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HeadlinesFebruary 28, 2024

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Biden Wins in Michigan, But 100,000+ Vote “Uncommitted” in Gaza Protest

Feb 28, 2024

President Biden won the Democratic primary in Michigan despite over 100,000 people casting their ballots for “uncommitted” as voters took part in a protest over Biden’s support for Israel’s assault on Gaza. Biden won about 81% of the vote in Michigan; 13.3% of voters were uncommitted. In recent weeks, a number of Arab American groups led calls urging voters to choose “uncommitted.” The group Listen to Michigan had set a goal of 10,000 uncommitted votes, but they secured 10 times that number — receiving about one-sixth of Biden’s vote total. Listen to Michigan campaign organizer Layla Elabed spoke on Tuesday night.

Layla Elabed: “I can’t express enough the amazing team that has come together to put 'uncommitted' on the map, as everyone is looking at Michigan, in order to save lives. I want to remind everyone that a vote 'uncommitted' was a humanitarian vote. It was our vote to save as many lives as possible.”

Placing third in Michigan was Marianne Willamson, who supported a ceasefire in Gaza before dropping out of the race. Dean Phillips placed fourth. Many analysts say Biden’s support for Israel could result in him losing the state of Michigan in November.

Haley Warns a Trump Victory in November Would Be “Suicide for Our Country”

Feb 28, 2024

In Michigan’s Republican primary, Donald Trump beat Nikki Haley 68% to 26%. Michigan Republicans will also hold a caucus on Saturday. During an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Haley warned a Trump victory in November could be “suicide for our country.”

U.N. Special Rapporteur Accuses Israel of War Crimes By Depriving Food to Gaza

Feb 28, 2024

The U.N. special rapporteur on the right to food has accused Israel of committing war crimes by intentionally depriving food to Gaza. The official, Michael Fakhri, told The Guardian, “Israel has announced its intention to destroy the Palestinian people, in whole or in part, simply for being Palestinian. In my view as a U.N. human rights expert, this is now a situation of genocide.”

This comes as the United Nations is warning a quarter of all Palestinians in Gaza are one step away from famine. Ramesh Rajasingham, coordination director of the U.N.’s humanitarian office, spoke on Tuesday.

Ramesh Rajasingham: “And here we are at the end of February with at least 576,000 people in Gaza, one-quarter of the population, one step away from famine, with one in six children under 2 years of age in northern Gaza suffering from acute malnutrition and wasting.”

In Gaza City, residents have described dire conditions where children have no food to eat.

Umm Al-Ameer Shamalkh: “There is no food to feed my children, nor is there any bread. We came to the point where we are eating tree leaves. We are eating the food of this donkey. What more do you want? You are asking me why did I come here? I came because I want to take flour. Look, my leg is broken, and I came to take flour. I came to take flour. You are asking me why did I come? … I came yesterday, and people stepped over me. I came today even if I were to die. I want to take a bag of flour because I can’t feed my children. I don’t have anything to give my children to eat. Even if I die, I will stay.”

Hamas and Fatah to Hold Talks in Moscow on Forming Palestinian Unified Gov’t

Feb 28, 2024

Representatives from Hamas and Fatah are scheduled to meet in Moscow Thursday to discuss forming a unified government. The meeting comes just days after the Palestinian prime minister and Cabinet resigned amid pressure by the U.S. and Arab countries.

50+ Broadcast Journalists Call on Israel & Egypt for Access to Gaza

Feb 28, 2024

In media news, more than 50 prominent broadcast journalists have signed an open letter calling for “unfettered access” to Gaza. Signatories on the letter included journalists from the BBC, NBC, Sky News, CNN, ABC and CBS. In the letter, they wrote, “We call on the government of Israel to openly state its permission for international journalists to operate in Gaza and for the Egyptian authorities to allow international journalists access to the Rafah Crossing.” Almost no international journalists have been allowed inside Gaza except when embedded with the Israeli military. For the past five months, the world has relied on the reporting of Palestinian journalists, who have been killed by Israeli forces in record numbers — by one count, over 125 journalists have lost their lives in Gaza.

Netanyahu: Strong U.S. Public Support Helps Perpetuate War on Gaza

Feb 28, 2024

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has credited U.S. public support for Israel as being a key factor in allowing Israel to resist calls to end its war on Gaza. Netanyahu cited one poll that showed 82% of Americans support Israel. Netanyahu said, “This will help us continue the campaign until total victory.” Other polls have painted a very different picture. A recent AP poll found 50% of U.S. adults said they believed Israel’s actions had gone too far. Netanyahu’s comments came after President Biden said Israel will “lose support from around the world” if it “continues on its current path.”

Biden Holds Talks with Congressional Leaders over Shutdown & Military Aid Package

Feb 28, 2024

President Biden hosted congressional leaders at the White House Tuesday for talks on averting a partial government shutdown and to push for passage of a $95 billion package for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan. Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson has refused to schedule a vote on the military aid bill, which has already been approved by the Senate. In public remarks, Biden said the consequences of inaction on approving money for Ukraine are dire.

Massive Texas Wildfire Forces Closure of Nuclear Weapons Facility

Feb 28, 2024

The fifth-largest wildfire in Texas history has forced a nuclear weapons facility outside of Amarillo to temporarily pause operations on Tuesday. The Smokehouse Creek Fire has burned more than 300,000 acres of land since Monday. Evacuations were ordered in parts of Texas and Oklahoma. Texas Governor Greg Abbott has issued disaster declarations for 60 counties as temperatures have soared across the region. On Monday, temperatures in Dallas reached 94 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat records have been broken across the Midwest.

Brazilian Climate Head Warns Climate Change Will Lead to Great Global Instability

Feb 28, 2024

In other climate news, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen met with Brazil’s Environment Minister Marina Silva in São Paulo Tuesday. Silva warned that the climate emergency could lead to more global conflict.

Marina Silva: “We are living in a context of wars, with terrible losses from a humanitarian point of view, from an ethical, political, social, economic point of view. It is practically unspeakable, what is happening in the world with the wars that are happening, and obviously that we want peace. But in the context of climate change, we cannot forget, deny the fact that we can have great instabilities if we do not solve the problem of climate change.”

Russian Court Jails Campaigner from Nobel Peace Prize-Winning Organization Memorial

Feb 28, 2024

A Russian court has sentenced the longtime human rights activist Oleg Orlov to two-and-a-half years in prison for speaking out against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and taking part in antiwar demonstrations. Orlov is a leader of the now-liquidated rights group Memorial, which won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2022 and the Right Livelihood Award in 2004. He briefly spoke on Tuesday after the sentencing.

Oleg Orlov: “We live in the 21st century. Those guys are going backwards, to 20th, 17th and even 16th. Unfortunately, they are dragging our country with them. But we will win anyway.”

Alexei Navalny Funeral to Be Held in Moscow on Friday

Feb 28, 2024

In other news from Russia, the funeral for Alexei Navalny will be held in Moscow on Friday. The Russian opposition leader died nearly two weeks ago in an Arctic prison colony. His wife Yulia Navalnaya addressed the European Parliament earlier today.

Two Protesters Killed in Guinea After Union Called for General Strike

Feb 28, 2024

In Guinea, at least two young protesters were killed Monday as a general strike against military rule paralyzed the capital Conakry. Clashes broke out between security forces and demonstrators as Guinea’s union leaders are demanding an end to media censorship, and lower food and living costs. The strike comes one week after the military government, which took power in a 2021 coup, unexpectedly dissolved the transitional government that had been in place since 2022, seizing the passports of government members and freezing their bank accounts. Demonstrations in Guinea have been rare since the coup; military leaders banned all protests in 2022 and arrested several opposition leaders, activists and journalists. Unions leading the recent strike are also demanding the release of Sékou Jamal Pendessa of the Union of Press Professionals of Guinea, who was arrested in January.

Two Mayoral Candidates Murdered in Mexican City of Maravatío

Feb 28, 2024

In Mexico, two mayoral candidates from the state of Michoacán were killed Monday, within hours of each other. Miguel Ángel Zavala and Armando Pérez Luna were preparing to begin their campaigns for mayor of Maravatío in the coming days when they were gunned down in separate incidents. Both candidates were found shot to death in their cars. Many have warned Mexico’s upcoming June election could be one of the most violent on record. Michoacán has been at the center of drug cartel fighting over territorial control. Zavala was a gynecologist, running with President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s party Morena; Luna was the mayoral candidate for the conservative National Action Party.

San Francisco Issues Formal Apology to Black Residents

Feb 28, 2024

The city of San Francisco has issued a formal apology to Black residents for supporting policies that perpetuated decades of racism and discrimination. A resolution was unanimously approved by city supervisors Tuesday, apologizing to the African American community and their descendants “for decades of systemic and structural discrimination, targeted acts of violence, atrocities,” said San Francisco Supervisor Shamann Walton, who was the lead proponent of the resolution and the only Black member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. But racial justice advocates say an apology is not enough, as they continue to pressure San Francisco officials to approve over 100 other proposals for reparations. Boston is the only other U.S. city that has issued a similar apology, while at least nine other states have formally apologized for slavery.

Mercedes-Benz Workers in Alabama Back Union Drive

Feb 28, 2024

In labor news, thousands of hourly workers at a Mercedes-Benz plant in Vance, Alabama, have signed union cards to join the United Auto Workers. More than half of some 6,000 employees said they support joining the union — a major victory in one of the largest Mercedes-Benz plants in the U.S. Workers are demanding higher wages and better working conditions. In a statement, Mercedes worker Jeremy Kimbrell said, “We haven’t taken this step lightly. For years, we’ve fallen further behind while Mercedes has made billions.”

Earlier this month, the majority of Volkswagen workers at a plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, signed cards to join the UAW.

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