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HeadlinesJuly 18, 2023

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U.N. Warns Russia’s Suspension of Black Sea Grain Deal Puts Millions at Risk of Hunger

Jul 18, 2023

The United Nations has warned Russia’s decision to terminate the Black Sea grain deal, which allowed for the safe export of food and fertilizer from Ukrainian ports, will lead to soaring food prices and worsening hunger across the globe. U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres spoke Monday after the Kremlin said it would refuse to extend the agreement.

Secretary-General António Guterres: “Ultimately, participation in this agreement is a choice, but struggling people everywhere and developing countries don’t have a choice. Hundreds of millions of people face hunger, and consumers are confronting a global cost-of-living crisis, and they will pay the price.”

This comes just a week after Russia vetoed the extension of a key U.N. humanitarian aid delivery route from Turkey into Syria. On Monday, the U.N. rejected restrictions placed by the Syrian government on the life-saving deliveries through the Bab al-Hawa border crossing. Syrian officials conditioned the shipments on the U.N.'s “full cooperation and coordination” with Syria's government, among other rules denounced by U.N. officials as “unacceptable.”

Russia Attacks Ukraine’s Odesa One Day After Ending Black Sea Grain Export Deal

Jul 18, 2023

Russia’s military launched an early-morning drone and missile attack on the Ukrainian port city of Odesa, a day after the Kremlin walked away from the Black Sea agreement. Ukraine’s military says one person was injured by debris after it shot down all six missiles and 25 drones fired at Odesa. The attack came just hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin accused Ukraine of launching what he called a “cruel” and “senseless” attack Monday on a key bridge connecting Russia’s mainland to the Russian-annexed Crimean Peninsula.

President Vladimir Putin: “What has happened is yet another terrorist act by the regime in Kyiv. This crime is senseless from a military standpoint, because the Crimean bridge has not been used for military logistics for a long time. It is also cruelty, because innocent civilians have been killed. Of course, there will be a response from the Russian side.”

In Belarus, a large convoy of Wagner mercenary forces arrived at a military field camp on Monday — the first redeployment of the group’s fighters since their failed mutiny in late June. On Friday, the Belarus Ministry of Defense said Wagner troops were training some of its security forces.

Major Typhoon Strikes Southern China Amid Record Heat Wave

Jul 18, 2023

Tens of thousands of people in Vietnam and southern China evacuated their homes as Typhoon Talim made landfall in China’s Guangdong province. The storm brought heavy winds and rain, forcing the cancellation of hundreds of trains and flights. Its arrival came as China, like much of the Northern Hemisphere, saw temperature records shattered by unrelenting summer heat.

Smoke Blankets Eastern U.S. as Phoenix Suffers Record Number of Consecutive 110°+ Days

Jul 18, 2023

Here in the United States, more than 88 million people are under excessive heat warnings and advisories again today. Smoke from hundreds of Canadian wildfires is triggering “unhealthy” air quality alerts across New England and as far south as Atlanta, Georgia, and Birmingham, Alabama. Today Phoenix, Arizona, is forecast to record its 18th consecutive day over 110 degrees Fahrenheit, with no respite in sight. A recent study found that a loss of the power grid in Phoenix during a heat wave would cause at least 12,000 deaths, with hundreds of thousands more needing treatment for heat-related illnesses.

John Kerry Says “Under No Circumstances” Will U.S. Commit to Climate Reparations

Jul 18, 2023

White House climate envoy John Kerry is in Beijing to reestablish discussions on the climate crisis between the U.S. and China — the world’s two largest emitters of greenhouse gases. Kerry arrived in Beijing on Sunday as a weather station in western China logged an all-time high temperature record of 126 degrees Fahrenheit.

Kerry’s visit came just days after he ruled out reparations to other countries harmed by the climate crisis. Kerry made the remark during testimony last Thursday at a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee hearing as he was questioned by Republican Congressmember Brian Mast of Florida.

Rep. Brian Mast: “Are you planning to commit America to climate reparations? That is to say, we have to pay some other country because they had a flood or they had a hurricane or a typhoon or a wildfire.”

John Kerry: “No, under no circumstances.”

Rep. Brian Mast: “Very good. I’m glad to hear you say that.”

Kerry’s remarks were condemned by climate action groups including, which said in a statement, “U.S. Climate Envoy John Kerry’s words are just the latest example of Kerry and the U.S. refusing to back up their vague claims for U.S. support in global climate progress with real, substantive action.”

U.N. Begins Effort to Drain Oil from Stricken Supertanker Off Yemeni Coast

Jul 18, 2023

A ship dispatched by the United Nations has arrived off the coast of Yemen to begin pumping over 1 million barrels of oil from a decaying supertanker anchored in the Red Sea. The ship was abandoned off the coast of Yemen in 2015, at the start of the U.S.-backed, Saudi-led war against Houthi rebels. It contains four times the amount of oil spilled off the coast of Alaska during 1989’s Exxon Valdez disaster. On Monday, U.N. humanitarian coordinator David Gressly said engineers had secured the rusting ship against a potential catastrophic spill or explosion.

David Gressly: “The structure of the FSO Safer, even though it is a decaying vessel, the hull is still very secure, which means that the transfer of the oil will be relatively low-risk.”

Judge Puts Iowa’s Six-Week Abortion Ban on Hold

Jul 18, 2023

In Iowa, abortions at up to 20 weeks of pregnancy are once again legal, after a district judge put Iowa’s strict six-week abortion ban on hold. Polk County Judge Joseph Seidlin said Monday that Planned Parenthood, the ACLU and other plaintiffs were likely to succeed on the merits of their lawsuit, which contends the bill signed by Republican Governor Kim Reynolds on Friday violates Iowa’s Constitution. Fourteen states currently have abortion bans in effect after the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade last summer.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Says Federal Government Should Take Over NYC’s Troubled Rikers Jail

Jul 18, 2023

Here in New York, pressure is mounting for the federal government to take over the troubled Rikers Island jail complex. Manhattan U.S. Attorney Damian Williams on Monday said the crisis at Rikers is “a collective failure with deep roots, spanning multiple mayoral administrations.” Eight years ago, New York City agreed to a multimillion-dollar effort to reform Rikers, but conditions have only worsened, leading to the deaths of several prisoners and growing reports of brutal violence and inhumane treatment.

NYC Mayor Appoints Edward Caban as First Latino Police Commissioner

Jul 18, 2023

Mayor Eric Adams has appointed new leadership to the New York Police Department. Edward Caban will be the first Latino to serve as NYPD commissioner. His rise to power comes after the abrupt departure of former Commissioner Keechant Sewell, who was the first Black woman in the role. Caban spoke alongside Mayor Adams at City Hall on Monday.

Commissioner Edward Caban: “Now, it’s not lost on me that today’s announcement is also a first. Given how many great leaders of Hispanic descent have come before me in the NYPD, to be the first Hispanic police commissioner is an honor of the highest measure.”

New Experimental Drug Shows Promise at Slowing Progression of Alzheimer’s Disease

Jul 18, 2023

In medical news, an experimental new drug called donanemab has slowed the progression of Alzheimer’s disease in patients by about 35%, when used in the early stages of the disease. That makes the drug at least as effective as Leqembi, another monoclonal antibody treatment against Alzheimer’s that won FDA approval earlier this month. Drugmaker Eli Lilly hasn’t said how much donanemab would cost if it wins regulatory approval, but a year’s treatment of Leqembi has been priced at more than $26,000 in the U.S.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Condemned over Claims COVID-19 Was “Ethnically Targeted”

Jul 18, 2023

Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has been condemned for racist and antisemitic remarks after he said COVID-19 was “targeted to” certain ethnicities. RFK Jr. made the comments while speaking at a dinner in Manhattan last week; a recording was published by the New York Post tabloid.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.: ”COVID-19 is targeted to attack Caucasians and Black people. The people who are most immune are Ashkenazi Jews and Chinese.”

“The people who are most immune are Ashkenazi Jews and Chinese,” Robert F. Kennedy Jr. said. On Monday, his sister Kerry Kennedy, who heads the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights organization, strongly condemned what she called her brother’s “deplorable and untruthful” remarks. She said, “His statements do not represent what I believe or what Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights stand for, with our 50-plus-year track record of protecting rights and standing against racism and all forms of discrimination.” Rolling Stone reports that RFK Jr. — who’s running for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination — has been raking in cash from dozens of major Republican donors.

Sen. Joe Manchin’s Address to Billionaire-Funded Group Fuels Speculation of 2024 Presidential Run

Jul 18, 2023

West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin has fueled speculation he will run as a third-party candidate in the 2024 presidential election. Manchin appeared alongside Republican former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman at an event in New Hampshire on Monday, arguing U.S. voters are frustrated by the growing divide between the two major political parties.

Sen. Joe Manchin: “I’m not here running for president tonight. I’m not. I’m here trying to basically save the nation.”

Senator Manchin is the biggest recipient of fossil fuel money in Congress. Monday’s event was organized by the billionaire-backed organization No Labels, which is exploring whether to run a third-party candidate for president. The Progressive Change Campaign Committee wrote on social media, “No Labels is nothing more than a Republican front-group. They’re staffed by Republicans, bankrolled by Republicans, and their third party gambit will only help elect MAGA Republicans like Trump. Joe Manchin just gives them the patina of bipartisanship.”

UPS to Train Nonunion Employees Ahead of Potential Strike by 340,000 Workers

Jul 18, 2023

The shipping giant UPS has begun training nonunion employees to fill in for unionized workers, after the Teamsters voted to authorize a strike over stalled contract talks. Unless there’s a breakthrough, some 340,000 UPS workers could be on picket lines as soon as August 1. Over the weekend, New York Congressmember Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez joined other New York lawmakers at a Teamsters rally pledging support for what could become the largest single-employer strike in U.S. history.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: “What we are about to step into requires solidarity from everybody — everybody — across the city, across this country, across politics, across union, across workers, because your fight right here is about being the tip of the spear for dignity for every worker in this country. Every worker in this country.”

Later in the broadcast, we’ll speak to the legendary historian of the Mexican Revolution and labor organizer, professor John Womack Jr., about building labor power and solidarity.

Jesse Jackson Steps Down as President of Rainbow PUSH Coalition

Jul 18, 2023

The Reverend Jesse Jackson is stepping down as president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, the civil rights organization he founded in 1996. Jackson’s legacy of activism was honored at the coalition’s annual convention in Chicago over the weekend with Vice President Kamala Harris and other prominent Democrats in attendance. In her remarks, Harris described Jackson as “one of America’s greatest patriots, someone who deeply believes in the promise of our country.” The Rainbow PUSH Coalition will now be headed by the Rev. Frederick Douglass Haynes III. He spoke at the event Sunday.

Rev. Frederick Douglass Haynes III: “The Reverend Jesse Lewis Jackson Sr., I stand here on his shoulders, because no one with sense would try to stand in his shoes. His shoes are too large.”

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