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HeadlinesMarch 20, 2024

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Appeals Court Puts Texas Anti-Immigrant SB4 on Hold for Now

Mar 20, 2024

In a surprise ruling, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has blocked Texas from enforcing a harsh new anti-immigrant law that gives local police sweeping powers to arrest and deport anyone they suspected has entered the United States without authorization. The appeals court ruling came just hours after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the law could go into effect while the case is being heard by lower courts. Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed SB4 into law in December, but the law was challenged by the Biden administration. Oral arguments before the appeals court will be held today.
On Tuesday, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor criticized the Texas law, writing in her dissent, “This law will disrupt sensitive foreign relations, frustrate the protection of individuals fleeing persecution, hamper active federal enforcement efforts, undermine federal agencies’ ability to detect and monitor imminent security threats, and deter noncitizens from reporting abuse or trafficking.”
Authorities in Mexico have also condemned the Texas law.

WHO Warns Infants in Gaza on the “Brink of Death” as Israel Keeps Limiting Aid Deliveries

Mar 20, 2024

Israel has carried out a number of deadly strikes in Gaza over the past 24 hours. In Gaza City, an Israeli attack killed 24 people at the Kuwait Roundabout, where Palestinians had gathered to collect aid. Meanwhile, an Israeli attack on the Nuseirat refugee camp has killed at least 27 Palestinians. The official death toll in Gaza is approaching 32,000.
The World Health Organization warned Tuesday many infants in Gaza are on the “brink of death” due to the lack of food. A WHO spokesperson said newborn babies are “simply dying because of low birth weight.” The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk said Israel may be committing war crimes by limiting aid into Gaza.

Volker Türk: “The extent of Israel’s continued restrictions on the entry of aid into Gaza, together with the manner in which it continues to conduct hostilities, may amount to the use of starvation as a method of war, which is a war crime. The clock is ticking. Everyone, especially those with influence, must insist that Israel acts to facilitate the unimpeded entry and distribution of needed humanitarian assistance to end starvation and avert all risk of famine.”

Israel Kills Dozens in Ongoing Raid on Al-Shifa Hospital

Mar 20, 2024

Israeli forces are continuing the deadly raid on Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City. Al Jazeera reports dozens of people have been killed. Hundreds of Palestinians have also been detained, including another Al Jazeera journalist, Mahmoud Eliwa, who was reporting inside the hospital complex. His colleague, Ismail al-Ghoul, was detained Monday and released after being stripped naked and beaten severely. The World Health Organization says it has documented 410 attacks on healthcare facilities in Gaza since Israel began its assault on October 7.

Canada to Halt Weapons Shipments to Gaza

Mar 20, 2024

In other news on Gaza, Canada’s government has announced it will halt weapons shipments to Israel after the Canadian Parliament approved a nonbinding resolution on the issue. The motion, which passed by a vote of 204 to 117, also called on Canada to work “towards the establishment of the state of Palestine.”


Trump-Backed Bernie Moreno Wins GOP Senate Primary in Ohio

Mar 20, 2024

Voters headed to the polls Tuesday for primaries in Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Kansas and Ohio. In Ohio, Bernie Moreno won the Republican Senate primary, defeating state Senator Matt Dolan and Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose. Moreno is a wealthy former car dealer who was backed by Donald Trump and Senator J.D. Vance. Moreno will now face Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown in November in a race that could decide which party controls the Senate.

Democratic Voters Voice Dismay over Biden’s Support for Israeli Assault on Gaza

Mar 20, 2024

Joe Biden and Trump won all of their races Tuesday, but there continue to be signs that many voters are not happy with their party’s presumptive nominees. In Arizona, over 18% of Republicans chose Nikki Haley over Trump, even though she has already dropped out of the race. Meanwhile, in Kansas, more than 10% of Democrats selected “none of the names shown” instead of Biden. In Illinois, some Democrats, including Ibrahim Rashid, said they stayed home instead of voting for Biden.

Ibrahim Rashid: “I actually canvassed for Biden in 2020. I was really involved with the South Asians for Biden movement, bringing out South Asian young Muslims and others to come out to vote for Biden in 2020. And I’m planning on sitting out the election because I am just horrified at Biden’s stance on Israel-Palestine. I’m of the view that, you know, we delivered Biden his majority, and he is failing us as young progressive voters. So, right now I’m going to say, 'No ceasefire, no votes.'”

Trump: Jewish Democrats “Should Be Ashamed of Themselves”

Mar 20, 2024

Donald Trump is facing widespread criticism over comments he made about Jewish Democratic voters.

Donald Trump: “Any Jewish person that votes for Democrats hates their religion, they hate everything about Israel, and they should be ashamed of themselves.”

On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer blasted Trump’s remark as “unadulterated antisemitism.” Trump made the comment on a podcast hosted by former White House aide Sebastian Gorka, who has faced accusations of antisemitism, as well. In 2017, the Jewish newspaper The Forward reported that Gorka had ties to a Hungarian far-right, Nazi-allied group and that he supported an antisemitic and racist paramilitary militia in Hungary while he served as a Hungarian politician.

Kushner Praises Gaza’s “Valuable” Waterfront Property, Says Israel Should Force Palestinians Out

Mar 20, 2024

Trump’s son-in-law and former adviser Jared Kushner has weighed in on Israel’s war on Gaza, saying that Israel should move Palestinians out of the besieged territory, which he said contains very valuable waterfront property. Kushner made the remarks during a recent event hosted by the Middle East Initiative at Harvard Kennedy School.

Jared Kushner: “And Gaza’s waterfront property, it could be very valuable to — if people would focus on kind of building up, you know, livelihoods. You think about all the money that’s gone into this tunnel network and into all the munitions, if that would have gone into education or innovation, what could have been done. And so, I think that it’s a little bit of an unfortunate situation there, but I think, from Israel’s perspective, I would do my best to move the people out and then clean it up. But I don’t think that Israel has stated that they don’t want the people to move back there afterwards.”

Doctors Without Borders Says EU-Funded Libyan Coast Guard Disrupt Attempts to Aid Migrants at Sea

Mar 20, 2024

The humanitarian aid group Médecins Sans Frontières, or Doctors Without Border, has accused Libya’s Coast Guard of thwarting the rescue of over 170 migrants, most of them Syrian refugees, from two vessels stranded in the Mediterranean Sea as they made their way to Europe. MSF said a Libyan Coast Guard ship had “started to perform dangerous manoeuvres,” blocking two rigid inflatable boats used by MSF to rescue the migrants. The Libyan Coast Guard, which is funded by the European Union, also reportedly attempted to tow away one of MSF’s inflatable boats. A number of those on board the migrant vessels were unaccompanied children and children under the age of 13. Just last week, at least 60 people are believed to have drowned in the Mediterranean after departing Libya on a migrant vessel. According to the International Organization for Migration, 2,500 migrants died or went missing in the Mediterranean last year as they attempted to reach Europe. Two hundred deaths have been recorded since the start of 2024.

Cuba Blasts U.S. Embargo as Protesters Decry Power Blackouts & Food Shortages

Mar 20, 2024

The Cuban government is accusing the United States of inciting recent protests in Cuba, where a growing economic crisis has resulted in power blackouts and food shortages. On Sunday, hundreds of people took to the streets of Santiago, Cuba’s second largest city. Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel criticized U.S. policy in an interview with NBC News in Havana.

President Miguel Díaz-Canel: “They are always looking for justifications and turning things around. The most absurd thing is that they have applied a criminal blockade against us for more than 65 years. That is the absurdity. And the absurdity of that blockade is what has provoked all other reactions, which is reflected in the things that are happening.”

U.N. Weather Agency Issues “Red Alert” After 2023 Shattered Heat Records

Mar 20, 2024

The U.N. weather agency has issued a “red alert” about the climate emergency as new data from the World Meteorological Organization shows 2023 was by far the warmest year on record and that this year may be even hotter. Celeste Saulo, the secretary-general of the WMO, spoke on Tuesday.

Celeste Saulo: “The year 2023 set new records for every single climate indicator. This annual report shows that the climate crisis is the defining challenge that humanity faces. It is closely intertwined with the inequality crisis, as witnessed by growing food insecurity, population displacement and biodiversity loss.”

Two Members of Mississippi Police “Goon Squad” Sentenced for Torturing Black Men

Mar 20, 2024

In Jackson, Mississippi, two white former sheriff’s deputies, who belonged to a group that described itself as the “Goon Squad,” were sentenced to lengthy prison time for raiding a home and torturing two Black men in January 2023. Hunter Elward received a 20-year prison sentence; Jeffrey Middleton was sentenced to 17-and-a-half years. Both pleaded guilty to multiple felony federal and state charges last August, along with four other former law enforcement officers. The six men burst into a home and then beat, handcuffed, waterboarded and tasered Michael Corey Jenkins and Eddie Terrell Parker. The officers also sexually abused them with a sex toy while shouting racial slurs. One of the officers put a gun in Jenkins’s mouth for a “mock execution” and pulled the trigger. The bullet lacerated Jenkins’s tongue, broke his jaw and exited through his neck. The officers then planted drugs at the scene in an attempt to cover up their act. One of the officers, Hunter Elward, was also sentenced for his role in a separate assault, just two weeks earlier, when another member of the “Goon Squad” repeatedly tased a man and pressed his genitals against him.

Arizona State Lawmaker Goes Public with Plan to Have an Abortion

Mar 20, 2024

In a speech on the Arizona state Senate floor, Democrat Eva Burch shared she plans to obtain an abortion after receiving news her pregnancy is nonviable. The first-term lawmaker spoke about her struggles with fertility and a miscarriage she had over a decade ago.

Sen. Eva Burch: “Two years ago, while I was campaigning for this Senate seat, I became pregnant with what we later determined was a nonviable pregnancy. It was a pregnancy that we had been trying for, and we were heartbroken over it. But now I wish I could tell you otherwise, but after numerous ultrasounds and blood draws, we have determined that my pregnancy is once again not progressing and is not viable. And once again, I have scheduled an appointment to terminate my pregnancy. I don’t think people should have to justify their abortions, but I’m choosing to talk about why I made this decision, because I want us to be able to have meaningful conversations about the reality of how the work that we do in this body impacts people in the real world.”

Arizona state Senator Eva Burch is a former nurse practitioner who worked at a women’s health clinic and has been widely critical of abortion restrictions in Arizona, where abortions are banned after 15 weeks of pregnancy. There are no exceptions for rape or incest.

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