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HeadlinesApril 09, 2024

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Netanyahu Says Date for Rafah Invasion Has Been Set as Israel Continues Its Deadly Attacks

Apr 09, 2024

Palestinian media say airstrikes hit two homes in Gaza City’s Zeitoun neighborhood earlier today, killing and injuring dozens of people. Other attacks were reported in other Gaza City neighborhoods, including Shuja’iyya and Sabra. This comes as negotiations in Egypt continue. Hamas said the latest ceasefire proposal does not meet its demands but that it is continuing to review the plan, which includes a six-week pause in fighting and the exchange of 40 Israeli hostages for at least 700 Palestinians imprisoned by Israel. While Hamas is demanding Israel end its assault on Gaza, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned on Monday that Israel has set a date to invade Rafah.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: “Today I received a report on the talks in Cairo. We are constantly working to achieve our goals, first and foremost the release of all of our hostages and achieving a complete victory over Hamas. The victory requires entry into Rafah and the elimination of the terrorist battalions there. It will happen. There is a date.”

Displaced Palestinians have been returning to Khan Younis after Israel withdrew from the decimated southern city. One woman, Umm Eyad al-Najjar, said normally she would be preparing for Eid celebrations at this time of year as she took in the ruins of her home.

Umm Eyad al-Najjar: “Our house was good and had everything. I lacked nothing. I lived happily with my husband, and our daughter’s children used to live with us, too. … There is no Eid for me. I have no desire to celebrate or do anything. I’ll just sit in front of my house like this. We won’t go anywhere. And many of our family members were martyred. They’re still uncovering the bodies. Praise God. Who wants to celebrate? Every house has wounded or martyrs.”

UNSC Considers Palestine Request for U.N. Membership; Germany Tells ICJ It Is Not Abetting Genocide

Apr 09, 2024

The U.N. Security Council will make a formal decision on Palestine’s bid for full U.N. membership this month. Palestine initially submitted its application for U.N. admission in 2011. This is the Palestinian U.N. ambassador, Riyad Mansour, speaking Monday.

Riyad Mansour: “It was a historic moment then, and now that historic moment has been revived again. And we sincerely hope, after 12 years since we changed our status to an observer state, that the Security Council will elevate itself to implementing the global consensus on the two-state solution by admitting the state of Palestine for full membership.”

But the U.S., one of five permanent members of the Security Council, is expected to use its veto power. U.S. representatives say Palestine needs to negotiate statehood with Israel before it is granted statehood at the U.N.

Meanwhile, in The Hague, the International Court of Justice is holding its second day of hearings into Nicaragua’s case against Germany. Germany has denied Nicaragua’s charge that it violated the Genocide Convention by providing military and financial aid to Israel.

“We Are Repulsed by Your Actions”: New Irish Prime Minister Sends Message to Netanyahu

Apr 09, 2024

Ireland’s incoming Prime Minister Simon Harris has called for an immediate ceasefire, saying in a speech Sunday the famine in Gaza is a “spectre no Irish person can bear,” referencing Ireland’s historical famines, including the Great Famine of the mid-19th century. Harris, who is being sworn in by Ireland’s parliament today, had a message for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Prime Minister-elect Simon Harris: “Prime Minister Netanyahu, let me say this to you this evening: The Irish people could not be clearer. We are repulsed by your actions. Cease fire now and let the aid flow safely.”

Iran Opens New Consulary Site in Damascus, Accuses U.S. of Greenlighting Israel’s Attack

Apr 09, 2024

Iran’s foreign minister opened a new diplomatic site in the Syrian capital Damascus Monday, one week after Israel bombed the Iranian Consulate, killing at least seven Iranian officers. Hossein Amir-Abdollahian renewed Iran’s vow to retaliate and accused the U.S. of giving Israel the “green light” for the attack.

Hossein Amir-Abdollahian: “I want to say from here in Damascus with a loud voice: America is responsible for this terrorist attack, and it must take responsibility.”

Meanwhile, Iranian press is reporting Tehran told the Biden administration it will refrain from attacking Israel if the U.S. can secure a ceasefire in Gaza. The report has not been confirmed by Tehran, and the Biden administration has denied it.

ACLU Warns Against UMich Censorship Policy over Palestinian Rights Activism

Apr 09, 2024

The University of Michigan has come under fire over its proposed “Disruptive Activity Policy,” which was issued by University President Santa Ono after Palestinian rights activists interrupted a speech he was giving. The ACLU of Michigan warns the policy will have a chilling effect and likely lead to violations of the First Amendment.

Elsewhere, Vanderbilt University in Tennessee has expelled, suspended and issued disciplinary probations to a group of students who engaged in a sit-in protest demanding Vanderbilt divest from companies complicit in Israel’s occupation and killing of Palestinians.

Trump Boasts Overturning Roe v. Wade But Backs State Authority Over Abortion

Apr 09, 2024

Special counsel Jack Smith is urging the Supreme Court to dismiss Donald Trump’s bid for immunity in his federal election interference case, arguing presidents are subject to criminal law. Supreme Court justices are scheduled to hear arguments in the case on April 25.

In other Trump news, the GOP front-runner said Monday abortion rights should be decided by states. Trump has refrained from endorsing a national abortion ban, but has taken credit for the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade, which has led to a cascade of abortion bans in Republican-run states, including Florida, where a six-week ban is set to go into effect May 1.

Panama Papers Trial Kicks Off 8 Years After Tax Evasion Scandal

Apr 09, 2024

The trial for 27 people charged in connection with the Panama Papers scandal began Monday in Panama City — eight years after the massive data leak. In 2016, an international team of journalists published millions of documents exposing how the Panama-based Mossack Fonseca law firm set up a global network of shell companies for some of the wealthiest people in the world — heads of state and other elites — to hide money offshore, avoiding taxes and oversight. The leak prompted the resignation of Iceland’s prime minister and implicated other world leaders, including former British Prime Minister David Cameron and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Those currently on trial include the founders of the now-defunct Mossack Fonseca law firm. The Panama Papers represent just a fraction of the trillions of dollars hidden away, often illegally, in offshore tax havens.

Mozambique Shipwreck Kills Some 100 People, Including Children

Apr 09, 2024

About 100 people were killed, including children, after an overcrowded makeshift ferry sank off the northern coast of Mozambique. Some 20 others are still missing. The group of 130 people had fled from Nampula, on mainland Mozambique, reportedly after hearing news of a cholera outbreak. Mozambique authorities blamed their deaths on the spread of misinformation about the spread of the disease.

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Biden Announces New Student Debt Relief as He Campaigns in Wisconsin

Apr 09, 2024

President Biden announced new plans to cancel student debt for about 23 million people. Some of those to benefit include borrowers who now owe more than their original loan amount due to out-of-control interest, those who have had debts for over 20 years, borrowers who were enrolled in so-called low-value school programs and those facing economic hardship. The new plan would completely erase student debt for around 4 million borrowers. Biden announced the debt relief in a speech in Madison, Wisconsin, Monday, as he made another pitch for reelection in the key swing state.

President Joe Biden: “I also want to make — and I’ve been pushing this, and if I’m reelected, I’m going to push it hard; we’re going to get it done next time — is I want to make community college tuition-free, so you won’t need loans at all, and cut in half the cost of going to college.”

European Rights Court Hands Win to Swiss Seniors, Defeat to Portuguese Youth in Historic Climate Cases

Apr 09, 2024

In Strasbourg, France, the European Court of Human Rights handed out one victory and two defeats for the climate justice movement today as it ruled on three historic climate cases. The court ruled in favor of over 2,000 senior women from Switzerland who argued their rights were violated by governmental inaction on the climate crisis.

Siofra O’Leary: “The court finds that there were some critical lacunae in the Swiss authorities’ process of putting in place the relevant domestic regulatory framework. This included a failure to quantify, through a carbon budget or otherwise, national greenhouse gas emissions limitations. Furthermore, as recognized by the relevant authorities, the respondent state had previously failed to meet its past greenhouse gas emission reduction targets by failing to act in good time and in an appropriate and consistent manner.”

The Swiss women hailed their “historic” victory, but the celebration was tempered by the court’s dismissal of similar cases by six youth activists in Portugal and a former French mayor. Activist Greta Thunberg, who was at the courthouse for the verdicts, weighed in on those verdicts.

Greta Thunberg: “It’s a betrayal beyond words, and today’s rulings make very clear that the European states have a legal responsibility to take real climate action and to protect people, to protect its citizens. It cannot be a political choice whether to respect human rights or not.”

Brazil’s Indigenous Communities Receive Gov’t Apology; Literary Recognition for Aílton Krenak

Apr 09, 2024

The Brazilian state issued a historic apology for the atrocities committed against Indigenous peoples during its military dictatorship. The unprecedented move came as the country marked last week the 60th anniversary of the 1964 U.S.-backed coup that ushered in the military dictatorship, which ruled for the next two decades. Brazil’s National Truth Commission found 8,300 Indigenous people were killed during the dictatorship. Others were thrown off their land, imprisoned in internment camps and tortured.

The apology came after the Guarani-Kaiowá and the Krenak Indigenous groups requested a collective apology from the Brazilian government’s Amnesty Commission. During a ceremony last Tuesday, the commission’s chairwoman, Eneá de Stutz, kneeled in front of Indigenous leaders to ask for their forgiveness. Here she addresses Djanira Krenak.

Eneá de Stutz: “I’m asking for forgiveness for the persecution that in the last 524 years your people, as well as all other original peoples, suffered due to the invasion [by] the non-Indigenous people on this land that belongs to you. So, you, as leader, as the matriarch of the Krenak people, please bear our respect, our tributes and our sincere apology so that this never happens again.”

Also last week, on Friday, prominent journalist, author and environmentalist Aílton Krenak became the first Indigenous member of the prestigious Brazilian Academy of Letters. Aílton Krenak vowed to use his seat to open up the elite academy to the more than 200 Indigenous languages in Brazil. He also reflected on the government’s apology issued days earlier, saying, “Saying sorry afterwards means very little in terms of reparation. What we need is real reparations for Native peoples.”

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