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HeadlinesFebruary 20, 2024

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U.S. for the First Time Calls for “Temporary Ceasefire” in Draft U.N. Security Council Resolution

Feb 20, 2024

The United States is proposing a U.N. Security Council draft resolution calling for a “temporary ceasefire in Gaza as soon as practicable.” The draft measure also calls for the release of all hostages and an end to restrictions on the delivery of humanitarian aid. It’s the first time the U.S. has used the word “ceasefire” at the Security Council, after vetoing previous efforts by other members to stop the bloodshed. This comes as the U.N. Security Council is voting today on a resolution by Algeria calling for an immediate ceasefire. The U.S. has already vowed to veto it. It’s not clear when the U.S. proposal will be put to a vote.

UNICEF Warns of “Explosion in Preventable Child Deaths” in Gaza

Feb 20, 2024

The death toll in Gaza since October 7 is nearing 30,000, not counting thousands more who are missing, presumed dead and buried beneath the rubble. Amid worsening hunger, UNICEF is warning the war-torn territory is “poised to witness an explosion in preventable child deaths which would compound the already unbearable level of child deaths.” Israeli forces again opened fire at crowds waiting for humanitarian aid, killing at least one person and wounding many others. This is a displaced Palestinian seeking food aid in Gaza City.

Abdullah Sawaf: “Because we want to eat, we are dying of hunger. Why would someone put themself at risk of dying by coming here? It is in order to feed the children. We are dying of hunger, and there is no food or drink left in Gaza. There is a famine.”

U.N. Experts Report Sexual Assault, Executions and Other Abuses Against Palestinian Women and Girls

Feb 20, 2024

The U.N. human rights agency says it has received reports of rights violations against Palestinian women and girls in Gaza and the occupied West Bank since October 7. Israeli forces are accused of arbitrary executions, sexual assault, separating families and many other forms of inhumane treatment. Degrading photos of Palestinian women were also reportedly taken by Israeli soldiers and shared online. U.N. experts are calling for an independent investigation into the abuses.

ICJ Continues Hearing on Israel’s Occupation of Palestine, 50+ Countries to Testify

Feb 20, 2024

In The Hague, arguments are continuing at the International Court of Justice, where Palestinians and more than 50 countries and organizations are testifying against Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza. It’s the largest-ever participation in the World Court’s history. Earlier today, South African Ambassador Vusi Madonsela said the situation in Palestine is a “more extreme form of the apartheid that was institutionalized against Black people in my country.”

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki said, “The genocide underway in Gaza is a result of decades of impunity and inaction.” Riyad Mansour, Palestinian envoy to the U.N., delivered an emotional testimony Monday.

Riyad Mansour: “The state of Palestine appeals to this court to guide the international community in upholding international law, ending injustice and achieving a just and lasting peace, to guide us towards a future in which Palestinian children are treated as children, not as demographic threat, in which the identity of the group to which we belong does not diminish the human rights to which we are all entitled, a future in which no Palestinian and no Israelis is killed.”

Israeli Knesset Fails to Oust Liberal Lawmaker Ofer Cassif; Brazil and Israel Deepen Diplomatic Rift

Feb 20, 2024

Israel’s Knesset narrowly voted Monday against expelling lawmaker Ofer Cassif, a member of the Hadash party who has supported South Africa’s genocide case against Israel at the International Court of Justice. The move to expel fell short by just five votes. Click here to see our interviews with Knesset member Ofer Cassif.

Meanwhile, Brazil has recalled its ambassador to Israel. Brazil has said it won’t retract President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s comment calling Israel’s war on Gaza a genocide and comparing the attacks to the Nazi Holocaust — remarks that led Israel to declare Lula persona non grata. Brazil’s Foreign Ministry has also summoned the Israeli ambassador for talks.

British High Court Hears Appeal in Julian Assange’s Likely Last Chance to Avoid Extradition

Feb 20, 2024

In London, a critical appeal for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is underway at the British High Court of Justice, in what could be Assange’s last chance to stop his extradition to the United States. Assange, who has been held in London’s Belmarsh Prison since 2019, was charged under the U.S. Espionage Act and faces a 175-year prison sentence for publishing classified documents exposing U.S. war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Julian’s wife Stella Assange has called the situation a matter of life and death. Before heading into court, Stella Assange addressed her husband’s supporters gathered outside for the two-day hearing.

Stella Assange: “There is no possibility of a fair trial if Julian is extradited to the United States. He should never be extradited to the United States. He would never be safe. The United States plotted to murder my husband. He is being accused of journalism. This case is an admission by the United States that they now criminalize investigative journalism. It’s an attack on all journalists all over the world. It’s an attack on the truth, and it’s an attack on the public’s right to know. Julian is a political prisoner, and his life is at risk. What happened to Navalny can happen to Julian. He has to be released. This farce has to end.”

Haiti Judge Indicts Former First Lady in 2021 Assassination of Her Husband, Pres. Jovenel Moïse

Feb 20, 2024

In a controversial ruling in Haiti, a judge investigating the 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse has indicted former first lady Martine Moïse and ex-Haitian Prime Minister Claude Joseph, accusing them of involvement in the killing. Court documents accuse Martine Moïse, who was shot and seriously injured in the 2021 attack, of conspiring with Joseph to kill her husband, and suggest she was even plotting to assume the presidency herself. The former chief of Haiti’s National Police is also among some 50 people recently charged.

Martine Moïse and Claude Joseph have denounced U.S.-backed acting Prime Minister Ariel Henry for weaponizing Haiti’s justice system to persecute his opponents. Henry has himself been implicated in the assassination plot, including by a former judge who previously oversaw the investigation. Political turmoil and bloody gang violence has gripped Haiti amid mounting protests to remove Henry from power.


Indian Farmers Resume March Toward New Delhi After Rejecting Gov’t Proposal on Crop Prices

Feb 20, 2024

Indian farmers are continuing their protest march toward the capital New Delhi after rejecting a proposal from the government for a five-year contract guaranteeing higher crop prices. Thousands of farmers have been camping out about 120 miles outside of New Delhi, as authorities have deployed tear gas and erected barricades to prevent access to the city. On Monday, Mahinder Singh, a 100-year-old farmer from Punjab, joined the march.

Mahinder Singh: “My family stops me from protesting, but our expenses are not covered. I have two children, daughters. I have a family. What choice do I have? Our lands are gone. Our rights are gone. They, the government, do not give us the rights, even when we demand them.”

Wisconsin Enacts New Congressional Maps After More Than a Decade of GOP-Gerrymandered Districts

Feb 20, 2024

In Wisconsin, Democratic Governor Tony Evers signed into law new congressional maps, reversing the extreme Republican gerrymandering enacted under Governor Scott Walker in 2011. The move could give Democrats an edge in the swing state as the whole Wisconsin Assembly and half of the state Senate are up for reelection in November. Wisconsin Republicans agreed to the new maps rather than challenging them at the state’s liberal Supreme Court, which they worried could result in new district lines more favorable to Democrats. This is Governor Evers at Monday’s signing ceremony.

Gov. Tony Evers: “Wisconsin is not a red state. It is not a blue state. Wisconsin is a purple state. And I believe our maps should reflect that basic fact. I believe, as I’ve also said, often said, that the people should get to chose their elected officials, not the other way around.”

Capital One Announces $35B Merger with Discover; Colorado Sues over Kroger-Albertsons Merger

Feb 20, 2024

In business news, Capital One announced it’s acquiring Discover Financial Services for $35 billion, merging two of the country’s largest credit card companies. The deal will have to pass regulatory approval as the Biden administration is seeking to tighten rules on financial mergers.

Meanwhile, Colorado is suing to block grocery chain Kroger’s $25 billion merger with Albertsons. The merger would create the largest supermarket chain in the U.S., with some 5,000 stores, giving it near-monopoly control to set prices and underpay its workers.

Immigrants Rights Activists Demand Closure of Tacoma ICE Center

Feb 20, 2024

In Washington state, Japanese Americans are joining immigrant rights activists demanding the closure of an immigration detention center in Tacoma run by the private firm GEO Group. The Northwest Detention Center has been the site of several hunger strikes over the years due to inhumane conditions. State inspectors were recently denied entry to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility. On Friday, the groups blocked Seattle’s federal building as part of their action.

Ana Tanaka: “I am here for my great-grandmother, Yoshiye Iwamura, who had to give birth to my grandmother, Karen Iwamura, in camp at Minidoka. I say free them all and stop repeating history.”

The groups Tsuru for Solidarity and La Resistencia also marked the Annual Day of Remembrance, when more than 100,000 Japanese Americans were declared enemies of the state in 1942 and incarcerated.

Camp Amache, Former Japanese American Internment Camp, Opens as New National Park in Colorado

Feb 20, 2024

In Colorado, a former internment camp has reopened its doors as the nation’s newest national park. Over 10,000 people of Japanese descent were imprisoned at Camp Amache between 1942 and 1945. National Park Service Director Chuck Sams, the first Native American to hold the position, said, “Amache’s addition to the National Park System is a reminder that a complete account of the nation’s history must include our dark chapters of injustice.”

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