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HeadlinesAugust 28, 2023

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White Supremacist Shooter Kills 3 Black People in Jacksonville; DOJ Investigating as Hate Crime

Aug 28, 2023

In Jacksonville, Florida, a gunman shot and killed three Black people Saturday in a racist attack which the U.S. Justice Department is investigating as a hate crime. The three victims, who were killed in front of and inside a Dollar General store, were identified as 52-year-old Angela Michelle Carr, 19-year-old Anolt Joseph “AJ” Laguerre Jr. and 29-year-old Jerrald De’Shaun Gallion. The shooter was identified as Ryan Palmeter, a 21-year-old white man, who died by suicide after his rampage. This is Jacksonville Sheriff T.K. Waters.

Sheriff T.K. Waters: “The shooter had authored several manifestos: one to his parents, one to the media and one to federal agents. Portions of these manifestos detailed the shooter’s disgusting ideology of hate. Plainly put, this shooting was racially motivated, and he hated Black people.”

The gunman had no criminal history and legally purchased the two weapons he used earlier this year: a Glock handgun and an AR-15-style rifle. The guns had swastikas drawn on them. Before the attack, the shooter was seen at Edward Waters University, a historically Black college. He drove away after a security guard saw him.

On Sunday, Governor Ron DeSantis spoke at a vigil, where he was booed by the crowds. One attendee shouted out, “Your policies caused this!” DeSantis and Florida Republicans have imposed racist laws including rolling back diversity and inclusion policies and attacking African American studies. DeSantis also opposes gun law reform.

Rallygoers, Rights Leaders Gather in D.C. on 60th Anniversary of March on Washington

Aug 28, 2023

As the massacre in Jacksonville was unfolding, in Washington, D.C., tens of thousands of people gathered for the 60th anniversary of the March on Washington, where Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech. Gregory Jackson of the Community Justice Action Fund addressed gun violence in his speech.

Gregory Jackson: “Every year over 138,000 people are killed from this crisis. This is the number one cause of death for all youth in America, the number one cause of death for all Black men in America, the number two cause of death for all Black women and all Latino men in America. But yet we have not seen the action to deal with the biggest health crisis of our time. In the past 30 years, we have only seen one law passed to address gun violence — one law — and yet our bodies are laying on the pavement every day. Every eight minutes another life is lost.”

Mnangagwa Declares Victory in Zimbabwe Presidential Election as Challenger Chamisa Calls Fraud

Aug 28, 2023

In Zimbabwe, President Emmerson Mnangagwa was declared the winner of last week’s election, securing another five-year term after a delay in polls and accusations of a rigged election. European election observers said the vote “fell short” of established standards, noting that “acts of violence and intimidation resulted ultimately in a climate of fear.” Zimbabwean opposition leader Nelson Chamisa called the election a “gigantic fraud” and asked neighboring countries to intervene.

Nelson Chamisa: “It is clear that we are rejecting the election as a sham. The result, the process itself, we disregard it, and it’s in line with what the SADC observers have said. We reject this sham result and flawed process based on the disputed figures.”

Gabon Shuts Down Internet, Imposes Curfew Following Voting Delays in Nationwide Elections

Aug 28, 2023

The western African nation of Gabon shut down internet access and imposed a curfew following its national elections Saturday amid voting delays and as opposition leader Albert Ondo Ossa denounced “fraud” in his challenge against incumbent President Ali Bongo Ondimba. Bongo has already served two seven-year terms, and his family has been in power for over half a century. Critics accuse Bongo of not using Gabon’s oil wealth to improve the lives of one-third of the population living in poverty.


Niger’s Coup Leaders Order Troops to Be on Maximum Alert, Expel French Ambassador

Aug 28, 2023

In Niger, military coup leaders ordered armed forces on maximum alert as they warned of a heightened threat of attacks by ECOWAS troops. The West African bloc has readied their forces to intervene if a diplomatic resolution to the coup is not reached. Meanwhile, Niger’s junta ordered the French ambassador to leave the country. Demonstrators rallied Friday to show support for the military rulers, one month after the July 26 coup.

Moussa Stable: “We’re not in the 18th century, where someone has to impose or dictate to us what we should do. No, this is about our independence. And I believe that if the CNSP takes a decision, it must be respected. France must realize that this is no longer the colonial era. Today we’re in the 21st century, and France must learn to respect our ideals if it wants things to move forward together.”

7 People Shot Dead at Church Rally in Haiti as Gang Violence Spirals

Aug 28, 2023

In Haiti, at least seven people were killed after gang members armed with machine guns opened fire on protesters in Canaan Sunday. The rally against gang violence had been organized by a local church. Canaan is a makeshift town near the capital Port-au-Prince built by people who lost their homes in Haiti’s devastating 2010 earthquake. Survivors of Sunday’s attack also placed blame on the pastor who organized the rally and then continued the march even as the shooting broke out.

François Vicner: “They opened fire on us with all sorts of guns. The pastor’s followers really believed what he told them. He said they were bulletproof, that those who were wounded had no faith. I was there. I saw everything with my own eyes. They were firing, and the pastor was walking.”

Hundreds of thousands of Haitians have been internally displaced or forced to migrate due to the worsening violence. The U.N. reported some 8,700 residents have been forced to take shelter in a crowded sports center in Port-au-Prince.

Russian Officials Say DNA Analysis Confirms Yevgeny Prigozhin Died in Plane Crash

Aug 28, 2023

Russian authorities say genetic analysis has confirmed Wagner Group chief Yevgeny Prigozhin died in last Wednesday’s plane crash along with some of Wagner’s top officials. The Kremlin has denied responsibility for the crash, which happened just two months after Prigozhin led a mutiny against Russia’s military and President Vladimir Putin vowed to punish the act.

Ex-Guatemalan Colonel Sentenced to 20 Years for 1982 Indigenous Massacre

Aug 28, 2023

In Guatemala, a former military colonel has been convicted of crimes against humanity for his involvement in the killing of over two dozen Indigenous people in 1982. Juan Ovalle Salazar was sentenced to 20 years in prison. The massacre of 25 Maya Achi people, most of them children, took place during some of the bloodiest years of Guatemala’s U.S.-funded war and came under the ruling of U.S.-backed military dictator Efraín Ríos Montt. Eight former members of the Guatemalan armed forces were acquitted. Rights activists continue to demand justice.

Miguel Itzep: “We want those responsible for the massacre of our brothers in Rancho Bejuco in Baja Verapaz to be sentenced by the judges. As we have always said, as long as there is no justice in Guatemala, peace cannot be built.”

Ríos Montt was convicted of genocide in a historic 2013 trial. That ruling was later overturned by a higher court.

Judge Agrees to Release Imprisoned Ex-Guatemalan Pres. Otto Pérez Molina to House Arrest

Aug 28, 2023

A judge in Guatemala City has granted former President Otto Pérez Molina’s request to be released from prison and be placed on house arrest. The former leader first has to pay several fines totaling about $1.3 million. Pérez Molina was forced to resign following historic nationwide protests in 2015. He was accused of corruption and of running a multimillion-dollar bribes scheme. He was sentenced to 16 years in prison in 2022. Pérez Molina served as a regional commander under Efraín Ríos Montt using a different name.


Texas, Missouri Bans on Trans Healthcare for Young People Take Effect

Aug 28, 2023

A Texas ban on gender-affirming care for youth is set to go into effect this week, on Friday, despite an injunction issued last week against the ban. The Travis County judge said in her Friday ruling the law would cause patients and providers to “suffer probable, imminent, and irreparable injury.” But Texas’s attorney general immediately appealed, staying the decision.

Meanwhile, a judge in Missouri allowed a ban on gender-affirming care for minors and some adults to take effect, starting today. The law is currently being challenged by rights groups on behalf of doctors, organizations serving the trans community, and affected families.

Hearings on Trump’s 2 Election Interference Trials Have Major Implications for His Fate, 2024 Race

Aug 28, 2023

In Georgia, a federal judge in Atlanta is hearing arguments today from the legal team of Donald Trump’s former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows as he attempts to move his charges to federal court, where Meadows could claim immunity due to his position in government at the time of the offenses. The outcome could have major implications for Trump and other co-defendants in Fulton County’s racketeering indictment over Trump and his allies’ attempts to overturn his 2020 election loss. All 19 defendants have now surrendered. Fulton County DA Fani Willis is expected to set up her case against the co-conspirators during arguments today.

Separately, a trial date is expected to be announced today in Trump’s federal election interference case. Trump’s lawyers are attempting to postpone it until after the 2024 election, while federal prosecutors have proposed a January start date.

EU Legislation on Big Tech Takes Effect in Hopes of Regulating Harmful and Illegal Online Practices

Aug 28, 2023

The European Union’s sweeping new rules on large tech companies kicked in Friday as lawmakers seek to rein in harmful and illegal content and digital monopolies. The new legislation regulates social media, targeted advertising, user privacy policies, and fake or illicit products from e-commerce sites. Among the affected companies are Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta, Microsoft, Snapchat and TikTok. Violations could lead to billions of dollars in fines.

Trump Returns to X with His Mugshot; Paying X Users May Have to Send Personal Data to Israeli Firm

Aug 28, 2023

Here in the U.S., Donald Trump made his return to X, formerly known as Twitter, Thursday with a fundraising post featuring his mugshot. Trump had been banned from Twitter following the January 6 insurrection, but that ban was lifted after Elon Musk purchased the company.

Earlier this month, rights groups and users of X sounded the alarm after reports that paying subscribers to the platform will have to send their ID and a selfie for verification to an Israeli software company. The firm, AU10TIX, was founded by former Israeli intelligence officers and has been implicated in Israel’s surveillance of Palestinians.

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