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HeadlinesJuly 27, 2023

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Military Officers Claim to Have Deposed Niger’s President

Jul 27, 2023

In Niger, military officers announced Wednesday they had overthrown President Mohamed Bazoum, imposing a curfew and shutting down borders in the West African nation. Colonel Major Amadou Abdramane addressed Niger on national television late Wednesday, flanked by other military members.

Col. Maj. Amadou Abdramane: “All the institutions of the Seventh Republic are suspended. The secretaries general of the ministries will take care of day-to-day business. The defense and security forces are managing the situation. All external partners are asked not to interfere.”

President Mohamed Bazoum vowed on social media today to fight his ouster. Meanwhile, protesters took to the streets of the capital Niamey.

Protester: “We are here to defend democracy. We are here to defend the republic. We are here to show our commitment to the rule of law and to say no to any attempt to seize power by force or arms. … Democracy must prevail. The ballot boxes have prevailed, and President Bazoum has been elected for five years. The people are on their feet.”

World Leaders Condemn Apparent Coup in Niger

Jul 27, 2023

The U.S. immediately called for Bazoum’s release as the U.N. and other powers condemned the apparent coup. Niger is a key ally for Europe and the U.S., which has two drone bases and some 800 troops in the country, where it has been engaged in “counterterrorism” training since 2002. Violence by armed groups has since surged throughout the region, killing civilians and displacing millions of people. It’s not clear if those behind the coup in Niger were trained by the U.S. military, which has trained officers behind recent coups in neighboring Burkina Faso and Mali and other West African nations. Earlier this year, Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with President Bazoum and positioned the U.S. as a better security partner to Niger over the Russian mercenary group Wagner, which has expanded in the region in recent years. This all comes as Niger and the greater Sahel region is in the throes of a humanitarian disaster due to the ongoing conflict and the effects of the climate crisis.

Human Rights Watch Documents Atrocities by Mali’s U.S.-Backed Army and Wagner Group

Jul 27, 2023

In Mali, Human Rights Watch has released a new report detailing atrocities committed against civilians by the U.S.-backed Malian army and Wagner Group mercenaries. The report describes extrajudicial executions, forced disappearances, rapes and looting that have taken place since December 2022. Mali has suffered ongoing insecurity and deadly attacks by armed groups, which foreign powers have failed to stem. Two back-to-back coups in 2020 and 2021 have further destabilized the country. Earlier this year, Mali expelled thousands of French troops and U.N. peacekeepers.

U.S. to Hold Talks with Taliban Representatives

Jul 27, 2023

Afghanistan’s Taliban government says it has closed down all women’s beauty salons nationwide. The Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice had given salons one month to comply with an order to cease operations — shuttering some of the last remaining spaces where Afghan women and girls could congregate. This comes as the Biden administration says it’s sending a diplomatic delegation to Qatar for a rare meeting with Taliban representatives. State Department spokesperson Vedant Patel said the talks will focus on security, humanitarian aid, Afghanistan’s economy, drug trafficking and women’s rights.

Vedant Patel: “This is not intended to mean any kind of indication of recognition or any kind of indication of normalization or legitimacy of the Taliban.”

14-Year-Old Palestinian Shot Dead in Qalqilya Is 37th Child Killed by Israeli Troops in 2023

Jul 27, 2023

Israeli forces fatally shot a 14-year-old Palestinian boy in the head during an overnight raid on the city of Qalqilya in the occupied West Bank. Witnesses said Israeli soldiers responded with live rounds after Palestinian youths threw rocks at them. Faris Abu Samra is at least the 37th Palestinian child killed by Israeli forces so far this year.

Ghana Outlaws Capital Punishment

Jul 27, 2023

Ghana’s Parliament has voted to outlaw capital punishment, with a narrow exception for cases of high treason, making Ghana the 124th country to abolish the death penalty. The West African nation hasn’t carried out an execution since 1993, but the change in law will see death sentences for nearly 180 prisoners commuted to life imprisonment.

Chilean Teachers Hold One-Day Nationwide Strike

Jul 27, 2023

In Chile, teachers walked off the job Wednesday for a 24-hour nationwide strike, demanding the government make good on promises to reimburse teachers for a “historical debt” incurred when the former dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet slashed their salaries and pensions. This is union leader Paulina Cartagena Vidal, speaking from a march of teachers in Chile’s capital, Santiago.

Paulina Cartagena Vidal: “We are demanding, among other important things, the payment of the historical debt, an urgent demand that does not resist further delay. We are also demanding the prompt payment of the retirement incentive bonus, a bonus due to the low pensions of workers.”

Fed Hikes Interest Rates Again Despite Rising Black Unemployment Rate

Jul 27, 2023

The U.S. Federal Reserve voted Wednesday to raise interest rates by another quarter percent, taking the cost of borrowing to its highest level in over two decades. It’s the 11th such rate increase in less than a year and a half. In a letter to Fed Chair Jerome Powell, Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts called the Fed’s moves “needless rate increases that threaten the economy,” and noted the unemployment rate among Black workers rose sharply last month to 6%. Senator Warren added, “Extensive research shows that Black workers are usually among the first to lose their jobs when the labor market falters. Accordingly, sharp increases in Black unemployment can be 'a strong predictor of an impending recession.'”

GOP Leader Mitch McConnell Freezes Mid-Sentence During News Conference

Jul 27, 2023

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell sparked concerns over his health Wednesday after he suddenly stopped speaking during a news conference and had to be led away by his Republican colleagues.

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell: “This week, there’s been good bipartisan cooperation and a string of, uh…”

The 81-year-old Republican leader had just begun speaking to reporters about the Senate’s record-breaking $886 billion military budget bill, when he froze and stared off into space. After a 20-second pause, Republican Conference Chair John Barrasso, who’s a doctor, led McConnell away; McConnell returned to the podium a short time later, insisting he felt fine. McConnell has suffered several falls this year, including an incident in March that sidelined him from the Senate for six weeks with a concussion and broken ribs.

U.S. Judge Blocks Hunter Biden Plea Deal

Jul 27, 2023

A Trump-appointed federal judge in Delaware has suspended a plea deal between Hunter Biden and federal prosecutors. The president’s son had agreed to plead guilty to two misdemeanor tax charges as part of an agreement that would have allowed him to avoid prosecution on a separate gun charge. But on Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Maryellen Noreika ruled the agreement lacked legal precedent, and questioned the broad scope of the immunity deal, which Biden’s lawyers say would have protected him against other charges. By the end of the day, Hunter Biden pleaded not guilty to three tax and gun charges. We’ll have more on this story after headlines.

Former Columbia OB-GYN Robert Hadden Sentenced to 20 Years for Sexually Assaulting Patients

Jul 27, 2023

Former Columbia University OB-GYN Robert Hadden was sentenced Tuesday to 20 years in a federal prison for sexually assaulting patients during examinations over two decades. U.S. District Judge Richard Berman handed down the maximum prison sentence allowed in the case, noting that federal prosecutors believe Hadden abused at least 245 women. Lawyers representing survivors say Columbia had a long history of ignoring Hadden’s behavior in order to protect its reputation instead of acting in the victims’ interests. So far, Columbia University and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital have paid out $236 million to settle claims by over 200 former patients of Hadden. One of the survivors, Evelyn Yang, recently wrote, “To this day, I’m still waiting for Columbia University to notify former patients that a now twice-convicted sex offender worked at Columbia for 20-plus years. They’ve been saying that that’s not their responsibility, but how does that make sense?”

Ohio Cop Who Sicced Dog on Unarmed Black Man Fired After Video Goes Public

Jul 27, 2023

An Ohio police officer filmed unleashing a police dog on an unarmed Black truck driver during a July 4 traffic stop has been fired. The Circleville Police Department said actions taken by officer Ryan Speakman “did not meet the standards and expectations we hold for our police officers.” Video of the incident shows 23-year-old truck driver Jadarrius Rose had his hands in the air when Speakman directed the dog to maul him. Rose was hospitalized with significant bleeding on his arms, then booked on felony charges of failure to comply. We’ll have more on the use of K-9 units by police and prison guards later in the broadcast.

Singer Sinéad O’Connor, Shunned for Standing Up for the Rights of the Most Vulnerable, Dies at 56

Jul 27, 2023

Sinéad O’Connor, remembered as much for her haunting vocals as for her fearless and outspoken protests, has died at the age of 56. Sinéad O’Connor rose to stardom in 1990 when she released her version of the Prince song “Nothing Compares 2 U.” In 1992, she performed Bob Marley’s “War” on “Saturday Night Live,” then proceeded to rip up a photo of Pope John Paul II on live TV, declaring, “Fight the real enemy.” The move, a protest against systemic child abuse in the Catholic Church, of which she was a survivor, provoked widespread uproar. She addressed her ”SNL” performance days later during an interview with “Entertainment Tonight.”

Sinéad O’Connor: “Ireland has the highest incidence in Europe of child abuse. I experienced it myself. And I find his presence in Ireland, telling the young people of Ireland that he loved them, hilarious. At least when I studied the history, I found out that the people who were responsible for telling lies in the first place were at the Vatican, who, through permitting the invasion of countries and the destruction and murder of entire races of people in the name of God and for money, and then their subsequent overtaking of the educational systems of all the countries that they went into, led to distortion of historical fact.”

A decade later, in 2002, an investigation by The Boston Globe shined a spotlight on sexual abuse and its cover-up in the church. Sinéad O’Connor was an ally to LGBTQ communities and marched for abortion rights decades before it was legalized in Ireland. She converted to Islam and started using the name Shuhada’ Sadaqat in 2018. She spoke out for Palestinian rights, respecting the Palestinian civil society call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel, once saying, “on a human level, nobody with any sanity, including myself, would have anything but sympathy for the Palestinian plight. There’s not a sane person on earth who in any way sanctions what the fuck the Israeli authorities are doing.” Sinéad O’Connor had four children. Her cause of death has not been revealed. Her son Shane took his own life a year and a half ago.

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