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HeadlinesMay 02, 2024

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Police Violently Crack Down on Gaza Campus Protests at UCLA, Dartmouth, UW and Others

May 02, 2024

In California, riot police have moved in on the Gaza solidarity encampment at the UCLA campus, making arrests and violently dismantling the peaceful protest site. Students reported serious injuries as the officers raided the camp, shooting rubber bullets and flashbangs. We’ll go to Los Angeles after headlines as the situation there continues to develop. On Wednesday, police also made dozens of arrests at the Gaza solidarity encampments at Dartmouth College, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Arizona.

“This Is the Conscience of a Nation”: Columbia Faculty Back Students as Campus Movement Continues

May 02, 2024

Here in New York, police moved in on Fordham University protesters just hours after they set up their encampment at Fordham’s Lincoln Square campus. The Fordham raid came a day after New York police arrested nearly 300 protesters at Columbia University and the City College of New York. On Wednesday, New York City Mayor Eric Adams defended the police raids and claimed “outside agitators” were trying to “radicalize young people.” Meanwhile, on Columbia’s campus, faculty members addressed students. Palestinian American historian and professor of modern Arab studies Rashid Khalidi evoked Columbia’s 1968 protest, telling students their actions would one day be commemorated in the same way.

Rashid Khalidi: “This is the conscience of a nation, speaking through your kids, through young people, who are risking their futures, who are risking suspension, expulsion, criminal arrest, in order to wake people up in this country.”

House Passes Antisemitism Bill, Which Critics Blast as “Chilling”

May 02, 2024

As the crackdown on the student uprising intensifies, the House has passed a bill to widen the federal definition of antisemitism. Critics of the bill included Jerry Nadler, the most senior Jewish member of Congress and a strong supporter of Israel. Nadler said, “This bill threatens to chill constitutionally protected speech. Speech that is critical of Israel alone does not constitute discrimination. The bill sweeps too broadly.”

“Catastrophe on Top of Catastrophe”: Fears Mount over Rafah Invasion as Israel Refuses to Retreat

May 02, 2024

In Gaza, UNICEF is warning an Israeli ground attack on Rafah would bring “catastrophe on top of catastrophe.” The U.N. agency estimates there are 600,000 Palestinian children crammed into the southern city. On Tuesday, Israel’s Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich called for the total annihilation of Rafah and other Gaza cities. While negotiations continue over a temporary ceasefire, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken Wednesday that Israel will refuse to end its assault on Gaza as part of any deal with Hamas to free the hostages.

This comes as aid deliveries for Gaza continue to come under attack. Jordan’s Foreign Ministry has accused Israeli settlers of attacking two Jordanian aid convoys carrying food, flour and other aid. Meanwhile, humanitarian aid has passed through the Erez crossing for the first time since October 7, but aid groups say Israel must allow in far more aid as Gaza faces famine.

U.S. Cities, Hawaii Vote for Ceasefire Resolutions as Washington Continues to Support Israel

May 02, 2024

Back in the U.S., city councils in Boston and Tacoma, Washington, adopted Gaza ceasefire resolutions this week, while the Bloomington, Indiana, City Council overrode their mayor’s veto of its ceasefire resolution. In California, the Richmond City Council voted to divest from Israel. Last week, Hawaii’s House of Representatives passed a ceasefire resolution, joining the Hawaiian Senate, which passed its own resolution in March.

U.S. and Saudi Arabia Reportedly Close to Finalizing Security Pact

May 02, 2024

Bloomberg is reporting the U.S. and Saudi Arabia are nearing a deal to give Saudi Arabia new security guarantees and access to advanced U.S. weapons. Diplomats say this could lead to Saudi Arabia and Israel establishing diplomatic ties.

Colombia Cuts Diplomatic Ties with Israel as Global May Day Protests Foreground Gaza Genocide

May 02, 2024

Colombian President Gustavo Petro has announced Colombia is cutting diplomatic ties with Israel. Petro made the comment during a May Day rally in Bogotá.

President Gustavo Petro: “I believe that today all of humanity, in the streets, by the millions, agrees with us, and we agree with them. It cannot be, the times of genocide, of the extermination of an entire people can’t return before our eyes, before our passivity. If Palestine dies, humanity dies. And we will not let it die.”

Petro’s announcement came as May Day rallies around the world expressed solidarity with Gaza and Palestinian workers. Here in the U.S., some members of the United Auto Workers called on their president, Shawn Fain, to rescind the union’s endorsement of Biden over his support for Israel.

Julia Therese Bannon: “As a UAW member and as the president of my local, UAW must use its political power to put teeth into their call for a ceasefire. … UAW must revoke endorsements of these politicians, if they want to make good on their call for a ceasefire.”

Tens of thousands of students and workers joined May Day protests in New York.

Police Crack Down on Intensifying Protests Against Georgia’s Foreign Influence Bill

May 02, 2024

In the Republic of Georgia, a parliamentary session has been canceled as protests swell in the capital Tbilisi against what’s known as the “foreign influence” bill. Critics say the bill uses Kremlin-inspired measures to crush dissent and moves Georgia away from Europe and closer to Moscow. The bill, pushed by the ruling Georgian Dream party, is just one vote away from passage. Police have deployed pepper spray, tear gas and water cannons against protesters near the Parliament.

Kenya Floods Claim Nearly 200 Lives as Mass Evacuations Ordered

May 02, 2024

Kenya’s president on Tuesday ordered the nationwide evacuation of all residents living along river banks, as the country continues to be devastated by massive floods. On Monday, at least 50 people were killed after a dam burst in the Rift Valley, with torrents of water and mud gushing down and destroying homes in its path. Large areas of Kenya have been devastated by flooding over the past two months, killing some 170 people. Flood survivors described the chaos.

Anne Gachie: “When I opened the dining room door, the water gushed in and made its way through the kitchen. That is how I got out of the house. My husband was forced back into the house by the water, and by that time the house had already started coming down. He managed to quickly maneuver and get out. My daughters who were in the next room were swept out of the house by the force of the water.”

Reuters reports 10,000 people have lost their homes in Nairobi alone due to floods.

Another Boeing Whistleblower Has Died

May 02, 2024

A former employee of Spirit AeroSystems who blew the whistle on the Boeing supplier’s manufacturing and quality control issues has died. Forty-five-year-old Joshua Dean died of a sudden illness after he contracted an MRSA infection and pneumonia. Dean had accused his former employer Spirit AeroSystems of firing him in retaliation for speaking out against the company, including in a shareholder lawsuit last year. Spirit AeroSystems built the door panel that blew out of the Alaska Airlines 737 MAX 9 in January.

Joshua Dean’s death comes two months after Boeing whistleblower John Barnett was found dead of a reported self-inflicted gunshot wound shortly after giving evidence in a lawsuit against Boeing.

Arizona Senate Votes to Repeal 1864 Abortion Ban

May 02, 2024

Arizona’s state Senate voted Wednesday to repeal its 1864 near-total ban on abortions after two Republicans joined their Democratic colleagues. The House already voted for repealing the Civil War-era ban last week, and Democratic Governor Katie Hobbs is expected to sign the bill into law, thereby reinstating a 2022 law that also bans abortions, but after 15 weeks of pregnancy. But the 1864 ban could temporarily go into effect this summer due to procedural rules, unless the state Supreme Court approves a motion by Planned Parenthood to stay the ban until the repeal can be enacted. Arizona Democrats and abortion advocates celebrated the Senate vote Wednesday. This is Athena Salman of Reproductive Freedom for All.

Athena Salman: “We are taking our anger and frustration straight to the ballot box this November and voting for reproductive freedom for all. And first and foremost, that includes flipping the Arizona House and flipping the Arizona Senate so we can protect abortion rights in the future.”

United Methodist Church Overturns 4-Decade Ban on LGBTQ Clergy

May 02, 2024

The United Methodist Church overwhelmingly voted to overturn its 40-year ban on LGBTQ clergy Wednesday. Delegates at the UMC General Conference also voted not to penalize clergy who ordain same-sex unions, effectively allowing same-sex marriage in the church. The historic move caps off a yearslong struggle to end LGBTQ discrimination within the church. Over recent years, around a quarter of UMC congregations have split from the church over its acceptance of LGBTQ rights.

Biden Cancels Another $6 Billion in Student Loans for Borrowers Enrolled at Shuttered Art Institutes

May 02, 2024

President Biden announced another $6 billion in student loan relief, this time for over 300,000 borrowers who attended the Art Institutes. Biden said the now-shuttered group of for-profit colleges “knowingly misled students, and cheated borrowers into taking on mountains of debt without leading to promising career prospects.” The Biden administration has now canceled $160 billion of student debt for some 4.6 million borrowers since the Supreme Court blocked a plan to cancel over $400 billion in federal debt.

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