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HeadlinesApril 24, 2024

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Senate OKs $95 Billion for Ukraine, Israel & Taiwan

Apr 24, 2024

The U.S. Senate has approved a $95 billion foreign and military aid package to help Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan. The bill also included a provision that could lead to a ban on TikTok. This is Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Majority Leader Chuck Schumer: “Mr. President, today the Senate sends a unified message to the entire world: America will always defend democracy in its hour of need. We tell our allies, 'We will stand with you.' We tell our adversaries, ’Don’t mess with us.’ We tell the world, 'We will do everything to defend democracy and our way of life.'”

The final vote in the Senate was 79 to 18. Senators voting “no” included 15 Republicans, as well as Democrats Jeff Merkley and Peter Welch and independent Senator Bernie Sanders.

Sen. Bernie Sanders: “We are now in the absurd situation where Israel is using U.S. military assistance to block the delivery of U.S. humanitarian aid to Palestinians. If that is not crazy, I don’t know what is, but it’s also a clear violation of U.S. law. Given that reality, we should not today even be having this debate. It is illegal to continue current military aid to Israel, let alone send another $9 billion with no strings attached.”

U.S. Refuses to Back U.N. Calls for Probe into Mass Graves at Gaza Hospitals

Apr 24, 2024

The Senate approved sending more money to Israel on the same day that the United Nations called for an independent probe into the discovery of over 300 bodies in a mass grave at the Nasser Medical Complex following Israel’s siege on the hospital. Ravina Shamdasani is the spokesperson for the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Ravina Shamdasani: “We are horrified also by the destruction of Al-Nasser Medical Complex and Al-Shifa Medical Complex and the reports of the discovery of mass graves in and around facilities. And we call for independent, effective, transparent investigations into the deaths. Given the prevailing climate of impunity, this should include international investigators. Hospitals are entitled to very special protection under international humanitarian law. And let’s be clear: The intentional killing of civilians, detainees and others who are hors de combat is a war crime.”

On Tuesday, U.S. State Department spokesperson Vedant Patel refused to support the U.N. call for a probe into the mass graves in Gaza. Patel was questioned by journalist Said Arikat.

Said Arikat: “More than 300 bodies have been found. The United Nations is asking or calling for an independent investigation. Would you support such an investigation for this matter?”

Vedant Patel: “Right now, Said, we are asking for more information.”

Said Arikat: “Right.”

Vedant Patel: “That is where — that is squarely where we are leaving the conversation.”

Said Arikat: “Right.”

Vedant Patel: “I don’t have any details to match, confirm or offer as it relates to that. We’re aware of those reports, and we have asked the government of Israel for additional clarity and information. And that’s where I’m at.”


Seder in the Streets: Hundreds Arrested in Brooklyn Protesting U.S. Arming of Israel

Apr 24, 2024

In Brooklyn, New York, police arrested as many as 300 Jewish activists who took part in a massive outdoor Passover Seder near the home of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Protesters were calling for the U.S. to stop funding Israel’s assault on Gaza. This is Simone Zimmerman of Jewish Voice for Peace.

Simone Zimmerman: “What does it mean to celebrate a holiday about liberation in a moment in which Palestinian lives and freedom are under their most grave assault since the Nakba of 1948?”

Crackdown Continues on College Campuses Against Pro-Palestinian Students

Apr 24, 2024

Campus protests continue to spread. At the University of Minnesota, police arrested nine students who refused to take down a pro-Palestinian encampment. In California, the campus of Cal Poly Humboldt was shut down after students occupied a building. In Massachusetts, officials at Harvard University have closed Harvard Yard ahead of possible protests. Harvard has also suspended the student group Palestine Solidarity Committee. Meanwhile, New York University has put up a plywood wall around Gould Plaza, where police arrested students on Monday. And students at Columbia University have reportedly been given a deadline to shut down their Gaza Solidarity Encampment. Suspended Barnard College student Soph Askanase spoke on Tuesday.

Soph Askanase: “I cannot and could not stand to be complicit in our university’s ongoing support for Israel’s genocidal campaign. There are no universities left in Gaza, so we chose to reclaim our university for the people of Palestine.”

National Enquirer Publisher Admits to “Catch and Kill” Effort to Help Trump Win in 2016

Apr 24, 2024

At Donald Trump’s criminal trial, the former publisher of the National Enquirer, David Pecker, had told jurors that he helped Trump’s 2016 campaign by killing stories about Trump’s extramarital affairs while running fake stories about Trump’s opponents. Pecker testified that he began helping Trump after a meeting at Trump Tower in 2015 where the future president asked him to “help the campaign.” Pecker went on to describe the paper’s so-called catch-and-kill policy that involved buying then burying negative articles about Trump. Pecker said, “I said I would be your eyes and ears.” Pecker also admitted the National Enquirer made up a story attacking Trump’s rival Ted Cruz by falsely linking Cruz’s Cuban-born father to Lee Harvey Oswald and the Kennedy assassination.

Meanwhile, the judge presiding over Trump’s trial, Juan Merchan, is expected to rule soon on whether to hold Trump in contempt of court for attacking witnesses and jurors. On Tuesday, Merchan lashed out at Trump’s lawyer, saying, “You’re losing all credibility with the court.”

Supreme Court to Hear Arguments on Idaho’s Near-Total Abortion Ban

Apr 24, 2024

In other legal news, the U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments today on Idaho’s near-total abortion ban. The Biden administration sued Idaho, saying the ban violates EMTALA, the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act, which the Justice Department says protects the rights of pregnant people to get the emergency medical care they need.

Rep. Summer Lee Wins Primary: “Opposing Genocide Is Good Politics and Good Policy”

Apr 24, 2024

In Pennsylvania, Democratic Congressmember Summer Lee has defeated Bhavini Patel. Lee was one of the first members of Congress to call for a ceasefire in Gaza. On Tuesday night, Lee wrote on social media, “Opposing genocide is good politics and good policy. #CeasefireNOW.” Her opponent had been backed by billionaire Republican megadonor Jeffrey Yass, who is an ally of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Summer Lee spoke to supporters last night in Pittsburgh.

Rep. Summer Lee: “Our movement is stronger than every GOP billionaire that exists. Our movement is stronger than any wedge issue, is stronger than any opportunist, is stronger than everybody who wants to say that the power of the people is not stronger than the people in power.”

Ahead of Blinken Visit, China Condemns U.S. for Placing Missile Launchers in the Philippines

Apr 24, 2024

Secretary of State Tony Blinken is arriving in China today for three days of talks in Beijing. On Tuesday, China accused the United States of “stoking military confrontation” by deploying new powerful missile launchers in the Philippines as part of an ongoing military exercise involving nearly 17,000 U.S. and Filipino troops.

Argentina: Hundreds of Thousands Protest Milei’s Plans to Cut Education Spending

Apr 24, 2024

In Argentina, hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets Tuesday to protest President Javier Milei’s plan to cut spending on public higher education. As many as 500,000 rallied in Buenos Aires alone in what may have been the largest day of action since Milei’s election.


Indian Elections: Modi Accused of Hate Speech After Describing Muslims as “Infiltrators”

Apr 24, 2024

Voting is continuing in India’s massive nationwide elections. Opponents of Prime Minister Narendra Modi have accused him of using hate speech after he described Muslims in India as “infiltrators.” The opposition Congress party has filed a formal complaint against Modi with election authorities.


FTC Bans Most Noncompete Clauses

Apr 24, 2024

In labor news, the Federal Trade Commission has voted to ban most employers from using noncompete clauses to bar workers from taking jobs at rival companies. The FTC estimates the rule change could boost the earnings of workers by at least $400 billion over the next decade.

“Blood on Your Hands!”: Protesters Decry Tennessee Vote to Arm Teachers

Apr 24, 2024

Republican lawmakers in Tennessee have passed a bill to allow teachers to carry concealed guns on the grounds of public schools. Protesters inside the Tennessee House began chanting “Blood on your hands” after the Republican leadership cut off debate ahead of the vote.

Protesters: “Blood on your hands! Blood on your hands!”

Justice Dept. to Pay $139 Million to Gymnasts over Mishandling of Abuse Claims Against Dr. Larry Nassar

Apr 24, 2024

The U.S. Justice Department has agreed to pay nearly $139 million to more than 100 gymnasts who accused the FBI of grossly mishandling sexual abuse claims against Larry Nassar, the former doctor for Team USA gymnastics and the Olympic team. The FBI’s neglect led to Nassar abusing or assaulting over 100 young gymnasts between the time the FBI first heard of the accusations in 2015 until Nassar’s arrest the following year. Nassar is currently serving a 60-year sentence.

Mumia Abu-Jamal Turns 70; Supporters to Rally in Philadelphia

Apr 24, 2024

Mumia Abu-Jamal turns 70 today. The imprisoned journalist and former Black Panther has been jailed for over 42 years. Supporters of Mumia are planning to rally near Philadelphia City Hall today, where they plan to deliver petitions collected in France calling for his release.

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