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"People Are Outraged": General Strike in Guatemala Denounces Corruption & Mishandling of Pandemic
Fri, 30 Jul 2021 08:44:45 -0400
We go to Guatemala to speak with an opposition lawmaker and a Maya K'iche' leader who joined Thursday's major national strike demanding the resignation of right-wing President Alejandro Giammattei and other government officials facing allegations of corruption. Major highways were blocked for hours as protesters marched through Guatemala City and in rural communities denouncing corruption, a worsening economic crisis and the government's catastrophic mishandling of the pandemic. The demonstrations are the "third chapter of our history in the fight against corruption, which started in 2015," says Lucrecia Hernández Mack, Guatemalan physician and a member of the Guatemalan Congress with the political party Movimiento Semilla who was the first woman to lead the country's Ministry of Health. "People here in Guatemala are just outraged." Indigenous governments and people across Guatemala united in leading the call for the mass mobilization, adds Andrea Ixchíu, Maya K'iche' leader, journalist and human rights defender in Totonicapán, Guatemala. "We are tired [of] how in the midst of the pandemic the Guatemalan government is stealing the money from the vaccines and militariz[ing] the country."

Anti-BDS Jewish Orgs Back Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream Sales Ban in Settlements Despite Israeli Pressure
Fri, 30 Jul 2021 08:31:12 -0400
Israel has launched what has been described as a maximum pressure campaign against Ben & Jerry's and its parent company Unilever, after the iconic ice cream brand announced it would halt sales in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank. Israel has asked 35 U.S. governors to enforce state laws which make it a crime to support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, or BDS. The founders of Ben & Jerry's, who no longer have operational control of the company, have defended the company's decision. A number of Jewish groups including J Street, the New Israel Fund and Americans for Peace Now, all of whom oppose BDS, have defended Ben & Jerry's decision and rejected accusations that the company's decision was antisemitic. "What we are seeing is an aggressive, over the top, full-court press from senior officials in the Israeli government ... to target Ben & Jerry's simply for the fact that they made a principled decision to respect the distinction between the state of Israel and the territory that it occupies beyond the green line," says Logan Bayroff, Vice President of Communications of J-Street. "These anti-boycott laws aren't just posing issues under the first amendment, they're actually punishing companies that do the right thing by ending their complicity in human rights abuses," adds Omar Shakir, Israel and Palestine Director at Human Rights Watch.

Human Rights Watch Accuses Israel of Apparent War Crimes in Gaza Assault; Urges ICC Probe
Fri, 30 Jul 2021 08:12:52 -0400
Human Rights Watch is calling on the International Criminal Court to open a probe into apparent Israeli war crimes committed during its recent 11-day assault on Gaza that killed 260 Palestinians, including 66 children. We discuss a major report HRW released this week that closely examines three Israeli strikes that killed 62 Palestinians civilians in May. U.S.-made weapons were used in at least two of the attacks investigated. Human Rights Watch concluded Israel had committed apparent war crimes. "You had people's entire lives — their homes, their businesses, their wives, their children, their husbands — gone in a flash," says Omar Shakir, Israel and Palestine Director at Human Rights Watch, who helped lead the investigation. "The international community focuses on Gaza maybe when there are armed hostilities. But two months later these families continue to deal with the aftermath of the devastation wrought upon their lives."

Headlines for July 30, 2021
Fri, 30 Jul 2021 08:00:00 -0400
Biden Announces New Federal COVID Mandates, CDC Finds Delta Variant Just as Transmissible in Breakthrough Infections, More Contagious Than Flu, House Weighing Bill to Extend Eviction Moratorium Hours Before Expiration, Half of Burma Could Contract COVID, Pakistan Enacts New Restrictions, Haiti Hospitals Overwhelmed, Congress Passes Emergency Funding Bill for Capitol Security, Resettlement of Afghan Interpreters, Report: Over 80 Afghan Troops Killed in Insider Attacks During Taliban Offensive, Dozens Killed in Flash Floods in Rural Afghanistan, U.S. Will Return 17,000 Looted Archaeological Treasures to Iraq, U.S. Weighing New Sanctions on Iran as Nuclear Deal Hangs in Balance, Israeli Soldiers Kill 20-Year-Old Palestinian at Funeral for Slain 12-Year-Old, First Protester Tried Under Hong Kong's National Security Law Receives 9 Years, Greenland Lost Enough Ice in One Day to Cover Florida in Two Inches of Water, Ex-Archbishop of D.C. Theodore McCarrick Charged With Sexual Assault of a Minor, Rep. Cori Bush Unveils Bill to Protect Rights of Unhoused People, Brooklyn Mutual Aid Group Attacked by NYPD While Serving the Community, NYPD Arrest 11 People Protesting City's Plan to Evict Unhoused People From Hotels, Alabama Coal Miners Bring Strike to BlackRock Offices in NYC, Carl Levin, Michigan Democratic Senator Who Fought Against Wall Street Criminality, Dies at 87, Lummi Nation Totem Pole Arrives in Capital After Lengthy Cross-Country Journey

"This Is Not a Climate Bill": Leah Stokes on Why Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal Doesn't Go Far Enough
Thu, 29 Jul 2021 08:44:04 -0400
Senate Democrats have announced that they have joined with 17 Republicans to vote in favor of taking up a $1.2 trillion infrastructure deal. The plan includes new spending on climate and environment measures, but critics say it falls far short of what is needed. Democrats say they hope to include additional climate measures in a $3.5 trillion reconciliation package that could advance without being blocked by a Republican filibuster if it is backed by all 50 Democrats. Climate and energy policy researcher Leah Stokes says the bipartisan bill does include positive measures but nowhere near enough. "There are some good investments and important things, but they are in many cases cents on the dollar," she says.

"We Can't Trust the Unvaccinated": Dr. Leana Wen on Vaccine Mandates & How to Stop the Delta Variant
Thu, 29 Jul 2021 08:16:43 -0400
The highly contagious Delta variant is causing a rise in cases around the world, from the Olympics in Tokyo to Russia, Indonesia and the U.S. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued new guidelines suggesting that people resume wearing masks indoors, but state and local officials are not legally required to implement CDC guidelines. Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency physician and former Baltimore health commissioner, says she supports the new CDC guidelines because an "honor system" of trusting people to wear masks unless they were vaccinated clearly did not work. "We know that we can't trust the unvaccinated," she says. She also discusses global vaccine inequity, how to overcome vaccine hesitancy, and her new memoir, "Lifelines: A Doctor's Journey in the Fight for Public Health."

Headlines for July 29, 2021
Thu, 29 Jul 2021 08:00:00 -0400
Senate Votes to Open Debate on $1.2T Infrastructure Bill, WTO Fails to Agree on Waiving IP Rights for COVID Vaccines, Vaccination Mandates Expand Across the Nation, Report: Pandemic Aid Helped Poverty Fall by 45%, But Gains May Be Just Temporary, Pelosi Argues Against Broad-Based Student Debt Cancellation, Peru: Pedro Castillo Sworn In, Vows to Be Champion of the Poor, Israeli Forces Shoot Dead 12-Year-Old Palestinian Boy in West Bank, Israel Launches Campaign Against Ben & Jerry's, But Some U.S. Jewish Groups Back Ice Cream Maker, Macron: Polynesians Owed "Debt" for French Nuclear Tests, U.S. and Russia Hold Nuclear Talks in Geneva, Whistleblowers: Migrant Children Are Being Mistreated at Fort Bliss, Acetic Acid Leak in Texas Kills Two, 30 Hospitalized in Texas, Voting Rights Activists Begin Selma-to-Montgomery-Style March in Texas, Virginia Cop Sent Back to Jail on Jan. 6 Charges After Ordering 37 Guns, Jailed Gymnastics Coach Spent $10K on Himself in Jail While Just $8 a Month to Victims, Black Agenda Report Founder Glen Ford, 71, Dies

Workers Beg Joe Manchin to Save West Virginia Pharma Plant as His Daughter Walks Away with $31M
Wed, 28 Jul 2021 08:34:04 -0400
More than 1,400 workers in West Virginia are set to lose their jobs this week when the Viatris pharmaceuticals plant in Morgantown shuts down and moves operations overseas to India and Australia. Workers say they've had no response to their urgent requests for help from their Democratic senator, Joe Manchin, who is often called the most powerful man in Washington. Viatris was formed through a merger between two pharmaceutical companies, Mylan and Upjohn. Mylan's chief executive, Manchin's daughter Heather Bresch, got a $31 million payout as a result of the corporate consolidation before the new company set about cutting costs, including the closure of the Morgantown plant. Joseph Gouzd, president of United Steelworkers of America Local 8-957 and a worker at the plant, says Viatris has given little reason for the closure except to say the company is looking to "maximize the best interests of the shareholders." We also speak with investigative journalist Katherine Eban, who says moving pharmaceutical production overseas contradicts the recommendations of numerous reports that have found major safety lapses in drug manufacturing abroad, as well as concern from lawmakers about keeping a key industry within the United States. "This is pure insanity," Eban says. "It seems like it is both pharmaceutical and national security suicide to close this plant."

NAACP Head Derrick Johnson Remembers Bob Moses as Key "Strategist" of Civil Rights Movement
Wed, 28 Jul 2021 08:27:20 -0400
We look at the life and legacy of civil rights icon Bob Moses, who recently died at the age of 86, with NAACP President Derrick Johnson, who formerly headed the NAACP Mississippi State Conference, where Moses served as field secretary for SNCC, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, and helped register thousands of voters across the state. "Bob Moses was one of the most profound strategist leaders of the civil rights movement across the country," says Johnson. "He understood that the local fight had both national and global implications."

"To Hell and Back": At Jan. 6 Hearing, Officers Describe Facing Brutal Attacks & Racial Slurs
Wed, 28 Jul 2021 08:12:49 -0400
We speak with Derrick Johnson, president and CEO of the NAACP, about emotional testimony from four police officers who were attacked by violent and racist Trump supporters while defending the Capitol. At the opening of the House select committee hearing on the January 6 insurrection, the officers described facing down the rioters, being beaten with fists and makeshift weapons, as well as being called racial slurs and accused of treason by the pro-Trump crowds. "The fact that you had law enforcement officers from all backgrounds and walks of life who were being ... treated in that manner is another example of white supremacy," says Johnson.

Headlines for July 28, 2021
Wed, 28 Jul 2021 08:00:00 -0400
U.S. House Cmte. Hears Harrowing Testimony from Officers Who Responded to Capitol Insurrection, CDC Says Vaccinated People Should Wear Masks Indoors in High-Risk Areas Amid Delta Spread , Tanzania Receives 1 Million J&J COVID Vaccines, Whistleblower Daniel Hale Sentenced to 45 Months for Exposing U.S. Drone Program, North and South Korea Restore Communications Hotline, U.S. Suspends Cooperation with Guatemala AG After Ousting of Anti-Corruption Prosecutor, Simone Biles Withdraws from Olympic Competition, Citing Mental Health, Atlanta-Area Mass Murderer Sentenced to Life in Prison, Still Faces Death Penalty, Man Sentenced to Life for Murder of South Carolina Student Who Mistook His Car for Uber, Democratic Donor Ed Buck Found Guilty in Death of Two Men He Injected with Drugs, AP: KKK Member Who Worked in Florida Jail Plotted to Kill a Black Former Prisoner, Immigration Prosecutors Continue to Deport Immigrants Who Gov't Memo Says Should Not Be Expelled, Nina Turner Racks Up Endorsements Ahead of Ohio Special Election, Texas GOP Voters Reject Trump Candidate in Special U.S. Congressional Election

Calls Grow for Biden to Close Guantánamo Military Prison as U.S. Sanctions Cuba over Human Rights
Tue, 27 Jul 2021 08:43:07 -0400
As the United States imposes new Cuba sanctions, citing human rights abuses, we look at the U.S. military prison in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, a notorious gulag that President Biden himself has called an "advertisement for creating terror." This month, the first Guantánamo Bay prisoner to be released under the Biden administration, ——Abdul Latif Nasser, returned to his home country of Morocco after nearly two decades of being held without charge even though he was cleared for release in 2016. There are 39 other prisoners still at Guantánamo, nearly two decades after the start of the U.S. war on terror. To discuss efforts to close the notorious prison and repatriate the remaining detainees, we are joined by Nasser's lawyer Mark Maher of Reprieve and Gary Thompson, lawyer for former Guantánamo prisoner Ravil Mingazov, who is currently being held in a UAE prison after being released from Guantánamo in 2017, where he was held without charge for 15 years. "If there was ever a right and just time to be releasing these men, this is the time to do it," says Maher.

"Tired of Waiting": Cuban Americans Say Biden Broke Promise to Lift Cuba Sanctions & Thaw Relations
Tue, 27 Jul 2021 08:18:58 -0400
After rare anti-government protests in Cuba, Cuban Americans are speaking out to demand the U.S. government end its blockade of the island. But President Joe Biden has responded with new sanctions. We speak with Cuban American Carlos Lazo, who just led a march from Miami to the White House with Puentes de Amor, or Bridges of Love, and says President Biden promised during the 2020 presidential campaign to undo Trump sanctions and return to a more constructive relationship with Cuba. "After seven months, he did nothing," says Lazo. "We get tired of waiting." We also speak with Latin American affairs scholar William LeoGrande, professor of government in the School of Public Affairs at American University in Washington, D.C., who says, despite official U.S. rhetoric, almost every president going back to Dwight Eisenhower has found areas of mutual interest with the Cuban government. "There's a long history of negotiation and cooperation just under the surface of the very real hostility that the United States has had toward Cuba," says LeoGrande.

Headlines for July 27, 2021
Tue, 27 Jul 2021 08:00:00 -0400
California & New York City to Require Workers to Get Vaccine or Weekly Tests, CDC: Florida Accounts for One in Five of All U.S. COVID Cases, Study: Lifting of Eviction Moratoriums Resulted in Over 10,000 COVID Deaths, Tokyo Reports Record Number of COVID Cases as It Hosts Olympics, Protesters Denounce "Coup" as Tunisian President Expands Power Grab, U.S. Troops to Remain in Iraq, But Biden Says "Combat Mission" Is Ending, 57 Feared Dead as Migrant Boat Capsizes Near Libya, Human Rights Watch Accuses Israel of War Crimes in Gaza Assault, Lebanese Billionaire Tapped to Be Next Prime Minister, U.S. Sends Over 2 Dozen F-22 Fighter Jets to Guam as Tensions Rise with China, Filipino Police Shot Dead Activists Who Spray-Painted "Oust Duterte" Sign, Haiti Makes More Arrests in Moïse Assassination Probe, Nicaragua Arrests More Opposition Candidates; Ortega Accuses U.S. of Meddling, Six Rohingya Refugees Die in Mass Flooding at Cox's Bazar Refugee Camp, 85 Wildfires in U.S. Burn Over 1.5 Million Acres of Land as Drought Spreads, Biden Administration to Expedite Removal Proceedings of Migrant Families, House Select Committee Begins Probe of January 6 Insurrection at the Capitol, Tom Barrack Pleads Not Guilty for Secretly Lobbying for UAE, Mary Simon Becomes Canada's First Indigenous Governor General, Revs. Jesse Jackson & William Barber Arrested at Sit-In at Sen. Sinema's Office, Frito-Lay Workers Win a Day Off After 19-Day Strike, Steven Donziger, Who Sued Chevron over Amazon Oil Spills, Blasts Contempt of Court Conviction, Naomi Osaka Eliminated from Olympics; Simone Biles Pulls Out of Team Finals

Remembering Civil Rights Icon Bob Moses: Organized SNCC, Miss. Freedom Summer & Algebra Project
Mon, 26 Jul 2021 08:49:56 -0400
We remember the life of Bob Moses, the civil rights leader who left his job as a New York City high school teacher to register Black voters in Mississippi in the 1960s, facing down horrific violence and intimidation to become one of the icons of the movement. He died Sunday at age 86. Moses spent his later years as an advocate for improved math education, teaching thousands of students across the United States through the Algebra Project, the nonprofit he founded. Moses spoke to Democracy Now! in 2009, on the first day of the Obama presidency, recalling the 1964 fight for Black representation within the Democratic Party, the struggle against Jim Crow in the South and his passion for education. "In our country, I think we run sharecropper education," Moses said, warning that unequal educational opportunities would continue racial disparities in the country. "We need a constitutional amendment, something which simply says every child in the country is a child of the country and is entitled to a quality public school education."

"Committing the Truth": Whistleblower Daniel Hale to Be Sentenced Tuesday for Drone Program Leaks
Mon, 26 Jul 2021 08:30:59 -0400
At a sentencing hearing Tuesday, whistleblower Daniel Hale faces at least nine years in prison for leaking classified information about the U.S. drone and targeted assassination program. During his time in the Air Force from 2009 to 2013, Hale worked with the National Security Agency and the Joint Special Operations Task Force at the Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, where he helped identify targets for assassination. He later worked as a contractor for the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency. In March, Hale pleaded guilty to one count of violating the World War I-era Espionage Act for leaking documents exposing the drone program. "This has been an odyssey that has occupied most of the better part of his adult life for basically committing the truth," says Jesselyn Radack, an attorney for Daniel Hale. "The U.S. has never contested any of Daniel's disclosures," Radack adds. We also speak with Noor Mir, Daniel Hale's close friend and part of his support team, who describes him as a compassionate person willing to make sacrifices to do the right thing. "I know that when he's out, he will remain committed to ending suffering in all forms," Mir says.

Epidemiologist Gregg Gonsalves: "3 Things Biden Can Do Right Now to Stop COVID and Save Lives"
Mon, 26 Jul 2021 08:12:55 -0400
Six months into the Biden administration, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage across the United States and around the world, driven by the highly contagious Delta variant. Meanwhile, as vaccinations stall in the United States, much of the world is still "desperate" for COVID-19 vaccines, says Yale epidemiologist Gregg Gonsalves. "We should be exporting vaccines rather than sitting on them and hoarding them," he says. "If we don't stop the virus all around the world, we're not going to stop it anywhere."

Headlines for July 26, 2021
Mon, 26 Jul 2021 08:00:00 -0400
France Approves COVID Health Pass; Germany Considers Restrictions for Unvaccinated People, COVID Cases Skyrocket in Southeast Asia, with Children Making Up 12.5% of Indonesian Death Toll, Fauci Says U.S. "Going in the Wrong Direction"; St. Louis Reintroduces Indoor Mask Mandate, 4,000 Homebound Detainees Could Be Sent Back to Prison After Pandemic Emergency Order Lifted, Tunisia's President Sacks Prime Minister, Suspends Parliament Following Protests, Afghanistan Sees Record Number of Casualties in 2021; U.S. Could Continue Airstrikes Beyond August, U.S. Launches Second Drone Strike in Somalia in Under a Week, Israeli Forces Kill Palestinian Teen, Injure Hundreds Protesting Illegal West Bank Settlement, Sierra Leone Abolishes Colonial-Era Death Penalty, Protests Demand Resignation of Guatemalan President After Firing of Top Anti-Corruption Prosecutor, Mexico Sends Food and Medical Supplies to Cuba, Condemns U.S. Blockade, Monsoon Floods Kill 135 People in India, Dixie and Bootleg Wildfires Rage in West as Another Heat Wave Settles Across Much of U.S., Pelosi Adds Rep. Adam Kinzinger, a Trump Critic, to House Insurrection Committee, Mississippi Urges Supreme Court to Overturn Roe v. Wade, Immigrant Communities Rally in NYC to Demand Pathway to Citizenship, Bob Moses, Civil Rights Leader and Educational Pioneer, Dies at the Age of 86

Rev. Liz Theoharis of Poor People's Campaign Arrested in Protest over Voting Rights & Infrastructure
Fri, 23 Jul 2021 08:50:30 -0400
Nearly 100 women from around the United States were arrested outside the Supreme Court as they marked the 173rd anniversary of the first women's rights convention at Seneca Falls with a protest calling for voting rights and economic justice. We speak with Reverend Liz Theoharis, co-chair of the Poor People's Campaign and one of those who was arrested. She says Congress needs to scrap the filibuster, pass voting rights legislation and pass a "bold infrastructure bill" that addresses economic inequality, as well as the climate. She also discusses the work of her father, historian Athan Theoharis, who recently died after a lengthy career dedicated to exposing FBI misconduct.

Just Out of Jail, Winona LaDuke Decries Militarized Crackdown on Enbridge Line 3 Pipeline Protests
Fri, 23 Jul 2021 08:38:58 -0400
Nearly 600 water protectors have been arrested during ongoing protests in Minnesota against the construction of the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands pipeline at the Shell River, which the partially completed pipeline is set to cross in five places. On Monday, authorities arrested Indigenous leader Winona LaDuke and at least six others. She was just released from jail yesterday and joins us after three nights in jail. LaDuke describes how the Canadian multinational corporation Enbridge, which is building the pipeline, has funded more than 40 police squads from around the state to crack down on protests, saying, "It is a civil crisis when a Canadian multinational controls your police force." LaDuke is executive director of Honor the Earth. She says Enbridge's efforts to finish construction come as investors are increasingly pulling out of the fossil fuels sector. "Who wants to have the last tar sands pipeline? It's the end of the party."

"COVID Games" Begin in a Fearful Japan as Olympic Committee Prioritizes "Profits Over All Else"
Fri, 23 Jul 2021 08:12:33 -0400
As the Summer Olympics begin in Tokyo after the International Olympic Committee pushed forward during a pandemic despite widespread opposition in Japan, we speak with a protester outside the Olympic stadium and former Olympic athlete Jules Boykoff. "The people have been frustrated actually ever since the awarding of the Olympics in 2013," says Satoko Itani, associate professor of sports, gender and sexuality at Kansai University. "The vast majority of Japanese people don't want these games." Boykoff argues the "saga in Tokyo has exposed an International Olympic Committee that openly disrespects the will of locals, that brushes off inconvenient facts from experts ... And the IOC tends to prioritize its profits over all else."

Headlines for July 23, 2021
Fri, 23 Jul 2021 08:00:00 -0400
Tokyo Olympics Kick Off Amid COVID Surge, Protests; Italy Unveils New Pass for Vaccinated People, Missouri Hospital Worker Warns COVID Surge Will Get Worse; 20% of L.A.'s Cases Are Vaccinated People , U.S. Imposes New Cuba Sanctions as 400+ Noted Activists, Political Figures Call for End to Embargo, Rep. Hank Johnson, Prominent Black Voting Rights Advocates Arrested at Pro-Democracy Demonstration, Indian Farmworkers Renew Protests Against Neoliberal Agricultural Reforms, South Africa Updates Death Toll from Unrest to at Least 337 People, 20 Refugees Likely Dead After Mediterranean Shipwreck, U.S. Launches Airstrikes in Afghanistan; House Votes to Issue More Special Visas for Afghans, Senate Cmte. Votes in Favor of Upping Military Budget by $25 Billion, Protesters Condemn UAE Plan to Extradite Ex-Guantánamo Prisoner, Demand Justice for All Detainees, Labor and Healthcare Advocates Call on Biden to Stop Closure of Largest U.S. Generic Drugs Plant, House Cmte. Considers AOC's Public Banking Proposal to Democratize Financial Services, UNESCO Refrains from Listing Great Barrier Reef as "In Danger" Despite Major Climate-Induced Damage

"All We Can Save": As Climate Disasters Wreck Our Planet, Women Leaders Are Key to Solving the Crisis
Thu, 22 Jul 2021 08:42:09 -0400
As the impacts of the climate emergency continue to be felt around the globe, white men overwhelmingly dominate the airwaves on climate coverage. We speak with co-editors of the new book "All We Can Save," an anthology of essays by 60 women at the forefront of the climate justice movement. "We are simply not seeing very much climate coverage at all in the mainstream media," says Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, a marine biologist and co-founder of the Urban Ocean Lab. Katharine Wilkinson, visiting professor at Sewanee: The University of the South in Tennessee, emphasizes women and girls around the world are "disproportionately impacted by climate change" and must lead the search for solutions. "There is a growing body of research that centering women's leadership on climate is not just something that sounds nice. It's actually a critical strategy for how we win," Wilkinson says.

Billionaires Race to Privatize & Monopolize Space as Earth Burns & Workers Organize
Thu, 22 Jul 2021 08:16:07 -0400
As the world's richest man flies his Blue Origin rocket into suborbital space, here on Earth calls are growing to tax the rich and let Amazon unionize. Billionaire Jeff Bezos has faced strong criticism after Tuesday's flight, for which he thanked Amazon workers and customers who "paid for all of this." Bezos traveled to the edge of space just days after another billionaire, Virgin Group founder Richard Branson, took a similar trip on a Virgin Galactic spacecraft. "The richest and most powerful people in the world are turning their eyes away from the planet and to the stars," says Paris Marx, a writer and host of the podcast "Tech Won't Save Us." "We need to question whether we should be dedicating so much resources to this kind of grand vision of a future that may never arrive," Marx says. We also speak with journalist Peter Ward, author of the book "The Consequential Frontier: Challenging the Privatization of Space," who says billionaires who have monopolized large sectors of the economy are seeking to do the same for space infrastructure. "It's not the worst thing to have the private sector involved. It's just it can't be where they have complete control," Ward says.

Headlines for July 22, 2021
Thu, 22 Jul 2021 08:00:00 -0400
WHO: Global COVID Cases Jumped 12% Over Past Week, Pelosi Rejects GOP Reps. Jordan & Banks for Jan. 6 Select Committee, Armed DEA Agent Arrested for Taking Part in Jan. 6 Insurrection, Republicans Block $1 Trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, Opioid Crisis: States Reach $26 Billion Settlement with J&J and Drug Distributors, Four Colombian Mercenaries Tied to Moïse Assassination Were Trained at Fort Benning in U.S., U.S. Launches First Drone Strike on Somalia Under President Biden, Biden Administration Seeks 9-Year Sentence for Drone Whistleblower Daniel Hale, Argentina Issues Gender-Neutral ID Cards in First for Latin America, Federal Courts Block Anti-Trans Laws in Arkansas and West Virginia, Israel Asks U.S. States to Probe Ben & Jerry's for Violating Anti-BDS Laws, Report: Government Informants Played Key Roles in Plot to Kidnap Michigan Governor, Texas Starts Jailing Immigrants on State Charges After Crossing U.S. Border, Biden Taps Leading Antitrust Attorney to Key DOJ Post, Head of U.N. Climate Talks: Nations "Must Consign Coal Power to History", 3 Die in Iran Protests Sparked by Historic Drought, Toronto Police Arrest 26 While Evicting Unhoused Residents at Encampment, Tokyo Olympic Committee Fires Director of Opening Ceremony over Holocaust Joke, Spanish Swimmer Slams Olympic Rules Preventing Her from Breastfeeding Son During Games

"It Is Offensive": Haitian Activist Says It's Not Up to U.S. to Determine Haiti's PM or Future
Wed, 21 Jul 2021 08:50:31 -0400
Two weeks after the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, Ariel Henry has been sworn in as Haiti's new prime minister, after acting Prime Minister Claude Joseph announced he was relinquishing power. Henry is a neurosurgeon who was appointed by President Jovenel Moïse shortly before he was assassinated, but not formally sworn in. Both Joseph and Henry had claimed power following Moïse's death. Over the weekend, the United States and other members of the so-called Core Group threw their support behind Henry, who will become Haiti's seventh prime minister in four years. Monique Clesca, a Haitian pro-democracy advocate based in Port-au-Prince, says despite the polarization and turmoil in the country, it is ultimately up to Haitians to find a political solution. ——"It is not up to the United States State Department to tell us who should be the prime minister of Haiti," Clesca says. "It is offensive. It should not be done. It is unacceptable."

Colombia's Export of Mercenaries Scrutinized After U.S.-Trained Soldiers Kill Haiti's President
Wed, 21 Jul 2021 08:45:19 -0400
The role of Colombian mercenaries in the assassination two weeks ago of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse has come under scrutiny after The Washington Post reported some of the Colombians received U.S. military training while they were part of the Colombian armed services. One of the mercenaries has been identified as former special commando Grosso Guarín, who was once assigned to a secretive elite military detachment of Colombia's Urban Anti-Terrorist Special Force group that carried out kidnappings and assassinations. Another Colombian mercenary arrested in Haiti was Francisco Eladio Uribe Ochoa, who was once investigated for his role in executing civilians in Colombia and then disguising them as combatants — a practice known as false positives. The Colombian military has been accused of killing over 6,400 civilians in this way. Joining us from Bogotá, Colombia, reporter Mario Murillo says the involvement of Colombian mercenaries stems from the "hyper-militarization of the country," rooted in decades-long counterterrorism and counternarcotics operations that have doubled the size of the Colombian military. "We're talking about thousands of soldiers who have been going around the world," he says, calling them highly trained "artists of war."

Colombia Erupts in Protest Again over Right-Wing Gov't Tax Plans Even as "Solidarity Is Criminalized"
Wed, 21 Jul 2021 08:30:45 -0400
We go to Colombia for an update on anti-government protests in several cities on the country's Independence Day, when right-wing President Iván Duque presented a new tax reform bill to Congress. The last tax proposal failed in April after it prompted a general strike and massive demonstrations that focused on deepening economic inequality and human rights abuses. The latest demonstrations came after some of the organizers were arrested and harassed over the weekend and protesters have faced intense crackdowns and brutality from Colombian police forces in recent months. "It was amazing that it took place, notwithstanding the fear tactics that were being used by the government leading up to the July 20th mobilizations," says award-winning journalist Mario Murillo, in Bogotá. We also speak with Colombian activist María del Rosario Arango Zambrano in Cali, a city with a long history of activism and resistance. "The repression has been especially brutal here, not only by security forces but also by paramilitary groups," she says.

The Pandemic Is Not Over: Science Writer Ed Yong on Delta's Devastation in Low-Vaccination States
Wed, 21 Jul 2021 08:12:49 -0400
COVID-19 cases in the United States have tripled over the past month as the highly contagious Delta variant rapidly spreads across the country, particularly in areas with low vaccination rates. Deaths from COVID-19 have increased by nearly 50% over the past week, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the Delta variant is now responsible for 83% of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. "Things are much worse than people might realize," says Ed Yong, science writer at The Atlantic who has been reporting on the Delta variant's spread in Missouri, one of the hardest-hit areas in the U.S. "The more we let this pandemic linger on, rage on around the world, the less protected any of us will be — including those of us who currently luxuriate under the umbrella of vaccination." Yong recently won the Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting for his coverage of the pandemic.

Headlines for July 21, 2021
Wed, 21 Jul 2021 08:00:00 -0400
"Once in a 1,000 Years" Rains and Flooding Kill at Least 25 People in China, Record-Breaking Wildfires Continue to Rage in Siberia, Western U.S., Releasing Toxic Fumes, Tokyo Olympic Events Start Even as Head of Organizing Committee Puts Games in Doubt, Thailand, Iran Impose COVID Lockdowns as France Launches "Health Pass" Amid Major Spike, Delta Variant Accounts for 83% of New U.S. Cases; Millions of Surplus Vaccines Could Go to Waste, Senators Unveil Legislation to Curb Presidential War Powers, Giving Authority Back to Congress, Immigrant Justice Activists Block New Jersey ICE "Black Site", Judge Blocks Arkansas Near-Total Abortion Ban, Veracruz Becomes Latest Mexican State to Decriminalize Abortion Before 12 Weeks of Pregnancy, Protesters Call for Release of Afro-Indigenous Garífuna Leaders in Honduras, State Department Bans Former Honduran President Lobo from Entering U.S., Emmanuel Macron, Cyril Ramaphosa, Imran Khan Among 14 Heads of State Targeted by NSO Group, Jeff Bezos Thanks Amazon Workers and Customers for Paying for His 10-Minute Suborbital Flight, Trump Associate Tom Barrack Arrested, Charged with Acting as Foreign Agent for UAE, Harvey Weinstein Extradited to Los Angeles to Face More Rape Charges, South Carolina State University Forgives $10 Million of Student Debt Using Stimulus Funds, Americans Owe $140 Billion in Medical Debt to Collection Agencies

"Heartbreaking": Judge's Suspension of DACA Renews Push for Comprehensive Immigration Bill
Tue, 20 Jul 2021 08:49:56 -0400
After a federal judge struck down DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, we look at what may come next with Cesar Espinosa, a DACA recipient and executive director of the Houston, Texas-based, immigrant-led civil rights organization FIEL. He says the latest ruling is "heartbreaking," and urges lawmakers to create a legislative solution for the millions of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. "We want to see Congress and the president take action."

"Gulag of Our Time": Amnesty International Calls on Biden Admin to Shut Down Guantánamo Bay Prison
Tue, 20 Jul 2021 08:46:21 -0400
Fifty-six-year-old Abdul Latif Nasser is the first Guantánamo Bay prisoner to be released under the Biden administration. He was imprisoned for nearly two decades without charge and had been cleared for release since 2016. Thirty-nine prisoners remain at Guantánamo. "Legally speaking, morally speaking, that space that has been created has no significance other than the harm it is placing on people," says Agnès Callamard, secretary general of Amnesty International.

Amnesty International: Julian Assange's "Arbitrary" Detention Must End. Release Him Now.
Tue, 20 Jul 2021 08:44:19 -0400
As WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange faces up to 175 years in prison if he is extradited to the U.S. under the Espionage Act for publishing classified documents exposing U.S. war crimes, Amnesty International Secretary General Agnès Callamard says his detention since 2010 "is arbitrary and that he should be released." She adds that allegations made against him by the U.S. authorities "raise a large number of problems and red flags in relation to freedom of the press."

Mexico Used Private Israeli Spyware Pegasus to Surveil President's Family & a Murdered Journalist
Tue, 20 Jul 2021 08:34:26 -0400
Mexico appears to have submitted more phone numbers for potential surveillance to the Israeli cybersurveillance company NSO Group than any other client country, according to an investigation of the company by an international collaboration of media outlets called The Pegasus Project. The Guardian found the mobile phone number of Mexican journalist Cecilio Pineda Birto was selected as a possible target for surveillance by a Mexican NSO Group client just weeks before Pineda's assassination in Guerrero in 2017. Nina Lakhani, senior reporter at The Guardian, says Mexico was NSO Group's first client and authorities there have a long record of "dire human rights abuses." She notes Mexico's use of Pegasus proves the technology is not only used to go after criminality. "The line between good and bad in Mexico is blurred," Lakhani says.

Amnesty Int'l Calls for Moratorium on Private Spyware After Israeli NSO Group Pegasus Revelations
Tue, 20 Jul 2021 08:11:34 -0400
Calls are growing for stricter regulations on the use of surveillance technology after revelations that countries have used the powerful Pegasus spyware against politicians, journalists and activists around the world. The Pegasus software, sold by the Israeli cybersecurity company NSO Group, can secretly infect a mobile phone and harvest its information. While the company touts Pegasus as intended for criminals and terrorists, leaked data suggests the tool is widely abused by governments to go after political opponents and dissidents, according to reporting from The Pegasus Project, an international consortium of 17 media organizations. We feature a PBS "Frontline" report on the shocking findings that the Israeli government allowed NSO to continue to do business with Saudi Arabia even after the Saudi journalist and dissident Jamal Khashoggi was assassinated in 2018 in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, and allegedly used Pegasus to surveil Khashoggi's fiancée. "Contrary to what NSO is claiming, the spyware Pegasus is used to target people absolutely unrelated to criminal activities or terrorism," says Agnès Callamard, secretary general of Amnesty International. She adds that The Pegasus Project has exposed that abuse of powerful surveillance technology "is systematic, and it is global."

Headlines for July 20, 2021
Tue, 20 Jul 2021 08:00:00 -0400
Report: COVID Death Toll in India May Be Over 4 Million, As COVID Cases Rise in All 50 States, Biden Urges Unvaccinated to Get the Shot, Pediatricians Recommend Universal Masking in Schools, Ariel Henry to Become Haitian PM After Getting Support from U.S. & Core Group, Socialist Teacher & Union Leader Pedro Castillo Wins Peruvian Presidential Election, 35 Killed in Market Blast in Baghdad on Eve of Eid al-Adha, Rockets Land Near Afghan Presidential Palace During Outdoor Eid Prayers, In Victory for BDS Movement, Ben & Jerry's to Stop Selling Ice Cream in Israeli Settlements, Morocco Sentences Journalist Omar Radi to 6 Years in Prison, Trump Supporter Sentenced to Eight Months in Prison for Capitol Insurrection, McCarthy Names 5 to Select Committee Probing Jan. 6 Insurrection, Bootleg Fire Becomes Third-Largest Fire Ever in Oregon, Winona LaDuke & Water Protectors Arrested in Enbridge Pipeline Protest, 100 Arrested in D.C. at Poor People's Campaign's Women's Moral March, Trans Model Leyna Bloom Appears on Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Cover, NHL Prospect Luke Prokop Comes Out as Gay in First for League

After 140 Years, Native Youth Lead Return of 10 Children's Remains from Carlisle Indian School in PA
Mon, 19 Jul 2021 08:48:08 -0400
The remains of nine Indigenous children were buried by the Rosebud Sioux in South Dakota after being transferred back from the former Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania, where the children were forcibly sent over 140 years ago. Carlisle was the first government boarding school off reservation land, and it set the standard for other schools with its motto, "Kill the Indian, Save the Man." The schools were known for their brutal assimilation practices that forced students to change their clothing, language and culture. The Rosebud Sioux Tribe negotiated the return of the children's remains buried at the school, and a caravan of Rosebud Sioux youth returned them to their tribe this week. Dozens of other Native American and Alaskan Native families have asked Carlisle to return their relatives' bodies. Knowledge of the boarding schools is still being recovered as many survivors are reluctant to revisit the trauma, says Christopher Eagle Bear, a member of the Sicangu Youth Council. "These schools, they played a key part in trying to sever that connection to who we are as Lakota," he says. "They took away our language, and they made it impossible for us to be who we really are."

"Crime of the Century": How Big Pharma Fueled the Opioid Crisis That Killed 500,000 and Counting
Mon, 19 Jul 2021 08:17:06 -0400
As the U.S. continues to deal with the fallout from the devastating opioid epidemic that has killed over 500,000 people in the country since 1999, we speak with Academy Award-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney, whose latest documentary, "The Crime of the Century," looks at the pharmaceutical industry's methods in promoting and selling the powerful drugs. "I realized that the big problem here was that we had been seeing it as a crisis, like a natural disaster, like a flood or a hurricane, rather than as a series of crimes," says Gibney. "You had these terrible incentives, where the incentive is not to cure the patient. The incentive is to just make as much money as possible." The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says U.S. drug overdose deaths skyrocketed to a record 93,000 last year — a nearly 30% increase. It is the largest one-year increase ever recorded, with overdoses rising in 48 of 50 states.

Headlines for July 19, 2021
Mon, 19 Jul 2021 08:00:00 -0400
COVID Cases on the Rise Among Olympic Athletes Days Ahead of Tokyo Opening Ceremony, Boris Johnson Self-Isolates as U.K. Reopens; Mass Protests in France over COVID Measures, Delta Variant Spreads Across Africa, Latin America, Where Vaccines Are Sorely Lacking, Young Children at Risk as U.S. Cases Surge in Areas with Low Vaccination Rates, DOJ Set to Challenge U.S. Judge Ruling Declaring DACA Unlawful, Israeli Spyware Company's Software Targeted Phones of Journalists and Politicians Around the World, Death Toll in Western Europe Flash Floods Nears 200; 70 Major Wildfires Rage in Western U.S., Colombian Police Say Former Haitian Gov't Official Ordered Assassination of Jovenel Moïse, Israeli Forces Violently Evict Palestinian Worshipers from Al-Aqsa Mosque, Egyptian Rights Activist Esraa Abdel Fattah Freed from Prison, Abdul Latif Nasser Released from Guantánamo Bay After 19 Years Without Charge, Thousands of Families Displaced Amid Heightened Violence in Afghanistan, Award-Winning Photojournalist Danish Siddiqui Killed While Covering Afghan Conflict, Shooting Disrupts MLB Game in Washington, D.C., in Another Weekend of Gun Violence Across U.S., Illinois Bans Police from Lying to Minors During Interrogations, Rosebud Sioux Bury Remains of Indigenous Children Who Died in U.S. Gov't Schools, Workers at Kansas Frito-Lay Factory Strike Against Horrific Conditions, Civil Rights Pioneer Gloria Richardson, Who Fought for Desegregation, Economic Justice, Dies at 99



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