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HeadlinesJuly 12, 2023

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NATO Promises Ukraine Eventual Membership, But No Timeline Offered

Jul 12, 2023

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is attending his first NATO-Ukraine Council meeting today at the NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania. On Tuesday, NATO said it planned to grant Ukraine membership in the future, but did not offer a timetable. Zelensky blasted the lack of clear timeline as “absurd,” as he has been intensely lobbying for expedited accession into the military alliance. NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said today the “most urgent task” is to supply Ukraine with enough weapons to fight against the Russian invasion. Zelensky is also meeting with President Biden today, who opposed immediate membership for Ukraine. Biden is also delivering remarks today on U.S. and NATO support for Ukraine. Meanwhile, top Russian official Dmitry Medvedev warned Tuesday, “World War III is getting closer.”

U.N. Condemns Russian Veto to Extend Aid Delivery Route in Syria

Jul 12, 2023

The U.S. has slammed Russia’s “inhumane” veto to extend a key aid delivery route from Turkey into Syria. The U.N. Security Council failed to pass an extension after Russia’s proposal to approve a six-month extension, rather than a nine- or 12-month one, failed to gain support. The Syrian government backed Russia’s decision, accusing Western powers at the Security Council of “violating Syria’s sovereignty under the pretext of delivering cross-border aid.” The U.N. responded to the news Tuesday.

Stéphane Dujarric: “U.N. cross-border assistance remains a veritable lifeline for millions of people in the northwest of Syria as humanitarian needs have reached an all-time high since the start of the conflict, while the impact of the devastating February earthquake is still acutely felt.”

In more news about Syria, the Committee to Protect Journalists is demanding the government reverse its decision to revoke the accreditation of two local BBC journalists after accusing them of “false” and “politicized” reporting.

Taliban Evicts Hundreds of Displaced Families from Kabul Camp, Killing 2 Children

Jul 12, 2023

In Afghanistan, two children, aged 4 and 15, died after Taliban authorities forcibly evicted nearly 300 internally displaced families from a makeshift camp in Kabul. The Norwegian Refugee Council documented the settlement’s demolition, saying some 1,700 people were forced into the streets while authorities blocked humanitarian aid groups from the site. Millions of Afghans have been internally displaced following two decades of U.S. occupation and violence, followed by the Taliban takeover in 2021.

Iowa GOP Passes 6-Week Abortion Ban That’s Set to Go into Effect This Week

Jul 12, 2023

In Iowa, Republican lawmakers passed a six-week abortion ban following a marathon one-day special legislative session. Republican Governor Kim Reynolds said she would sign the bill into law Friday; it will go into effect immediately unless halted by a court. Abortion is currently legal in Iowa up to 20 weeks of pregnancy. The new ban would only provide exceptions for miscarriages, when the life of the patient or the fetus is at risk, and for rape and incest if the rape is reported to an official.

Vermont Floodwaters Recede, But Officials Warn More Destructive Rain Could Be on Its Way

Jul 12, 2023

In Vermont, waters are starting to recede after historic flooding inundated roads, homes and businesses. An emergency health order closed downtown Montpelier for a day as it was submerged in water. Over 100 people have been rescued. Officials fear more rains forecast for Thursday could create even more havoc. Governor Phil Scott said Tuesday the flooding and rains were greater than 2011’s Hurricane Irene.

Gov. Phil Scott: “People will think this is over, but it’s not over, because the rivers could still rise. The water has to go someplace. The reservoirs are filling up.”

Court Halts Section of Construction on Mountain Valley Pipeline

Jul 12, 2023

A federal appeals court has ordered a halt to construction of a section of the Mountain Valley Pipeline that runs through the Jefferson National Forest, as it reviews a challenge by environmental groups. Last month’s debt ceiling legislation fast-tracked approval and construction of the 300-mile pipeline in West Virginia and Virginia despite opposition from environmental experts, affected communities and many Democrats.

EU Approves Nature Restoration Law in Win for Environment

Jul 12, 2023

The European Parliament has narrowly approved the flagship Nature Restoration Law. Environmentalists heralded today’s vote, which right-wing lawmakers and industrial farming lobbies had been pushing against. The legislation, which lawmakers must now debate, will work to restore biodiversity in Europe. In 2021, the European Environment Agency found that over 80% of the EU’s ecosystems are in “poor” or “bad” condition.

Climate activists have been organizing around the law. On Tuesday, Greta Thunberg joined others in front of the EU Parliament in Strasbourg, France.

Greta Thunberg: “We demand that the MEPs do not reject this law and vote for the strongest law possible. Anything else will be seen for exactly what it is: a betrayal, both to those suffering the most from these crises, to future generations, but also to humanity as a whole.”

Greek Coast Guard May Have Caused Disastrous June Shipwreck, Which Likely Killed Over 500 Migrants

Jul 12, 2023

A shipwreck off the coast of Greece that killed at least 81 migrants last month may have been caused by the Greek Coast Guard, which later tried to cover up its responsibility. That’s according to a joint probe by several news outlets, including The Guardian, which suggests the Greek Coast Guard’s efforts to tow the vessel actually destabilized it and ultimately caused it to capsize. Over 500 migrants are still missing and feared dead.

“We Are Asking for Liberation”: Protests in Haiti Demand End to Insecurity and Gang Rule

Jul 12, 2023

In Haiti, thousands of protesters have taken to the streets demanding an end to gang violence and political instability that’s nearly paralyzed the island nation. Heavily armed criminal groups have expanded their control, taking over local communities by force. There’s been reports of extrajudicial killings and sexual violence happening on a daily basis, with women and children most at risk. This is one of the protesters.

Protester: “We must all be one, because we all suffer from the high cost of living. Today we are in the streets asking if Haiti can be free with this government. Can Haiti be free with the current education system? Last year they increased school fees. This year we are asking for liberation for Haiti.”

Lawsuit Accuses Google of Scraping Personal Data from Millions to Train AI Systems

Jul 12, 2023

In San Francisco, a class-action lawsuit accuses Google of violating the privacy and property rights of millions of users by scraping their personal data and copyrighted material from websites without permission. The information was then used to train Google’s artificial intelligence systems, including the chatbot Bard. Plaintiffs say Google “has been secretly stealing everything ever created and shared on the internet by hundreds of millions of Americans” to develop its AI products.

Amazon Workers Strike in U.K. and Germany on “Prime Week”; Delivery Drivers Strike in SoCal

Jul 12, 2023

In Britain, some 900 Amazon warehouse workers in the city of Coventry are on a three-day strike coinciding with Amazon Prime Day, which runs Tuesday and Wednesday this week. The workers are fighting for fair wages, humane working conditions and recognition of their union. Amazon workers in Germany are also striking this week.

Amazon worker: “We are in solidarity with the Writers Guild, from Amazon in the United States, with your fight. Your fight is our fight. We are in solidarity with the Amazon workers in Coventry who are in strike these days. We are a worldwide movement. We are fighting for better conditions, for more money, on Amazon worldwide.”

Here in the U.S., dozens of delivery drivers contracted by Amazon in Southern California have been on strike since late June to protest unsafe working conditions amid extreme heat.

SAG-AFTRA and Hollywood Studios Have Until Midnight Wednesday to Reach Deal and Avert Strike

Jul 12, 2023

Federal mediators have been brought in as talks between Hollywood studios and SAG-AFTRA are in their 11th hour. Actors are seeking better residual payments from streaming platforms and protections against the potential impact of AI on the entertainment industry. The extended contract of unionized actors expires at midnight tonight. The Writers Guild remains on strike.

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