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HeadlinesJune 20, 2024

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U.N. Accuses Israel of Systematically Violating the Laws of War in Gaza

Jun 20, 2024

The U.N. Human Rights Office has accused Israel of systematically violating the laws of war by using heavy bombs to destroy civilian infrastructure in densely populated areas of Gaza. In a new report, the U.N. office examined six Israeli attacks that targeted residential buildings, a school, refugee camps and a market. The U.N. verified at least 218 deaths in those six attacks.

Meanwhile, Navi Pillay, the chair of a separate U.N. inquiry into the war, testified before the U.N. Human Rights Council.

Navi Pillay: “Israeli authorities are responsible for war crimes, crimes against humanity and violations of international humanitarian and human rights law, including extermination, intentionally directing attacks against civilians and civilian objects, murder or willful killing, using starvation as a method of war, forcible transfer, gender persecution targeting Palestinian men and boys, sexual and gender-based violence amounting to torture, and cruel or inhuman treatment.”

During her testimony, the U.N.'s Navi Pillay also accused Hamas and Islamic Jihad of committing war crimes. The U.N.'s findings are being shared with the International Criminal Court. This comes as the official death toll in Gaza has topped 37,400. On Wednesday, an Israeli airstrike killed nine Palestinians as they waited for aid trucks at the Kerem Shalom crossing. At least eight more Palestinians were killed in Rafah. Meanwhile, officials in Gaza say Israel has destroyed the Palestinian side of the Rafah border crossing which connects Gaza to Egypt. The crossing has been closed since Israel seized the area in early May. 

White House Cancels Israeli Meeting After Netanyahu Accuses U.S. of Withholding Arms

Jun 20, 2024

The White House has canceled a high-level meeting with Israeli officials that was set for today after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a video Tuesday accusing the U.S. of withholding military aid to Israel.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: “When Secretary Blinken was recently here in Israel, we had a candid conversation. I said I deeply appreciated the support the U.S. has given Israel from the beginning of the war. But I also said something else. I said it’s inconceivable that in the past few months the administration has been withholding weapons and ammunitions to Israel — Israel, America’s closest ally, fighting for its life, fighting against Iran and our other common enemies.”

The White House rejected Netanyahu’s claim, pointing out that President Biden has paused just one shipment of heavy bombs since the war began. Two key Democratic lawmakers recently signed off on an $18 billion military package for Israel involving the sale of 50 F-15 fighter jets.

In other news from Israel, a top Israeli military spokesperson has admitted Hamas can’t be destroyed — a claim that appears to contradict Netanyahu’s stated aim of the war on Gaza. In an interview, Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said, “Hamas is an idea, Hamas is a party. It’s rooted in the hearts of the people — anyone who thinks we can eliminate Hamas is wrong.” 

Tension Escalates in Lebanon as Israel & Hezbollah Exchange Threats

Jun 20, 2024

Tension is continuing to escalate between Israel and the Lebanese group Hezbollah. On Wednesday, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah warned that his forces could strike anywhere inside Israel. Nasrallah also threatened to target Cyprus if it allows Israel to use its air bases to attack Lebanon. His warning came a day after Israel’s Foreign Minister Israel Katz threatened to wage an “all-out war” against Hezbollah.

Putin Visits Vietnam After Signing Security Pact with N. Korea

Jun 20, 2024

Russian President Vladimir Putin has arrived in Vietnam after making his first visit to North Korea in 24 years. On Wednesday, Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un signed a mutual defense pact. Putin spoke in Pyongyang.

President Vladimir Putin: “The comprehensive partnership agreement signed today includes, among other, mutual assistance in the event of aggression against one of the parties to this agreement.”

Trump Attacks Biden for Moving to Shield Undocumented Spouses of U.S. Citizens from Deportation

Jun 20, 2024

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has attacked President Biden’s move to shield from deportation some 500,000 undocumented immigrants who are married to U.S. citizens. Under the new rules, the spouses will be able to apply for work permits and permanent residency, giving them a pathway to citizenship. Trump has vowed to mass-deport millions of immigrants if he is elected in November. The two candidates will hold their first debate on June 27. We will have more on Biden’s immigration plan later in the show. 

Over 900 Muslim Pilgrims Die from High Heat During Hajj in Mecca

Jun 20, 2024

In Saudi Arabia, the number of Muslim pilgrims who’ve died amid a searing heat wave in the holy city of Mecca has topped 900, after temperatures this week soared above 125 degrees Fahrenheit. Thousands have been treated for heat exhaustion. Climate scientists warn the risk of heatstroke will continue to rise for the millions of Muslims who make the annual Hajj pilgrimage. This is Fahad Saeed, a scientist at Climate Analytics.

Fahad Saeed: “We must do global action to stop the global warming at 1.5 degrees centigrade. At anything beyond that, we are putting those pilgrims at the risk of death.”

In India, emergency workers have recovered the bodies of more than 50 unhoused people who’ve died over the last two days as daytime temperatures soared above 120 degrees. Indian health officials have logged over 40,000 suspected heatstroke cases so far this year.

Tropical Storm Alberto Makes Landfall

Jun 20, 2024

In the Gulf of Mexico, Tropical Storm Alberto has made landfall, bringing heavy rains, flooding and storm surge to northeastern Mexico and southern Texas. At least three deaths have been reported. Alberto is the first named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season; forecasters are predicting a well-above-normal hurricane season.

Heat Alerts Issued in 14 States for Record-Breaking Heat Wave

Jun 20, 2024

The National Weather Service has issued heat alerts across 14 states today as an early-season heat wave is set to topple high temperature records. Forecasters are predicting heat indexes of up to 105 degrees in several cities from the Midwest to the Northeast.

New Mexico Declares State of Emergency over Devastating Wildfire

Jun 20, 2024

New Mexico’s governor has declared a state of emergency and called up the National Guard after a pair of fast-growing wildfires destroyed more than 1,400 structures, including an estimated 500 homes. Firefighters say at least two people have been killed; thousands more have been forced to evacuate, including the entire New Mexico village of Ruidoso, population 7,000.

Brianna Ventura: “It’s definitely the largest fire that I’ve ever worked, the most damage. Looking at our neighbors, our community, our family, our friends, and looking at everything that they’ve worked for their entire lives just lost in a matter of seconds, it’s very devastating.”

The National Interagency Fire Center reports 21 large wildfires are currently burning across the western U.S. 

Study: Air Pollution Caused 8 Million Deaths in 2021

Jun 20, 2024

A new study finds air pollution caused over 8 million deaths in 2021 — killing more than 2,000 young children every day. The report from the Health Effects Institute finds air pollution’s effects are highly disproportionate, with children in low- and middle-income countries far more likely to be affected. The study warns the climate crisis is worsening air quality, with prolonged severe droughts and wildfires ravaging once-thriving forests and filling the air with fine particulate matter.

U.K. Climate Activists Spray Orange Paint at Stonehenge & Airport Housing Taylor Swift Airplane

Jun 20, 2024

In the United Kingdom, two climate activists were arrested at a London airport this morning after they doused private jets with orange paint. Among the jets reportedly at London’s Stansted Airport during the protest was a private plane owned by pop superstar Taylor Swift. The group Just Stop Oil said in a statement, “Billionaires are not untouchable, climate breakdown will affect every single one of us.” The protest came a day after Just Stop Oil activists sprayed orange paint on the ancient megaliths of Stonehenge. The protesters are demanding the U.K. government sign a legally binding treaty to phase out all fossil fuels by 2030. 

New Caledonia: French Police Arrest 11 Including Independence Leader

Jun 20, 2024

French police have arrested 11 people in the Pacific territory of New Caledonia, including the head of the local independence movement, following weeks of protests over voting reforms pushed by France. Thousands of extra French police officers remain on the archipelago. Last week, French President Emmanuel Macron agreed to suspend the reforms.

Sudan: Three Killed as RSF Shells Hospital in Omdurman

Jun 20, 2024

In Sudan, at least three people were killed on Wednesday when fighters from the RSF, the Rapid Support Forces, shelled a hospital in Omdurman. Doctors Without Border reported the shelling injured 27. Meanwhile, at the United Nations, Sudan accused the United Arab Emirates of fueling Sudan’s civil war by arming the RSF.


200 Protesters Arrested in Kenya as Anger Mounts over Proposed Tax Hikes

Jun 20, 2024

In news from Kenya, more than 200 protesters were arrested Tuesday in Nairobi in protests against proposed tax hikes. Police fired tear gas at the crowd and arrested observers from Amnesty International. In response to the protests, Kenyan lawmakers have dropped parts of the controversial bill, including a proposed tax hike on bread. 


Biden Administration Approves Sale of 1,000 Armed Drones to Taiwan

Jun 20, 2024

The Biden administration has approved selling 1,000 armed drones to Taiwan as part of a new $360 million weapons package. The sale includes 720 lightweight Switchblade one-way attack drones that have also been used in Ukraine’s war against Russia. 

Club Q Shooter Pleads Guilty to Federal Hate Crimes Charges

Jun 20, 2024

In Colorado, the shooter who killed five people and injured more than a dozen others at a Colorado Springs LGBTQIA nightclub in 2022 has pleaded guilty to 74 federal charges including hate crimes. Prosecutors agreed not to pursue the death penalty in exchange for the deal, which will see the shooter sentenced to 55 concurrent life sentences without the possibility of parole. The shooter is already serving consecutive life sentences after pleading guilty to state murder charges last year. 

Louisiana Orders Public Schools to Display Ten Commandments 

Jun 20, 2024

Louisiana’s Republican Governor Jeff Landry has signed legislation requiring the Ten Commandments be displayed in the classroom at every public school from elementary to college. The American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana has vowed to sue on religious freedom grounds. In a statement with other groups, the ACLU said, “Our public schools are not Sunday schools and students of all faiths, or no faith, should feel welcome in them.” Under the new law, classrooms must post a copy of the Ten Commandments no smaller than 11 by 14 inches. 

Noam Chomsky Leaves Hospital After Suffering Stroke

Jun 20, 2024

The world-renowned linguist and dissident Noam Chomsky was discharged from a São Paulo hospital in Brazil on Tuesday as he continues to recover from a stroke last year that impacted his ability to speak. His wife Valeria recently told a newspaper in Brazil that the 95-year-old Chomsky still follows the news and raises his left arm in anger when he sees images of Israel’s war on Gaza. False reports that Chomsky had died went viral online on Tuesday.

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