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HeadlinesJuly 26, 2023

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Atlantic Ocean Current at Risk of Collapse in Coming Years; Ocean Temps in Florida Surge to 101.1°

Jul 26, 2023

A new study published in Nature Communications finds Atlantic Ocean currents could collapse “around mid-century,” or as soon as 2025, due to climate change, triggering catastrophic conditions around the globe. What’s known as the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation carries warm water from the tropics to the North Atlantic and sends colder water south along the ocean floor. The warming planet is expected to push this phenomenon over a “tipping point” as fresh water from melting Arctic ice disrupts and weakens the current. This could set in motion rapid and disastrous changes to the climate, including disrupting rains that feed crops for billions of people across South Asia, Latin America and West Africa; a drop in temperatures in northern Europe; higher temperatures in the tropics; and faster sea-level rise along the coasts of North America and Europe. It also further threatens the Amazon and Antarctic ice sheets.

This comes as water temperatures in Florida soar past 100 degrees, triggering signs of mass coral bleaching and die-off. The water in the Florida Keys hit a world record high of 101.1 degrees this week.

Judge Blocks Biden Asylum Ban in Victory for Immigration Rights

Jul 26, 2023

In immigration news, a federal judge in California has blocked the Biden administration from enforcing a measure prohibiting migrants from seeking asylum at the southern border without first applying for protection in a country they passed through on their journey to the United States. But U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar has delayed his ruling for 14 days, keeping the policy in place while giving Biden officials time to file an appeal. Tigar’s decision was praised by immigration rights activists, who’ve condemned President Biden for supporting asylum bans similar to those enacted by Trump. The new asylum rules went into effect in May, replacing the contested pandemic-era Title 42 policy, which was used to expel nearly 3 million asylum seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border without due process.

Biden’s measure also forces migrants to make their asylum appointments on a Customs and Border Protection smartphone app that applicants say is riddled with issues and raises serious concerns over privacy. The ACLU said, “The ruling is a victory, but each day the Biden administration prolongs the fight over its illegal ban, many people fleeing persecution and seeking safe harbor for their families are instead left in grave danger.”

Ex-Marine Trevor Reed Injured on Ukrainian Frontlines a Year After Release from Russian Prison

Jul 26, 2023

In Ukraine, former U.S. Marine Trevor Reed, who was freed from Russian imprisonment in a prisoner swap last year, was reportedly injured while fighting in Ukraine and transferred to Germany for treatment. The Biden administration clarified Reed was “not engaged in any activities on behalf of the U.S. government,” amid concerns the news could jeopardize any ongoing or future negotiations to release other U.S. citizens imprisoned in Russia.

Russian Sociologist and Dissident Boris Kagarlitsky Facing Terrorism Charges

Jul 26, 2023

Russian media reports prominent sociologist and dissident Boris Kagarlitsky was detained and is being charged with calling for terrorism. The charges could land him in prison for up to seven years, according to his lawyer. Boris Kagarlitsky appeared on Democracy Now! in December of last year.

Boris Kagarlitsky: “Russia is losing the war, and Russia is going to lose the war inevitably. So, this is a very, very dramatic news for the Russian public. But now what has been happening is that the Russian public is beginning to understand this reality.”

In related news, Russian lawmakers approved legislation Tuesday that would increase the upper age limit for military conscription from 27 to 30 and ban drafted Russians from leaving the country.

U.N. Operation Underway to Pump 1.1 Million Barrels of Oil from Decaying Tanker Near Yemen

Jul 26, 2023

In Yemen, the United Nations has begun 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. Experts warned of a potentially catastrophic oil spill due to the ship’s corrosion and lack of maintenance. This is U.N. humanitarian coordinator David Gressly.

David Gressly: “We do expect that this will take approximately 19 days to move the 1.1 million barrels off of the vessel. … The primary security threats have been fully mitigated in this case. The primary issue, of course, is that this is a country still at war, a civil war but also within the region. And that causes a great deal of distrust and a lot more scrutiny from a security point of view.”

Demonstrators Mark 2 Years Since Tunisian President Kais Saied Launched Power Grab

Jul 26, 2023

In Tunisia, hundreds of protesters rallied in Tunis Tuesday to mark two years since President Kais Saied dissolved parliament and ramped up his power grab in what many have called a coup. Protesters are also demanding Saied release 20 imprisoned opposition figures. This is Lajmi Lourimi of the opposition Salvation Front party.

Lajmi Lourimi: “The situation now is a state of frustration and despair among the citizens generally. This is the result of Kais Saied seizing power with an iron fist, consolidating all authorities in one hand. … The unfortunate reality is that demolishing democracy does not foster development or stability.”

Cambodia Prime Minister Hun Sen Announces Transfer of Power to Son, Days After Winning Election

Jul 26, 2023

In Cambodia, Prime Minister Hun Sen announced he would step down in three weeks and transfer power to his oldest son Hun Manet. The widely expected move comes just days after Hun Sen won reelection in a race where he ran virtually unopposed after suppressing the only viable challenger.


Modi Faces No-Confidence Vote Amid Mounting Horror of Ethnic Violence in India’s Manipur State

Jul 26, 2023

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s BJP is facing a no-confidence vote in Parliament in a bid by opposition parties to force Modi to address the escalating violence in the northeastern state of Manipur. Modi is not at risk of losing the vote, as the BJP and allies hold a clear majority, but anger has been mounting over the Hindu nationalist leader’s inaction as more than 130 people have been killed and 60,000 displaced since ethnic violence between the majority Meitei and minority Kuki communities broke out in May. Last week, a video of two Kuki women being paraded naked and assaulted by a mob triggered widespread outrage and protests.

Protester: “It’s an attack against all vulnerable women of this country. India is supposed to be the fraternity. India is supposed to be the plurality. India is supposed to be the more vibrant in acceptance in its culture and tradition. The whole world, women have bowed their heads and condemning this. This is highly unacceptable.”

Report: Mexican Military, Security Forces Complicit in Killing and Cover-Up of Ayotzinapa Students

Jul 26, 2023

A new report by an international panel details the involvement of Mexican armed forces in the 2014 disappearance of 43 students from Ayotzinapa. The Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts said in its findings that the Mexican Army, Navy, police and intelligence agencies knew the students’ whereabouts, including the night they were ambushed by local police and federal military forces and disappeared. The panel has also accused Mexican government officials under the previous administration of lying in their initial investigation, hiding key evidence and using torture to obtain false testimonies in the case. This is a member of the international panel speaking Tuesday.

Carlos Beristain: “The site of the study, the streets that we have seen before, of Iguala, on September 26 and 27, show that government forces were present. They participated and did not protect. They also know and knew what happened. The concealment of that Information has contributed not only to the concealing of government responsibilities, but it has constituted in itself a responsibility of the state in the disappearance of these young men.”

Northwestern Student Athletes Sue over Abusive Hazing Practices

Jul 26, 2023

Back in the U.S., Northwestern University is in the midst of a growing scandal over abusive hazing practices in its athletic departments. On Monday, a volleyball player sued Northwestern over alleged retaliation after she reported abuse. This follows lawsuits by former Northwestern quarterback Lloyd Yates, who spoke out at a news conference in Chicago last week.

Lloyd Yates: “There was a code of silence that felt insurmountable to break. And speaking up could lead to consequences that affected playing time and can warrant further abuse. Normalizing this culture became a necessity. The abusive hazing was so entrenched in the Northwestern football culture that even some of our coaches took part in it. The graphic, sexually intense behavior was well known throughout the program. We were physically and emotionally beaten down, and some players have contemplated suicide as a result. The abusive culture was especially devastating for many players of color.”

Northwestern’s head football coach, Pat Fitzgerald, has been fired in the wake of the revelations. Attorney Ben Crump says Northwestern’s athletic departments “normalized” a “pattern and practice” of physical and mental abuse, and that some of the students were minors when the abuse took place. We’ll speak to Ben Crump about this, and other stories, later in the broadcast.

Teamsters Reach Tentative Deal with UPS One Week Ahead of Feared Strike

Jul 26, 2023

UPS workers reached a “historic” tentative deal on a new contract, averting what would have been a highly disruptive strike at the end of the month. The Teamsters union said the deal, affecting some 340,000 members, includes higher wages for all workers, creates more full-time jobs, and guarantees air conditioning in vehicles, among other health and safety measures.

New Bill Seeks to Increase Min. Wage to $17/Hour; Sanders Slams $7.25 “Starvation Wage”

Jul 26, 2023

Senator Bernie Sanders and Virginia Congressmember Bobby Scott introduced the Raise the Wage Act of 2023 Tuesday, which would increase the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $17 an hour by 2028. The minimum wage was last raised 14 years ago. Sanders called $7.25 a “starvation wage,” adding, “In the year 2023, a job should lift you out of poverty, not keep you in it.”

Rep. Greg Casar Goes on Water Strike to Demonstrate Need for Federal Heat Protections for Workers

Jul 26, 2023

Texas Congressmember Greg Casar held an eight-hour thirst strike Tuesday on the steps of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C, to highlight the need for a federal workplace heat standard, which includes mandatory water breaks for workers. Over the course of the hot and humid day, where temperatures reached the high 80s, elected officials, advocates and workers spoke in support of legislation demanding heat protections. This is Fernando Arista, an electrical worker from Austin, speaking out against a recently passed Texas law banning water breaks.

Fernando Arista: “Proponents of this bill, they talk about business. They say it will help out business, and it will help out the Texas economy. Well, we workers are part of the Texas economy. And if it will help out businesses, it’ll help out businesses at the exploitation of workers.”

Up to 2,000 workers in the U.S. die every year from heat exposure.

In related news, Texas prisons recently raised the cost of bottled water sold in commissaries by 50% as incarcerated people endure an unrelenting heat wave without air conditioning. Prisoners say they have to buy water because the tap is unsafe, with one person likening it to sewage water.

Juan Ramos, Leader of Phila. Young Lords, Councilmember & Puerto Rican Rights Activist, Dies at 71

Jul 26, 2023

Juan Ramos, former Philadelphia city councilmember and a founder and leader of the Philadelphia chapter of the Young Lords, has died at the age of 71 after a battle with Alzheimer’s. Ramos was just 2 when his family moved from Puerto Rico to Philadelphia, and became active in civil rights in high school. Ramos spoke out against racism, police brutality, as well as poverty and housing issues in communities of color.

Ramos later helped lead efforts in the Puerto Rican community to defeat Philadelphia Mayor Frank Rizzo’s attempt to eliminate term limits. He went on to found and lead the Puerto Rican Alliance, which fought for bilingual education, against police brutality, and spearheaded a large squatters movement in abandoned government-owned houses. This led to over 150 Puerto Rican families eventually winning titles to those homes. He also served as a Philadelphia city councilmember, a union organizer and a church deacon.

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