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HeadlinesSeptember 20, 2023

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Ceasefire Announced in Nagorno-Karabakh After Azerbaijani Military Operation Kills 100

Sep 20, 2023

Authorities in Nagorno-Karabakh say they have accepted a Russian-proposed ceasefire, one day after Azerbaijan launched a military operation in the contested territory. Peace talks between Azerbaijan and Armenia are scheduled to start Thursday. Yesterday’s attack reportedly killed close to 100 people and injured hundreds. Tensions have been growing in Nagorno-Karabakh in recent months, as Azerbaijani forces sealed off its only road linking it to Armenia, leading to major food, fuel and medical shortages, as well as accusations of genocide. Nagorno-Karabakh is overwhelmingly populated by ethnic Armenians but is recognized as Azerbaijani territory as part of a Russia-brokered ceasefire following the 2020 war. Protesters gathered in Armenia’s capital Yerevan Tuesday.

Khachatur Kobelyan: “I hope that finally they can find any solution to this problem, solution that can satisfy both sides, and we can live peacefully. That’s my opinion. I know it’s difficult. It cannot be a decision which will satisfy both sides, but we should come to that; otherwise, it will continue, and hundreds, thousands innocent people will die.”

During the protest, police used stun grenades to disperse crowds trying to enter a government building.

Israelis Kill at Least 5 Palestinians in Last 2 Days as Gaza Blockade Tightens

Sep 20, 2023

Israeli forces killed 19-year-old Palestinian Durgham al-Akhras during a raid near Jericho in the occupied West Bank earlier today. His grieving father decried his killing.

Mohammed al-Akhras: “He is an unarmed citizen, a child. He has nothing to do with all this. … Durgham is an unarmed person. He is a civilian. Whoever walks the streets should be shot just because he is one of our people?”

One day earlier, on Tuesday, Israeli soldiers killed another four Palestinians, including three in the occupied West Bank, in a raid on the Jenin refugee camp, with 20 others injured. Separately, in the Gaza Strip, 25-year-old Yousef Salem Radwan was shot dead by Israeli soldiers.

On Sunday, Israel said it is keeping the Beit Hanoun crossing closed as it violently cracks down on Palestinian protests. Beit Hanoun is the only operational crossing for Gazans to enter Israel, including some 18,000 Palestinians who work in Israel.

Biden Meeting with Netanyahu in New York as U.S. Pushes for Saudi-Israeli Normalization

Sep 20, 2023

President Biden is meeting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in New York. The Biden administration has criticized the gutting of the judiciary by Netanyahu’s far-right coalition government and its plans to expand illegal settlements, though it has not pulled back its $3.8 billion in annual military funding to Israel. The U.S. is also pushing a deal to fully normalize relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia. The New York Times reports the Biden administration is in talks with Saudi Arabia over a mutual defense treaty that would resemble military pacts the U.S. has with Japan and South Korea. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is reportedly also seeking U.S. help to develop a civilian nuclear program. While campaigning for president, Biden vowed to make MBS a “pariah” over the assassination of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi and human rights issues.

Houthi and Saudi Negotiators Wrap Another Round of Talks on Possible End to Yemen War

Sep 20, 2023

Houthi negotiators and Saudi officials wrapped up five days of talks in Riyadh on a possible path to ending the war in Yemen. The Saudi-led, U.S.-backed conflict has killed hundreds of thousands of people since 2015, with 80% of Yemen’s population relying on humanitarian aid.

Volodymyr Zelensky Warns Russian War on Ukraine Threatens the World

Sep 20, 2023

Here in New York, world leaders addressed the U.N. General Assembly Tuesday. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned Russia’s invasion poses a threat to all nations.

President Volodymyr Zelensky: “And it is clear, Russia’s attempt to weaponize the food shortage on the global market in exchange for a recognition for some, if not all, of the captured territories. Russia is launching the food prices as weapons. The impact stems from the Atlantic coast of Africa to the Southeast Asia. And this is the threat scale.”

President Biden expressed ongoing support for Ukraine and condemned Russia’s “naked aggression.” In his speech, Biden also called for global climate action, global AI regulations, managing competition with China, and urged the U.N. to back a “security support mission” to Haiti, where gang violence has been surging.

Iranian President Calls on U.S. to Recommit to Nuclear Deal, Says “Americanization” of World Failed

Sep 20, 2023

One day after a high-profile Iran-U.S. prisoner swap, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi told the U.N. General Assembly the U.S. “project to 'Americanize' the world has failed” as he hailed a new world order. He also called on the U.S. to revive the Iran nuclear deal it exited under President Trump.

President Ebrahim Raisi: “America should demonstrate its goodwill and genuine willingness to fulfill its commitments and conclude the path.”

Outside the U.N. headquarters, protesters gathered to condemn Iran’s crackdown on dissent and protests. This week marked one year since the start of Iran’s nationwide uprising following the death of Mahsa Amini while in the custody of Iran’s morality police.

Latin American Nations Challenge Old World Order at UNGA and G77

Sep 20, 2023

Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel called for major reforms to international economic institutions and national debts that have overwhelmingly harmed countries in the Global South. Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva also addressed the U.N. forum.

President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva: “We will continue to criticize any attempt to divide the world into zones of influence and to reissue the Cold War. The U.N. Security Council is progressively losing its credibility. This fragility stems in particular from the actions of its permanent members, who wage unauthorized wars in pursuit of territorial expansion or government change.”

Lula’s comments echoed calls for a change to the international order at this weekend’s G77 summit as low- and middle-income countries met in Havana, Cuba. Among those addressing the G77 was Honduran President Xiomara Castro.

President Xiomara Castro: “We are not pieces in a board that promotes dependency. Our nations must not keep on suffering the massive privatization of their territories.”

Gov’t Shutdown Inches Closer as McCarthy Faces Hard-Right Revolt, Fails to Advance 2 Spending Bills

Sep 20, 2023

In Washington, D.C., House Republicans remain mired in turmoil as infighting and threats by the far right push the government closer to an October 1 shutdown. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy delayed a key procedural vote Tuesday on a 30-day stopgap spending bill after opposition from members of the Freedom Caucus. Hours later, the hard-line Freedom Caucus also blocked debate on a Pentagon spending bill in another blow to McCarthy. Meanwhile, House Democrats and some less extreme Republicans could work together to garner enough support for a spending bill that would bypass McCarthy and the far right’s demand for massive spending cuts.

Pennsylvania Automates Voter Registration; Lindsay Powell Wins Election, Keeping PA House Blue

Sep 20, 2023

Pennsylvania Democratic Governor Josh Shapiro announced Tuesday his state will now automatically register eligible voters when they obtain or renew driver’s licenses or ID cards.

Gov. Josh Shapiro: “We’ll save taxpayers time and money, reduce the number of costly paper registrations and streamline voter registration for Pennsylvanians. Look, this is common sense. You already provide proof of identity, residency, age and citizenship at the DMV — all the information you need to register to vote.”

Pennsylvania joins 23 mostly Democratic states and Washington, D.C., in having some form of automatic voter registration.

Meanwhile, Democrat Lindsay Powell easily won a special election Tuesday in Pittsburgh, restoring the Democrats’ one-seat majority in the Pennsylvania House. She is the first Black woman to represent the predominantly white 21st District in Allegheny County.

Conservative Group Sues West Point over Affirmative Action Policy

Sep 20, 2023

West Point is being sued over the military academy’s race-based admissions policies. The lawsuit is spearheaded by the same anti-affirmative action group that sued Harvard and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The conservative Students for Fair Admissions won that landmark case before the U.S. Supreme Court in June, gutting race-conscious admissions policies at colleges and universities nationwide, but the ruling excluded military academies.

Climate Activists Take Aim at Bank of America over Its Funding of Fossil Fuel Projects

Sep 20, 2023

At least 20 Indigenous leaders and climate activists were arrested Tuesday as actions demanding an end to fossil fuels continue during New York’s Climate Week. Dozens of protesters swarmed the Bank of America Tower in Manhattan yesterday, blocking entrances as they chanted, “We need clean air, not another billionaire.” The bank is one of the largest funders of oil, gas and coal across the globe, as well as a leading financial backer of the contested Mountain Valley Pipeline. This is environmental activist John Beard of the Port Arthur Community Action Network in Texas.

John Beard: “We refuse to be sacrificed any further on the altar of Big Oil, Big Gas and Big Finance and BOA. We refuse to allow them to put profits over people and determine the lives and future of people in the Gulf South without them sharing any benefit from it and destroying the very planet upon which we all depend.”

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