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HeadlinesJune 12, 2024

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Hamas and Islamic Jihad Respond to U.N. Ceasefire Plan

Jun 12, 2024

Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad have submitted a formal response to a United Nations ceasefire proposal for the Gaza Strip. A Hamas spokesperson said the group’s priority is to bring a “complete stop” to Israel’s assault on Gaza. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has yet to respond publicly to the U.S.-backed ceasefire resolution, which was approved by the U.N. Security Council on Monday. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Tuesday Netanyahu had “reaffirmed his commitment to the proposal.”

This comes as Israel continues its unrelenting assault on the Gaza Strip. Among the latest attacks was an airstrike on a home in Gaza City’s Zeitoun neighborhood earlier today that killed at least six people. In Jordan, world leaders and top aid officials gathered Tuesday for an emergency humanitarian summit on Gaza. They were joined by U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres.

Secretary-General António Guterres: “Excellencies, the horror must stop. It’s high time for a ceasefire, along with the unconditional release of hostages. I welcome the peace initiative recently outlined by President Biden and urge all parties to seize this opportunity and come to an agreement.”

U.N. Inquiry on Gaza Finds Israel Committed War Crimes Including Starvation, Torture and Murder

Jun 12, 2024

A new report by a U.N. independent human rights body finds both Israel and Palestinian armed groups have committed war crimes since Hamas’s surprise attack on October 7. The damning U.N. report accuses Israel of using starvation as a method of warfare, forcible transfer and intentionally directing attacks against civilians. It calls on Israeli leaders to immediately end attacks resulting in the killing and maiming of civilians in Gaza, to end the siege, to implement a ceasefire and to pay reparations. The report also calls for the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages held by Hamas.

On Tuesday, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin congratulated Israel’s military chief over Saturday’s raid on the Nuseirat refugee camp, which freed four Israeli hostages. His call to Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant came as the United Nations’ top human rights office said Israel likely committed war crimes during the operation, which killed at least 274 Palestinians. Sixty-four children were among the dead; nearly 700 others were wounded.

Jeremy Laurence, spokesperson for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, said Israel’s actions had left human rights workers “deeply shocked.”

Jeremy Laurence: “Hundreds of Palestinians, many of them civilians, were reportedly killed and injured. The manner in which the raid was conducted in such a densely populated area seriously calls into question whether the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution, as set out under the laws of war, were respected by the Israeli forces.”

Israeli Strike on Lebanon Kills Hezbollah Commander

Jun 12, 2024

Israel’s military says it killed a commander of Hezbollah during an assault on southern Lebanon Tuesday. Taleb Abdallah is among the most senior Hezbollah officials killed since cross-border fighting between Israel and Hezbollah escalated eight months ago. Meanwhile, in the occupied West Bank, Israeli forces killed six Palestinians during a military raid on the town of Kafr Dan. Among those killed was the brother of a 12-year-old child who was killed by Israeli forces in Jenin two years ago.

“15,000 Kids Dead Is Not Self-Defense!”: Protesters Confront Jake Sullivan over Gaza Assault

Jun 12, 2024

In Washington, D.C., peace activists with CodePink disrupted a public address Tuesday by national security adviser Jake Sullivan. He was speaking at the American Jewish Committee’s Global Forum in Washington, D.C.

Ted Deutch: “Jake, thank you for being here with us today. We know” —

Olivia DiNucci: “Jake Sullivan, you are a war criminal! Fifteen thousand people — 15,000 kids dead is not self-defense!”

Ted Deutch: “Please get off the stage.”

Olivia DiNucci: “Jake Sullivan, you are a war criminal!”

Ted Deutch: “Please, please, get off the stage.”

Olivia DiNucci: “Jake Sullivan, you are a war criminal!”

CodePink activists Olivia DiNucci and Medea Benjamin were quickly removed from the venue. Their protest came a day after officers with the Federal Protective Service fired a salvo of pepperball rounds to clear demonstrators who had erected a tent encampment outside a San Francisco federal building to protest U.S. support for Israel’s assault on Gaza. Elsewhere, President Joe Biden was interrupted Tuesday by a protester who accused him of being “complicit” in genocide.

President Joe Biden: “The main reason I’m here is to say, and I mean this from the bottom of my heart” —

Protester: “You’re complicit in genocide! Stop sending weapons to Israel!”

Crowd: [booing]

President Joe Biden: “No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no.”

President Biden was speaking at a Washington, D.C., conference hosted by Everytown for Gun Safety. As the protester was led away, the crowd chanted, “Four more years!”

President Joe Biden: “Folks” —

Crowd: “Four more years!”

President Joe Biden: “It’s OK.”

Crowd: “Four more years!”

President Joe Biden: “Look” —

Crowd: “Four more years!”

President Joe Biden: “They care. Innocent children have been lost. They make a fair point.”

Hunter Biden Found Guilty of Three Felony Gun Charges

Jun 12, 2024

In Wilmington, Delaware, a jury has found President Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, guilty of three felony charges for illegally purchasing a gun at a time when he was using drugs. Hunter Biden becomes the first child of a sitting U.S. president to be found guilty of a crime. Special counsel David Weiss spoke after the verdict.

David Weiss: “This case was about the illegal choices defendant made while in the throes of addiction: his choice to lie on a government form when he bought a gun, and the choice to then possess that gun. It was these choices and the combination of guns and drugs that made his conduct dangerous. Second, no one in this country is above the law. Everyone must be accountable for their actions, even this defendant.”

A date for a sentencing hearing has not been set. Hunter Biden faces up to 25 years in prison, though a strict sentence is unlikely and Biden could avoid jail entirely.

49 Drown and 140 Others Feared Lost at Sea as Boat Ferrying Refugees Sinks Off Yemen’s Coast

Jun 12, 2024

In the Gulf of Aden, at least 49 people have drowned, and 140 others are missing, after a boat carrying African asylum seekers sank off the coast of Yemen. At least six children are among the dead. The refugees had been fleeing violence, poverty and the impacts of climate change in the Horn of Africa. The U.N.'s International Organization for Migration reports nearly 100,000 asylum seekers arrived in Yemen last year, many of them bound for Saudi Arabia and other wealthier nations. That's more than triple the number who made the perilous crossing just two years prior.

Malawian Vice President Saulos Chilima Confirmed Dead After Plane Crash

Jun 12, 2024

Malawi’s vice president and nine members of his entourage have been confirmed dead after their plane crashed in a mountainous region of the southern African nation. Saulos Chilima had served as Malawi’s vice president since 2020 and was expected to challenge incumbent President Lazarus Chakwera in elections scheduled for next year.

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Biden Administration Will Allow Arms Shipments to Ukrainian Unit with Neo-Nazi Past

Jun 12, 2024

The Biden administration has lifted a ban on arms shipments to the Ukrainian military unit known as the Azov Brigade, a former militia with ties to far-right hate groups. The State Department said Tuesday a thorough review turned up no evidence the brigade’s members have committed human rights abuses. The Azov Brigade was founded in 2014 by a self-avowed neo-Nazi and white supremacist. Meanwhile, delegates from 90 nations are set to gather in Switzerland this weekend for a Ukraine peace summit, though Russia and key nations, including China, will not be participating. Swiss President Viola Amherd on Monday outlined the summit’s goals.

President Viola Amherd: “We want to discuss ways for a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in Ukraine based on international law and the U.N. Charter. We want to develop a common understanding for a possible framework to reach this goal. And we want to decide on a schedule together how both parties can be tied into a future peace process.”

Johnson & Johnson Agrees to $700M Settlement over Carcinogenic Talcum Powder

Jun 12, 2024

The pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson has agreed to pay $700 million to settle lawsuits brought by more than 40 state attorneys general over its asbestos-laced talcum powder, which has been linked to cancer. As part of the settlement, J&J will permanently end the production, sale and marketing of all products containing talcum powder. In 2018, a Reuters investigation found the pharmaceutical giant knew as early as 1971 that some of its talcum powder contained dangerous levels of asbestos, but covered up its findings about the deadly carcinogen.

Federal Judge Strikes Down Key Parts of Florida Anti-Trans Law

Jun 12, 2024

A federal judge in Tallahassee has struck down Florida’s ban on gender-affirming care for minors, ruling the law unconstitutional. U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle also struck down a provision that erects barriers to adults seeking transition care. In a 105-page order handed down Tuesday, Judge Hinkle writes, “In time, discrimination against transgender individuals will diminish, just as racism and misogyny have diminished. To paraphrase a civil rights advocate from an earlier time, the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” The legislation was signed by Republican Governor Ron DeSantis last year; DeSantis has promised to appeal the ruling.

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