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HeadlinesAugust 03, 2023

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Trump to Be Arraigned on Charges over Jan. 6 and Efforts to Overturn 2020 Election

Aug 03, 2023

Authorities have erected metal barricades around the Federal Courthouse in Washington, D.C., ahead of former President Donald Trump’s arraignment today on charges he plotted to overturn his 2020 election defeat. Meanwhile, special counsel Jack Smith, who’s leading federal investigations into Trump, has requested a hearing with a federal judge in Miami to determine whether a lawyer representing Trump’s co-defendant in the classified documents case has a conflict of interest. Federal prosecutors are questioning whether the attorney Stanley Woodward Jr. can continue to represent Trump’s “body man” Walt Nauta while simultaneously representing three witnesses who might be called to testify against Nauta.

Federal Jury Unanimously Sentences Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooter to Death

Aug 03, 2023

In Pennsylvania, a federal jury has unanimously sentenced the gunman who killed 11 worshipers at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue to death. Robert Bowers was found guilty of federal hate crimes for the 2018 massacre. Many survivors and family members gathered to express their relief over the death sentence. Rabbi Jonathan Perlman, who helped hide worshipers during the gunman’s rampage, wrote in the Jewish American newspaper The Forward, “Vengeance has become a motivating factor for many Jews who hoped the jury would sentence the murderer to death. But despite the horrific nature of his crimes, I do not believe that doing so would bring either justice or peace.” We’ll have more on this story after headlines.

Memphis Police Say Gunman Attempted Mass Shooting at Jewish School

Aug 03, 2023

In Memphis, Tennessee, prosecutors have filed attempted murder charges against a man who fired shots outside the Margolin Hebrew Academy school Monday after he tried and failed to enter the building. The gunman left the premises, but police officers later found Joel Alejandro Bowman after identifying his car. They confronted him and shot him, sending him to a hospital in critical condition. Memphis Police Chief C.J. Davis says officers averted a potential mass shooting.

Iran Orders Two-Day National Holiday as Temperatures Soar to 123°F

Aug 03, 2023

Iran’s government ordered a two-day nationwide shutdown amid an unprecedented heat wave. Iran’s state news agency reports about 1,000 people have been hospitalized for heat-related ailments in recent days as temperatures in some cities soared above 50 degrees Celsius, or 123 degrees Fahrenheit.

Death Toll from China Floods Rises to 20 After Beijing Receives Heaviest Rains in 140+ Years

Aug 03, 2023

In northern China, the death toll from unrelenting rainfall has risen to 20, with more than 1 million residents of Beijing and other cities forced to evacuate flooding that left widespread damage. Beijing saw more than 29 inches of precipitation between Saturday and Wednesday morning — its heaviest rainfall in at least 140 years.

Scorching Temperatures Drive Deaths and Illnesses in Japan, South Korea

Aug 03, 2023

In Japan, the Tokyo Medical Examiner’s Office says 73 people died last month of heat-related illnesses, while in South Korea, the government reports at least 23 heat-related deaths since May. This week, hundreds of participants at the 25th World Scout Jamboree have fallen ill from heat exhaustion, with some 400 cases reported on Tuesday evening alone.

Unprecedented Winter Heat Wave Brings 100° Temperatures to Chile and Argentina

Aug 03, 2023

South America is experiencing one of the most extreme weather events on record, with temperatures in parts of Chile and Argentina topping 100 degrees Fahrenheit in the dead of winter. Raúl Cordero, a climatologist from the University of Santiago, says the unprecedented winter heat could threaten water supplies to major cities in the months ahead.

Raúl Cordero Carrasco: “One of the problems of high temperatures during winter is that they quickly melt seasonal snow. In countries like Chile, the provision of water during the dry season, spring and summer, relies on the natural storage that’s in the mountain snowpack. It’s a natural reservoir that provides water to communities and big cities in central Chile.”

A new report by Climate Central finds global heating made the month of July hotter for more than 80% of humanity — more than 6.5 billion people.

Nigerien Junta Leader Vows to Resist Any Attempts to Remove Coup Leaders as Foreign Exodus Continues

Aug 03, 2023

In Niger, the leader of the military junta that deposed President Mohamed Bazoum on July 26 says he will defy any attempts to restore the former president by force, as leaders of the ECOWAS bloc of West African countries threatened military action unless the coup is reversed by August 6. General Abdourahamane Tchiani made the comments in a nationally televised address on Wednesday.

Gen. Abdourahamane Tchiani: “The National Council for Safeguarding the Homeland rejects all sanctions and refuses to yield to any threat, wherever it may come from. We reject any interference in Niger’s internal affairs.”

Major cities across Niger have been experiencing rolling blackouts after Nigeria cut supplies of electricity as part of sanctions imposed on Niger. This week, French soldiers evacuated hundreds of French nationals and other Europeans from Niger. And on Wednesday, the U.S. State Department ordered the evacuation of nonemergency personnel and family members from its embassy in Niger’s capital, Niamey. The Biden administration told CNN it has no plans to withdraw some 1,100 U.S. troops in Niger.

Tunisian President Replaces Prime Minister Amid Ongoing Political and Economic Crises

Aug 03, 2023

In Tunisia, President Kais Saied has dismissed the prime minister, appointing former central bank executive Ahmed al-Hachani as a replacement. Al-Hachani faces a spiraling economic crisis and public anger over President Saied’s policies and what has been deemed an executive coup. Many Tunisian citizens expressed indifference at the sudden change in leadership.

Mouhamad Amine Elayer: “I no longer pay much attention to the change of ministers. Every four or five months, you hear about a new minister and an outgoing minister, and their appointments announced on a Facebook page.”

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Brazilian Police Accused of Retribution in Killings of Dozens in Raids Targeting Gangs

Aug 03, 2023

In Brazil, at least 45 people have been killed in police raids targeting gangs over the past week. In São Paulo state, police killed 16 people during a five-day raid, in what appears to be retaliation following the fatal shooting of an officer. Protesters took to the streets after the deadly raid in the coastal city of Guarujá.

Protester: “We want to tell our public servant, Governor Tarcísio de Freitas, that he is violating our Constitution. The fifth article, which is about the right to life, the inviolable right to housing, is being broken into. We want to tell our public servant that we do not accept paying for the bullet that kills our children.”

São Paulo’s right-wing Governor Tarcísio de Freitas is a close ally of former President Jair Bolsonaro and has been cast as a likely contender to run for the presidency after Bolsonaro was barred from holding office until 2030.

Body Found in Rio Grande Floating Barrier Amid New Reports of Migrant Abuse

Aug 03, 2023

Mexican authorities say they are working to identify a body found trapped in the floating barrier of buoys installed by Texas in the Rio Grande river. The U.S. Justice Department has sued Texas over Governor Greg Abbott’s floating barrier, while Mexico says it violates a water treaty and could encroach on its territory. This comes as the Houston Chronicle reports Texas troopers have been separating migrant families who enter the U.S., by detaining and separating fathers on trespassing charges, in an apparent violation of guidelines issued in 2021. Meanwhile, a new report by two advocacy groups reveals workers at the Department of Homeland Security regularly abuse migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border with impunity, citing “[the] misuse of lethal force, intimidation, sexual harassment, and falsifying documents.”

Fitch Downgrades U.S. Credit Rating in Wake of Partisan Debt Ceiling Fight

Aug 03, 2023

The Fitch Ratings credit-rating agency has downgraded the U.S. government’s long-term debt from AAA status to the lesser AA+ rating. The move could make it harder for the Treasury to attract investors in U.S. government bonds. On Wednesday, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen blasted the decision as “entirely unwarranted.”

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen: “At the end of the day, Fitch’s decision does not change what all of us already know, that Treasury’s securities remain the world’s preeminent safe and liquid asset and that the American economy is fundamentally strong.”

In downgrading the U.S. credit rating, Fitch analysts cited a “steady deterioration in standards of governance over the last 20 years.” This follows drawn-out negotiations between the White House and Republican leaders over the debt ceiling, which narrowly averted a default on the nation’s debt in June.

Pope Francis Meets with Survivors of Clergy Sexual Abuse in Portugal

Aug 03, 2023

Pope Francis met Wednesday with survivors of sexual abuse by clergy during a trip to Lisbon, Portugal. The visit comes in the wake of a report which found priests and other church officials in Portugal likely abused 5,000 children or more since 1950. Pope Francis also called out Portugal’s Catholic leaders for their inaction and dismissal of the survivors, and said the church needed “purification” from a string of child abuse scandals.

Pope Francis: “They call for a humble and constant purification, starting from the cry of pain of the victims, always to welcome and listen.”

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