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HeadlinesJune 25, 2024

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Julian Assange Secures Freedom After Reaching Plea Deal with U.S., Leaving U.K. Prison

Jun 25, 2024

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange could be just hours away from freedom, after he accepted a plea deal with the U.S. government and was released from a U.K. prison. Assange took off from London’s Stansted Airport Monday, ending a 12-year ordeal that saw him take shelter at the Ecuadorian Embassy for seven years, followed by five years in Belmarsh Prison, to avoid extradition to the U.S., where he faced up to 175 years in prison for publishing classified documents exposing U.S. war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. Julian Assange’s jet has stopped in Bangkok to refuel before it continues on to Saipan in the Northern Mariana Islands, a U.S. commonwealth in the Pacific Ocean, where he is expected to plead guilty to an Espionage Act charge of conspiring to unlawfully obtain and disseminate classified national defense information. He will then fly to his home country of Australia to be reunited with his family. Julian’s wife Stella Assange spoke to Reuters earlier today.

Stella Assange: “Of course, I mean, I think that the correct course of action from the U.S. government should have been to drop the case entirely. We will be seeking a pardon, obviously. But the fact that there is a guilty plea under the Espionage Act in relation to obtaining and disclosing national defense information is obviously a very serious concern for journalists and national security journalists in general.”

We’ll have more on this story after headlines.

“A Nightmare from Which They Cannot Wake”: UNRWA Head on Gaza’s Catastrophic Reality

Jun 25, 2024

In Gaza, Israeli attacks have killed dozens of Palestinians over the past day, including 14 people who were sheltering in U.N.-run schools in northern Gaza. Another attack in Khan Younis killed at least 10 Palestinians as they were either seeking or helping shield aid supplies. UNRWA head Philippe Lazzarini offered a stark assessment of the situation in Gaza, nine months into Israel’s slaughter.

Philippe Lazzarini: “Gaza has been decimated. For more than 2 million Gazans, it is a living hell, a nightmare from which they cannot wake, catastrophic levels of hunger across the Gaza Strip as a result of human action. Children are dying of malnutrition and dehydration, when food and clean water wait in trucks.”

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Gaza Health Workers Call on International Community to Protect Palestinian Medical Sector

Jun 25, 2024

In Gaza City, Palestinians mourned the death of two medical workers killed by Israel, including Gaza’s director of ambulance and emergency services Hani al-Jafarawi. This is Hatem al-Swerki, who works at the Ministry of Health.

Hatem al-Swerki: “We appeal to the international institutions to take a clear stance on these continuous targeted attacks, as we have lost more than 400 health professionals in the Gaza Strip, and more in detention. We lost dozens of health institutions to complete or partial destruction. We say to the world: Isn’t it time for you to stand up and to protect the Palestinian human, to protect medical crews and institutions, to respect the Palestinian ambulance badge?”

An Israeli strike in the Shati refugee camp reportedly killed 10 relatives of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, including his sister.

Meanwhile, in the occupied West Bank, Israeli forces have carried out more violent raids, and arrested another 25 people.

Israel’s Supreme Court Rules Ultra-Orthodox Jews Must Serve in Military

Jun 25, 2024

Israel’s top court has ruled that ultra-Orthodox Jews in yeshiva schools are subject to the military draft and must immediately enlist, or lose government funding. The decision risks further destabilizing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s fragile government coalition, which relies on two ultra-Orthodox parties.

Russian Strike Kills 5 in Eastern Ukraine’s Pokrovsk, as Moscow Vows Retaliation for Crimea Attack

Jun 25, 2024

In Ukraine, Russian missile attacks killed at least five people and injured dozens of others in the eastern town of Pokrovsk. Meanwhile, Russia summoned the U.S. ambassador in Moscow and vowed to retaliate after a deadly Ukrainian strike on Crimea Sunday, which Russia says was carried out using U.S.-supplied missiles known as ATACMS.

Kenyan Police Crack Down as Protesters Call for National Strike Against Tax Plan

Jun 25, 2024

In Kenya, police deployed tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannons on demonstrators as organizers called for a national strike and “7 Days of Rage” to protest proposed tax hikes and demand the resignation of Kenyan President William Ruto. Among the protesters was Auma Obama, the half-sister of Barack Obama, who was tear-gassed by police during a live interview on CNN.

Auma Obama: “How can you tear-gas your own people? Listen to them. Listen to these children. They are the future. They are 80% of our population. Eighty percent. If they decided to turn against us, they can. And that is what they’re doing now.”

Reports have also emerged of several protesters who have gone missing. Authorities are surrounding the Kenyan Parliament in Nairobi, which protesters plan to occupy.

Kenya Prepares to Deploy 400 Troops to Haiti

Jun 25, 2024

In other news from Kenya, armed forces are readying to deploy to Haiti, with some 400 officers set to arrive later this week. President William Ruto on Monday held a ceremony for the first contingent of the U.N.-backed troops — part of a larger mission to combat worsening gang violence in Haiti. Many Haitians have opposed the mission, citing past international interventions that have contributed to political destabilization and humanitarian crises in Haiti.

Protests Revived in New Caledonia After Independence Activists Extradited to France for Prosecution

Jun 25, 2024

In New Caledonia, fresh protests have erupted after France extradited seven independence activists, including protest leader Christian Tein, for pretrial detention. New Caledonia has been under French control since its colonization by France in the 19th century. But some 40% of the population is Kanak, and a growing independence movement is seeking an end to colonial rule.

SCOTUS to Hear Appeal to Tennessee’s Ban on Gender-Affirming Care for Young People

Jun 25, 2024

Back in the U.S., the Supreme Court has agreed to hear a challenge from the Biden administration to a Tennessee law blocking gender-affirming care for transgender youth. The case, which will be heard in the next term, could have major implications for trans rights in dozens of other Republican-led states.

Abortion Rights Advocates Mark 2 Years Since SCOTUS Overturned Roe v. Wade

Jun 25, 2024

Rallies were held in front of the Supreme Court and across the country Monday as the nation marked two years since the right-wing-led court overturned Roe v. Wade, ending the constitutional right to an abortion. Nearly two dozen states have since restricted abortion, with 14 states now banning the procedure. Vice President Kamala Harris spoke in Phoenix, Arizona, at a reproductive rights event marking the anniversary of the Dobbs ruling.

Vice President Kamala Harris: “Two years ago today, the highest court in our land took a constitutional right, that had been recognized, from the people of America, from the women of America. And thereafter, in state after state, laws have been proposed and passed that criminalize healthcare providers. You know, in Texas, they provide prison for life.”

In related news, a new study shows that Texas has seen a 13% increase in infant and newborn deaths since the state imposed an abortion ban.

Louisiana Families Sue over State’s “Ten Commandments” Law

Jun 25, 2024

In Louisiana, a group of multifaith and nonreligious parents has filed a lawsuit over the state’s new law mandating the Ten Commandments be displayed in public school classrooms. This is plaintiff Jeff Sims, a Presbyterian pastor with children in Louisiana public schools.

Jeff Sims: “This new law doesn’t just interfere with my and my children’s religious freedom. It tramples on it. The separation of church and state means that families get to decide if, when and how their children should be introduced to religious scripture and texts, not the state.”

Prosecutors Recommend Criminal Charges Against Boeing

Jun 25, 2024

Prosecutors are recommending the Justice Department bring criminal charges against Boeing after the company violated a 2021 settlement that would have shielded Boeing from prosecution over two crashes in 2018 and 2019 that killed 346 people. The Justice Department has until July 7 to decide whether to prosecute Boeing.

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