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HeadlinesAugust 22, 2023

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Biden Pledges Federal Support to Maui Wildfire Survivors

Aug 22, 2023

President Biden visited the fire-devastated Hawaiian island of Maui on Monday, pledging federal support for rebuilding efforts. Biden’s visit came as the death toll from this month’s fire in the historic town of Lāhainā rose to 115, with more than 800 people still missing. 

President Joe Biden: “But I also want all of you to know the country grieves with you, stands with you, and we’ll do everything possible to help you recover, rebuild, and respect culture and traditions when the rebuilding takes place.”

Climate groups are calling on Biden to declare a climate emergency in the wake of the Maui fires and to protect survivors from predatory land grabs. Kaniela Ing, national director of the Green New Deal Network and a Native Hawaiian from Maui, said, “I hope President Biden will protect displaced residents from the disaster capitalists seeking to profit off their grief by instituting a moratorium on foreclosures and subsidizing mortgage and rent payments for at least a year.”

House Democrats Demand Probe of Prisoner Deaths Amid Unrelenting Summer Heat

Aug 22, 2023

The National Weather Service has issued excessive heat warnings from Texas to Illinois, where the heat index in Chicago could top 115 degrees Fahrenheit this week. On Monday, Democrats on the House Oversight Committee called for a federal investigation into conditions at prisons during this summer’s unprecedented heat wave. In Texas, where most prison cells lack air conditioning, at least 41 prisoners have died of heart-related or undetermined causes so far this year.

Ukraine’s Zelensky Wins Promise of F-16 Fighter Jets as War Toll Nears 500,000 Soldiers

Aug 22, 2023

In Russia, at least two people were injured Monday as Russian air defense systems shot down four Ukrainian drones near Moscow. The attacks prompted officials at Moscow’s four main airports to suspend air traffic, canceling dozens of flights. Elsewhere, a Ukrainian drone struck and heavily damaged a Russian supersonic bomber at an air base south of St. Petersburg. Meanwhile, the governments of Denmark and the Netherlands have pledged to give U.S.-made F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, after the Biden administration recently gave approval to the transfers. On Monday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky traveled to Copenhagen, where he spoke outside the Parliament to a large crowd of supporters.

President Volodymyr Zelensky: “Dear friends, today we are confident that Russia will lose this war.”

Zelensky’s trip comes as The New York Times reports the total number of Ukrainian and Russian troops killed or wounded in the 18 months since Russia invaded is nearing a half a million — a figure that doesn’t include civilian deaths and injuries. The Times cited unnamed U.S. officials for the figures, which estimate 120,000 Russian troop deaths and 70,000 Ukrainian soldiers killed in action.

Real Estate Tycoon Srettha Thavisin Selected as Prime Minister of Thailand

Aug 22, 2023

In Thailand, real estate tycoon Srettha Thavisin is poised to become prime minister after he won the backing of a coalition of conservative and pro-military parties in the Thai parliament. Thavisin was the sole candidate considered by lawmakers on Monday after Thailand’s Constitutional Court in July suspended lawmaker Pita Limjaroenrat, a top candidate for prime minister whose liberal Move Forward Party garnered the most support in May’s national elections. Hours ahead of Monday’s vote, former Thai prime minister and billionaire Thaksin Shinawatra returned to Thailand following 15 years spent in self-imposed exile after he was ousted in a 2006 military coup. He was jailed shortly after his arrival to face charges of abuse of power.

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Trump to Pay $200,000 Bail After Surrendering to Georgia Authorities on Thursday 

Aug 22, 2023

Former President Trump has agreed to turn himself in to authorities at Atlanta, Georgia’s Fulton County Jail on Thursday to face 13 felony charges related to his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election. Trump’s legal team says it has agreed with the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office to set bail at $200,000. Trump is expected to enter a not guilty plea, one day after he’s scheduled to skip the first debate of Republican Party presidential candidates, televised by Fox News. Republican state lawmakers in Georgia have invoked a new state law signed by Governor Brian Kemp that could allow them to sanction or even to remove Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis from office as she pursues the case against Trump and his 18 co-defendants. We’ll have more on the criminal case against Trump and his allies in Georgia after headlines.

Mike Pence and Mark Meadows Dispute Trump’s Claim He Declassified Documents

Aug 22, 2023

Former Vice President Mike Pence and former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows have recently undercut Trump’s claims that Trump declassified documents he took with him when he left the White House. Pence told ABC News on Sunday he was “never made aware of any broad-based effort to declassify documents,” while Meadows has reportedly made a similar claim to investigators working for special counsel Jack Smith. On Monday, Jack Smith’s office sharply rejected Trump’s call to delay the start of his federal election interference trial until 2026, accusing Trump’s legal team of grossly exaggerating the volume of evidence being brought against Trump.

Texas Authorities Reposition Deadly Floating Barrier in Rio Grande Ahead of Court Hearing

Aug 22, 2023

In Texas, a federal judge in Austin is hearing arguments today on a lawsuit filed by the Justice Department against Republican Governor Greg Abbott over Texas’s installation of buoys in the Rio Grande along the U.S.-Mexico border. The judge could issue an emergency injunction that would force Texas to remove the floating barrier within days. Texas authorities were reportedly trying to reposition the buoys ahead of today’s hearing, after Mexican officials said the barrier, aimed at blocking asylum seekers from reaching the United States, was installed on Mexico’s side of the river. Between the buoys there are circular saw blades. Dozens of asylum seekers, including children, have been severely injured. This is Democratic Congressmember Joaquin Castro during a visit to the border city of Eagle Pass earlier this month.

Rep. Joaquin Castro: “It’s incredibly dangerous, incredibly inhumane. And it’s the reason that I’ve said that it’s barbaric, because it is. You see that go all along there. People are getting stuck. There was a dead body that was stuck to this last week, reports of a child that died. If you go closer to this razor wire, there’s people’s clothing that has been stuck to the wire because they’ve gotten stuck in that wire.”

Atlanta Activists Gather 100,000+ Signatures for Referendum to Stop Cop City

Aug 22, 2023

In Georgia, Atlanta city officials have announced an intricate signature verifying process that’s forced activists campaigning to get a public referendum aimed at stopping a massive $90 million police training complex to delay turning in the tens of thousands of signatures they’ve collected in support of the measure. Voting rights advocates have denounced the verification practice, saying it can easily disenfranchise voters of color by throwing out authentic signatures perceived to have minimal differences. The city’s announcement Monday came just hours after activists opposing Cop City said they had gathered more than 100,000 signatures ahead of Monday’s deadline to submit the petition. Stop Cop City activists have vowed to continue collecting signatures as a judge granted them more time to turn them in. The move means the referendum may not make the ballot until March, when a competitive Republican presidential primary is taking place.

Video Shows Raid by Kansas Deputies on Home of 98-Year-Old Newspaper Publisher

Aug 22, 2023

In Kansas, a newly released video shows the shocking police raid on the home of the Marion County Record’s 98-year-old co-publisher Joan Meyer. An excerpt of the video filmed during the August 11 raid shows Meyer excoriating officers as they search through her documents and electronic devices.

Joan Meyer: “Don’t you touch any of that stuff!”

Police officer 1: “Ma’am.”

Police officer 2: “You’re wasting your breath.”

Joan Meyer: “This is my house!”

Police officer 1: “I know.”

Police officer 2: “You’re wasting your breath.”

Police officer 1: “Ma’am.”

Police officer 2: “Let’s get out of here.”

Joan Meyer: “And you pat him. You asshole!”

Police officer 1: “We’ll be out of here pretty quick.”

Joan Meyer: “Get ’em out of here!”

Joan Meyer died one day after the raid. The Marion County Record blamed the police action for her death, saying it left Meyer “stressed beyond her limits.” Click here to see our full coverage of the story.

California Store Owner Shot Dead by Man Who Tore Down Pride Flag and Shouted Slurs 

Aug 22, 2023

In California, a beloved shop owner in the San Bernardino Mountains was fatally shot by a man shouting homophobic slurs about a rainbow Pride flag hanging outside her business. Sixty-six-year-old Laura Ann Carleton died from a gunshot wound Friday evening at her store in Cedar Glen, east of Los Angeles. A 27-year-old gunman blamed for her killing fled the scene and was shot and killed after what officers described as a shootout. Police say the suspect had a history of making hateful and homophobic posts on multiple social media platforms, including X, the site formerly known as Twitter. A recent report by the advocacy group GLAAD documented at least 356 cases of anti-LGBTQIA hate across the U.S. between June 2022 and last April.

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