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HeadlinesAugust 18, 2023

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Canada Orders More Evacuations as Wildfires Rage Across the Country

Aug 18, 2023

In Canada, officials have declared a state of emergency in the British Columbia city of West Kelowna as a wildfire tripled in size. Thousands have been evacuated. Meanwhile, mass evacuations continued in Canada’s Northwest Territories’ capital city of Yellowknife, where all 20,000 residents have been told to leave.

Marg Hudder: “It’s quite scary, because with the smoke — of course, it’s actually lightened up a little bit, but the smoke was very, very thick this morning. And so, I mean, it’s not a good situation. That’s for sure.”

Over 1,000 active blazes are burning across Canada in its worst-ever wildfire season.

Hawaii’s Head of Emergency Quits as Hawaiians Warn of Climate Gentrification After Lahaina Tragedy

Aug 18, 2023

In Hawaii, the head of Maui’s Emergency Management Agency resigned, citing health reasons, one week after the deadly wildfires started and one day after Herman Andaya defended not sounding sirens to warn people as the flames engulfed thousands of homes and businesses. Officials have now identified six victims as the death toll of 111 is expected to rise over the coming days.

Meanwhile, concerns are mounting over “climate gentrification” in the tragedy’s wake. Many Native Hawaiians had already been priced out of their land due to a swelling housing crisis, with Hawaii ranking as the most expensive state to rent or own a home in the U.S. Hawaiians and residents of Hawaii have reported receiving predatory calls from developers seeking to buy their property.

Hurricane Hilary Intensifies to Category 4 Storm

Aug 18, 2023

Hurricane Hilary grew to a Category 4 storm off the Pacific coast of Mexico and is expected to bring heavy downpours and flooding to parts of the U.S. Southwest and northwestern Mexico this weekend.

Thousands Evacuated as Tenerife Wildfires Burn “Out of Control”

Aug 18, 2023

In Spain’s Canary Islands, thousands have been evacuated as the Tenerife wildfire continues to burn “out of control.” Tenerife, a popular vacation island, has seen higher-than-average temperatures this summer, much like the rest of Spain and Europe. Next week could bring more, possibly record-breaking, extreme heat across the continent.

Biden Hosts Leaders of Japan and South Korea as China Slams Summit as Provocation

Aug 18, 2023

President Biden is hosting the first-ever trilateral summit with leaders of Japan and South Korea at Camp David. Beijing has bashed the summit as a “mini-NATO.” Meanwhile, South Korea warned North Korea could launch another intercontinental ballistic missile to protest the summit.

U.S. Intelligence Predicts Ukraine Counteroffensive Will Fall Short

Aug 18, 2023

An assessment by U.S. intelligence predicts that Ukraine’s counteroffensive will fail to reach the key southeastern city of Melitopol. The Washington Post reported the news, which would mean Ukraine will not achieve its goal of cutting off Russia’s land bridge to Crimea. It could also renew debate within the international community over the billions of dollars in military assistance being sent to Ukraine to fight Russia’s invasion.

China Defense Minister Visits Belarus; Pres. Lukashenko Says He Would Deploy Russian Nukes

Aug 18, 2023

In other news about the war, Chinese Defense Minister Li Shangfu visited Belarus on Thursday, vowing to increase military cooperation with the Russian ally. Meanwhile, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said Thursday Belarus is ready to use nuclear weapons from Russia if it faces “aggression.”

1,000 Palestinian Prisoners Go on Hunger Strike as Israel Continues Deadly Attacks in West Bank

Aug 18, 2023

Around 1,000 Palestinians imprisoned by Israel have launched an indefinite hunger strike to protest attacks by the Israel Prison Service, which is overseen by far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir. Prisoners have asked Palestinians living in the occupied West Bank to hold solidarity demonstrations.

Meanwhile, Israel’s deadly attacks on Palestinians in the West Bank continue. At least three people were killed this week, including a 16-year-old boy. The family of 32-year old Mustafa al-Kastouni decried his killing, as they accused Israeli forces of shooting him dead even after he said he’d surrender. Israeli forces then detonated explosives in his family’s home. This is Mustafa al-Kastouni’s mother.

Basima Qonboa: “We looked, and we saw that they blew up the house in seconds. The stairs area was packed with Israeli soldiers, and also the buildings nearby. They blew up our house. I wanted to go through the rubble, but I couldn’t. The young men helped me to go through. I was looking for Abu Ali, but they said he wasn’t there with them. I asked them to check under the rubble, and they agreed. They told me he died.”

Progressive Presidential Candidate Bernardo Arévalo Seeks Change as Guatemala Heads to Polls

Aug 18, 2023

In Guatemala, voters are heading to the polls Sunday for a highly anticipated presidential election between progressive candidate Bernardo Arévalo and former first lady Sandra Torres. A new poll shows Arévalo of the Semilla party in the lead. Arévalo spoke to the Atlantic Council in July.

Bernardo Arévalo: “What we have seen, after what’s in the streets, is that there is a rekindling of hope, a rekindling of confidence, and that people are actually believing that we can advance and begin to get rid of this corrupt political system that we have been suffering from decades by now.”

Sandra Torres has faced corruption charges and is backed by Guatemala’s business and political elite.

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Ecuador Voting in Snap Election with Progressive Candidate Favored to Win

Aug 18, 2023

Ecuador is gearing up for a snap presidential election on Sunday after current President Guillermo Lasso dissolved Congress in May to avoid his impeachment. At least three political leaders have been killed in recent weeks, including presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio. This is progressive presidential front-runner Luisa González of the Citizen Revolution Movement party.

Luisa González: “They want to fill us with hopelessness so they can bury us in sadness and pain. That way, they can immobilize us. But we will react. We will react firmly and strongly by saying no.”

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Outrage and Calls for Justice After Torching of Christian Homes and Churches in Pakistani City

Aug 18, 2023

In Pakistan, more than 140 people were arrested and over 6,000 police and paramilitary troops were deployed in the eastern city Jaranwala in Punjab province, after a group of Muslims torched churches and vandalized homes and businesses in a violent spree that has left the minority Christian community reeling. The violence was reportedly retaliation for the desecration of a Qur’an by two Christian men. This is a Jaranwala man whose house was destroyed.

Saleem Qasim Masih: “When I saw my house, I felt a jolt in my heart, and I thought I was going to fall. I immediately came out of my house and sat down. We have not committed any crime. All this is a grave injustice toward us.”

The head of the provincial government, Mohsin Naqvi, vowed to compensate and restore victims for their losses. Meanwhile, Muslim faith leaders joined their Christian counterparts in calling for accountability and protection for vulnerable minorities. This is Muslim cleric Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi.

Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi: “Mr. Chief Justice of Pakistan, the nation demands that you establish a court right by the church where the holy cross was vandalized and that you conduct a trial and reach a verdict within a month. The nation wants the culprits to be punished.”

Trump Asks to Push Jan. 6 Trial to 2026, Cancels Plans for Presser “Exonerating” Him from GA Indictment

Aug 18, 2023

Donald Trump’s legal team has asked to push back his January 6 trial to April 2026, citing the “overwhelming” amount of evidence they’ll need to sort through. The Justice Department has requested the trial start the first week of January 2024. Trump remains the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination as he faces four indictments.

In Georgia, officials are investigating after Trump supporters threatened and doxed grand jurors who voted to indict Trump over his efforts to overturn his 2020 defeat. Meanwhile, Trump has canceled a planned press conference Monday, where he claimed he would present evidence exonerating him from the charges.

Prosecutors Seek 33-Year Prison Sentence for Ex-Leaders of Far-Right Proud Boys

Aug 18, 2023

Prosecutors are seeking sentences of 33 years in prison for the two former leaders of the Proud Boys, Enrique Tarrio and Joe Biggs. They were found guilty in May of seditious conspiracy over the January 6 Capitol assault. It would be the longest prison terms for anyone involved in the insurrection.

Canadian Police Arrest Forest Defenders as Crackdown on Fairy Creek Activists Resumes

Aug 18, 2023

In Canada, at least three land defenders were arrested Tuesday after officials resumed enforcement of a court injunction used to crack down on activists at the Indigenous-led blockade at the Fairy Creek watershed on Vancouver Island. This comes as over 140 court cases against anti-logging protesters were recently dropped by British Columbia authorities, as it was found police didn’t properly read or explain the court injunction to them. The injunction was first granted to logging company Teal-Jones in April 2021 and was lifted a few months later after a court said it violated the civil liberties of protesters and infringed on press freedom.

Latinx Children Living in States with Harsh Anti-Immigrant Laws More Vulnerable to Health Issues

Aug 18, 2023

A new study shows Latinx children living in states with anti-immigrant laws are more likely to experience mental health and chronic physical health issues. The study says racist laws that make it difficult to access healthcare, affordable housing, education and stable employment have contributed to worsening asthma, diabetes and other physical ailments, as well as severe mental health conditions including depression among Latinx children and teens aged 3 to 17. Among the worst states are Alaska, Alabama and Nebraska.

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