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HeadlinesApril 25, 2024

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Biden Signs $95B in Foreign Aid, as New Report Details U.S. Weapons Transfer Violates Int’l Law

Apr 25, 2024

President Biden signed the $95 billion military spending package for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan Wednesday after months of congressional wrangling. Biden said weapons would flow into Ukraine “within hours” and declared, “It’s a good day for world peace.” The spending package includes $26 billion in more funding for Israel, which has now killed over 34,000 people in Gaza in just over six months, 14,000 of whom are children, according to official numbers. The true toll is likely much higher, as thousands remain missing or trapped under rubble. Israel announced Wednesday it is readying two reserve brigades ahead of its expected ground invasion of Rafah — which the U.S. has publicly opposed.

As Biden signed off on sending more arms to Israel, an independent task force released a report showing Israel’s use of U.S.-provided weapons violates international humanitarian law. The task force was co-chaired by Palestinian American legal expert Noura Erakat and Josh Paul, who resigned from the State Department over the Biden administration’s support of Israel’s war on Gaza.

WFP Renews Famine Warning in Gaza, Where 70% of North Faces Catastrophic Hunger

Apr 25, 2024

In Gaza, the World Food Programme warned this week that widespread famine is approaching amid the ongoing assault and obstruction of aid.

Gian Carlo Cirri: “We estimate 30% of children below age of 2 is now acutely malnourished or wasted, and 70% of the population in the north is facing catastrophic hunger. There is reasonable evidence that all three famine thresholds — food insecurity, malnutrition, mortality — will be passed in the next six weeks.”

This comes as more horrifying details emerge about three mass graves found at the decimated Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis. Rescue workers have uncovered nearly 400 bodies, including children, with some victims appearing to have been executed or buried alive. We’ll have more on this after headlines.

Aid Groups Warns Lebanon on “Brink of Imploding” After Months of Cross-Border Attacks

Apr 25, 2024

Amid fears of a wider Middle East conflict, the Norwegian Refugee Council’s Jan Egeland is warning Lebanon is “on the brink of imploding.” Over 90,000 people have been forced to flee their homes in southern Lebanon amid daily cross-border attacks between Hezbollah and the Israeli army since October 7.

USC Students Continue Protest Despite Mass Arrests, Inspired by Gazans’ “Spirit of Resistance”

Apr 25, 2024

Student protests against Israel’s war on Gaza are continuing to spread across U.S. campuses despite an intensifying police crackdown. In Los Angeles, police in riot gear arrested 93 people after students at the University of Southern California began an occupation of USC’s Alumni Park to call for USC to divest from Israel.

Student protester: “Students at other schools have shown incredible, incredible bravery, incredible, incredible strength in continuing their occupations in the face of incredible repression from the universities. And we will do the same, as well. And also, more importantly, the people of Palestine have continued, the people of Gaza have continued to show incredible, incredible determination and strength and resilience in their fight for liberation against the Israeli regime, against the genocide that they are experiencing. And so we hope to embody the same spirit of resistance.”

The USC protest came a week after the school canceled the commencement speech by valedictorian Asna Tabassum, who had expressed support for Palestinians. USC has since canceled all outside speakers at this year’s ceremonies.

Police Move In on Peaceful Gaza Solidarity Protests at UT Austin, Princeton, Emerson and More

Apr 25, 2024

At the University of Texas in Austin, school officials called in local and state police, who violently crushed a student attempt to set up an encampment on the university’s South Mall. At least 50 people were arrested, including at least one journalist. Some faculty at UT Austin are going on strike today to protest the police crackdown. In a statement, the teachers wrote, “We have witnessed police punching a female student, knocking over a legal observer, dragging a student over a chain link fence, and violently arresting students simply for standing at the front of the crowd.”

In Massachusetts, police made at least 108 arrests as officers broke up a student encampment at Emerson College in Boston overnight. Meanwhile, students at Harvard University defied school orders and began a tent encampment at Harvard Yard, which had been closed on Tuesday.

And earlier this morning, police moved in and started arresting Princeton students as they were setting up their own Gaza solidarity encampment.

House Speaker Mike Johnson Faces Heckling at Columbia After Calling for National Guard on Campus

Apr 25, 2024

On Wednesday, Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson faced heckling and boos when he visited Columbia University. Johnson called for Biden to send in the National Guard to bring order to the campus, where students set up the Gaza Solidarity Encampment last week. Johnson also called for Columbia President Minouche Shafik to step down. Columbia students criticized Johnson’s visit.

Grace Dai: “What make us scared or threatened is the president bring NYPD to our campus, is when the people like him to say bring the National Guard to our campus. We don’t need that. That is the thing making us feel scared and threatened.”

SCOTUS Hears Case on Idaho Abortion Ban, Which Only Allows Emergency Care If Patient Risks Death

Apr 25, 2024

The U.S. Supreme Court appeared deeply divided as it heard arguments Wednesday on Idaho’s near-total abortion ban. The Biden administration argues Idaho’s law violates the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act by only providing emergency abortion care when a patient is facing death. This is U.S. Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar.

Elizabeth Prelogar: “Women in Idaho today are not getting treatment. They are getting airlifted out of the state to Salt Lake City and to neighboring states where there are health exceptions in their laws, because the doctors are facing mandatory minimum two years in prison, loss of their license, criminal prosecution. The doctors can’t provide the care, because — until they can conclude that a prosecutor looking over their shoulder won’t second guess that maybe it wasn’t really necessary to prevent death.”

The court’s ruling will have major implications for at least half a dozen other states with similar bans. As arguments were delivered, protesters rallied outside the Supreme Court against the Idaho ban.

Protester: “It clearly states that women don’t matter, that the fetus they carry matters more. They’re conduits instead of people. They’re not even given proper access to health treatment and healthcare that they require.”

The Supreme Court is taking up another major case today as it considers Donald Trump’s claims of immunity against criminal prosecution.

Three Arizona Republicans Join Democrats to Repeal 1864 Abortion Ban in State House

Apr 25, 2024

In more abortion news, the Arizona House on Wednesday repealed the 1864 near-total abortion ban — just two weeks after Arizona’s Supreme Court revived the Civil War-era law. Democrats were joined by three House Republicans. The repeal must now pass the Arizona Senate before Democratic Governor Katie Hobbs can sign it, which would reinstate Arizona’s 2022 law, which bans abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Yolanda Bejarano, chair of the Arizona Democratic Party, spoke following yesterday’s vote.

Yolanda Bejarano: “And the stakes in this election cycle could not be higher, and the contrast between our two parties could not be clearer. Democrats are fighting for abortion rights. We are fighting to protect Arizona values. And the Republican Party is taking away our rights and are under sole control of Donald Trump.”

Arizona Grand Jury Indicts Mark Meadows, Rudy Giuliani in “Fake Electors” Case

Apr 25, 2024

In other news from Arizona, a grand jury indicted former President Trump’s Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, lawyer Rudy Giuliani and 16 others for plotting to use “fake electors” in Arizona to overturn Trump’s 2020 election loss.

Meanwhile, in Michigan, a pretrial hearing revealed Trump, Meadows and Giuliani were “unindicted co-conspirators” in the Michigan attorney general’s case against “fake electors.” Prosecutors say all three men directly participated in a plot to replace Michigan’s electoral votes for Biden with electoral votes for Trump.

TikTok Vows to Challenge Law Forcing It to “Ban or Divest”

Apr 25, 2024

TikTok said it will challenge legislation signed by President Biden yesterday which forces TikTok’s Chinese parent company ByteDance to divest from its U.S. operations or be banned. Critics have described the ban as a form of censorship fueled by anti-Chinese sentiment. This is TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew addressing the app’s users on TikTok.

Shou Zi Chew: “As you may have heard, Congress passed a bill, that the president signed into law, that is designed to ban TikTok in the United States. That will take TikTok away from you and 170 million Americans who find community and connection on our platform. Make no mistake: This is a ban, a ban on TikTok and a ban on you and your voice. Politicians may say otherwise, but don’t get confused. Many who sponsored the bill admit a TikTok ban is the ultimate goal.”

33 Climate Activists Arrested After Shutting Down Citigroup HQ

Apr 25, 2024

Back here in New York, 33 climate activists were arrested Wednesday after shutting down Citigroup’s global headquarters to demand the bank stop funding fossil fuels. Activists blockaded every entrance to the building. Click here to see our coverage of this story.

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