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HeadlinesAugust 29, 2023

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Trump’s Federal Criminal Trial for Election Interference Set for March 2024

Aug 29, 2023

A federal judge in Washington, D.C., has set March 4, 2024, as the first day of former President Trump’s criminal trial for plotting to overturn the 2020 election. Trump’s lawyers had argued the trial should be delayed until April 2026; instead, it is set to begin one day before Super Tuesday presidential primaries. Meanwhile, Trump’s former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows testified before a federal judge in Georgia Monday as part of an effort to move his trial from state court to federal court. Meadows is one of Trump’s 18 co-defendants in the Georgia case. Arraignments for that case are scheduled for September 6. We’ll have more on the criminal legal cases against Trump and his allies after headlines.

UNC-Chapel Hill Campus Locks Down After Faculty Member Shot Dead

Aug 29, 2023

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill says a suspect has been arrested for fatally shooting a faculty member in a science building on Monday. UNC officials have yet to identify the staffer who was killed or a possible motive in the shooting, which prompted a campus-wide lockdown that lasted for nearly three hours, and prompted security alerts that disrupted classes at public schools on the first day of the school year.

Meanwhile, in California, investigators say the gunman who killed three and wounded six others at a Southern California biker bar last week was a retired police sergeant who had traveled from Ohio to confront his estranged wife. Former Ventura police officer John Snowling used three handguns and a shotgun during the massacre, all of which he purchased legally.

Tennessee Republicans Vote Once Again to Silence Rep. Justin Jones

Aug 29, 2023

Republican lawmakers in Tennessee have voted once again to silence state Representative Justin Jones, a Black Democrat from Nashville who was previously expelled from the House, then reelected to office, for leading protests against gun violence. On Monday, Jones was barred by Republicans from speaking for the remainder of the day, after he made critical comments about a bill to bring more police officers into Tennessee’s schools. After protesters in the House gallery erupted into chants of “fascists!” and “racists!” Republicans ordered state police to remove the public — including the parents of students who died from gun violence. This is state Representative Justin Jones speaking from outside Tennessee’s Capitol building just after he was silenced.

Rep. Justin Jones: “What we’re seeing is this misapplication, this abuse of rules under the leadership of Speaker Cameron Sexton. Members of the public were taken out the gallery. I was told I was going to be silent. Our caucus walked out in solidarity, because what’s happening is not democratic. It is authoritarianism. It’s very troubling, what we’re witnessing here. You can see that the Capitol is surrounded, you know, by troopers. And this does not look like a democratic body anymore.”

Before he was silenced, Representative Jones had been planning to force a vote of no confidence in the leadership of Cameron Sexton, the speaker of the Tennessee House of Representatives. Click here to see our interview with Representative Justin Jones on Friday. It was his 28th birthday.

Sudan’s Military Ruler Rules Out Peace Talks with Rival Paramilitaries

Aug 29, 2023

The leader of Sudan’s military junta has ruled out a quick end to months of fighting with the Rapid Support Forces, condemning the rival paramilitary group as “traitors” in a speech to soldiers. General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan made the remarks Monday after the head of the RSF said he was open to a long-term ceasefire and talks to end Sudan’s crisis. This comes as the United Nations warns of severe malnutrition among Sudan’s children. A U.N. spokesperson said the fighting has internally displaced more than 3.6 million people, while nearly 1 million have fled across Sudan’s borders.

Jens Laerke: “The longer this fighting continues, the more devastating its impact is going to be. Hundreds of thousands of children are already severely malnourished and at imminent risk of death, if left untreated. Millions more will have their education replaced by the devastating traumas of war, becoming a lost generation.”

French Ambassador to Niger Rejects Junta’s Ultimatum to Leave Within 48 Hours

Aug 29, 2023

France’s ambassador to Niger is defying an ultimatum from leaders of the military junta to leave his post within 48 hours. On Monday, French President Emmanuel Macron said from Paris that Niger’s former colonial ruler would continue to support the deposed president, Mohamed Bazoum, and would support efforts by the regional bloc ECOWAS to restore him by force, if necessary.

President Emmanuel Macron: “Our policy is simple: We do not recognize coup leaders. We support the president, who has not resigned, and we are committed to standing by his side. We support diplomatic efforts by ECOWAS, and military action when it will be approved, in the framework of partnership.”

Guatemalan Tribunal Certifies Bernardo Arévalo’s Victory, But Electoral Registry Suspends His Party

Aug 29, 2023

Guatemala’s Supreme Electoral Tribunal has certified Bernardo Arévalo’s victory in last week’s presidential election runoff. Earlier on Monday, a separate body ordered the suspension of Arévalo’s progressive Semilla party, throwing the results into disarray as the party vowed to appeal its suspension. Guatemala’s Attorney General’s Office is investigating allegations of irregularities in Semilla’s legal registration process — accusations Semilla and supporters say are part of an ongoing scheme by the Guatemalan corrupt business and political elite to discredit the democratic movement that propelled them into power. Arévalo received 60% of the vote, beating former first lady Sandra Torres, who’s backed by the right-wing elite. Arévalo has vowed to fight corruption and push for social reforms. His inauguration in Guatemala City, alongside Vice President-elect Karin Herrera, is scheduled for January 14.


Hurricane Idalia Strengthens and Takes Aim at Florida’s Gulf Coast

Aug 29, 2023

Hurricane Idalia skirted the western coast of Cuba early this morning as it closed in on Florida’s west coast, where it’s expected to rapidly intensify ahead of its landfall Wednesday as a Category 3 storm with potentially life-threatening storm surges. Most of Florida’s Gulf Coast remains under hurricane or tropical storm warnings, with evacuation orders issued for residents in low-lying areas of several counties, including the greater Tampa Bay region, which has avoided a direct hurricane impact for nearly a century. Idalia is expected to bring up to 12 feet of storm surge to Florida’s Big Bend region.

Four Migrants Die as Boat Capsizes Off Greek Island of Lesbos

Aug 29, 2023

Four asylum seekers have died after their boat capsized off the Greek island of Lesbos Monday. There were 18 survivors taken into custody by Greek authorities, including refugees believed to be from Yemen, Palestine and Somalia.

Biden Administration Knew Saudi Border Guards Were Killing Asylum Seekers

Aug 29, 2023

The Biden administration has known Saudi security forces were killing Ethiopian asylum seekers since at least last fall, but chose to keep quiet. That’s according to The New York Times, which reports United Nations officials in 2022 presented the U.S. with information about Saudi border guards shooting Ethiopian asylum seekers, including women and children. The gruesome abuse was exposed by a Human Rights Watch report earlier this month which documented how hundreds, and possibly thousands, of asylum seekers have been killed. The group said Saudi authorities fired machine guns and explosive weapons at asylum seekers who were fleeing human rights abuses in Ethiopia’s Tigray region and attempted to cross the Yemen-Saudi border. Guards also executed people at close range. The report cited firsthand accounts from 42 Ethiopian asylum seekers, over a hundred verified videos and photos, and an analysis of satellite imagery between 2021 and 2023. The Biden administration has not publicly criticized Saudi Arabia, a close ally, for the killings. Click here to see our coverage.

HRW: “More Palestinian Children Will Be Killed” Unless Israel Pressured to Change Course

Aug 29, 2023

A young Palestinian man has died of his wounds nearly two months after he was shot in the head during an Israeli army raid in the occupied West Bank. Twenty-year-old Ezzedin Kanan was from the town of Jaba outside the city of Jenin. He’s one of at least 172 Palestinians killed by Israeli forces since the start of the year. Human Rights Watch warns 2022 was the deadliest year for Palestinian children in the West Bank in 15 years, and this year is on track to meet or exceed last year’s levels. HRW added in a statement, “Unless Israel’s allies, particularly the United States, pressure Israel to change course, more Palestinian children will be killed.”

In Beijing, Commerce Chief Touts U.S. Trade Ties with China

Aug 29, 2023

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo is in China for a four-day visit aimed at reducing tensions over Taiwan. Speaking from Beijing after a meeting with her counterpart on Monday, Raimondo said the Biden administration wants to maintain a stable economic relationship with China and more than $700 billion of mutual trade between the U.S. and China.

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo: “The vast majority of our trade and investment relationship does not involve national security concerns. And in this regard, I am committed to promoting trade and investment in those areas that are in our mutual best interests.”

Denver to Pay $4.7 Million to Settle Police Brutality Claims of Black Lives Matter Activists

Aug 29, 2023

In Colorado, the city of Denver has reached a $4.7 million settlement with more than 300 Black Lives Matter activists who were brutally arrested by police in the summer of 2020. The settlement was unanimously approved by the Denver City Council, siding with protesters who said police violated their First Amendment rights. The class-action lawsuit accused Denver police of using violent tactics against hundreds of protesters to enforce a curfew enacted in response to the massive racial justice actions following the police murder of George Floyd in Minnesota. Protesters described Denver police firing tear gas, flashbang grenades, pepper balls, rubber bullets and other projectiles, without giving them any time to disperse.

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