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HeadlinesSeptember 22, 2023

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As Government Shutdown Looms, McCarthy Says GOP Hard-Liners Want to “Burn the Whole Place Down”

Sep 22, 2023

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has dismissed lawmakers for an extended weekend, after a handful of Republican hard-liners rebelled and blocked an $886 billion Pentagon spending bill. McCarthy blamed members of his caucus for wanting to “burn the whole place down.” Their defection makes it increasingly likely the federal government will shut down on October 1 when funding for federal agencies expires. On Thursday, Democratic Congressmember Ilhan Omar blasted Republicans for demanding massive cuts to social programs.

Rep. Ilhan Omar: “Now they launch some of the most radical cuts to healthcare, to housing assistance, to food assistance, to the postal office and nearly every program under the sun — all while doing nothing to rein in our nearly trillion-dollar Pentagon budget or the trillions they have handed out to millionaires and billionaires through the Trump tax cuts.”

Meanwhile, the Pentagon says it will exempt its Ukraine operations from any government shutdown to allow it to continue training Ukrainian soldiers and shipping arms to Kyiv. We’ll have more on the congressional budget fight later in the broadcast with California Congressmember Ro Khanna.

Ukraine’s Zelensky Visits Washington, D.C., Seeking Additional Aid to Counter Russia

Sep 22, 2023

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has arrived in Canada after wrapping up a visit to Washington, D.C., where he met Thursday with U.S. lawmakers, military leaders and President Joe Biden. During a speech at the National Archives, Zelensky thanked the United States for the $113 billion in aid to Ukraine approved by Congress, saying the money is helping to prevent a wider war in Europe.

President Volodymyr Zelensky: “If we fall, half of Europe would again be in danger of being in Moscow’s sphere of influence. But American investment in Ukrainian security and global protection of freedom is working 100%, every cent.”

Meanwhile, Poland’s prime minister says he will no longer send arms to Ukraine and will instead focus on arming Poland with modern weaponry. The move comes amid a trade dispute that’s seen Poland ban imports of Ukrainian grain and other food products.

Brazil’s Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Indigenous Communities’ Land Claims

Sep 22, 2023

In a historic victory for Indigenous communities, Brazil’s Supreme Court has blocked efforts led by agribusiness-backed lawmakers to enforce a time limit for making claims to ancestral territory. The case argued Indigenous groups were only entitled to land that they physically occupied when the 1988 Brazilian Constitution was signed. Many Indigenous communities were expelled from their ancestral territory over the course of decades, including during the military dictatorship. Nine of the 11 justices sided with Indigenous peoples, who gathered outside the Supreme Court in Brasília Thursday in an emotional celebration following news of the ruling. Many wept with joy; others danced.

Xainã Pitaguary: “We’re getting emotional. We’re happy and we cry because we know that it’s only with demarcated territory, with protected Indigenous territory, that we’ll be able to stop climate change from happening and preserve our biome. We are responsible for it.”

Guatemalan President-elect Rallies Supporters as Prosecutors Seek to Ban His Party

Sep 22, 2023

In Guatemala, demonstrations have continued nationwide in support of progressive President-elect Bernardo Arévalo and his Semilla political party as prosecutors seek to derail the results of August’s runoff election and prevent Arévalo from taking office in January. Protesters are demanding the resignation of corrupt prosecutors, backed by Guatemala’s right-wing business and political elite, who’ve launched several investigations against Arévalo and Semilla over alleged election fraud and irregularities in the party’s registration. International observers have said there is no evidence backing these claims. Arévalo rallied supporters outside the Supreme Court in Guatemala City earlier this week.

President-elect Bernardo Arévalo: “Citizenship is exercised not only every four years when the vote is cast, but also when the institutions ask us to mobilize to defend democracy. And today we are here in an act of defense of democracy.”

On Tuesday, thousands of Indigenous leaders took to the streets of Guatemala, blocking major highways. In New York, Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva warned in his U.N. General Assembly address about the prospect of a coup unfolding in Guatemala.

President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva: “In Guatemala, there is a risk of a coup, which would impede the inauguration of the winner of democratic elections.”

U.S. to Grant Temporary Protected Status to 472,000 Venezuelans in U.S.

Sep 22, 2023

In immigration news, the Biden administration announced Wednesday it’s granting work permits and temporary protection from deportation to nearly half a million Venezuelans. Migrants from Venezuela who were already in the U.S. as of July 31 can apply for temporary protected status. The relief will last for 18 months and comes after a massive push led by immigration rights activists demanding work authorization for the hundreds of thousands of migrants who’ve arrived to the U.S. in recent months.

3-Year-Old Child Dies in Rio Grande Near Deadly Border Buoys Installed by Texas Governor

Sep 22, 2023

A 3-year-old migrant child has died after being swept away by the current of the Rio Grande along the Texas border with Mexico. Texas officials also recovered another migrant presumed to have died after drowning in the river. Both bodies were found near the border buoys installed by Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott to block migrants from crossing into the U.S. Earlier this month, a federal judge ordered Abbott to remove his dangerous floating border barrier. The ruling was temporarily paused after Texas filed an appeal.

India Suspends Visas for Canadians After Trudeau Accuses Modi Government of Killing Sikh Leader

Sep 22, 2023

India has suspended visas for Canadian nationals after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday claimed the Indian government was involved in the June assassination of a Sikh community leader and Canadian citizen, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, in British Columbia. India rejected the claim and accused Canada of harboring Sikh separatist terrorists. Both countries have expelled diplomats. The AP is reporting Canada’s claim is based on surveillance of Indian diplomats in Canada and intelligence provided by an unnamed ally from the “Five Eyes” intelligence-sharing alliance, which includes the U.S., the U.K., Australia and New Zealand.

Rupert Murdoch Steps Down as Leader of Right-Wing Media Empire, Hands Power to Son

Sep 22, 2023

Billionaire media tycoon Rupert Murdoch announced Thursday he is stepping down as chair of News Corp. and Fox Corp. and will put his son, Lachlan Murdoch, in charge. Murdoch’s vast media holdings include the right-wing TV network Fox News, which has been plagued by a series of scandals around sexual harassment, as well as reporting lies, including around Trump’s loss in the 2020 election. We’ll have more on Rupert Murdoch’s media empire after headlines.

Rights Groups Slam Arrest of Reporter Who Exposed French Role in Killings of Civilians in Egypt

Sep 22, 2023

In France, police released journalist Ariane Lavrilleux Thursday, two days after her home was raided and she was arrested over her reporting. Writing for the website Disclose, Lavrilleux reported on a leak that said French intelligence was used by Egyptian forces to target smugglers along the Libya-Egypt border, resulting in the killing of civilians. The reporting says French forces were complicit in at least 19 bombings against smugglers between 2016 and 2018. She also wrote about various arms trades in Egypt, Libya, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Russia.

Amnesty International chief Agnès Callamard said, “It is deeply chilling that, almost two years after the revelations that France was allegedly complicit in the extrajudicial executions of hundreds of people in Egypt, it is the journalist who exposed these atrocities that is being targeted, rather than those responsible.”

On Thursday, Lavrilleux spoke at a news conference at the Paris office of Reporters Without Borders shortly after her release. She deplored “the lack of political support” for her case and called on parliamentarians to investigate abuses by French intelligence services.

Ariane Lavrilleux: “If all these people remain silent, it is very disquieting for our democracy. If those in power do not ask questions, democracy dies in darkness, as the famous slogan goes. This is a very political, essentially democratic matter.”

Baton Rouge Police Officers Accused of Torturing Civilians in Unmarked Warehouse

Sep 22, 2023

In Louisiana, a new lawsuit accuses officers in a street crimes unit of the Baton Rouge Police Department of unlawfully arresting people and torturing them in an unmarked warehouse dubbed the “Brave Cave.” Ternell Brown, a 47-year-old grandmother, says she was arrested at a traffic stop in June after officers falsely told her it was illegal to store her prescription medications in a single bottle. Rather than being processed at the local jail, Brown alleges she was taken to the warehouse, where she was stripped naked and subjected to invasive body cavity searches. She was released without charge after about two hours. This is the second federal lawsuit against the Baton Rouge Police Department. In another suit, 21-year-old Jeremy Lee, who is Black, alleges officers strip-searched him in public before bringing him to the warehouse, where he was brutally beaten by officers who turned off their body cameras.

Ex-White House Aide Says Giuliani Groped Her; Ex-NYC Mayor Sued by Law Firm for Unpaid Fees

Sep 22, 2023

Former Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson has accused Rudy Giuliani of groping her on January 6, 2021, shortly before the Capitol insurrection. In her new book “Enough,” Hutchinson described Giuliani slipping his hand “under my blazer, then my skirt” while they were backstage at Trump’s speech. A Giuliani spokesperson has denied the claim.

Meanwhile, the lawyer who had been leading Giuliani’s defense in his litany of legal challenges sued the former New York City mayor for $1.3 million in unpaid fees he owes his law firm.

This comes as Georgia election workers Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss said in a court filing Thursday that Giuliani has failed to comply with a federal judge’s order to turn over evidence and pay $89,000 in legal fees as part of their defamation case against the former Trump lawyer.

Alabama Auto Workers Strike for Livable Wages as UAW Prepares to Escalate Strike Against “Big 3”

Sep 22, 2023

In labor news, the United Auto Workers union says it is escalating its “stand up” strike against the Big Three U.S. automakers today unless significant progress is made at the bargaining table. UAW President Shawn Fain will announce the auto plants that will join workers on the picket line at GM, Ford and Stellantis. Amid soaring profits and CEO compensation, workers are demanding better wages, an end to tiered pay, cost-of-living adjustments, a return to defined benefit pensions and a 32-hour workweek. Separately, UAW workers in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, have launched a strike at their plant, which produces parts for Mercedes-Benz.

Tammy Slayton: “We want better wages because of inflation right now. The wages that we have is not going to — is not meeting our needs. And plus, the benefit package they’re offering us is too high. We can’t afford it.”

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