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HeadlinesApril 02, 2024

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World Central Kitchen Suspends Aid Operations After Israeli Airstrike Kills 7 of Its Workers

Apr 02, 2024

Chef José Andrés’s World Central Kitchen has suspended aid operations in Gaza after an Israeli airstrike killed six international workers from the charity and a Palestinian driver. The aid workers were struck after they left a warehouse in Deir al-Balah where they had unloaded more than 100 tons of food aid that they had brought into Gaza by ship from Cyprus. The aid workers were driving in a clearly marked convoy branded with the charity’s logo. World Central Kitchen said the attack occurred even though they had coordinated in advance with the Israeli military. Erin Gore, the CEO of World Central Kitchen, said, “This is not only an attack against WCK, this is an attack on humanitarian organizations showing up in the most dire of situations where food is being used as a weapon of war. This is unforgivable.”

Earlier today, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu acknowledged Israel carried out the attack, saying, “Unfortunately over the last day there was a tragic incident of an unintended strike of our forces on innocent people in the Gaza Strip.”
The killed aid workers include three British nationals, an Australian, a Polish national and an American-Canadian dual citizen. Two of the aid workers were filmed inside Gaza prior to the attack.

Chef Oli: “There is black lemon. There is chilis. There is several mixed spices, bay leaves, salt, pepper and tomato paste.”

Lalzawmi “Zomi” Frankcom: “Indeed, sir. Wow! This is the beautiful, fragrant aromatic rice that will be served today from Deir al-Balah kitchen. Thank you.”

U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said he was “shocked and saddened” by the attack. Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese also condemned the attack and demanded accountability from Israel.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese: “This is a human tragedy that should never have occurred, that is completely unacceptable.”

Biden Admin Could Send Another $18B in Arms to Israel Despite Mounting Deaths, Public Opposition

Apr 02, 2024

The official death toll in Gaza is now approaching 33,000 as Israel continues its assault in defiance of last week’s U.N. Security Council ceasefire resolution. In Rafah, an Israeli airstrike killed four people, including two children.

Meanwhile, Reuters is reporting the Biden administration is considering a new $18 billion arms package for Israel that would include dozens of F-15 aircraft. This is in addition to the recent U.S. approval of 1,800 2,000-pound bombs and 500 500-pound bombs, as well as 25 F-35 fighter jets.

Benjamin Netanyahu Plans to Ban Al Jazeera, One of the Few Major Outlets Reporting Inside Gaza

Apr 02, 2024

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he will ban the award-winning TV network Al Jazeera, after Israeli lawmakers passed a bill allowing for the temporary banning of foreign broadcasters deemed to be a national security threat. Al Jazeera is the most widely viewed network in the Arab world and is one of the few outlets to have reporters inside Gaza.

Tehran Vows Revenge After Israeli Attack in Syria Kills 7 Iranian Officials, Incl. Top Commander

Apr 02, 2024

Iran has vowed to retaliate after Israel bombed the Iranian Consulate in Damascus, Syria, killing at least seven people, including three senior Iranian commanders and at least four other Iranian officers. The U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the death toll could be as high as 11. Mohammad Reza Zahedi, a senior commander in the al-Quds Force, is said to be the highest-ranking Iranian military officer to be killed since the U.S. assassinated General Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad in 2020. Iran’s Ambassador to Syria Hossen Akbari condemned Israel for striking a diplomatic building.

Hossen Akbari: “We told you before: The Zionist entity knows very well that such crimes and any kind of crimes will not remain without response.”

Primary Voters Urged to Protest Biden Support for War on Gaza at the Ballot Box

Apr 02, 2024

Primary elections are being held today in Wisconsin, Connecticut, Rhode Island and New York. In Wisconsin, activists are urging voters to cast their ballots for “uninstructed.” Inspired by Michigan’s “uncommitted” campaign, Palestinian rights advocates, union members and low-wage and immigrant workers have rallied behind the push to vote “uninstructed,” an option on Wisconsin ballots that allows delegates to make their picks at the party conventions rather than selecting a preferred candidate at the polling site.

Here in New York, the “Leave It Blank” campaign similarly urges Democrats to voice their opposition to Biden’s support for Israel’s assault by withholding their vote and submitting a blank ballot. The initiative is backed by the Working Families Party, IfNotNow, Jewish Voice for Peace, MPower Action, Sunrise Movement and other groups.

Florida’s Top Court Approves 6-Week Abortion Ban But Offers Hope with Abortion Ballot Measure

Apr 02, 2024

The Florida Supreme Court issued two critical decisions on abortion Monday. In a major blow for abortion access across the southern United States, Florida’s highest court ruled abortion rights are not constitutionally protected, allowing a near-total abortion ban to go into effect. The six-week ban provides exceptions for rape, incest, fatal fetal anomalies and medical emergencies.

But reproductive rights advocates hope the legislation will be short-lived, since the Florida Supreme Court also ruled Monday a referendum enshrining the right to an abortion in the state’s Constitution can appear on the November ballot. The Florida Supreme Court also OK’d a ballot initiative to legalize recreational marijuana. The ballot measures require a 60% majority to pass.

Germany Decriminalizes Cannabis for Personal Use

Apr 02, 2024

In Germany, a new law went into effect Monday legalizing the personal possession of up to 25 grams of cannabis. It also allows individuals to cultivate up to three marijuana plants at home. Cannabis will remain illegal for anyone under 18, as some health professionals warn the new legislation could increase smoking among young people. At midnight Monday, people gathered at Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate for a “smoke-in” to celebrate. This is a supporter of the new law.

Felix Reimer: “If you really go into education instead of criminalization — and that’s the right way to go now — I think you can definitely bring awareness to it, because no matter what kind of consumption it is — alcohol, marijuana, maybe other things, too — the most important thing is always safer use and harm reduction. So always make yourself aware of what is actually a healthy dose. The dose makes the poison.”

Armed Violence Claims More Lives in Haiti Amid Stalled Leadership Talks

Apr 02, 2024

Deadly violence continues to plague Haiti as armed groups and police traded more gunfire overnight Monday in Port-au-Prince. At least five people were killed.

Taina Surpris: “I got a phone call this morning. They told me that my father had died. I was astonished. And when I arrived, I saw him lying on the floor.”

The spiraling political turmoil in Haiti appears to have no end in sight. Recently resigned Prime Minister Ariel Henry, who remains locked out of Haiti by armed groups, raised questions this week over the constitutionality of a “transitional council,” which is being formed to serve as an interim governing body until elections are scheduled.

This comes as Canadian forces have been sent to Jamaica to train troops from Caribbean nations to join the U.N.-authorized mission to Haiti. Last week, the U.N. human rights chief called for an arms embargo on Haiti, calling the situation there “cataclysmic.” The majority of guns pouring into Haiti are smuggled in from Florida and other parts of the U.S.

NY Judge Expands Trump Gag Order as Ex-President Pays $175M Bond in Civil Fraud Case

Apr 02, 2024

New York Judge Juan Merchan expanded a gag order on Donald Trump Monday ahead of his April 15 criminal hush money trial, barring Trump from attacking the judge’s family members. Among other things, Trump called Merchan’s daughter a “Rabid Trump Hater” and shared a photo of her on social media.

Meanwhile, Trump posted a $175 million bond in his civil fraud case Monday as he appeals the $464 million judgment against him. The bond is underwritten by the California-based Knight Specialty Insurance Company. The company is owned by billionaire Don Hankey, who has been dubbed the “king of subprime car loans” and is the largest shareholder in Axos Bank, which has provided financial services to Trump and Jared Kushner’s family businesses.

Izzy Award Honors In These Times, Mohammed El-Kurd, Lynzy Billing, Trina Reynolds-Tyler, Sarah Conway

Apr 02, 2024

The 2024 Izzy Award for “outstanding achievement in independent media” will be shared by In These Times and journalists Mohammed El-Kurd, Lynzy Billing, Trina Reynolds-Tyler and Sarah Conway. The award this year recognizes reporting by In These Times on worker-centered economic justice stories. Mohammed El-Kurd is The Nation’s first-ever Palestine correspondent and wrote, among many things, “The Right to Speak for Ourselves.” Lynzy Billing chronicled the American military’s environmental devastation in Afghanistan for Inside Climate News. Trina Reynolds-Tyler and Sarah Conway produced the seven-part series “Missing in Chicago,” which exposed police malpractice in the handling of missing persons cases, disproportionately affecting Black women and girls.

And Democracy Now! is receiving special recognition for our coverage of the ongoing war on Gaza. The Izzy Award is named for the dissident journalist I. F. “Izzy” Stone and is presented by the Park Center for Independent Media at Ithaca College.

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