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HeadlinesSeptember 19, 2023

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Justin Trudeau Accuses Indian Government of Involvement in Killing of Sikh Leader in Canada

Sep 19, 2023

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has publicly accused the Indian government of assassinating Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a prominent Sikh leader and a Canadian citizen. In June, Nijjar was shot dead outside a Sikh temple in the city of Surrey, British Columbia, by two masked gunmen who escaped in a waiting car. His murder sparked widespread fear across Canada’s large Sikh community. Three years before his killing, India’s government designated Nijjar a terrorist. On Monday, Trudeau blamed India’s government for orchestrating his assassination.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: “Any involvement of a foreign government in the killing of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil is an unacceptable violation of our sovereignty. It is contrary to the fundamental rules by which free, open and democratic societies conduct themselves.”

Trudeau reportedly raised the killing with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. On Monday, Canadian Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly said she had expelled India’s top intelligence official in Canada. In response, India expelled a senior Canadian diplomat. India has rejected Trudeau’s charges, calling them “absurd” and politically motivated.

Antarctic Sea Ice Extent Reaches “Mind-Blowing” Record-Low Winter Level

Sep 19, 2023

Climate scientists are sounding the alarm over record-low levels of sea ice off the coast of Antarctica ahead of the start of spring in the Southern Hemisphere. Sea ice helps to prevent the rapid flow of ice from Antarctica’s glaciers into the ocean, which can drive global sea level rise. Satellite data show 930,000 fewer square miles of sea ice extent surrounding Antarctica compared to the September average — far below any previous winter level. Walter Meier, a researcher at the National Snow and Ice Data Center, told the BBC, “It’s so far outside anything we’ve seen, it’s almost mind-blowing.”

Scores Arrested as Civil Disobedience Protesters Demand Wall Street End Support for Fossil Fuels

Sep 19, 2023

Here in New York, police arrested at least 149 climate protesters Monday after they flooded Manhattan’s Financial District for a day of peaceful protests. Activists are demanding banks stop funding coal, oil and gas projects. More protests are planned for today. 

In Massachusetts, nine members of the environmental movement Extinction Rebellion were arrested Monday as they peacefully occupied the office of Governor Maura Healey to demand an immediate phaseout of fossil fuels.

Protester: “It’s going to be hard. We know that. But how much harder is it going to be the longer we wait? We’ve already waited too long. The people who are in power now are the ones who need to take action now. Stop passing the buck. Stop pushing it down the line. We only have a few years left before it’s too late.”

We’ll have more on this week’s historic climate protests later in the broadcast.

MN Judge Rejects Charges for Pipeline Protesters: “To Criminalize Their Behavior Would Be the Crime”

Sep 19, 2023

A Minnesota judge has dismissed criminal charges against three Indigenous water protectors who were arrested while protesting at the construction site of Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline in 2021. The three women — Winona LaDuke, Tania Aubid and Dawn Goodwin — were arrested on the banks of the Mississippi River on ceded Anishinaabe land as they sang, danced and prayed near construction crews. In a landmark opinion delivered Monday, Aitkin County Judge Leslie Metzen wrote the women were exercising their rights to free speech and to freely express their spiritual beliefs. She dismissed the charges against them “in the interests of justice,” concluding, “To criminalize their behavior would be the crime.”

Five U.S. Citizens Return Home After Prisoner Swap with Iran

Sep 19, 2023

Five U.S. citizens released from prison in Iran Monday have arrived back in the United States following a rare prisoner swap agreement between the United States and Tehran. They were freed after the U.S. unfroze $6 billion of Iran’s oil revenue and released five Iranians held in the United States. Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke to the five Americans after their release.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken: “I can tell you that it was, for them, for me, an emotional conversation. It’s easy, in the work that we do every day, sometimes to get lost in the abstractions of foreign policy and relations with other countries, and forgetting the human element that’s at the heart of everything we do.”

We’ll have more on Iran after headlines.

U.N. General Assembly Opens with Calls for Action on War, Climate, Poverty and Hunger

Sep 19, 2023

Here in New York, the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly got underway Monday with an urgent call to action on the environment. Secretary-General António Guterres said nations need to work urgently to end the triple planetary crisis of climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss. He also called for a “global rescue plan” to meet the U.N.’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals, including the elimination of extreme poverty and malnutrition.

Secretary-General António Guterres: “In our world of plenty, hunger is a shocking stain on humanity and an epic human rights violation. It is an indictment of every one of us that millions of people are starving in this day and age.”

Heads of state from at least 145 countries are attending the General Assembly this week; conspicuously absent are the leaders of four of the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council: China, Russia, France and the United Kingdom.

President Biden is devoting a substantial portion of his speech today to advocate for increased support for Ukraine. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is attending the General Assembly for the first time since Russia’s invasion in early 2022. He will then head to Washington, D.C., where he will meet with President Biden, but will not again give an address to a joint session of Congress.

NYTimes: Errant Ukrainian Missile Likely Caused Deadly Marketplace Blast 

Sep 19, 2023

The New York Times reports a deadly September 6 strike on a crowded marketplace in eastern Ukraine was the result of an errant Ukrainian air defense missile — and not a Russian attack, as was widely first reported. The Times cited evidence, including missile fragments, satellite imagery, witness accounts and social media posts, that strongly suggests the catastrophic strike was the result of a Ukrainian radar-guided surface-to-air missile that went astray. At least 15 civilians died; 30 more were injured.

Meanwhile, China’s foreign minister has begun a four-day trip to Russia. The visit by top diplomat Wang Yi to Moscow comes after he met with White House officials in Malta over the weekend. On Monday, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with China’s vice president on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly ahead of a possible high-level U.S.-China summit later this fall.

Mexican Journalist Emilio Gutiérrez Soto Granted Asylum in U.S. After 15-Year Appeal

Sep 19, 2023

Mexican journalist Emilio Gutiérrez Soto has been granted asylum in the United States after 15 years of fighting for protection. Gutiérrez and his son fled Mexico in 2008 after receiving death threats over Gutiérrez’s reporting on corruption within the Mexican military in the northern state of Chihuahua.

They were detained for seven months, eventually released to live in the United States while an asylum appeal was pending. Democracy Now! spoke with Gutiérrez by phone in 2017 as he was jailed at a U.S. detention center in El Paso, Texas, awaiting possible deportation.

Emilio Gutiérrez Soto: “Well, if we are deported, that obviously implies death. Why? Because ICE, under the Department of Homeland Security of the United States, by law, must give a report to the immigration authorities of Mexico and the consulate. And the immigration officials in Mexico have no credibility. It’s impossible to trust in them. To the contrary, many of those officials, many personnel at the consulate or immigration service, are caught up with organized crime.”

UAW President Challenges Biden to Support Auto Workers as Strike Enters Fifth Day

Sep 19, 2023

In labor news, striking auto workers have expressed skepticism over President Biden’s comments siding with the union. United Auto Workers President Shawn Fain has said he will not automatically endorse Biden’s 2024 reelection run, as the union “expects actions, not words.” Several Democratic members of Congress have joined the picket line in recent days, including House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, who made a trip to Detroit Sunday to express solidarity. Meanwhile, Donald Trump said he plans to skip the second Republican presidential primary debate in California next week to speak in Detroit. Trump has accused UAW leadership of failing its members and appealed for the support of auto workers. Fain has also been critical of Trump. This all comes as the strike of some 12,700 auto workers has entered a fifth day. This is UAW member Stu Jackson speaking from a picket line in Wayne, Michigan.

Stu Jackson: “We don’t want to wait four years to get it. We need it now. We need it now, you know, and that’s the way they’ve been doing us, you know, all these bonus checks. We don’t need bonus checks. We need cost of living allowance, you know? We need to keep up with what’s going on in the economy.”

Australian MPs Urge U.S. to Halt Prosecution of Julian Assange

Sep 19, 2023

More than 60 members of Australia’s Parliament from across the political spectrum have written an open letter urging the Biden administration to halt its efforts to prosecute Julian Assange. The WikiLeaks founder, who’s an Australian citizen, faces espionage and hacking charges that could see him sentenced to up to 175 years in prison for publishing classified U.S. military and diplomatic cables, including evidence of war crimes. Assange has been held in London’s infamous Belmarsh Prison since 2019 awaiting possible extradition to the U.S.

In their open letter, the Australian lawmakers call on the U.S. to abandon its prosecution of Assange, writing, “It serves no purpose, it is unjust, and we say clearly — as friends should always be honest with friends — that the prolonged pursuit of Mr. Assange wears away at the substantial foundation of regard and respect that Australians have for the justice system of the United States of America.” The letter appears as an ad in The Washington Post.

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