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HeadlinesFebruary 16, 2024

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Russian Media Reports Alexei Navalny Has Died in Prison

Feb 16, 2024

Russia’s state media is reporting imprisoned opposition leader Alexei Navalny has died at age 47. Prison authorities said in a statement earlier today Navalny felt ill after going on a walk and lost consciousness. They say medical staff were unable to resuscitate him. The cause of death has not been determined. Navalny’s spokesperson Kira Yarmysh said on social media their team had not received confirmation of his death and that Navalny’s lawyer was traveling to the penal colony, located in the town of Kharp in the Arctic Circle, where Navalny was serving a 19-year sentence on charges of “extremism” over his criticism of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The prison, nicknamed “Polar Wolf,” is among the harshest in Russia, due in part to the severe winter.

Navalny had been detained since 2021, when he returned to Moscow after an assassination attempt with a nerve agent in 2020. Navalny has been hailed as an anti-corruption crusader who was willing to stand up to Putin, and has also been condemned for his past antisemitic and ultranationalist comments and actions.

5 Patients Killed as Israel Attacks Nasser Hospital, Forcing Thousands onto Streets

Feb 16, 2024

In Gaza, Israel’s attack on Khan Younis’s Nasser Hospital has killed at least five patients after electricity and oxygen supplies were cut off. This is a hospital volunteer describing the forced evacuation ahead of Israel’s incursion.

Hakeem Salem Hussein Baraka: “Ninety-nine percent of the people in Nasser Hospital evacuated. There are nearly 20 members of the medical staff still there. There is tension still. There is no protection or safety. Quadcopters are everywhere. Even ferocious dogs which have monitoring cameras around their necks are in the hospital in an aggressive way.”

“A Safe Place in Gaza Is an Illusion”: U.N. Says There Is No Way to Evacuate Rafah

Feb 16, 2024

Fears are mounting over a planned Israeli ground attack on some 1.4 million people in Rafah. Even the U.S. has said the move would be a “disaster” without a realistic evacuation plan. The U.N. and others say there is no plausible way to evacuate Rafah.

Martin Griffiths: “An evacuation to a safe place in Gaza is an illusion, and we need to push back on the calls that we’re all hearing from the authorities to say,’ You must help us move the people of Gaza to some safe place.’ This is an illusion.”

Israeli airstrikes in Rafah continue to kill Palestinian civilians. This is the mother of one of the victims, speaking earlier today.

Fathia Sobh: “My daughter’s husband is from the Zoroub family. She died with all her family. I live in Miraj, and she lives in Rafah. When I heard the news, I started screaming, asking my children to take me to see her, but they told me 'Where should we take you at night? Stay here.' I told them to take me to see her, but they said that she was unrecognizable. And I said that even if it was only her flesh, I wanted to see her.”

Close to 29,000 Palestinians have been killed and over 68,000 wounded in Israeli attacks since October 7.

75% of All Journalists Killed in 2023 Died Over 3 Months of Israel’s War on Gaza

Feb 16, 2024

Over 130 journalists have been killed in Gaza since October 7, according to the local media office. The Committee to Protect Journalists says that some 75% of all journalists killed last year died in Israel’s assault on Gaza. Of the 99 journalists killed around the world in 2023, 72 were Palestinians.

Stanford Students Ends Monthslong Gaza Ceasefire Sit-In, Will Hold Talks with University Officials

Feb 16, 2024

Students at Stanford University are ending a monthslong sit-in to demand the university call for a ceasefire in Gaza and divest from Israeli companies complicit in war crimes, among other things. Stanford officials had started cracking down on the action, which began in October, threatening to arrest and discipline students who camped out on campus. But the school finally agreed to two meetings with the group to discuss their demands, leading to the decision to disband the longest continuous sit-in in Stanford’s history.

NYC Trump Hush-Money Trial Set for March 25 as Verdict Expected in Trump Org. Civil Fraud Case

Feb 16, 2024

New York Judge Juan Merchan ruled that Donald Trump’s hush-money case can proceed, setting March 25 as the start date for the first-ever criminal trial of a former U.S. president. Trump’s lawyers had sought to delay the trial, claiming it will interfere with campaigning. Trump will be required to attend the trial, which is expected to last six weeks.

Meanwhile, New York state Judge Arthur Engoron is expected to rule today on the $370 million civil fraud case against Trump for inflating his businesses’ net worth to obtain more favorable loans.

Fulton County DA Fani Willis Pushes Back Against Defense Lawyers on Stand

Feb 16, 2024

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis took the stand in Georgia. Defense lawyers are seeking to remove Willis from the sweeping election subversion case against Trump and his allies over her romantic relationship with Nathan Wade, the top prosecutor in the case. Wade also took the stand Thursday as both parties denied any wrongdoing or any financial benefit from their personal relationship, which they say ended last year. Fani Willis sparred with defense lawyers throughout the contentious hearing.

Fani Willis: “You’ve been intrusive into people’s personal lives. You’re confused. You think I’m on trial. These people are on trial for trying to steal an election in 2020. I’m not on trial, no matter how hard you try to put me on trial.”

In other Trump news, the GOP front-runner repeated his threat against NATO allies that he says do not pay enough into the military alliance. At a campaign rally in South Carolina Wednesday, he said, “If they’re not going to pay, we’re not going to protect, OK.” Vice President Kamala Harris is addressing the Munich Security Conference today, where she is expected to reassure NATO allies following Trump’s remarks.

Ex-FBI Informant Charged with Fabricating Story About the Bidens Receiving Millions from Burisma

Feb 16, 2024

Special counsel David Weiss has charged a former FBI informant of lying about President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden receiving millions of dollars from the Ukrainian energy company Burisma. Alexander Smirnov was arrested Wednesday at a Las Vegas airport. The Bidens’ alleged illegal involvement with Burisma is central to Republicans’ impeachment inquiry into the president.

Senegalese Court Rules President Macky Sall’s Delay of Presidential Poll Was Unlawful

Feb 16, 2024

Senegal’s Constitutional Council on Thursday overturned President Macky Sall’s decision to delay this month’s presidential election, ruling the move was unconstitutional. President Sall, who has served the two terms allowed under Senegalese law, ordered the election be postponed until December, triggering deadly protests and plunging the country into political turmoil as his opponents accused him of orchestrating a “constitutional coup.” Senegal’s Constitutional Council urged authorities to reschedule the vote “as soon as possible.”


Greece Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage Despite Pushback from Orthodox Church

Feb 16, 2024

Greece has become the first Orthodox Christian country to legalize same-sex marriage. It’s the 16th EU country to legislate marriage equality. The measure, which passed a parliamentary vote Thursday despite opposition from the powerful Orthodox Church, also grants same-sex couples equal parental rights, including the right to adopt. Members of Greece’s LGBTQ communities gathered to celebrate the historic victory.

Michalis Bourtzis: “I am very happy. As someone who grew up in the countryside, this is a dream I have waited for for many years, just like all of us. Literally, I am at a loss for words. I am no longer a second-class citizen. We had the same obligations, but now we also have more of the same rights.”

Epstein Assault Survivors Sue FBI for Failing to Act on Accusations Against Deceased Serial Abuser

Feb 16, 2024

Twelve survivors of sexual abuse and trafficking by Jeffrey Epstein are suing the FBI for failing to protect them. The 12 unnamed plaintiffs say the FBI ignored tips and complaints about Epstein and close associate Ghislaine Maxwell for over 20 years. Epstein died by suicide in a Manhattan jail in 2019 while awaiting trial on federal charges. Ghislaine Maxwell is serving a 20- year prison sentence after being convicted in 2022 of helping Epstein recruit and sexually assault teenage girls.

Climate Groups Sue Biden over Offshore Drilling Plans in Gulf of Mexico

Feb 16, 2024

Climate groups have sued the Biden administration over its failure to adequately assess the public health impacts on frontline communities in its five-year plan for offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. Advocates say residents in the region already suffer disproportionate health burdens due to the toxic pollution produced by federal offshore oil and gas leasing. This comes as the American Petroleum Institute has also filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration demanding officials greenlight more lease sales, despite dire warnings of the impacts on the climate and people’s health.

Meanwhile, researchers estimate over 125 million U.S. residents will be exposed to unhealthy air contamination by 2054 due to intensifying wildfires made worse by climate change.

“Red Alert”: Half of Amazon Rainforest Could Reach Climate Tipping Point by Mid-Century

Feb 16, 2024

Scientists warn worsening wildfires, deforestation and warmer temperatures could permanently destroy the water cycle sustaining large portions of the Amazon rainforest in the coming decades. In a study published this week by the journal Nature, researchers say that between 10% to nearly half of the Amazon’s ecosystem is at risk of transitioning from rainforest to savannah by the year 2050 unless deforestation is dramatically reduced and urgent action is taken to curb the worst impacts of global warming. This is one of the study’s lead authors, Bernardo Flores, a researcher at the University of Santa Catarina in Brazil.

Bernardo Flores: “Once we cross this tipping point, maybe we cannot do anything anymore, and then it’s useless to stop deforestation, to try to stop. We may not even be able to, because the forest will die by itself. So, I mean, it’s time to — red alert.”

Oil and Plastics Industry Duped Consumers and Regulators for Decades in “Plastic Recycling Fraud”

Feb 16, 2024

A new report from the Center for Climate Integrity reveals the oil and plastics industries have deceptively promoted recycling as a sustainable solution for over half a century, despite knowing that plastic recycling is not technically or economically viable at scale. The report, titled “The Fraud of Plastic Recycling,” uncovers new documents showing that companies like ExxonMobil and the plastics industry have pushed a misleading public campaign for decades, helping fuel the plastic waste crisis in order to keep making money and avoid regulation.

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