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HeadlinesJanuary 18, 2024

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Pakistan Launches Retaliatory Airstrikes Against Iran

Jan 18, 2024

Pakistan’s Air Force has launched retaliatory airstrikes on Iran as tension continues to escalate across the region. Nine people were reportedly killed in Iran, including three women and four children. Pakistan said the strikes targeted separatist militants based near the Iran-Pakistan border. The attack came a day after Iran bombed members of the Sunni militant group Jaish al-Adl in the Pakistani province of Balochistan. On Wednesday, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian acknowledged Iran had carried out recent bombings in both Pakistan and Iraq.

Hossein Amir-Abdollahian: “Our focus is on the Iranian terrorists on Pakistani soil. Before this conversation, I discussed with my colleague, the foreign minister of Pakistan, that we respect the integrity of Pakistan, we respect the integrity of Iraq, but we will not allow them to play with the security of our country.”

U.S. Bombs Yemen for Fourth Time in a Week

Jan 18, 2024

The U.S. military has attacked Yemen for the fourth time in a week, launching ship and submarine missile strikes on Houthi-controlled areas on Wednesday. The attack came a day after the Biden administration redesignated the Houthis, who rule much of Yemen, as a global terrorist group. The Houthis have been disrupting global shipping routes by carrying out attacks in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden in an attempt to pressure Israel to halt its bombardment of Gaza.

Meanwhile, U.S. forces are continuing to search for two U.S. Navy SEALs who were lost at sea off the coast of Somalia last week after a group of Navy SEALs stopped a ship allegedly containing Iranian-made missile parts.

Israeli Bombing in Rafah Kills 16 Displaced Palestinians, Including Children

Jan 18, 2024

In Gaza, at least 16 Palestinians, including many children, have been killed in an Israeli airstrike on a home in Rafah, which had been designated by Israel as a so-called safe zone. The families killed had reportedly come to Rafah for safety after being displaced three times over the past 100 days. One relative told Al Jazeera, “They fled their homes in Gaza City to the Bureij refugee camp to Khan Younis, before coming to Rafah because they thought it was safer.” The grandmother of the children killed in the Israeli attack spoke outside the bombed-out house.

Um Al Waleed Al Zameli: “I was in the school when the strike happened at dawn, and I came running. I found the rubble. I went to the hospital and found all my grandchildren have been martyred. All of them are young children. The biggest one is in second grade, and the rest are even younger. What have they done wrong?”

Meanwhile, in Gaza City, rescuers raced to a home where Palestinian children were buried under rubble after an Israeli attack.

Rescuer: “In this house there’s children. We’ve been trying to get them out since the morning. With every attempt, airstrikes and rockets fall on us. Our neighbors from the al-Madbouly family came to help us. The first two who went in were martyred. What sin did those children commit to die like that? … The number of those who were inside the house is more than 25 people. They were all martyred. … The whole house collapsed on them completely, as you can see. More than one missile hit this area. This area was shelled by many missiles at the same time.”

Israel Blows Up Israa University Near Gaza City

Jan 18, 2024

In other news from Gaza, Israel has blown up Israa University south of Gaza City. According to a post on the school’s Facebook page, Israeli troops had seized the campus months ago and had turned it into a military base where Israel interrogated detained Palestinians.

Palestinian Journalist Wael Fannouneh of Al-Quds Today TV Killed by Israel in Gaza City

Jan 18, 2024

There are reports Israel has killed another journalist in Gaza. Palestinian news outlets report Wael Fannouneh, the manager of Al-Quds Today TV, was killed today in an Israeli bombing in Gaza City. Over 110 journalists have been killed since Israel began its assault on Gaza following the October 7 Hamas attack.

U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres Reiterates Call for Ceasefire in Gaza

Jan 18, 2024

On Wednesday, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres called again for a ceasefire in Gaza.

Secretary-General António Guterres: “I repeat my call for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza and a process that leads to sustained peace for Israelis and Palestinians based on a two-state solution. That is the only way to stem the suffering and prevent the spillover that could send the entire region up in flames.”

10 Palestinians Killed in Occupied West Bank as Israel Carries Out Major Raids

Jan 18, 2024

In the occupied West Bank, Israeli forces have killed at least 10 Palestinians in a series of military raids. Israel launched airstrikes on the Tulkarem refugee camp and the Balata refugee camp as ground troops conducted extensive raids. The Palestinian Red Crescent accused Israeli troops of blocking ambulances from reaching the Tulkarem refugee camp, which has been under siege for over 30 hours.

U.K. House of Commons Approves Plan to Send Asylum Seekers to Rwanda

Jan 18, 2024

In Britain, the House of Commons has approved legislation to send some asylum seekers to Rwanda even if they have no ties to the African country. The bill declares that Rwanda is a safe country for asylum seekers despite a recent U.K. Supreme Court ruling saying the opposite. The bill is expected to face opposition in the House of Lords, where one member has described the legislation as a “step towards totalitarianism.”

House Speaker Johnson Says Senate Deal Is “Dead” If Dems Don’t Back Border Crackdown

Jan 18, 2024

In Washington, D.C., President Biden met with congressional leaders at the White House Wednesday in a bid to break through deadlocked negotiations on Biden’s request for $100 billion in supplemental military funding for Israel, Ukraine and Taiwan. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he was “optimistic” about a possible deal following the meeting, while House Speaker Mike Johnson doubled down on House Republican demands to further crack down on immigration, saying the proposed Senate deal is “dead in the House.”

Texas Defies Biden Administration Order to Dismantle Border Barrier Where 3 Migrants Died

Jan 18, 2024

Texas has defied a Biden administration cease-and-desist order, refusing to dismantle its border barrier near the city of Eagle Pass on the Rio Grande. Texas troopers took over the 2.5-mile stretch last week, installing fencing, gates and razor wire. On Friday, a mother and her two children drowned in the Rio Grande after Border Patrol agents were denied access to the area by Texas officials acting under orders from Republican Governor Greg Abbott.

Ecuadorian Prosecutor Investigating Armed TV Attack Is Assassinated

Jan 18, 2024

In Ecuador, a prosecutor who was investigating a recent attack on a TV station has been assassinated. César Suárez was killed in the city of Guayaquil on Wednesday. This comes less than two weeks after Ecuadorian President Daniel Noboa declared a state of emergency due to a surge in violence by drug cartels. In recent days the slain prosecutor César Suárez had interviewed 13 gunmen who stormed a live TV set earlier this month and took the staff hostage on air.

Citing “Significant Corruption,” U.S. Bars Ex-Guatemalan President Giammattei from Entering Country

Jan 18, 2024

The U.S. State Department has barred former Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei from entering the country over his involvement in “significant corruption.” The decision was announced just days after Giammattei left office. Early on Monday, Guatemala’s new president, Bernardo Arévalo, was sworn in despite monthslong efforts by Guatemala’s attorney general, lawmakers and the elite ruling class to prevent his presidency. Arévalo was elected in August after running on an anti-corruption platform.

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Judge Threatens to Toss Trump from E. Jean Carroll Defamation Trial over Outbursts

Jan 18, 2024

The judge in E. Jean Carroll’s defamation trial threatened to expel former President Donald Trump from the courtroom Wednesday for repeatedly disrupting the proceedings. Trump could be heard loudly telling his attorney that the trial was a witch hunt and a con job. Trump’s disruptions came as the writer E. Jean Carroll took the stand and accused Trump of shattering her reputation. A trial last year found Trump had sexually abused Carroll in the 1990s and then defamed her. At this new trial, a different jury is determining if Trump owes her more money for other acts of defamation.

Ahead of New Hampshire Primary, Nikki Haley Says U.S. Was Never a Racist Country

Jan 18, 2024

Trump’s trial is occurring just ahead of New Hampshire’s Republican primary on Tuesday, the first primary in the nation. On Wednesday, ABC canceled its New Hampshire Republican debate after former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley refused to participate if Trump did not take part, as well. Trump has so far declined to debate any of his Republican challengers.

Haley is facing criticism this week after claiming the United States was never a racist country. She made the comment during an interview on Fox News.

Brian Kilmeade: “Are you a racist party? Are you involved in a racist party?”

Nikki Haley: “No. We’re not a racist country, Brian. We’ve never been a racist country.”

Haley’s comment comes just weeks after she failed to mention slavery as one of the causes of the U.S. Civil War.

In other campaign news, a judge in Maine has suspended a decision by the state’s secretary of state to remove Donald Trump from the primary ballot for violating the insurrectionist clause of the 14th Amendment. The judge said the U.S. Supreme Court should weigh in on Trump’s eligibility first. The high court is hearing oral arguments on February 8.

Supreme Court Hears Case That Could Drastically Weaken Regulatory Power of Federal Agencies

Jan 18, 2024

The conservative-led Supreme Court on Wednesday heard arguments in a case that threatens to severely restrict the regulatory authority of federal agencies on issues ranging from environmental protection to guns to healthcare. The case centers around the “Chevron deference,” a precedent established in 1984 which requires courts to defer to an agency’s interpretation of laws. Fishing companies are challenging the doctrine, long maligned by corporations and the right. The legal effort is backed by far-right interest groups including the network of billionaire Charles Koch. Liberal Justice Elena Kagan defended the practice, saying, “And it’s best to defer to people who do know, who have had long experience on the ground, who have seen a thousand of these kinds of situations.” Kagan added, “And, you know, judges should know what they don’t know.” A ruling by the Supreme Court is expected in the summer.

Federal Judge Blocks Merger of JetBlue and Spirit, Citing Airline Industry “Oligopoly”

Jan 18, 2024

In a major antitrust ruling, a federal judge in Boston has blocked the merger of JetBlue and Spirit Airlines, saying the merger would hurt consumers. In his ruling, Judge William Young wrote, “The airline industry is an oligopoly that has become more concentrated due to a series of mergers.” Last year the Department of Justice and six states sued to stop the merger.

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Biden Administration Proposes New Rules to Lower Bank Overdraft Fees

Jan 18, 2024

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has proposed a rule that could drastically lower overdraft charges at the nation’s largest banks. If approved, many bank customers could see their overdraft fees drop from about $35 to as little as $3. The agency estimates the new rule could save households up to $3.5 billion annually. Banking trade groups have decried the proposed rule changes.

Greenland’s Ice Sheet Loss 20% Higher Than Thought, Shedding 30M Tons of Ice an Hour

Jan 18, 2024

A new study finds Greenland’s ice cap is losing an average of 30 million tons of ice every hour due to the effects of the climate crisis. Researchers with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory published their findings in the journal Nature, which show the ice loss is 20% greater than previously thought. Scientists fear the additional freshwater pouring into the North Atlantic could lead to a collapse of ocean currents, which would trigger devastating disruptions to global weather patterns, ecosystems and food security.

Organizing Cmte. for COP29 in Azerbaijan Does Not Include a Single Woman

Jan 18, 2024

Azerbaijan, the host country of this year’s U.N. climate summit in December, has come under fire after it unveiled its organizing committee for COP29, made up of 28 men and no women. The group She Changes Climate blasted the “regressive” decision, saying, “Climate change affects the whole world, not half of it.” The organizing committee does, however, include oil and gas executives. Earlier this month, Azerbaijan’s environmental minister, Mukhtar Babayev, was named as COP29’s president. Babayev previously spent 26 years at the State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic, or SOCAR.

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