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HeadlinesJanuary 11, 2024

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World Court Holds First Day of Hearings in Historic Genocide Case Against Israel

Jan 11, 2024

The International Court of Justice in The Hague has begun hearing two days of arguments in South Africa’s historic genocide case against Israel. South Africa has accused Israel of violating the 1948 U.N. Genocide Convention, saying its three-month assault on Gaza is being conducted with the intent to bring about the destruction of Palestinians as a group. South Africa is outlining its case today. Israel will defend itself on Friday. During today’s hearing, attorneys for the South African government laid out what they described as Israel’s genocidal intent.

Tembeka Ngcukaitobi: “Israel has a genocidal intent against the Palestinians in Gaza. That is evident from the way in which Israel’s military attack is being conducted. … Israel’s special genocidal intent is rooted in the belief that, in fact, the enemy is not just the military wing of Hamas, or indeed Hamas generally, but is embedded in the fabric of Palestinian life in Gaza.”

WHO Calls for Humanitarian Access in Gaza as More Israeli Attacks Target Health Infrastructure

Jan 11, 2024

An Israeli airstrike hit an ambulance in central Gaza Wednesday, killing two patients and four members of the Palestine Red Crescent Society. The aid group said, “Our colleagues were intentionally targeted while inside an ambulance clearly marked with the Red Crescent emblem.” Another Israeli attack near the entrance to Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital killed eight people and wounded over 30.

On Wednesday, the head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, called on Israel to allow more aid into Gaza.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus: “Delivering humanitarian aid in Gaza continues to face nearly insurmountable challenges. Intense bombardment, restrictions on movement, fuel shortage and interrupted communications make it impossible for WHO and our partners to reach those in need. We have the supplies, the teams and the plans in place. What we don’t have is access.”

Iran Seizes Oil Ship in Gulf of Oman; UNSC Demands Houthis Stop Attacking Vessels in Red Sea

Jan 11, 2024

Iran says its forces have seized an oil tanker in the Gulf of Oman. This comes as tensions have been soaring for weeks in the Red Sea. On Wednesday, the U.N. Security Council passed a resolution calling for Yemen’s Houthi forces to stop attacking ships in the Red Sea. The vote came a day after U.S. and British forces shot down 21 drones and missiles fired by the Houthis, who have vowed to continue attacks until Israel halts its assault on Gaza.

Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis Face Off in 1-on-1 Debate After Chris Christie Withdraws from Race

Jan 11, 2024

Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis squared off at a CNN-hosted debate in Iowa ahead of the state’s January 15 caucus. Republican front-runner Donald Trump, who has yet to participate in a primary debate, had been invited to attend, but he opted to take part in a Fox News town hall instead. DeSantis criticized Haley for supporting sending more money and arms to Ukraine.

Gov. Ron DeSantis: “She supports this $106 billion that they’re trying to get through Congress. Where is some of that money going? They’ve done tens of billions of dollars to pay salaries for Ukrainian government bureaucrats. They’ve paid pensions for Ukrainian retirees with your tax dollars? We’ve got homeless veterans. We have all these problems. This is the U.N. way of thinking, that we’re somehow globalists and we have unlimited resources to do. You know, I think here’s the problem: You can take the ambassador out of the United Nations, but you can’t take the United Nations out of the ambassador.”

Haley questioned DeSantis about whether he was ready to run the country.

Nikki Haley: “The best way to tell about a candidate is to see how they’ve run their campaign. He has blown through $150 million — I don’t even know how you do that — through his campaign. He has nothing to show for it. He’s spent more money on private planes than he has on commercials trying to get Iowans to vote for him. If you can’t manage a campaign, how are you going to manage a country?”

Hours before the debate, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie dropped out of the race. He was caught on a hot mic saying, “She’s going to get smoked,” in an apparent reference to Haley. Christie also predicted DeSantis would drop out after Iowa.

In other Trump news, closing arguments are scheduled for today in New York in the civil fraud case brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James against Donald Trump. On Wednesday, the judge in the case struck down a request for Trump to deliver his own closing statement because the former president’s legal team refused to abide by the judge’s restrictions not to turn his remarks into a campaign speech.

Far-Right GOP Lawmakers Break with Speaker Mike Johnson over Congressional Budget Deal

Jan 11, 2024

On Capitol Hill, far-right Republicans are pushing back against House Speaker Mike Johnson after he reached a bipartisan $1.59 trillion spending deal with Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. On Wednesday, a dozen members of the House Freedom Caucus joined Democrats to block an unrelated bill to show their opposition to Johnson’s deal.

Meanwhile, a pair of House committees have voted to endorse a report recommending Hunter Biden, President Biden’s son, be held in contempt of Congress. On Wednesday, Hunter Biden made a surprise appearance at a House Oversight Committee meeting and offered to testify publicly, but Republicans refused — they have been insisting on questioning him in private.

In other House news, Republican lawmakers held their first impeachment hearing focused on Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas.

Police in Ecuador Arrest 330 People Amid State of Emergency

Jan 11, 2024

In Ecuador, police have arrested at least 330 people in a nationwide crackdown after President Daniel Noboa declared a state of emergency due to a surge in violence by drug cartels. During an interview Wednesday, Noboa said Ecuador is now in a state of war. Schools across Ecuador will remain shut down until at least Friday.

Attacker Who Stabbed South Korean Opposition Leader Was Trying to Prevent Future Presidential Run

Jan 11, 2024

Authorities in South Korea have confirmed the recent stabbing of opposition leader Lee Jae-myung was a politically motivated attack. Lee Jae-myung, who survived the assassination attempt, ran for president in 2022 and narrowly lost to conservative Yoon Suk-yeol. Police said the attacker wanted to prevent him from running for president again in 2027. This is Busan Police Commissioner Woo Cheol-mun.

Woo Cheol-mun: “The suspect stated that he held a grudge that the victim, Lee Jae-myung, was not properly punished, and he wanted to prevent the victim from becoming president, stop him from giving nominations to certain groups and taking a majority of seats in the upcoming general election. That is why he decided to kill the victim.”

U.S. Still Recording 1,500 COVID Deaths Each Week as Cases Surge Around the Globe

Jan 11, 2024

In health news, wastewater testing shows the U.S. is in its greatest COVID-19 surge since Omicron, making it the second-largest surge of the pandemic. Around 1,500 people in the U.S. are still dying from COVID every week. Public health experts say two of the main reasons are waning immunity and not enough people accessing treatments and vaccinations.

Rates of infection are up globally, as well. The WHO reports 10,000 COVID deaths were recorded in December, while hospitalizations increased in dozens of countries. In Spain, authorities have reissued face mask mandates in health facilities.

Mónica García: “It’s a basic and minimum measure, which we learned from the pandemic. And that is, when we have an upward trend, the first thing we need to do is protect the most vulnerable people, people who have some sort of infection that needs to be contained. And the method that is most scientifically endorsed is the mask.”

Ohio House GOP Overrides Gov. Veto on Anti-Trans Healthcare and Sports Bill

Jan 11, 2024

In Ohio, Republican House legislators voted Wednesday to overturn Republican Governor Mike DeWine’s veto of legislation that would ban gender-affirming healthcare for transgender youth and bar trans athletes from playing on school sports teams. Three-fifths of the Ohio Senate must also vote to override DeWine’s veto for the bill to become law. The ACLU of Ohio slammed state Republicans, saying, “This state-sponsored vendetta against some of Ohio’s most vulnerable young people is beyond cruel.”

Transgender Ohioans Speak Out After Being Challenged in Attempt to Run for Office

Jan 11, 2024

Two transgender women vying for seats in the Ohio House of Representatives have been challenged for not disclosing their birth names on nominating petitions. Both women said they were unaware of the rule but that they would have complied despite the harmful nature of the requirement. One of the women, Arienne Childrey, said of the rule, “Having to use your deadname is horrible. It is an attack on who we are.” Vanessa Joy, who is appealing the decision last week to disqualify her, also warned that transgender people should not be forced to share their dead names due to safety concerns.

Prisoners at Upstate New York Facility Say Guards Waterboarded Them

Jan 11, 2024

Here in New York, lawsuits filed by prisoners at the Great Meadow Correctional Facility accuse guards of abuse and torture. Two men, 44-year-old Charles Wright and 32-year-old Eugene Taylor, say they were brutally beaten by guards, who also took them to another facility where they waterboarded them. Both men say they were falsely accused of disciplinary infractions after the event. A separate lawsuit, filed by 44 prisoners, says guards inflicted physical and psychological abuse on inmates during an October lockdown, including violently attacking them. Great Meadow prison is located in Comstock, about 200 miles north of New York City.

North Carolina Man Awarded $25 Million for Wrongful Conviction Which Led to 44 Years Behind Bars

Jan 11, 2024

In North Carolina, Ronnie Long was awarded a historic $25 million settlement for his wrongful conviction and 44-year-long imprisonment. Long, a Black man, was convicted of raping a white woman by an all-white jury in 1976. He was exonerated and released in 2020 after a court ruled his due process rights were violated, citing “extreme and continuous police misconduct” which included concealing lab evidence that showed Long was not linked to the crime scene. Ronnie Long has put some funds from a previous settlement toward efforts to reform the criminal justice system.

Family of Late U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson Accuses Neglect at Rehab Facility for Her Death

Jan 11, 2024

The family of the late Eddie Bernice Johnson, the trailblazing Black congressmember from Texas, has blamed a Dallas rehabilitation facility for her death and say they will file a lawsuit for medical neglect. Her family says the spine infection that led to her death on December 31 developed following back surgery, after staff at the Baylor Scott & White Institute left her lying in her own feces. Eddie Bernice Johnson was the first registered nurse elected to Congress, where she served for three decades.

On Tuesday, loved ones and community members gathered for her funeral at Concord Church in Dallas. Among those who paid their respects were lawmakers who were inspired and guided by Johnson. This is Royce West, Texas state senator.

Sen. Royce West: “What she made certain of is that issues concerning healthcare, accessible healthcare, that we worked on those issues, hire education, education, historically underutilized businesses, building coalitions based on interests, not based on the color of one’s skin, gender or political affiliation. And she often told us, 'Just because you speak loud don't mean you’re going to be able to get anything done.’ Her life is a manifestation of that.”

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