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HeadlinesAugust 23, 2023

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Bodies of 18 Asylum Seekers Uncovered in Greek Forest Ravaged by Wildfire as Europe Roasts

Aug 23, 2023

In Greece, the remains of at least 18 people believed to be asylum seekers were found in the Dadia Forest, where wildfires have been blazing for nearly one week. The dense forest is near the Turkish border in northeastern Greece, making it a common migration route for people fleeing Syria and other countries in the region with the hopes of reaching Europe.

Blistering heat waves and dry and windy conditions have set off dozens of wildfires across Greece. Hundreds of firefighters have been deployed to fight the blazes, while hospitals and clinics are almost at capacity. This is a nurse in the city of Alexandroupolis.

Nikos Gioktsidis: “I’ve been working for 27 years. I’ve never seen anything like this. It’s like war conditions, really, stretchers everywhere, patients here, IV drips there. We had to arrange them by clinic. We had to get them on their meds, their serums, everything. It was like a war, like a bomb had exploded.”

Countries across Europe are in the midst of yet another heat wave as temperatures hit or top 104 degrees Fahrenheit in Italy and France.

Here in the U.S., heat indexes have been approaching 130 degrees in some areas as triple-digit temperatures scorch much of the Midwest, the Central Plains and southern states. Nearly 150 million people were under heat alerts Tuesday.

Zimbabwe Votes in Rematch of Presidential Race Between Incumbent Mnangagwa and Chamisa

Aug 23, 2023

Voters in Zimbabwe are casting ballots in nationwide elections today as President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his ruling ZANU-PF party face another challenge from Nelson Chamisa. In 2018, Chamisa contested his loss to Mnangagwa, and six people were killed in post-election protests. Mnangagwa was previously a liberation fighter who came to power in 2017 after leading a coup that ousted Robert Mugabe. Chamisa has vowed to implement economic reforms and bring Zimbabwe out of isolation stemming from EU and U.S. sanctions over human rights concerns. Chamisa addressed supporters at a rally Sunday.

Nelson Chamisa: “Mr. Mnangagwa is not preparing to win. He is plotting to rig. I told SADC that he stole the election in 2018, but this time I will not accept to allow him to steal the election again.”


African Union Suspends Niger over Military Coup

Aug 23, 2023

The African Union has suspended Niger over the July 26 military coup. The AU also said it would “evaluate the repercussions” of possible military intervention by the West African bloc ECOWAS, but rejected any military action from outside the African continent. Earlier this week, ECOWAS rejected a three-year transition back to civilian rule, proposed by the head of Niger’s military junta, General Abdourahamane Tchiani. The junta has received significant support from Nigeriens following the coup.

500 Children Killed in Sudan Conflict; 30,000 Lose Access to Nutrition Centers After NGO Ends Services

Aug 23, 2023

In Sudan, fighting between military and paramilitary forces over control of a key army base in the capital Khartoum continued for a third day Tuesday. Thousands have been killed and millions displaced since violence broke out more than four months ago.

This comes as Save the Children says some 500 children, including two dozen babies who were under the care of a government-run orphanage in Khartoum, have died of hunger. The group also reported about 30,000 children no longer have access to medical treatment for malnutrition and other illnesses after the aid group was forced to shut down dozens of its nutrition centers due to the conflict in Sudan.

Japan to Start Releasing Fukushima Nuclear Wastewater into Pacific Despite Major Objections

Aug 23, 2023

Japan announced it will start releasing radioactive wastewater from the Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean starting Thursday. The move has been condemned by a number of Pacific nations, including China.

Wang Wenbin: “This is extremely selfish and irresponsible. … China strongly urges the Japanese side to rectify its wrongful decision and withdraw its plan to discharge nuclear-contaminated water into the sea.”

Hong Kong and Macau said they will impose a ban on seafood imports from 10 Japanese prefectures. Opponents in South Korea and Japan have ramped up protests since the plan was approved last month by the international nuclear agency. This is a protester in Tokyo.

Fumitaka Tsuzumi: “The nuclear disaster happened in Japan, and Japan should send a solid message to the world. But the government told the world that it’s safe without showing any scientific evidence. That’s really outrageous. In the future, the children will bear the burden and have health issues.”

Hun Manet to Succeed Father as Cambodia’s New PM After Transfer Approved by Cambodian Lawmakers

Aug 23, 2023

In Cambodia, lawmakers officially elected Hun Manet, the son of long-standing, outgoing Prime Minister Hun Sen, to be the country’s new leader. Hun Sen won reelection last month after eliminating any viable challengers, and declared just days later his son would succeed him. Hun Manet is a military general. Analysts say Hun Sen is expected to keep wielding the bulk of Cambodian political power, even as he transfers the premiership to his son.


BRICS Expansion, Common Currency on the Agenda as World Leaders Meet in South Africa

Aug 23, 2023

China, Russia and South Africa have called for expanding the ranks of BRICS membership as the group’s summit is underway in Johannesburg, South Africa. BRICS currently is made up of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, but a number of countries from the Global South have expressed interest in joining, including Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Iran, Argentina and Egypt. Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva addressed the summit Tuesday.

President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva: “I have been defending the idea of adopting a common trade currency for trade that won’t replace our national currencies. … We’ve already overtaken the G7 and are responsible for 32% of the world’s GDP in purchasing power parity terms. Projections indicate that emerging developing markets are the ones that will show the highest rate of growth in the coming years.”

Drone Strikes Kill 3 in Belgorod; U.S. Urges Citizens to Leave Belarus

Aug 23, 2023

Russia said three people were killed in drone strikes earlier today in Belgorod, near the Ukrainian border. Separately, drone attacks continued in Moscow, with one hitting a high-rise building. Putin virtually addressed the BRICS summit today and blamed his invasion of Ukraine on Western powers attempting to “preserve their hegemony.”

Meanwhile, the U.S. is urging American citizens in Belarus to leave “immediately,” as tensions mount from the war in Ukraine. The U.S. Embassy in Minsk said citizens should avoid traveling to Belarus, citing the “continued facilitation of Russia’s unprovoked attack on Ukraine, the buildup of Russian military forces in Belarus, and the arbitrary enforcement of local laws.”

16 People Killed and Dozens Injured, Including Migrants to U.S., After Bus Crash in Mexico

Aug 23, 2023

At least 16 people were killed and 36 wounded when a bus crashed into a freight truck in central Mexico Tuesday. Some of the injured are asylum seekers from Venezuela who were headed to the U.S. border for an appointment with Customs and Border Protection. The most recent reports say the majority of victims are Mexican nationals. Transportation accidents are a leading cause of death for asylum seekers traveling from Mexico’s southern border to the U.S.

Plainfield, NJ Official Removed from City Board After Video of Anti-Immigrant Rant Prompts Outrage

Aug 23, 2023

In Plainfield, New Jersey, a city planning board member has been removed following public outrage after she threatened immigrant protesters with calling ICE, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, to have them deported. A live video recording posted on Facebook showed board member Carmencita Pile asking questions about the immigration status of peaceful demonstrators who gathered at a street fair over the weekend demanding the city and state provide affordable housing. Pile is heard saying, “All you need is an ICE truck. They’ll be running.” The protesters, many of them families, were evicted from their homes earlier this month after their building was condemned due to hundreds of violations. The group Make the Road New Jersey said on social media, “Immigrants in New Jersey deserve respect, dignity & safe homes, not deportation.”

Trump Lawyer John Eastman Surrenders to Georgia Jail in 2020 Election Interference Case

Aug 23, 2023

Attorney John Eastman, a key figure in Donald Trump’s bid to overturn the 2020 presidential election, surrendered at the Fulton County Jail Tuesday. He is one of Trump’s 18 co-defendants charged in Georgia’s racketeering case. He spoke to reporters outside the jail, where he claimed he and Trump will be “fully vindicated.”

Reporter 1: “Do you regret attaching your name to the former president?”

John Eastman: “None whatsoever. The president calls and asks for representation, I think every citizen in my position should be willing to stand up for representation.”

Reporter 2: “Are you claiming immunity from prosecution?”

John Eastman: “I’m not answering that question.”

Trump has said he will surrender on Thursday. Former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows has asked a federal court to block his arrest in Georgia and transfer his case to federal court, claiming the charges stem from his position in the U.S. government.

Trump Skips First GOP Presidential Debate as 8 Hopefuls Take to Milwaukee Stage

Aug 23, 2023

The first Republican presidential debate is taking place this evening in Milwaukee. Eight candidates will take the stage: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, former Vice President Mike Pence, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum and former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson. Front-runner Trump opted to skip the debate, citing his lead in the polls. Trump has also refused to sign an RNC pledge to support the eventual Republican nominee.

Appeals Court Reinstates Alabama Ban on Gender-Affirming Care for Trans Youth

Aug 23, 2023

A federal appeals court ruled in favor of an Alabama law banning gender-affirming care for trans youth, including providing hormone treatments and puberty blockers. The Trump-appointed three-judge panel overturned an injunction by a lower court against the ban. All major medical groups have backed gender-affirming care, which is considered life-saving for many.

U.S. Judge Blocks Part of Georgia Ban on Gender-Affirming Care

Aug 23, 2023

A federal judge partially blocked a law banning transgender healthcare for minors in Georgia. The ruling says the ban on medical professionals providing patients with hormone therapy is likely unconstitutional.

Also in Georgia, the Cobb County School Board in Atlanta voted last week to fire a longtime teacher who read the book “My Shadow Is Purple,” which is about gender fluidity and inclusiveness, to her fifth-grade students. The ACLU says 230 anti-LGBTQIA education laws have been advanced across the country in the 2023 legislative session.

Atlanta Mayor Orders Probe into Death of Black Man Who Died After Being Tased by Police

Aug 23, 2023

In Atlanta, the family of a man who died earlier this month after police tased him is demanding accountability and for the video of his encounter with police to be released. Johnny Hollman, a 62-year-old Black grandfather and church deacon, was hit by another driver as he was headed home. When the police showed up, they ended up handcuffing and tasing Hollman, who later died at the hospital. Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens has ordered a full investigation into his death.

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