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HeadlinesJuly 14, 2023

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Russia Threatens to End Ukraine Grain Deal as U.N. Warns 1 in 10 Worldwide Faced Hunger in 2022

Jul 14, 2023

The United Nations warns one out of every 10 people around the planet faced hunger in 2022 — an increase of more than 120 million people compared to the year before the pandemic. As many as 783 million people went hungry last year. The U.N. says Africa remains the worst-affected region, with one in five people facing hunger on the continent.

The findings come as Russian President Vladimir Putin is threatening to abandon the Black Sea grain deal brokered by the U.N. and Turkey, which grants Ukraine safe passage to export food and fertilizer. Unless Russia agrees to an extension, the agreement will expire on Monday. In Kyiv, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Putin of using food as a weapon.

President Volodymyr Zelensky: “It is very important that there are no threats to food security anywhere in the world. And Russia must clearly realize that anyone who increases the threat of famine, particularly in critical regions of Africa, is terrorizing the whole world with hunger, not just someone individually.”

Senior Russian Commander Fired After Blasting Military’s Handling of Ukraine War

Jul 14, 2023

A senior commander of Russian forces in occupied southern Ukraine says he was fired after he accused Russia’s defense minister of betraying troops under his command. In an audio recording posted online by a prominent Russian lawmaker, Major General Ivan Popov, who led Russia’s occupation in Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia region, lashed out at Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Valery Gerasimov, the commander of Russia’s invasion force in Ukraine. Popov blamed the men for mass deaths and injuries of Russian soldiers and blasted them for not supplying troops with enough weapons and ammunition.

Maj. Gen. Ivan Popov: “Our army has not been crushed from the front by the Ukrainian army, but has been attacked from the rear by our commanding officers. They traitorously and villainously beheaded the army in its most tense moment.”

On Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said publicly the Wagner Group had “no legal basis,” and said the private mercenary company’s legal status needs further consideration. The Pentagon says it believes Wagner forces are no longer participating in Russian military operations in Ukraine in any significant way, following Wagner’s failed June 23 revolt. The whereabouts of Wagner’s former leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin, remain unknown. 

Russian Lawmakers Approve New Restrictions on Transgender Rights

Jul 14, 2023

Russian lawmakers have unanimously approved a new law banning gender-affirming and other medical care for transgender people. The measure will also annul marriages of trans people and prohibit them from becoming foster or adoptive parents. This is the latest attack on LGBTQIA Russians, who’ve faced an intensifying crackdown over the last decade under President Vladimir Putin. This is a Russian LGBTQIA rights advocate.

Nef Cellarius: “According to this research, 72% of trans people experience depression or attempted suicide. Seventy-two percent of Russian trans people. This statistic is huge. And I can predict this law will lead to increasing these numbers.”

FDA Approves First Over-the-Counter Oral Contraceptive

Jul 14, 2023

The FDA has approved the first over-the-counter birth control pill to be sold in the United States. Opill is expected to be available from brick-and-mortar stores and online early next year. The milestone comes amid the Republican assault on reproductive rights and one year after the Supreme Court reversed the constitutional right to an abortion. The manufacturer, Dublin-based Perrigo, has not specified the price of Opill yet but said it is committed to making it “accessible and affordable” to all.

In other reproductive rights news, abortion providers in Iowa have filed a lawsuit against the state’s recently passed six-week abortion ban. Governor Kim Reynolds is expected to sign the bill into law today.

Unaccompanied 15-Year-Old Migrant from Guatemala Dies in U.S. Custody

Jul 14, 2023

The Health and Human Services Department has confirmed the death of an unaccompanied migrant child who had been in its custody since May. A 15-year-old migrant girl from Guatemala, whose name has not been released, died Monday of multi-organ failure at a hospital in El Paso, Texas. She reportedly suffered from an underlying illness. She’s the fourth migrant child to die in U.S. custody this year, as officials have been accused of severe medical neglect and other abuses.

Phoenix Poised to Surpass Record Number of Consecutive 110° Days

Jul 14, 2023

Canada’s Interagency Forest Fire Centre says it’s monitoring 906 active wildfires from coast to coast, as smoke from the unprecedented blazes is forecast to head south today, triggering another round of air quality alerts in the midwestern United States. This comes as a massive heat dome stretching across the U.S. is set to intensify over the weekend, impacting over 100 million people. On Thursday, Phoenix, Arizona, logged its 13th consecutive day of temperatures above 110 degrees Fahrenheit, with the city on track to break its all-time record of such scorching hot days next week.

Unionized Actors Join Writers on Picket Line, Bringing Hollywood to a Standstill

Jul 14, 2023

Actors unionized with SAG-AFTRA are officially on strike as of today. Some 160,000 Screen Actors Guild members are joining around 11,000 film and television writers who have been on the picket line since May, effectively bringing Hollywood to a standstill. The strike prohibits members from both acting in and promoting films and TV shows. Actors are demanding better wages, residual pay and protections in an era where streaming services dominate and AI threatens the livelihood of entertainers. This is SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher.

Fran Drescher: “It is a slippery slope into a very dangerous time and a real dystopia, if big business corporations think that they can put human beings out of work and replace them with artificial intelligence. It’s dangerous, and it’s without thinking or conscience.”

We’ll have more on the strike by Hollywood actors and writers later in the broadcast.

Federal Jury Finds Pittsburgh Synagogue Gunman Eligible for Death Penalty

Jul 14, 2023

In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a federal grand jury has ruled the man responsible for the deadliest antisemitic attack in U.S. history is eligible for the death penalty. The 50-year-old gunman was found guilty last month on 63 federal hate crimes and civil rights charges for his attack on worshipers at the Tree of Life synagogue in 2018. He still faces state charges, including 11 counts of murder. Writing in The Forward, Beth Kissileff — the wife of Rabbi Jonathan Perlman, who survived the massacre — said she was glad the jury found the shooter guilty and eligible for the death penalty, but added, “I hope they do not vote to carry it out. … The best way to commemorate those lost is not to focus on revenge but to find a meaningful way to emulate their deeds and honor them.”

Fox News Hit with New Lawsuit by Trump Supporter over Jan. 6 Falsehoods

Jul 14, 2023

Fox News is facing another defamation lawsuit for spreading falsehoods in the wake of the 2020 election. On Wednesday, Trump supporter Ray Epps sued the far-right network after former host Tucker Carlson repeatedly accused him of being an undercover FBI agent who incited the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Epps says he and his family have since received death threats. His lawsuit states, “As Fox recently learned in its litigation against Dominion Voting Systems, its lies have consequences.” In April, Fox News paid $787 million to settle Dominion’s lawsuit charging the network defamed the voting machine company by airing false conspiracy theories that it helped rig the presidential election. Fox News still faces a $2.7 billion lawsuit brought by Smartmatic, another maker of electronic voting machines.

Egypt to Sell $1.9 Billion in State Assets as It Battles Economic Crisis

Jul 14, 2023

Egypt has announced the sale of $1.9 billion in state assets amid an economic crisis and record-high inflation. The sale of 32 state companies, including hotels, telecom and oil firms, to Egyptian investors and a United Arab Emirates investment fund is part of a turn toward privatization. Egypt has also imposed austerity measures, including cuts to subsidies for fuel, water and electricity, in exchange for billions of dollars in loans from the International Monetary Fund. Nearly one-third of Egypt’s population lives in poverty, according to government figures.

Self-Groping Videos Go Viral in Italy After High School Staffer Cleared of Assaulting Student

Jul 14, 2023

In Italy, outrage is mounting after a judge cleared a school employee of groping a 17-year-old student, arguing the assault didn’t constitute a crime because it lasted less than 10 seconds. The student from a Rome high school reported the 66-year-old employee after the incident last year. He admitted to touching the student without consent, but claimed it was a “joke.” Social media users have responded by posting videos in which they grope themselves for 10 seconds, accompanied by hashtags which translate to #10seconds and #briefgroping.

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