countries could either host more incoming migrants or contribute to a joint fund managed by Brussels. The reform also sets tougher rules for processing migrants, including expediting the expulsion of people deemed unlikely to win asylum claims. Oxfam blasted the arrangement, saying, “EU countries plan to buy themselves out of their responsibility to welcome refugees. These proposals will not fix the chronic deficiencies in the EU asylum system. Instead, they signal the EU’s desire to barricade Europe from asylum-seekers.”

In related news, at least five people drowned and dozens are missing after three migrant boats capsized in the Mediterranean off the Tunisian coast in recent days. More than 2,000 people died at sea while trying to reach Europe last year.

China, Cuba and U.S. Reject Reports of Chinese Surveillance Base in Cuba

Jun 09, 2023

Chinese, Cuban and U.S. officials have dismissed reports by The Wall Street Journal alleging an agreement between China and Cuba to build a multibillion-dollar electronic spy installation on the island to intercept communications from the United States. China’s foreign minister denounced the story as slander. In Havana, Cuba’s deputy foreign minister, Carlos Fernández de Cossío, called the report “totally mendacious and unfounded,” while pointing to the U.S. military’s role in the region.

Carlos Fernández de Cossío: “We reject any foreign military presence in Latin America and the Caribbean, including many bases and military forces of the United States, especially the military base that illegally occupies part of the national territory in the Guantánamo province.”

Mexican Authorities Probe Extrajudicial Killing of 5 Men by Military as Zapatistas Protest Violence

Jun 09, 2023

In Mexico, authorities are investigating the extrajudicial execution of five men by the Mexican military in the border city of Nuevo Laredo. A video posted on social media shows a group of soldiers pulling the men from their vehicle, beating them and lining them up against a wall before fatally shooting them. This comes as Zapatista Indigenous leaders marched in Mexico City Thursday protesting the intensifying violence and attacks on their autonomous communities by paramilitary groups in the southern state of Chiapas.

Raul Romero: “We are asking for attacks from the paramilitary groups to stop. We are talking about groups that are permitted, financed or armed by the Mexican Army that attack Zapatista communities. Right now they are teaming up with organized crime groups that are holding Chiapas on the brink of a civil war.”

Pat Robertson, Televangelist Who Made a Career by Spewing Racism, Homophobia and Misogyny, Dies

Jun 09, 2023

Longtime televangelist Pat Robertson has died at the age of 93. In 1960, Robertson created the Christian Broadcasting Network, and for decades used its flagship program, “The 700 Club,” as a platform for homophobia, religious bigotry and racist hate speech. In 1988, Robertson ran for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination, taking second place in the Iowa caucus. Robertson’s strong performance cemented the Christian Coalition he founded as a major force within the Republican Party. In 2001, Robertson blamed liberals, feminists and gay people for the 9/11 attacks. He once claimed AIDS was “God’s way of weeding his garden.” Robertson also raised funds for Contra death squads in Nicaragua, and publicly called for the assassination of world leaders including Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi and Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez. In the mid-1990s, during the Rwandan genocide, Robertson appealed to his audience for money to fly relief supplies to Rwandan refugees in Zaire — now the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Instead of carrying humanitarian aid, planes bought by Robertson’s charity mostly transported equipment for a diamond mining operation.

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