Patel Defeated In The Lords But The Battle To Kill The Bill Continues

On Monday night the House of Lords inflicted a series of bruising defeats on the government’s Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, irreversibly sinking some of its worst aspects. In defiance of the anti-protest nature of the bill, demonstrators outside made so much noise it resonated inside the chamber while the Lords voted against the government on 14 separate counts.

But this is not the end of the road. Kill the Bill protesters celebrating this victory must keep piling on the pressure – this attack on civil liberties and our fundamental democratic rights needs to be defeated in its entirety.

The bill, described by Amnesty International as an “enormous and unprecedented extension of policing powers” and seen by others as an attack on democracy reminiscent of “Cold War era Eastern European dictatorships” enables the authorities to effectively ban peaceful protest and criminalize freedom of speech and assembly.

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Thousands Sign Petition Supporting Assange Release

Washington, DC – Led by the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC), more than 26 antiwar groups and 2,500 individual peace and justice advocates have cosponsored a statement calling for the immediate release of publisher Julian Assange and commending him for his contributions toward global peace.

Assange is currently fighting extradition to the United States after the Trump administration indicted him on unprecedented Espionage Act charges. His indictment marked the first time in U.S. history that a journalist has been charged for publishing truthful information. 

Since being removed from Ecuador’s London embassy after a new Ecuadorian administration bowed to U.S. pressure to withdraw his asylum, Assange has been held for more than 1,000 days in Belmarsh Prison while his extradition case is being heard through UK courts.

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Student Leaders Call On Biden To Cancel Student Loan Debt

We, the undersigned 111 student government leaders representing over 1.4 million students, write to urge you to exercise your executive authority, as designated by the Higher Education Act of 1965, to cancel all federal student loan debt immediately.

As student leaders, we have seen the harrowing financial, social, and mental health impacts that the crushing weight of student loan debt imposes upon students and alumni by exacerbating the financial insecurity, social inequities, and economic stagnation which impacts over 44 million borrowers in the United States. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government recognized the burden of such debt on borrowers, pausing student loan repayments and lowering the interest rate to 0%.

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#StopCopCity Resistance Continues As Bulldozing Ensues

Atlanta, GA — On Tues., Jan. 18, around 2 p.m., The Mainline received community reports of heavy machinery and tree cutting taking place in the Old Atlanta Prison Farm land located in the South River Forest. The land was originally inhabited by Muscogee (Creek) indigenous peoples before their forced removal in the 1800s. Tribal leaders and members, now based in Eastern Oklahoma, joined with Atlanta organizers in the #StopCopCity coalition in a historic migration and stomp dance ceremony in the forest last November.

Local residents gathered in the forest in response to the apparent bulldozing. The construction continues in the face of ongoing dissent against the city’s plans to build a massive $90 police militarization facility known as “Cop City.”

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The Negev Uprising And The Lie Of Co-existing With The Occupation

The recent events at the Negev, which were punctuated by popular Palestinian confrontations with the occupation army, in which men and women alike participated in the steadfastness of the Palestinian people on their land in the occupied Negev, brought back to our memory the scenes of Palestinian steadfastness in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of occupied Jerusalem, and the events of the Al-Aqsa Intifada. It was also reminiscent of the Intifada of the Stones, and the events of Land Day, in which the Palestinian people rose up in defense of the land of Palestine, and in rejection of the occupation’s plans to uproot the Palestinians from their land and expel them from their homes as part of a settlement plan that has been ongoing for the past century.

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Summit Strengthens Alliances Against Coastal Gaslink Pipeline

The conflict over the Coastal GasLink project is about more than the fate of a single pipeline or the territory of one Indigenous nation. The precedent set here will have far-reaching consequences, and Indigenous nations and leaders from across Turtle Island are paying close attention.

The hereditary chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en Nation hosted a Peace and Unity Summit in the town of Smithers on Jan. 15. Wet’suwet’en leaders and representatives of other Indigenous nations gathered to offer solidarity and support in the fight against the Coastal GasLink pipeline.

The Wet’suwet’en argue that their Indigenous and human rights, and rights to their territories, are threatened by the multibillion-dollar project, which is backed by the provincial and federal governments.

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Sudanese Barricade Streets As Strike Over Protest Deaths Begins

Protesters have erected barricades across roads in Sudan’s capital Khartoum and some shops and offices were shut as a two-day general strike and civil disobedience campaign began in response to demonstrators’ deaths.

Neighborhood resistance committees and political parties called the strike starting on Tuesday after seven people were killed in Khartoum on Monday in one of the deadliest days to date in a series of demonstrations against a military takeover on October 25.

Protesters are demanding the military, which had been sharing power with civilian groups before the coup, quit politics completely.

“It is our duty to resist them until we are victorious or they rule an empty country after they have killed us all,” the Khartoum State resistance committees said in a statement.

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Resistance Against Military Coup In Sudan Continues Despite Crackdown

The crackdown on the pro-democracy movement in Sudan continued on Saturday, January 15, as security forces detained more anti-coup protesters. The protesters had been injured during the January 13 demonstrations and were leaving the Royal Care Hospital in Burri in eastern Khartoum when they were arrested.

The injured protesters, along with their companions, were reportedly seized outside the hospital by men in civilian clothes and taken away in vehicles with no number plates to unknown locations.

Among those arrested is 17-year-old Mohamed Adam, aka Tupac, who was being treated in the hospital for two gunshot injuries. He is reportedly being charged for the alleged murder of a police brigadier general who, according to the police, was stabbed to death by a protester on January 13.

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London Jury Acquits Three Extinction Rebellion Activists

Three Extinction Rebellion activists who disrupted a London train during rush hour were acquitted by a jury Friday.

The three defendants, who said they were motivated by their Christian faith, did not deny their actions. Instead, they argued that their protest was lawful under the Human Rights Act.

”When a jury hears the truth about the escalating climate crisis, with the depth and seriousness they won’t get from the government or the media, they understand the urgent need to act,” Extinction Rebellion’s Zoë Blackler said in a statement emailed to EcoWatch. “The real criminals here aren’t 3 committed Christians who are risking their liberty to sound the alarm on a threat of existential proportions. The real crime lies with a government failing to do what’s necessary to safeguard the future of the human race.”

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Governor’s Claim That He Is Powerless To Stop F-35 Just Got Shown Up

A leak of thousands of gallons of fuel from the US Navy’s aging underground storage tanks at Pearl Harbor contaminated drinking water and poisoned and sickened thousands of people, including children, driving 3,500 families from their homes, as reported by The Washington Post, January 10, 2022. The fuel-storage facility sits 100 feet above Oahu’s main freshwater aquifer.

Did Hawaii follow in the footsteps of Vermont’s Governor Phil Scott and foist wrongful actions by the military or the military-industrial complex on civilians while claiming to be powerless? Just the opposite. Health authorities in Hawaii promptly stepped up to require the Navy to stop the abuse. The state issued an emergency order. Then, when the Navy at first contested, the state held a public hearing.

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2022’S First Major Nationwide Protests Were To ‘Kill The Bill’

Home secretary Priti Patel’s authoritarian Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill (the police bill) has caused uproar. Many see it as racist against Black people and the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller (GRT) community. It will also clamp down on our rights to protest, to roam, and to take strike action. Amnesty International said the bill:

represents an enormous and unprecedented extension of policing powers

2021 was filled with protests over the bill. Some of these were marred by police violence. Courts have sent some protesters from Bristol to prison – possibly the shape of things to come.

Since the Tories first unveiled the police bill, they’ve made several changes to it. It’s now even worse.

So, on 15 January, people hit the streets once more to show their anger over the bill.

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Biden Urged To Fire Covid Response Chief Over ‘Damning’ Failures

President Joe Biden is coming under growing pressure to fire White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeff Zients—a former private equity executive with no public health background—as the administration continues to face criticism over its slow-moving and inadequate efforts to combat Covid-19.

Watchdog groups have long warned that Zients is not qualified to take on the massive task of leading the federal government’s pandemic response given both his lack of scientific and medical experience as well as his record in the private sector, where his firm invested in a company accused of exploitative surprise billing.

Early critics of Biden’s decision to appoint Zients to the key post believe their fears have been realized during the Omicron surge, which has laid bare the administration’s failure to prepare for a highly contagious variant that experts warned was all but inevitable.

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Kroger Employees In Colorado Have Had Enough

On Wednesday, January 12, more than eight thousand workers at around eighty King Soopers and City Market grocery stores in Colorado went on strike after declining what the stores’ parent company, Kroger, called its “last, best, and final offer” on Tuesday. The workers, who are members of United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 7, had voted nearly unanimously to authorize the strike earlier this month.

The King Soopers contract expired on January 8, and workers say the company — which is owned by Kroger, the country’s largest grocery chain and fourth largest private employer — has been dragging its feet at the bargaining table. Distance remains between the two sides on issues of pay, health care benefits, and worker safety — in the sense of COVID precautions as well as protections from customers

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As Omicron Rages, Teachers And Students Fight For Safety Measures

Chicago Teachers Union members voted by 77 percent on January 4 to go fully remote until effective Covid mitigations to protect educators and students were approved by members and enacted, or until the current Covid surge subsided.

Within a week they had a tentative agreement on mitigation measures. Members ratified it January 12 by 56 percent and returned to in-person teaching.

With citywide positivity rates over 20 percent and hospitals overwhelmed, Chicago Public Schools had already faced staffing shortages the first few days of the year. When the district failed to implement adequate testing protocols, CTU members determined that the safety of students and educators once again required remote learning.

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15,000 Pounds Of Powdered Milk Delivered To Cuba

On January 15, 2022, the organizations Puentes de Amor, The People’s Forum and CODEPINK are sending a cargo plane loaded with 15,000 pounds of powdered milk from Miami to Cuba. Representatives of the organizations are traveling to Cuba with the shipment. The aid will be received by the Martin Luther King Center in Havana. It will be distributed to pediatric hospitals in Havana.

Since the pandemic and the disruption of food supplies it has caused, there has been a shortage of powdered milk in Cuba, which is normally given out by the state—for free—to children, pregnant women, the elderly and people with medical needs. Due to the reluctance of U.S. companies and banks to deal with Cuba for fear of running afoul of U.S. sanctions, Cuba buys imported milk—at an inflated cost—from places as far as New Zealand and Uruguay.

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