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HeadlinesJuly 08, 2024

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France’s Leftist Coalition Pulls Off Shock Victory in Upset for Far Right and Macron’s Centrist Gov’t

Jul 08, 2024

In France, the recently formed leftist coalition the New Popular Front pulled off a surprise victory in the second round of parliamentary elections Sunday. The left-green alliance came together in a bid to stave off the far right after Marine Le Pen’s National Rally party made major advances in the first round and in recent EU elections. But the New Popular Front, which won 182 seats in the National Assembly, still fell short of the 289 seats required for an absolute majority. Sunday’s results come as a major blow to not only the far right, but to French President Emmanuel Macron, who called the snap election in the hopes French voters would keep his centrist coalition in place. Macron’s Prime Minister Gabriel Attal offered to resign, but Macron asked him to stay on temporarily. The head of the progressive France Unbowed party, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, spoke following his coalition’s victory Sunday.

Jean-Luc Mélenchon: “The president has the power. The president has the duty to call on the New Popular Front to govern. … It is ready. The New Popular Front will respect the mandate according to the vote cast for its candidates. Our given word will be respected. The New Popular Front will apply its manifesto, all its manifesto and nothing but its manifesto.”

The New Popular Front has vowed to raise the minimum wage, to cap the price of essential foods and utilities, and to throw out Macron’s hugely unpopular pension reform, which raised the retirement age. The group says it will reimpose taxes on the wealthiest and corporations. The New Popular Front also says it will recognize Palestinian statehood, after Macron’s government earlier this year refused to do so. We’ll have more on the French elections after headlines.

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U.K.’s Labour Party Returns to Power with Keir Starmer as New PM After 14 Years of Conservative Rule

Jul 08, 2024

In the United Kingdom, Keir Starmer has become Britain’s new prime minister after his Labour Party trounced the Conservatives in a general election on Thursday. It’s the first time Labour has been in power in 14 years. But the election lacked much of the energy and hope for change that marked France’s vote, with the lowest turnout in more than two decades. Starmer, a centrist politician, vowed to lead a government of “stability and moderation.” He made his first official address as leader on Friday.

Prime Minister Keir Starmer: “For too long now we’ve turned a blind eye as millions slid into greater insecurity — nurses, builders, drivers, carers, people doing the right thing, working harder every day, recognized at moments like this before, yet as soon as the cameras stop rolling, their lives are ignored. I want to say very clearly to those people: Not this time.”

Among the other notable results in the U.K. election, former Conservative Prime Minister Liz Truss lost her seat in Parliament. Far-right figurehead Nigel Farage, best known for pushing Brexit, won his election in his eighth attempt to gain a seat. Irish nationalists Sinn Féin became Northern Ireland’s largest party in the British Parliament for the first time. And the former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn easily retained his longtime seat after running as an independent in his London district.

In one of his first moves, Starmer declared the U.K. Rwanda deportation plan “dead and buried.” We’ll go to the U.K. for more after headlines.

Iran Elects More Moderate Candidate Masoud Pezeshkian as New President

Jul 08, 2024

Voters in Iran have elected Masoud Pezeshkian as its new president. The reformist candidate defeated hard-liner Saeed Jalili on Saturday. Pezeshkian is a heart surgeon who had served as health minister under reformist President Mohammad Khatami. Pezeshkian has criticized Iran’s mandatory hijab law for women and has promised to disband Iran’s morality police. He spoke in Tehran on Saturday.

President-elect Masoud Pezeshkian: “I consider your vote as a heavy responsibility on my shoulders, and I pledge to continue to be a listening ear for your words and a voice for the voiceless and the rejected.”

Saturday’s election was held six weeks after Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi died in a helicopter crash. We will have more on the election later in the show.

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The Lancet: Gaza’s True Death Toll Could Be 186,000 or Higher

Jul 08, 2024

Israel’s war on Gaza has entered its 10th month as the official Palestinian death toll has reached nearly 38,200. But a new report in the British medical journal Lancet estimates the actual death toll could be 186,000 or even higher — that’s roughly 8% of Gaza’s population. The report looks at how war leads to indirect deaths due to shortages of medical care, food, shelter and water.

Another Israeli Attack on an UNRWA School Kills at Least 16 Gazans, Including Children

Jul 08, 2024

Earlier today, Israel attacked the Gaza City headquarters of UNRWA, the U.N. Palestinian refugee agency. On Saturday, an Israeli airstrike on an UNRWA school killed at least 16 Palestinians and injured 50 others. Eyewitnesses said the dead included many children.

Ayman al-Atouneh: “We came here running to see the targeted area. We saw bodies of children, in pieces. This is a playground. There was a trampoline here. There were swing sets and vendors. Civilians were killed. It’s a civilian school. These are United Nations schools, for the UNRWA. It is supposed to be safe for people and should not be targeted anytime.”

On the diplomatic front, Hamas officials have reportedly agreed to a U.S. proposal to begin talks on a new ceasefire and hostage deal. Multiple news outlets report Hamas has dropped its demand that Israel first agree to a permanent ceasefire before any agreement is signed. Meanwhile, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant has warned Israel’s attacks on Hezbollah in Lebanon will continue even if a truce agreement is reached in Gaza.

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5,300 New Illegal Settlements Approved in Occupied West Bank

Jul 08, 2024

In news from the occupied West Bank, Israel’s Supreme Planning Council has approved nearly 5,300 new homes for settlers in the West Bank. The group Peace Now says this will result in the largest single Israeli land grab since the Oslo Accords.

Israelis Protest Against Netanyahu, Demand Ceasefire and Hostage Deal

Jul 08, 2024

On Sunday, Israeli protesters blocked highways across the country as part of nationwide demonstrations calling for a ceasefire and hostage deal, as well as for the resignation of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Haaretz: Israeli Officials OK’d Using Hannibal Directive to Turn Border Area on Oct. 7 into “Extermination Zone”

Jul 08, 2024

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz has revealed new details about how Israeli military officials ordered repeated attacks inside Israel on October 7 in an effort to prevent Hamas from taking hostages into Gaza. It remains unknown how many Israelis killed on that day were actually killed by Israeli forces implementing what is known as the Hannibal Directive. One military source told Haaretz, “The instruction was to turn the area of ​​the fence into an extermination zone, to close the line of contact towards the west.”

Democrats Split on Biden’s Fitness to Lead Party to Victory as He Continues to Stumble in Public

Jul 08, 2024

President Biden is facing more calls from Democratic lawmakers to drop out of the presidential race as questions continue to mount over his mental fitness. Five members of Congress have publicly called for him to step aside, and four more senior Democratic lawmakers said so during a private call. Biden has repeatedly vowed to stay in the race. He sat down for an interview on Friday with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, who asked if he could beat Donald Trump.

George Stephanopoulos: “Have you convinced yourself that only you can defeat him?”

President Joe Biden: “I convinced myself of two things: I’m the most qualified person to beat him, and I know how to get things done.”

George Stephanopoulos: “If you can be convinced that you cannot defeat Donald Trump, will you stand down?”

President Joe Biden: “Well, it depends on — on if the Lord Almighty comes down and tells me that, I might do that.”

That was from Biden’s first televised interview since his disastrous debate with Trump. Biden also spoke to two radio stations where he was interviewed by hosts who asked him questions that were scripted by Biden’s own campaign. Biden still stumbled during the interviews, saying at one point that he was proud to be “the first Black woman to serve with a Black president.”

President Joe Biden: “I’m proud to be, as I said, the first vice president, the first Black woman to serve with a Black president.”

Boeing Agrees to DOJ Plea Deal over 737 MAX Crashes to Avoid Criminal Trial

Jul 08, 2024

Boeing has agreed to a plea deal with the Justice Department that will allow it to avoid facing a criminal trial over a pair of deadly 737 MAX crashes in 2018 and 2019 that killed 346 people. Under the deal, Boeing will plead guilty to a conspiracy fraud charge and pay $243 million in additional fines. A lawyer representing families of passengers killed in the crashes has already filed an objection to the agreement. The attorney, Paul Cassell, said, “Through crafty lawyering between Boeing and DOJ, the deadly consequences of Boeing’s crime are being hidden.”

NATO Members Pledge $43B to Ukraine as Russian Strikes Kill 29, Damage Infrastructure

Jul 08, 2024

NATO nations have agreed to provide Ukraine $43 billion in new military aid next year. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg confirmed the deal ahead of NATO’s three-day summit in Washington that begins Tuesday. This comes as Russia continues to attack Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, leaving more than 100,000 without power. Earlier today, Russian strikes killed 29, including two people who died in an attack on a children’s hospital in Kyiv.

On Friday, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán met with Russian President Vladimir Putin on a trip condemned by Ukraine and EU leaders. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is meeting Putin today.

Heat Wave Sizzles Much of U.S. as Wildfires Displace Californians

Jul 08, 2024

More than 130 million people in the U.S. were under high heat alerts this weekend as a heat wave intensified in California and other areas. Temperatures could reach 128 degrees Fahrenheit in Death Valley today. Meanwhile, in Northern California, wildfires have forced around 30,000 people from their homes.

Hurricane Beryl Makes Landfall in Texas After Ravaging Yucatán and Caribbean Nations

Jul 08, 2024
Image Credit: CSU/CIRA and NOAA

Hurricane Beryl has made landfall on the Texas coast near Matagorda as a Category 1 storm. About 200,000 people in Houston have already lost power. The storm killed at least 11 people as it battered Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula and several Caribbean islands. The storm has been fueled by record temperatures in the Atlantic.

Karen Community in Utica, NY, Mourning After Police Killing of 13-Year-Old Nyah Mway

Jul 08, 2024
Image Credit: Nyah Mway Family

A funeral was held Saturday in Utica, New York, for Nyah Mway, a 13-year-old boy who was shot to death by police two days after he had graduated from middle school. Nyah Mway was a refugee who was born in Burma. His death has shattered the close-knit community of Karen refugees in Utica. His brother wrote online, “Our family moved to America nine years ago as refugees from Myanmar to find a better life safe from law enforcement killings and ethnic cleansing.” Three officers involved in the shooting have been placed on administrative leave.

Jane McAlevey, Beloved Labor Organizer and Author, Has Died at 59

Jul 08, 2024

The longtime labor organizer and scholar Jane McAlevey has died at the age of 59 of multiple myeloma. McAlevey dedicated her life’s work to empowering rank-and-file workers, training tens of thousands around the world to effectively strengthen their unions. She was also a prolific writer, authoring many books and articles, including as the “strikes correspondent” for The Nation. In April, she sat down here in the Democracy Now! studios for one of her last interviews.

Jane McAlevey: “But, you know, the work is going to go on. And that’s what makes me happy, is that I did a lot of succession planning, the work is going to go, and if workers just keep winning — one person falls, one soldier goes down — I’ve always thought of myself as a soldier. You know, one soldier is going to go down in the fight, and there’s a ton more soldiers being produced every day, in all of these campaigns, in all of the training programs. And I do think that they’re going to win, ultimately, because people have had it with capitalism in 2024.”

That was noted labor organizer and scholar Jane McAlevey speaking in April in Democracy Now!’s studios. To see our interview and the web exclusive we did afterward, go to democracynow.org. She died Sunday at the age of 59 in Muir Beach, California.

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