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HeadlinesFebruary 05, 2024

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U.S. Military Bombs Syria and Iraq Following Drone Attack Against U.S. Base in Jordan

Feb 05, 2024

The United States bombed 85 targets in Syria and Iraq on Friday in retaliation for a recent drone strike by Iranian-backed militants on a base in Jordan that killed three U.S. troops. Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson denounced the U.S. airstrikes as “another adventurous and strategic mistake by the United States that will result only in increased tension and instability.” At least 40 people reportedly died in Friday’s attacks.

On Sunday, a drone struck a base housing U.S. troops in eastern Syria. Six Kurdish fighters allied with the U.S. died in the attack.

President Biden’s National Security Council coordinator Admiral John Kirby appeared on Fox News Sunday.

John Kirby: “I’m certainly not going to talk about potential future military operations. What I would say — and this is a really important point — is what you saw on Friday night was just the first round. There will be additional response actions taken by the administration against the IRGC and these groups that they’re backing.”

The U.S. also bombed Yemen again on Saturday and Sunday, targeting sites controlled by Houthi forces who have vowed to keep targeting ships linked to Israel and the United States until Israel halts its assault on Gaza. This comes as U.S. Secretary of State Tony Blinken returns to the Middle East for meetings in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Qatar and Israel.

Gaza Death Toll Tops 27,300; Palestinian Doctor Describes Torture During Israeli Imprisonment

Feb 05, 2024

Israel is continuing to bomb the southern Gaza city of Rafah, where hundreds of thousands of displaced Palestinians had taken shelter seeking safety. On Saturday, an Israeli strike on a home in Rafah killed at least 14 people, including women and children. At least 30 Palestinians also died in Deir al-Balah, where Israel bombed homes and a mosque. Health officials in Gaza say at least 234 Palestinians have died since Friday, bringing the overall death toll since October 7 to over 27,300.

Meanwhile, a Palestinian doctor who was jailed by Israel for 45 days has described being tortured in Israeli custody. Dr. Said Abdulrahman Maarouf was jailed after Israeli forces raided al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City.

Dr. Said Abdulrahman Maarouf: “The torture was very severe in Israeli prisons. I am a doctor. My weight was 87 kilograms. I lost, in 45 days, more than 25 kilograms of my weight. I lost my balance. I lost focus. I lost all feeling. We were shackled for 45 days, handcuffed for 45 days. However you describe the suffering and insults in prison, you can never know the reality unless you lived through it.”

In other news from Gaza, Belgium summoned the Israeli ambassador after Israel bombed Belgium’s development agency in northern Gaza. The bombing reportedly occurred on Wednesday after Belgium announced it would not pause funding for UNRWA, the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees.

Brown Univ. Students on Hunger Strike to Demand Divestment from Arms Makers Supplying Israel

Feb 05, 2024

Protests are continuing across the U.S. against Israel’s assault on Gaza. In Louisville, Kentucky, 15 people were arrested Friday after they blocked the entrances to offices of military contractors Raytheon and BAE Systems. Meanwhile, 19 students at Brown University have entered their fourth day on hunger strike to urge Brown to divest from weapons manufacturers who are arming Israel.

Senate Border Package Threatens Immigrant Rights; Sanders Amendment Would Cut $10B in Israeli Aid

Feb 05, 2024

A bipartisan group of senators has unveiled a $118 billion package that includes harsh new immigration measures with new military aid for Ukraine, Israel and allies in the Pacific. President Biden has backed the package, describing it as the toughest set of border reforms in decades. The ACLU has warned the bipartisan deal would eviscerate long-standing asylum protections and force the government to summarily expel people from the border without due process. House Speaker Mike Johnson has already said the bipartisan Senate package is “dead on arrival” if it makes it to the House.

Meanwhile, independent Senator Bernie Sanders has announced plans to introduce an amendment to remove $10.1 billion in military aid for Israel. In a statement, Sanders denounced what he called “Netanyahu’s illegal, immoral war against the Palestinian people.”

In other immigration news, a dozen Republican governors joined with Texas Governor Greg Abbott at the U.S.-Mexico border to show support for Texas’s unprecedented standoff with the federal government. Last month, the state of Texas seized a portion of the U.S.-Mexico border and has refused to give Border Patrol agents access to the area.

Biden Easily Clinches South Carolina Primary

Feb 05, 2024

The standoff in Texas comes with the presidential election nine months away. On Saturday, President Biden easily won the Democratic primary in South Carolina — the first primary recognized by the DNC. Biden won more than 95% of the vote. Marianne Williamson placed second with about 2%.

Chile’s Worst-Ever Wildfires Kill 112; Hundreds Still Missing as Blazes Approach Coastal Cities

Feb 05, 2024

In Chile, at least 112 people have been killed as the country’s deadliest-ever wildfires rage throughout the central coastal hills. Hundreds of others are missing in the fires caused by a summer heat wave and drought. Chile is observing two days of national mourning as President Gabriel Boric declared a state of emergency. The fires now threaten to engulf the cities of Viña del Mar and Valparaíso, which have a combined population of over 1 million. This is a resident of Viña del Mar who lost her home this weekend.

Jesica Barrios: “From one moment to the next, the fire reached the botanical park. In 10 minutes, the fire was already on us. There was smoke. The sky turned black. Everything was dark. The wind felt like a hurricane. It was like being in hell.”

Wildfires are becoming more frequent and more lethal as the climate crisis worsens.

Atmospheric River in California Brings Major Flooding, Winds, Landslides

Feb 05, 2024

In Southern California, millions of people are facing life-threatening flooding, winds and landslides as an atmospheric river started lashing the region Sunday. Parts of the Los Angeles area could receive around half a year’s worth of rain by Tuesday. A state of emergency has been put in place for at least eight counties, with some areas also issuing evacuation orders. Nearly a million customers have experienced power outages.

Dutch Police Arrest 1,000 Climate Activists as They Shut Down Major Road

Feb 05, 2024

In the Netherlands, police arrested around 1,000 Extinction Rebellion climate activists as they blocked the A12 highway in The Hague. Activists are demanding the Dutch government speed up their pledge to end some $50 billion in annual fossil fuel subsidies.

Yolande Schuur: “We still demand an end to fossil fuel subsidies, which has not yet happened. The plan to phase them out was supposed to be presented to the Second Chamber at the end of last year, but we are still waiting for that, as well. So, yes, we will return, because the climate crisis is escalating. It’s only getting worse. Fossil fuel subsidies amount to approximately 46.5 billion euros per year. We will return to the A12 main road and sit there until fossil fuel subsidies are lifted.”

Nayib Bukele Declares Victory in El Salvador Elections Amid Warnings over Abuse of Power

Feb 05, 2024

In El Salvador, President Nayib Bukele has declared victory in Sunday’s election — though the official results haven’t been announced. Early ballot counts showed Bukele with over 80% of the votes. Meanwhile, his political party, New Ideas, is expected to win almost all of the seats in El Salvador’s Legislative Assembly, where it already held a supermajority. Bukele addressed his supporters in the capital San Salvador yesterday.

President Nayib Bukele: “We have started to defeat our biggest evil. We are on the cusp of winning the war against the gangs. Literally, it’s not an exaggeration; it’s not a hyperbole. Literally, we went from being the most dangerous country in the world to being the most secure in all of the Western Hemisphere.”

Human rights advocates warned of holding Sunday’s election in El Salvador under a brutal state of emergency enacted by Bukele’s government to “crack down” on gangs, which has led to heavy militarization and the mass arrest of tens of thousands of people since March 2022. Rights groups have documented arbitrary arrests, forced disappearances, torture and violations of due process. They also estimate more than 200 people have died in jail and police custody. Last year, El Salvador’s Supreme Electoral Tribunal allowed Bukele to run for a second term even though the Salvadoran Constitution prohibits it. Many fear Bukele’s grip on power will further erode democracy in El Salvador and push the Central American country to authoritarianism.

Lysychansk Attack Kills 28 People in Russian-Occupied Ukraine

Feb 05, 2024

In eastern Ukraine, Moscow-installed officials say at least 28 people were killed in the town of Lysychansk in the Russian-occupied region of Luhansk. The attack hit a bakery Saturday. At least one of the victims was a child. Ukraine has not yet commented on the attack, which Russian officials say was conducted with the U.S.-supplied High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, or HIMARS.

Protests Erupt in Senegal After President Macky Sall Moves to Delay Elections

Feb 05, 2024

In Senegal, security forces used tear gas to disperse protesters in the capital Dakar after President Macky Sall moved to postpone this month’s elections. Demonstrations took place as the National Assembly gathered to debate the issue.

Protester: “We are only defending ourselves. He meddles with the constitution. He meddles with the newspapers. He meddles with the population. He does everything he can to put us in a difficult position. I say it, and I repeat it once again: We are not fighting for a simple cause; we are fighting for freedom.”

Among the arrested were former Prime Minister Aminata Touré and current presidential candidate Anta Babacar. Some have denounced Sall’s move as an “institutional coup.” The Committee to Protect Journalists called on Senegalese authorities to restore mobile internet after it was cut earlier today amid growing political turmoil.

Sinn Féin’s Michelle O’Neill Becomes Northern Ireland’s First Irish Nationalist Leader

Feb 05, 2024

History has been made in Northern Ireland as Sinn Féin’s Michelle O’Neill has been sworn in to the top post of Northern Ireland’s Parliament, marking the first time the position has been held by a politician who supports the reunification of Ireland. This comes days after the pro-British Democratic Unionist Party agreed to end its nearly two-year-long boycott of the power-sharing government. Michelle O’Neill spoke on Sunday.

Michelle O’Neill: “Today opens the door to a future, a shared future. I am honored to stand here as first minister. We mark a moment of equality and a moment of progress, a new opportunity to work and to grow together, confident in that wherever we come from, whatever our aspirations are, we can and we must build our future together.”

At Least 10 Killed in Pakistani Police Station Attack as Elections Near

Feb 05, 2024

In northwest Pakistan, at least 10 police officers were killed earlier today when over two dozen militants attacked a police station in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region. The group Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan claimed responsibility for the attack. This comes just days before Thursday’s elections in Pakistan.

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s imprisoned former Prime Minister Imran Khan and his wife were sentenced Saturday to seven more years in prison after a court ruled their marriage was unlawful. Khan has now been sentenced in three separate cases over the past two weeks. His supporters say the Pakistani judiciary is unfairly targeting Khan, who was ousted from power in 2022.

Annie Lennox Calls for Gaza Ceasefire During Sinéad O’Connor Tribute at Grammys

Feb 05, 2024

The Grammys were held Sunday night. Several artists used the event to call for a ceasefire in Gaza. Members of the band boygenius, which won the Grammy for best alternative music album, took to the red carpet wearing pins with the logo for “Artists Call for Ceasefire Now.” The musician Annie Lennox called for a ceasefire from the stage just after she performed a version of “Nothing Compares 2 U,” a song popularized by the late Sinéad O’Connor.

Annie Lennox: “Artists for ceasefire, peace in the world!”

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