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HeadlinesAugust 08, 2023

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ECOWAS to Hold Emergency Summit Thursday on Niger Coup as U.S. Freezes Funds to Niger

Aug 08, 2023

West African leaders are planning to hold an emergency summit Thursday to discuss Niger following the recent military coup. ECOWAS, the Economic Community of West African States, had threatened to use military force if Niger’s military leaders did not step down by Sunday, but there has been deep division within ECOWAS over how to respond after the deadline was ignored. The Senate in Nigeria has come out against the use of force, even though Nigeria is the largest and most powerful nation in ECOWAS.

On Monday, the United States announced it was freezing about $100 million in aid to Niger, where the U.S. maintains a major drone base. Meanwhile, Acting Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland traveled to Niger, where she met with some leaders of the coup who rejected her calls to step down. Nuland was denied a chance to meet with Niger’s ousted president, Mohamed Bazoum.

Mali and Burkina Faso Warn Against Foreign Military Intervention in Niger

Aug 08, 2023

Meanwhile, Mali and Burkina Faso have sent delegations to Niger to reaffirm support for Niger’s new rulers. All three nations are former French colonies, where anti-colonial sentiment has soared in recent years. This is a spokesperson from the government in Mali.

Abdoulaye Maïga: “I would like to remind you that Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger have been dealing for over 10 years with the negative socioeconomic, security, political and humanitarian consequences of NATO’s hazardous adventure in Libya. Of course, we ask ourselves: If it took us 10 years, how many years would it take us to get over another adventure of the same nature in Niger? We don’t know. Twenty years? Thirty years? Forty years? Fifty years? One thing is certain: President Goïta and President Traoré have clearly said, 'No, no and no. We will not accept military intervention in Niger. They are coming for our survival.'”

Ukraine: Russian Missile Strikes in Pokrovsk Targeted Rescue Workers

Aug 08, 2023

In Ukraine, at least seven people have died in the eastern city of Pokrovsk in a pair of Russian missile strikes on an apartment block and a hotel regularly used by journalists covering the war. The first strike hit at 7:15 p.m. on Monday. A second strike came 40 minutes later, hitting first responders who had raced to the scene of the initial strike. According to Ukrainian officials, 31 people were wounded, including 19 police officers and five rescuers.

In other news from Ukraine, authorities have detained a woman accused of plotting to assassinate Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The woman has not been identified.

Ohio Election Day: Anti-Abortion GOP Megadonor Funds Effort to Make It Harder to Amend State Constitution

Aug 08, 2023

Voters in Ohio are heading to the polls today for a special election to decide whether to make it harder to amend the state’s constitution by raising the threshold from a simple majority to 60% of the vote. Republicans in Ohio introduced the ballot measure just months before voters will decide in November whether to enshrine abortion rights in the state’s constitution. The Republican megadonor Richard Uihlein of Illinois, a key backer of anti-abortion groups, has bankrolled the Republican effort by giving $4 million to the group Protect Our Constitution.

George Floyd Murder: Ex-Cop Tou Thao Sentenced to Nearly 5 Years in Prison

Aug 08, 2023

Former Minneapolis police officer Tou Thao has been sentenced to nearly five years in prison on state charges for his role in the police killing of George Floyd in May 2020. Thao held the crowd back while officer Derek Chauvin pinned George Floyd to the ground with a knee on his neck for over nine minutes. Thao is already serving a 42-month federal prison sentence for violating Floyd’s federal civil rights.

Judge Dismisses Trump Defamation Countersuit Against E. Jean Carroll

Aug 08, 2023

Donald Trump has suffered another legal setback. A federal judge has dismissed a defamation countersuit filed by the former president against E. Jean Caroll. In May, a jury ordered Trump to pay Carroll $5 million after it found him liable for sexually abusing her at a department store in the 1990s.

Over 1 Million Lose Power in Deadly U.S. Storm; Death Toll Rises from Record Heat Waves

Aug 08, 2023

More than 1 million homes and businesses lost power on Monday as a deadly storm lashed the eastern U.S. from Alabama to New York. At least two people died.
Meanwhile, CNN is reporting recent heat waves in the Southwest killed at least 147 people in five counties in Arizona, Nevada and Texas. Experts believe the actual death toll is far higher. In Baytown, Texas, one couple who had been married for 52 years died after their air conditioning broke and they couldn’t afford to fix it.

Mass Flooding Kills Six in Slovenia in Nation’s “Worst Natural Disaster”

Aug 08, 2023

Extreme weather fueled by the climate crisis continues to devastate communities across the globe. In Slovenia, floods have killed at least six people in what the country’s prime minister has described as Slovenia’s “worst natural disaster.”
In South Korea, authorities are racing to evacuate nearly 40,000 young people attending the World Scout Jamboree due to an approaching typhoon and extreme heat.

South American Leaders Gather in Brazil to Discuss Preserving Amazon Rainforest

Aug 08, 2023

The leaders of eight South American nations and thousands of Indigenous activists are gathering in the Brazilian city of Belém for a major summit on protecting the Amazon rainforest. Brazil’s Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Marina Silva spoke ahead of the gathering on Monday.

Marina Silva: “As we had this 14-year hiatus without a call from the summit, we arrived at it with clarity. The first point is that the Amazon is drastically threatened. The second is that we cannot allow it to enter the point of no return. The third is that it is impossible to reverse this process by working in isolation.”

Many Indigenous leaders plan to attend the summit on the Amazon. This is Chief Raoni of the Kayapo people.

Chief Raoni Metuktire: “If we continue to deforest, we will continue to have problems, not only for Indigenous people but also for all people. We must preserve it so our grandchildren and children can live well, sleep well, eat well and be happy like us. … We, the Indigenous peoples, are feeling the climate change. Many rivers are drying up. We are feeling very hot, and the village temperature is very high. The forests are dry. The rivers are drying up because there is a lot of heat and little rain. And this is perceived in the villages and the Indigenous communities.”

India: 300 Muslim Homes & Businesses Demolished in Possible “Exercise of Ethnic Cleansing”

Aug 08, 2023

In northern India, more than 300 Muslim homes and businesses have been demolished since Thursday as part of a crackdown led by the ruling Hindu BJP government. On Monday, a court ordered a halt to the demolitions while asking if it was part of an “exercise of ethnic cleansing” by the state. Al Jazeera reports more than 150 Muslims have also been arrested in what some have described as a campaign of collective punishment following an outbreak of clashes between Hindu and Muslim groups.

Britain Begins Housing Asylum Seekers on a Barge Described as a “Potential Deathtrap”

Aug 08, 2023

Britain has begun housing asylum seekers on a large barge off its southern coast in an effort to save money over housing migrants in hotels. This comes despite numerous protests and warnings. Last week, the firefighters’ union said the barge was a “potential deathtrap” due to a lack of fire exits. There are also reports that the barge has no life jackets.

New York City to House as Many as 2,000 Migrants in Tent Complex on Island

Aug 08, 2023

Here in New York City, Mayor Eric Adams has announced a plan to house as many as 2,000 migrants at a tent complex on Randalls Island in the East River. We will have more on this story later in the show.

Biden to Preserve a Million Acres of Land Near Grand Canyon as New National Monument

Aug 08, 2023

President Biden is visiting Arizona today, where he is set to formally preserve a million acres of land near the Grand Canyon as a new national monument. Environmentalists and Native communities have long pushed for the land to be protected. The move is intended to permanently block uranium mining in the area.

Chicago Police Arrest Man Who Fatally Shot 9-Year-Old Girl Riding Scooter for Making Too Much Noise

Aug 08, 2023

In Chicago, police have charged a 43-year-old man with first-degree murder after intentionally shooting a 9-year-old girl in the head while she was riding her scooter. Eyewitnesses said the shooter was upset that the girl, Serabi Medina, and other kids were making too much noise in front of his home. The gunman, who’s been identified as Michael Goodman, is expected in court today. This marks the second time gun violence has shattered the Medina family. In 2018, Serabi Medina’s mother was fatally shot in the head.

Alabama Brawl: Police Issue Arrest Warrants After White Boaters Attacked Black Dockworker

Aug 08, 2023

Police in Montgomery, Alabama, have issued four arrest warrants after a group of white boaters attacked a Black dockworker who told them to move their illegally parked boat. Cellphone video showed the brawl escalated when a group of men came to defend the dockworker. A 16-year-old, who was dubbed Black Aquaman on TikTok, where the video first went viral, was seen swimming across the river to aid the dockworker.

11,000 City Workers in Los Angeles Begin One-Day Strike

Aug 08, 2023

In labor news, over 11,000 city workers in Los Angeles have begun a one-day strike — their first since 1980. The striking workers, including gardeners, custodians and lifeguards, are represented by SEIU Local 721. Los Angeles has seen a wave of labor organizing this summer. Hollywood writers have been on strike since May, and actors have been on strike since July 14.

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