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HeadlinesMarch 14, 2024

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At Least 5 People Killed, Including U.N. Staffer, as Israel Bombs UNRWA Gaza Aid Site

Mar 14, 2024

In Gaza, at least five people were killed on Wednesday when Israel bombed an UNRWA aid distribution center in Rafah — one of the U.N. agency’s last remaining aid sites in Gaza. At least one U.N. worker was among the dead. UNRWA workers decried the attack.

Shady: “This is forbidden. We are an international institution. All of this is for people. We stopped returning to our homes. We work day and night to serve refugees. It is forbidden. Look, what is this? We take all of this to the elderly and children. What is this?”

The head of UNRWA, Philippe Lazzarini, said the attack was a “blatant disregard to international humanitarian law.”

27 Gazans Have Died of Hunger, Including 23 Babies and Children, as Israel Continues to Block Aid

Mar 14, 2024

Much of Gaza is on the brink of famine as Israel continues to limit the amount of aid allowed into the besieged territory. At least 27 Palestinians have died of starvation, including 23 children. Meanwhile, Al Jazeera is reporting six Palestinians were killed in Gaza City when Israeli forces opened fire again on crowds waiting for food aid. Over 80 people were injured.

In other news from Gaza, Politico is reporting the Biden administration has privately told Israel that the U.S. would support Israel attacking Rafah as long as it did not carry out a large-scale invasion. Israel has announced it wants to transfer most of the over 1.4 million people seeking refuge in Rafah to what it called “humanitarian islands” in other parts of Gaza.

On Wednesday, one family in Rafah broke their Ramadan fast in the rubble of their destroyed home.

Um Mahmoud Abu Rizek: “Last Ramadan was great, but this year it’s not. A lot of things are not there anymore — my sisters, my family. Our house got destroyed. There are still people under the rubble, and they are still not pulled out. This house was the children’s dream. Their toys and everything is lost.”

U.N.: Israel Violated International Law When It Killed Reuters Reporter Issam Abdallah in Lebanon

Mar 14, 2024

A new U.N. investigation has accused Israel of breaking international law over the killing of Reuters video journalist Issam Abdallah in Lebanon. On October 13, an Israeli tank opened fire at Abdallah and a group of other journalists. The U.N. report stated, “The firing at civilians, in this instance clearly identifiable journalists, constitutes a violation of … international law.”

Activists from San Francisco to New York Disrupt Business as Usual to Shine Light on Gaza Genocide

Mar 14, 2024

Back in the U.S., hundreds of activists partially shut down the International Terminal of San Francisco International Airport Wednesday to demand a permanent ceasefire in Gaza and that the U.S. stop arming Israel. Protesters blocked outside traffic and security check-in, forcing SFO to close certain checkpoints and roadways. One traveler stopped to thank the protesters for the disruption.

Patricia: “I am slightly inconvenienced, so my trip doesn’t go exactly as planned. But I still have a life. I can still live. I’m not dying. I’m not starving. These people are starving.”

Here in New York, activists successfully canceled a planned real estate event in Brooklyn this week that sought to sell homes built on illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank. This came just days after hundreds of activists in New Jersey marched through the streets of Teaneck on Sunday to protest a similar real estate fair as it was taking place in a synagogue.

Jewish Voice for Peace Occupies Hakeem Jeffries’s Office as 20+ Orgs Launch “Reject AIPAC” Coalition

Mar 14, 2024

Protests continue on Capitol Hill, as well. On Tuesday, members of Jewish Voice for Peace occupied the office of Congressmember Hakeem Jeffries, calling on the Democratic leader to reject funding from AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Jeffries is one of AIPAC’s largest recipients. The action came as over 20 groups launched the Reject AIPAC coalition, established to counter the powerful lobby group’s influence in D.C. and to call on elected officials to reject endorsements and contributions from AIPAC.

U.S. House Votes in Favor of TikTok Ban Bill Amid First Amendment and Other Questions

Mar 14, 2024

The House overwhelmingly voted Wednesday in favor of a bill that would force TikTok’s Chinese owner ByteDance to either sell the social media app or face a ban in the U.S. Backers of the bill claim TikTok poses a national security threat and could be used for surveillance by the Chinese government. Rights groups like the ACLU say such a ban would violate the right to free speech. There are around 150 million TikTok users in the U.S. alone. After voting, two of the lawmakers who voted against the measure, Democrats Ro Khanna and Pramila Jayapal, laid out some of the bill’s issues.

Rep. Ro Khanna: “It’s an overly broad bill that I don’t think would stand First Amendment scrutiny. The other issue is that there are a lot of people who make their livelihoods on this.”

Rep. Pramila Jayapal: “There are timeline questions. A hundred and eighty days to sell a company this size is very difficult. What happens to antitrust law? Does it still apply? Does it not apply? And I think, you know, the questions of if this is a de facto ban, I think that is a real problem. And so — but I also have problems — by the way, four countries are named, but if Saudi Arabia buys it, is that fine?”

The measure will now be taken up by the Senate.

Meanwhile, Palestinian rights activists say Israel’s war on Gaza has galvanized anti-TikTok sentiment in conservative and centrist lawmakers. In a leaked post-October 7 audio recording, Jonathan Greenblatt, head of the Anti-Defamation League, can be heard saying, “We have a TikTok problem,” referencing declining public support for Israel among younger people. The progressive group RootsAction also noted that AIPAC is the top donor to Congressmember Mike Gallagher, who authored the TikTok ban bill. This comes as Donald Trump flipped his position on the bill within the last week, now opposing the ban, after recently meeting with GOP megadonor Jeff Yass. Yass’s company holds a 15% stake in ByteDance.

Reports: Biden Weighs Detaining Haitians in Guantánamo If Crisis Leads to Increase in Migration

Mar 14, 2024

A plan to establish a new presidential council in Haiti appears to be crumbling after a number of prominent Haitian politicians and parties have refused to participate. Earlier this week, Caribbean leaders and the United States put forward a plan to establish a seven-person panel to rule Haiti and appoint a new prime minister to replace Ariel Henry, who agreed to resign after facing an armed uprising.

In related news, the Biden administration is reportedly considering housing Haitians in Guantánamo Bay if there is an influx of migrants. Meanwhile, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has deployed soldiers from the National Guard to block Haitians from reaching Florida.

Sudan: 230,000 Children and People Recovering from Birth Are at Risk of Death by Starvation

Mar 14, 2024

The United Nations and aid groups are warning nearly 230,000 children, pregnant people and new mothers in Sudan could die from starvation in the coming months if their nutritional and health needs remain unmet. The humanitarian crisis in Sudan comes as rival military factions continue to fight despite calls for a Ramadan ceasefire. Earlier this week, the Sudanese military regained control of the country’s national radio and television headquarters, which had been seized by the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces.

Torrential Rains in La Paz, Bolivia, Kill at Least One Person, Destroy Homes

Mar 14, 2024

In Bolivia, nonstop rain in the capital La Paz prompted authorities to declare a state of emergency earlier this week as overflowing rivers destroyed homes and killed at least one person. Nearly 50 people have been killed due to flooding since the rainy season in Bolivia started in January. This is an official from La Paz.

Juan Pablo Palma: “In nearly 80 years, we haven’t seen such an event with these characteristics. And in this period, we have had two close to each other. Another unusual event was nine days of continuing rain. There wasn’t any minute during these nine days that the city wasn’t rainy.”

Methane Emissions Remain Far Above Levels Needed to Curb Climate Catastrophe

Mar 14, 2024

In climate news, the International Energy Agency warns methane emissions remain at near-record highs. The agency said, “A 75% cut in methane emissions from fossil fuels by 2030 is imperative to stop the planet from warming to a dangerous level.” The oil industry is the largest producer of methane, and the U.S. is the largest emitter of methane from oil and gas.

“You Are Not an Ally. You Are a Murderer”: Climate Defiance Confronts Chevron CEO Mike Wirth

Mar 14, 2024

Here in New York, activists with Climate Defiance confronted Chevron CEO Mike Wirth on Tuesday as he spoke at an event promoting “the role of engaged men in gender inclusivity.”

Protester: “Chevron is responsible for killing thousands of Indigenous women and exposing thousands more to cancer and reproductive illness. You are not an ally of women. You are a murderer.”

Mike Wirth was forced to leave the event.

Boeing Deleted Footage of Work on Alaska Airlines Door That Blew Off 737 MAX

Mar 14, 2024

Federal investigators looking into the Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 MAX door blowout say their work is being hampered by Boeing’s lack of cooperation and major issues with its recordkeeping. The National Transportation Safety Board said Boeing was not able to provide the name of the employee who worked on the failed door plug and that Boeing overwrote surveillance footage of the plug’s reinstallment. Meanwhile, The New York Times reports Boeing failed 33 out of 89 audits conducted by the Federal Aviation Administration on the 737 MAX.

Georgia Judge Throws Out 6 Charges in Trump Election Subversion Case

Mar 14, 2024

In Georgia, a judge tossed out six of the charges in the wide-ranging election subversion case against Trump and some of his 18 co-defendants. Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee said the charges, which relate to Trump pressuring officials into violating election laws, “lack detail” but that prosecutors could seek a reindictment on those counts. This comes as Judge McAfee is expected to announce his decision soon on whether to disqualify Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis from the case over an alleged improper relationship with a special prosecutor.

Autopsy Finds Nex Benedict Died of Suicide the Day After Being Attacked in High School Bathroom

Mar 14, 2024

In Oklahoma, a medical examiner ruled nonbinary teen Nex Benedict died of suicide. The 16-year-old Nex Benedict’s death last month came one day after they were attacked in a girls’ bathroom by fellow students at Owasso High School. Benedict’s autopsy showed a lethal mix of antihistamines and antidepressants in their system. Nex Benedict identified within the Two Spirit, transgender and gender-nonconforming umbrella.

David Mixner, LGBTQ+ Rights Leader Who Pushed Politicians to Reject Homophobia, Dies at 77

Mar 14, 2024

Longtime LGBTQ+ activist and political adviser David Mixner has died at 77. A friend said the cause of death was complications of long-term COVID. David Mixner was famously close friends with Bill Clinton, on whose presidential campaign he worked. But the relationship fractured after Clinton walked back his promise to end discrimination against LGBTQ people in the military, which Mixner harshly condemned. He was arrested at a 1993 protest against Clinton’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy outside the White House. This is David Mixner on Democracy Now! in 1996.

David Mixner: “And we’ve got to get our act together. You know, the Christian Coalition has been organizing. They’ve been taking over school boards. They’ve been taking over water boards. They’ve been taking over taxation boards at the local level. And for years, I think, on the progressive movement and on the left, we have accepted the criteria that they’re better than the other guy. And so, we have always been put in that position of accepting someone just a little better than someone worse. And I think we shouldn’t accept that anymore.”

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