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HeadlinesFebruary 09, 2024

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UNICEF Warns Israeli Escalation in Rafah Attack Will Cause Hunger and Disease to Skyrocket

Feb 09, 2024

In southern Gaza, Israeli snipers gunned down at least 21 people in Khan Younis as they tried to reach Nasser Hospital. Al Jazeera reports Israeli soldiers are “shooting at every moving object” near the hospital. In northern Gaza, the al-Quds Hospital has been under fire from Israeli tanks.

UNICEF has warned an escalation of Israel’s attacks in Rafah will cause hunger and disease to “skyrocket.” Over half of Gaza’s population of 2.3 million have taken refuge in Rafah after Israel claimed it was a “safe” zone. There are more than 600,000 children in the area. Gaza is already experiencing the worst levels of child malnutrition in the world. This comes as a U.N. committee said it will review Israel’s abuses of children’s rights.

Ann Skelton: “The rights of children living under the state of Israel’s effective control are being gravely violated at a level that has rarely been seen in recent history.”

In the Jabaliya refugee camp, Gazans dug through rubble in a desperate search to find any source of water.

Mahmoud Khedr: “I don’t know what to tell you. It’s a hopeless situation. Instead of getting some rest, we dig under the rubble there. This water line, for your information, we dug it out from under the rubble. We kept digging until we found water. … We’re back to the Stone Age, 30,000, 40,000, 50,000 years ago. We dig water out, filter it from sand and use it for cooking. … We’re asking all Arab countries and everyone to figure out a solution, because this is not a solution. We die every day, every minute, every second.”

Meanwhile, the United Arab Emirates is hosting a meeting of Arab nations in a bid to prevent an escalation of a larger regional conflict.

Palestinian American Brothers Detained by Israel After Raid on Gaza Home

Feb 09, 2024

The family of two Palestinian American brothers say the pair, their Canadian father and three other relatives have been detained after an Israeli raid on their home in Gaza. The brothers, Borak and Hashem Alagha, are aged 18 and 20. National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby says the U.S. will talk to Israel about the detention of the brothers, as well as Samaher Esmail, a Palestinian American woman from Louisiana who was forcibly taken by Israeli soldiers in the occupied West Bank earlier this week.

Meanwhile, in the United States, Texas police say the Sunday stabbing in Austin of 23-year-old Palestinian American Zacharia Doar was a hate crime.

Senate Moves Ahead with $95 Billion Funding Bill for Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan

Feb 09, 2024

The Senate voted to advance a $95 billion military funding package for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan. The measure was stripped of border provisions after Republicans rejected an earlier bill that included an immigration crackdown that they themselves had demanded. Senators will now consider sending an additional $60 billion to Ukraine and $14 billion to Israel.

Northwestern Drops Case Against Students Who Made Mock School Paper

Feb 09, 2024

In Illinois, prosecutors have dropped criminal charges against two Northwestern University students who published a mock school newspaper accusing Northwestern of being complicit in the genocide of Palestinians. The reversal comes after the parent company of The Daily Northwestern faced condemnation and threats to boycott the paper.

AFL-CIO Joins Labor Union Call for Gaza Ceasefire

Feb 09, 2024

In labor news, the AFL-CIO has joined other unions in calling for a ceasefire in Gaza. The AFL-CIO is the largest federation of labor unions in the U.S., representing some 12.5 million people.

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Special Counsel Hur Declines to Charge Joe Biden in Classified Docs Case, Attacks Biden’s Memory

Feb 09, 2024

The special counsel investigating Joe Biden’s handling of classified documents after his vice presidency has declined to charge Biden despite finding the president “willfully retained and disclosed classified materials.” In his report, special counsel Robert Hur said Biden had fully cooperated with his investigation. He also said that a jury would be sympathetic to Biden and view him as a “well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.” Hur made several other references to Biden’s memory, which he called “significantly limited.” Biden later responded to questions about Hur’s comments.

President Joe Biden: “My memory is fine. My memory — take a look at what I’ve done since I’ve become president. None of you thought I could pass any of the things I got passed. How did that happen? You know, I guess I just forgot what was going on.”

Later in the same news conference, Biden mistakenly referred to Egypt’s Abdel Fattah el-Sisi as the president of Mexico.

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SCOTUS Appears Skeptical of Colorado’s Ruling That Disqualified Trump from the Ballot

Feb 09, 2024

The Supreme Court appears poised to overturn Colorado’s ruling which disqualified Trump from the primary ballot for engaging in an insurrection. Both liberal and conservative justices expressed skepticism over Colorado’s case. This is Justice Elena Kagan.

Justice Elena Kagan: “I think that the question that you have to confront is why a single state should decide who gets to be president of the United States. In other words, you know, this question of whether a former president is disqualified, for insurrection, to be president again is — you know, just say it — it sounds awfully national to me. So whatever means there are to enforce it would suggest that they have to be federal, national means.”

The Supreme Court’s decision, expected in the coming weeks, will likely apply to any other state where efforts are underway to remove Trump from the ballot, such as Maine.

In other primary news, on Thursday, Trump won the Republican primary caucuses in Nevada and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Nevada also held its Democratic caucus, which Biden won.

In more election news, the Federal Communications Commission has banned AI-generated robocalls.

Allies of Jailed Ex-PM Imran Khan Hold Lead in Tight Pakistani Elections

Feb 09, 2024

In Pakistan, early results of Thursday’s parliamentary election show independent candidates affiliated with jailed former Prime Minister Imran Khan in the lead. Cellphone and internet services were cut off just as voting began, which opposition candidates denounced as another move by Pakistan’s military-backed interim government to rig the election. We’ll go to Pakistan for more later in the broadcast.

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Russian Election Authorities Bar Opposition Candidate Boris Nadezhdin from Running Against Putin

Feb 09, 2024

Russia’s Election Commission has barred antiwar Putin challenger Boris Nadezhdin from running in next month’s presidential election. Authorities claimed around 15% of the signatures he collected for his candidate application were invalid, putting him below the threshold for qualification. Although President Vladimir Putin is widely expected to win the election, Nadezhdin has emerged as the opposition’s best shot. He’s vowed to challenge his disqualification all the way to Russia’s Supreme Court.

Boris Nadezhdin: “You can take me off the elections — OK, you can — but what will they do with the millions waiting for changes, who disagree with the course the country is going? That’s the problem. These people are not going anywhere. … I will continue working further. We will be moving candidates for elections. We will be organizing a widespread movement.”

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Brazilian Police Confiscate Ex-President Bolsonaro’s Passport as Coup Investigation Heats Up

Feb 09, 2024

Brazil’s Federal Police has confiscated former President Jair Bolsonaro’s passport, as he faces accusations of plotting a military coup to overturn his election loss to Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in 2022. Federal agents carried out 33 searches and four arrests tied to the case Thursday. Bolsonaro and his allies are accused of spreading disinformation about voter fraud, recruiting military officials to support a coup, and encouraging far-right protesters to storm government buildings to prevent Lula from taking office.

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Protests Continue in Haiti Amid Mounting Insecurity and as PM Ariel Henry Extends His Rule

Feb 09, 2024

In Haiti, police killed five environmental protection agents Wednesday amid escalating protests demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Ariel Henry and an end to gang violence. Haitian police claimed the environmental agents opened fire first. Clashes were also reported throughout the capital Port-au-Prince, with police firing tear gas and live bullets at protesters.

Cyrthil Marcelin: “We have no set course. We are on the streets until we succeed in uprooting these gangs at the head of state.”

U.S.-backed Prime Minister Henry became the de facto ruler following the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse in 2021. According to a 2022 agreement, Henry was supposed to hold elections and hand over power to the winner this week. But the elections were not held as planned, as Henry claimed he would schedule them only after the country’s security situation improves.

U.N. Says $4B in Aid Needed for Sudan as It Faces Humanitarian Tragedy

Feb 09, 2024

The U.N. is appealing for over $4 billion in aid for Sudan, which is facing some of the world’s worst internal displacement and hunger crises after months of fighting between the Sudanese army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces. This is U.N. aid chief Martin Griffiths.

Martin Griffiths: “There is a certain kind of obscenity about the humanitarian world, which is the competition of suffering, a competition between places. 'I have more suffering than you, so I need to get more attention, so I need to get more money.' … But I don’t think there’s anywhere quite so tragic in the world today as Sudan.”

The World Food Programme warned last week Sudanese people are dying of starvation as the conflict has cut off many people from accessing aid.

13 Sudanese Refugees Die, 27 Others Missing After Boat Capsizes in Mediterranean

Feb 09, 2024

Thirteen Sudanese asylum seekers died after their boat capsized off Tunisia’s coast Wednesday. Twenty-seven other passengers were missing as of Thursday. The International Organization for Migration found more than 3,000 people drowned in the Mediterranean while attempting to cross to Europe in 2023.

Greek Court Acquits Aid Workers Who Rescued Refugees, as They Await Next Trial

Feb 09, 2024

In related news, a Greek court has acquitted 16 humanitarian workers who helped rescue refugees in the Mediterranean Sea in 2015 and 2016. They had been accused of espionage and other charges in what has been condemned as the criminalization of humanitarian work. But the aid workers are not in the clear yet, as they still face a separate felony trial with charges including facilitating illegal immigration and money laundering.

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