Democracy Now! is an independent daily TV & radio news program, hosted by award-winning journalists Amy Goodman and Juan González. We provide daily global news headlines, in-depth interviews and investigative reports without any advertisements or government funding. Our programming shines a spotlight on corporate and government abuses of power and lifts up the stories of ordinary people working to make change in extraordinary times. Democracy Now! is live weekdays at 8am ET and available 24/7 through our website and podcasts.
The United States has imposed new sanctions on Russia and expelled 10 Russian diplomats after the Biden administration accused Moscow of being involved in major cyberattacks. The Treasury Department claimed Russia interfered in the 2020 election and was behind the SolarWinds hack, which compromised the computer systems of nine U.S. government agencies and scores of private companies. The sanctions target 32 Russian entities and individuals and bar U.S. banks from purchasing Russian government debt. Russia vowed to retaliate against the new sanctions and accused the Biden administration of degrading bilateral relations. "The most dangerous aspect of this is it introduces something new into international relations, because despite the way that it's being described, this was not an attack on the U.S.," says Anatol Lieven, senior fellow for Russia and Europe at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. "Never previously have sanctions been imposed in response to an espionage case, for the very good reason that every country, including the United States, engages in espionage."
Posted: April 16, 2021, 12:44 pm
In the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, a key witness for the defense was the former Maryland chief medical examiner, Dr. David Fowler, who contradicted most other expert witnesses in the trial and suggested heart trouble and other issues, not the police restraint, caused George Floyd's death. The decision by Chauvin's legal team to rely on Fowler's testimony shocked many in Maryland, where he is being sued by the family of 19-year-old Anton Black, an African American teenager from Maryland who died in 2018 after he was electrocuted with a Taser, pinned in a prone position and crushed under the weight of three white police officers and a white civilian as he struggled to breathe and lost consciousness. After an autopsy, Dr. Fowler ruled Black's death an accident, and no one was charged with a crime. The wrongful death lawsuit says Dr. Fowler delayed release of an autopsy report for months and covered up police responsibility for Black's death. Sonia Kumar, senior staff attorney at the ACLU of Maryland, says there is "a pattern of conduct in Maryland involving police violence against Black people that then are characterized as anything other than homicides." We also speak with Richard Potter, the founder of the Coalition for Justice for Anton Black and president of the Talbot County branch of the NAACP, who says officials in Anton Black's case spent months dragging their feet after the teenager's death. "Nobody was giving the family any information in terms of a cause of death," he says.
Posted: April 16, 2021, 12:28 pm
Protesters in Chicago took to the streets to condemn the police killing of Adam Toledo, a 13-year-old Latinx boy, after bodycam video released by the Chicago police showed Toledo had his hands up in the air when a police officer shot him dead on March 29. Police initially described the incident as an "armed confrontation," but the video shows Toledo raised his hands after being ordered to do so. He was killed within 20 seconds of the officer leaving his car to chase him down a dark alley following a report of gunshots in the area. "A Chicago police officer murdered Adam Toledo, a 13-year-old. There is no other way to describe what we saw in the video," says Rey Wences, a community organizer based in Chicago's Little Village. We also speak with Rossana Rodríguez-Sanchez, a Chicago alderperson, who says city officials spent weeks disparaging Adam Toledo before releasing the bodycam footage. "Lori Lightfoot ran as a reformer. She ran on transparency," Rodríguez-Sanchez says of Chicago's mayor. "She's doing exactly the opposite of that."
Posted: April 16, 2021, 12:11 pm
Eight Killed After Gunman Opens Fire at Indianapolis FedEx Warehouse, 13-Year-Old Adam Toledo Had Hands Up When He Was Shot Dead by Chicago Officer, Family of Daunte Wright Demands More Serious Charges for Officer Who Fired Fatal Shot, Derek Chauvin, Accused of Murdering George Floyd, Declines to Testify in His Own Defense, Court Vindicates Buffalo Cop Fired for Stopping a Fellow Officer from Choking Handcuffed Man, Dr. Fauci Shuts Down Rep. Jim Jordan in Heated Exchange over Public Health Measures, Pfizer Says COVID-19 Booster Vaccines Likely Needed Within a Year, India Reports Record 217,000 New Cases as Millions Gather for World's Largest Pilgrimage, Brazilian Senate Probes Bolsonaro's Pandemic Response as Daily Death Toll Remains World's Worst, Aid Groups Say Eritrean Troops Are Not Withdrawing from Tigray as Crisis Deepens, Biden Admin Imposes Sanctions on Russia for Hacking, Election Interference, Annexation of Crimea, Hong Kong Sentences Jimmy Lai, Other Pro-Democracy Activists to 8-18 Months in Prison, Rep. McCollum Intros Bill Barring Israel from Using U.S. Aid to Violate Palestinian Rights, Democrats Unveil Bill to Expand SCOTUS: "The Court Is Broken"
Posted: April 16, 2021, 12:00 pm
U.S. health officials have delayed a decision on whether to resume the use of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine after reports of blood clots in six women who received doses. Dr. Monica Gandhi, an infectious disease physician and professor of medicine at the UCSF/San Francisco General Hospital, says it's "prudent" to investigate reports of blood clots but notes the issue "is very rare" and unlikely to cause more than a temporary delay. She also says it's important to raise "vaccine optimism" by continuing to tout the benefits of COVID-19 vaccines. "Eventually we are going to get back to the normalcy of not masking and distancing. We're just in this twilight period right now because we are not fully vaccinated," she says.
Posted: April 15, 2021, 12:38 pm
Congressmember Ro Khanna of California says hundreds of billions of dollars in annual defense spending could be better used on diplomacy, humanitarian aid, public health and other initiatives. He's one of 50 House Democrats who signed a letter to President Joe Biden in March urging a "significantly reduced" Pentagon budget, which has grown to over $700 billion. "The Pentagon increases make no sense," says Khanna. "If you're ending the forever war in Afghanistan … then why are we increasing, at the same time, the defense budget?" Khanna also discusses the Saudi-led, U.S.-backed war in Yemen, a major U.S. arms deal with the United Arab Emirates and more.
Posted: April 15, 2021, 12:28 pm
Democratic Congressmember Ro Khanna says President Joe Biden's plan to pull U.S. troops out of Afghanistan is a "courageous" decision. "I'm very glad that we have a president who has finally recognized that this is not a militarily winnable war," says Khanna. President Biden announced this week he plans to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan by September 11, the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, bringing the longest war in U.S. history to a close. Khanna says he is open to a U.N. peacekeeping force, as some have suggested, to ensure Afghanistan does not fall into deeper chaos once American troops leave. "Withdrawing militarily does not mean that we can stop engaging," says Khanna.
Posted: April 15, 2021, 12:18 pm
Biden Vows to Pull Combat Troops from Afghanistan by 20th Anniversary of 9/11 Attacks, Minnesota Police Officer Kimberly Potter Charged with Manslaughter for Shooting Daunte Wright, Witness for Derek Chauvin's Defense Claims George Floyd Died of Heart Disease, Drugs and Car Fumes, Expert Witness for Derek Chauvin's Defense Sued over Black Teen's Death at Hands of Maryland Police, New York Police Deploy Advanced Surveillance Robot in Public Housing Complex, Boston Cop Allowed to Stay on the Force for 20+ Years After Child Sexual Abuse Complaint, Maryland State Trooper Shoots Dead 16-Year-Old with Airsoft Pellet Gun, Gun Control Advocates Call for Action as Memorial Unveiled; VA Blocks Measure Limiting Gun Possession, CDC Delays Decision on Resuming J&J Vaccinations as U.S. COVID-19 Death Toll Passes 564,000, Southeast Asian Nations See New Surges After Successful Containment Efforts Early in Pandemic, Ex-World Leaders and Nobel Laureates Call on Biden to Waive Patent Rules for COVID Vaccines, Washington, D.C., Statehood Bill Advances to Full Vote Despite GOP Opposition, Washington State Bars For-Profit Prisons and Immigration Jails, Court Throws Out Death Sentence for Raymond Riles, Texas's Longest-Serving Death Row Prisoner, Mumia Abu-Jamal Scheduled for Heart Surgery as Health Deteriorates Following COVID Diagnosis, House Panel Votes to Advance Slavery Reparations Bill for First Time in Over 30 Years, Senators Advance Bill on Anti-Asian Hate Crimes; Biden Names Erika Moritsugu as AAPI Liaison
Posted: April 15, 2021, 12:00 pm
A scathing new report by the Capitol Police's internal watchdog reveals officials knew Congress was the target of the deadly January 6 insurrection, yet officers were instructed to refrain from deploying more aggressive measures that could have helped "push back the rioters." Meanwhile, The Washington Post reports domestic terrorism incidents surged to a record high in 2020, fueled by white supremacist, anti-Muslim and anti-government extremists on the far right. The Post found that, since 2015, right-wing extremists have been involved in 267 plots or attacks, leading to 91 deaths. Reporter A.C. Thompson, who explores the threat of far-right extremism in the new PBS "Frontline" documentary "American Insurrection," says there was a "massive pool of radicalized individuals" ahead of the January 6 attack who were being pushed toward violence by "an abundance of lies by the former president, by this entire conspiratorial right-wing media and social media ecosystem." We also speak with director Rick Rowley, who says many white supremacist groups began to splinter during the intense backlash to the violence in Charlottesville in 2017, but Trump gave the groups new life ahead of the January 6 insurrection. "Many elements inside the white supremacist movement found in him a path into the mainstream," says Rowley. "They took off their swastikas, and they wrapped themselves in the flag."
Posted: April 14, 2021, 12:39 pm
The Biden administration has unveiled plans to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan by September 11, the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. The War in Afghanistan has killed more than 100,000 Afghan civilians and over 2,300 U.S. servicemembers and has cost the U.S. trillions of dollars. The announcement comes just a week before the scheduled start of a new round of peace talks in Istanbul between the Taliban and the U.S.-backed Afghan government, but the Taliban said it would boycott the talks because Biden is going back on a deal made by President Trump to have all U.S. troops out by May 1. Afghan American scholar Zaher Wahab says withdrawing is the right decision. "The United States and its allies should never have attacked and occupied Afghanistan," Wahab says. "It was wrong. It was illegal. And I think it was immoral." We also speak with Matthew Hoh, senior fellow with the Center for International Policy, who in 2009 resigned from the State Department in protest of the escalation of the War in Afghanistan. "This is a step that is necessary for the peace process to go forward, and that's what the Afghan people desperately need," he says. "It has been well over 40 years of fighting. Millions of Afghans have been killed or wounded. The devastation on the Afghan people is hard to imagine."
Posted: April 14, 2021, 12:15 pm
Biden Announces U.S. Will Withdraw Its Troops from Afghanistan by September 11, Protests Continue After Police Killing of Daunte Wright as His Family Demands Justice, Derek Chauvin Murder Trial Continues with Defense Calling Its First Witnesses, Iran Ramps Up Uranium Enrichment Following Natanz Attack and Amid Talks on 2015 Nuclear Deal, White House Moves Forward with $23 Billion Weapons Sale to UAE, Russian Troops Amass on Eastern Border as U.S. and NATO Pledge Support for Ukraine, U.S. Sends Unofficial Delegation to Taiwan as China Warns Against Foreign Intervention, Burkina Faso to Try Ex-President Blaise Compaoré for Murder of Iconic Leader Thomas Sankara, Facebook Allowed Honduran Pres. Juan Orlando Hernández to Use Fake Accounts to Appear More Popular, More Countries Delay Use of J&J Vaccine After Blood Clot Reports, India Reports New Daily Case Record, Announces More Lockdown as COVID Surges, U.N. Secretary-General Calls for Wealth Tax on Pandemic Profiteers, Watchdog Report Says Officers Instructed to Hold Back in Response to Jan. 6 Insurrection, Matt Gaetz Ally Reportedly Working with DOJ, Says Rep. Gaetz Exchanged Money for Sex, Biden Taps Robert Santos to Become Census Bureau's First Director of Color, FDA Will Allow Pregnant People to Receive Abortion Pill by Mail During Pandemic, Wisconsin Declares State of Emergency as Firefighters Battle Hundreds of Wildfires, New York Becomes First State to Divest Pension Fund from Tar Sands Companies
Posted: April 14, 2021, 12:00 pm
We look at President Biden's nomination of Kristen Clarke to become the first Black woman to lead the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division and the conservative smear campaign against the veteran civil rights lawyer. The far-right Fox News host Tucker Carlson has devoted at least five segments to attacking Clarke's nomination, including baseless accusations of anti-Semitism. Ben Jealous, president of People for the American Way and former president of the NAACP, says "the right-wing attack machine" springs into action whenever Black nominees are up for confirmation. "They make sport, quite frankly, of trying to defame their character, destroy their reputation, and they see women of color as being very vulnerable," says Jealous. He also addresses the state of police-community relations in the U.S. and efforts to stop police impunity for killing Black people.
Posted: April 13, 2021, 12:44 pm
We get the latest on the murder trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who killed George Floyd, with Minneapolis-based civil rights attorney Nekima Levy Armstrong. She says prosecutors in the case have successfully chipped away at the "blue wall of silence" by getting current police officials to testify against Chauvin. However, she says it's likely that "the only reason that these officers have testified is because the world is watching."
Posted: April 13, 2021, 12:34 pm
Protests continue in the Minneapolis area after a white police officer shot and killed a 20-year-old Black man, Daunte Wright, during a traffic stop Sunday in the suburb of Brooklyn Center. The deadly shooting took place about 10 miles from where former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is on trial for killing George Floyd. Just before he was killed, Wright called his mother to say he was being pulled over — allegedly because an air freshener was obscuring his rearview mirror. The Brooklyn Center police chief claims Kimberly Potter, a 26-year police veteran who has served as the police union president for the department, accidentally pulled a gun instead of a Taser. The Star Tribune reports Daunte Wright is the sixth person killed by Brooklyn Center police since 2012. Five of the six have been men of color. "Unfortunately, there has not been a serious attempt to change the phenomenon of driving while Black, which is something that happens to Black people on a routine basis in the Twin Cities and across the state of Minnesota," says Minneapolis-based civil rights attorney and activist Nekima Levy Armstrong. We also speak with Jaylani Hussein, executive director of the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, who says policing in the United States is as dangerous to Black and Brown people as ever. "They are deadly. They kill Black and Brown people," says Hussein.
Posted: April 13, 2021, 12:13 pm
Brooklyn Center Police Chief Claims Officer Mistook Gun for Taser in Killing of Daunte Wright, Prosecution Rests Case in Murder Trial of Minneapolis Ex-Cop Derek Chauvin, U.S. to Pause Use of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine Amid Reports of Rare Blood Clots, WHO Warns of Exponential Rise in COVID-19 Cases, COVID-19 Cases Surge in the Philippines as Duterte Appears in Public for First Time in Two Weeks, European Union Officials Consider Use of Russian COVID-19 Vaccine, Biden Admin Strikes Deals with Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala to Further Militarize Borders, As Volcano Erupts, Only Vaccinated Residents of St. Vincent Allowed to Evacuate on Cruise Ships, Japan to Release 1 Million Metric Tons of Radioactive Water into Pacific Ocean, Los Angeles DA Requests Extradition of Harvey Weinstein to Face Rape and Assault Charges, Will Smith and Antoine Fuqua to Move Film Production from Georgia over Voter Suppression Law, Georgia Prisoners Shackled and Placed in Solitary Confinement Days After Giving Birth, Fox News Won't Punish Tucker Carlson over Racist "Great Replacement" Conspiracy Theory, Domestic Terrorism Surged to Record Levels in 2020, Fueled by Far-Right Extremism, NCAA Supports Trans Athletes Against GOP Efforts to Ban Them from Competition
Posted: April 13, 2021, 12:00 pm
LaDonna Brave Bull Allard, Standing Rock Sioux tribal historian, has died of cancer at the age of 64, and we look back on her work, through interviews on her land and in the Democracy Now! studio. Allard co-founded the Sacred Stone Camp on Standing Rock Sioux land in April 2016 to resist the Dakota Access pipeline, to which people from around the world traveled, making it one of the largest gatherings of Indigenous peoples in a century. "We say mni wiconi, water of life. Every time we drink water, we say mni wiconi, water of life. We cannot live without water," LaDonna Brave Bull Allard said in a September 2016 interview with Democracy Now! "I don't understand why America doesn't understand how important water is. So we have no choice. We have to stand. No matter what happens, we have to stand to save the water."
Posted: April 12, 2021, 12:47 pm
Former U.S. attorney general and longtime human rights lawyer Ramsey Clark has died at the age of 93, and we look back on his life. Clark was credited as being a key architect of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968. He served as attorney general from 1967 to 1969, during which time he ordered a moratorium on federal executions and opposed J. Edgar Hoover's wiretapping of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., though he was also involved in the prosecution of antiwar activists. After leaving office, Clark became a leading critic of U.S. foreign policy. "The world is the most dangerous place it's ever been now because of what our country has done, and is doing, and we have to take it back," Ramsey Clark said while addressing a protest against the inauguration of George W. Bush on January 20, 2005. We also play an excerpt from an interview with Clark about defending the Hancock 38, a group of peace activists arrested at a U.S. drone base near Syracuse, New York.
Posted: April 12, 2021, 12:37 pm
Labor organizer and scholar Jane McAlevey says there were many warning signs that the historic Amazon union drive in Bessemer, Alabama, would fail. Workers at the Amazon warehouse voted overwhelmingly against forming a union after a months-long vote by mail, with Amazon using widespread intimidation and misinformation to undermine the effort. But McAlevey says organizers made a number of missteps in their campaign and didn't do enough to engage workers in the warehouse. "There's a strategy and a method for every part of a hard campaign. Do we always win when we follow them? No. Do we stand a better chance of winning them? Yes," says McAlevey.
Posted: April 12, 2021, 12:28 pm
The largest union drive in the history of Amazon has ended with the company on top. After a months-long battle, 738 workers at Amazon's Bessemer, Alabama, warehouse voted to unionize, and 1,798 voted no. Ballots from another 505 workers were challenged, mostly by Amazon. The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union that led the drive says Amazon illegally interfered in the vote, and it plans to file unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board. Amazon, which is led by the world's richest man, Jeff Bezos, spent millions to defeat the closely watched election, and even got a private mailbox installed at the warehouse so it could pressure workers to mail their ballots from work and monitor votes. "It's important that people don't misread the results of this election," says Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. "People were not saying that they were satisfied with Amazon's working conditions in any way. They were saying that they were afraid to vote for the union."
Posted: April 12, 2021, 12:15 pm
Protesters Take to Minneapolis Streets After Police Kill 20-Year-Old Black Man Daunte Wright, Medical Examiner Reaffirms George Floyd Homicide Ruling, Caused by Derek Chauvin's Restraint, Black Army Lt. Sues After Virginia Police Attack, Pepper-Spray Him in Face Without Provocation, Maryland Passes Sweeping Police Reforms, Alabama Amazon Warehouse Organizers Lose Union Vote But Plan Legal Challenge, India Has World's 2nd-Highest COVID Caseload; WHO Blasts Vast Global Vaccine Inequality, Michigan Remains Major COVID Hot Spot But Refrains from Imposing New Lockdown
, Death Toll Mounts in Burma as Military Fires on Demonstration, Killing Over 80 People, Iran Accuses Israel of "Nuclear Terrorism" over Sabotage at Natanz Nuclear Plant, Conservative Ex-Banker Defeats Leftist Economist in Ecuadorian Presidential Election, Peru Appears Headed to Runoff as Voters Cast Ballots in Deadliest Week of COVID-19 Pandemic, 16,000 Evacuated as Volcano Erupts in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Biden Proposes $1.5 Trillion Federal Budget, White House Establishes Commission to Study Supreme Court Reforms, Texas Man Who Joined January 6 Capitol Riots Charged with Plot to Blow Up Data Center, Off-Duty Pentagon Police Officer Charged with Murdering Two in Maryland, Mark Colville Gets 21-Month Prison Term over Anti-Nuclear Action at Kings Bay Submarine Base, Ramsey Clark, Ex-Attorney General Who Became Fierce Opponent of U.S. Foreign Policy, Dies at 93, Standing Rock Sioux Historian LaDonna Brave Bull Allard, Who Led Fight Against Pipeline, Dies at 64
Posted: April 12, 2021, 12:00 pm
President Joe Biden has ordered a series of executive actions on gun control in the wake of mass shootings in Georgia, Colorado and elsewhere, calling gun violence in the U.S. an "epidemic" and an "international embarrassment." The most significant executive order aims to crack down on so-called ghost guns — easily assembled firearms bought over the internet without serial numbers, which account for about a third of guns recovered at crime scenes. Biden has also nominated gun control advocate David Chipman to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, but acknowledged this week that major new gun control measures, like an assault weapons ban and universal background checks, will require legislation from Congress. "We are calling on Congress to carry the torch here and pass additional laws to keep Americans safe and save American lives," says Brian Lemek, executive director of Brady PAC.
Posted: April 9, 2021, 12:52 pm
A new Amnesty International report lays out how the pandemic has significantly exacerbated inequality across the Americas over the past year. Over 1.3 million people have died in the region from COVID-19, making the Americas the hardest-hit area in the world. Women, refugees, migrants, underprotected health workers, Indigenous peoples, Black people and other groups historically excluded and neglected by governments have borne the brunt of the pandemic, according to the report, which also points out the rise in gender violence and lethal crackdown on human rights defenders. "It's not a surprise that the Americas has been the region worst hit by the pandemic," says Erika Guevara-Rosas, a human rights lawyer and Americas director for Amnesty International. "Growing inequality, corruption, violence, environmental degradation and impunity created a fertile ground for the Americas to become the epicenter."
Posted: April 9, 2021, 12:35 pm
Since last year, approximately 440 Cubans have died from COVID-19, giving Cuba one of the lowest death rates per capita in the world. Cuba is also developing five COVID-19 vaccines, including two which have entered stage 3 trials. Cuba has heavily invested in its medical and pharmaceutical system for decades, in part because of the six-decade U.S. embargo that has made it harder for Cuba to import equipment and raw materials from other countries. That investment, coupled with the country's free, universal healthcare system, has helped Cuba keep the virus under control and quickly develop vaccines against it, says Dr. Rolando Pérez Rodríguez, the director of science and innovation at BioCubaFarma, which oversees Cuba's medicine development. "We have long experience with these kinds of technologies," he says. We also speak with Reed Lindsay, journalist and founder of the independent, Cuba-focused media organization Belly of the Beast, who says U.S. sanctions on Cuba continue to cripple the country. "Cuba is going through an unbelievable economic crisis, and the sanctions have been absolutely devastating," says Lindsay.
Posted: April 9, 2021, 12:11 pm
Medical Expert Testifies George Floyd Died from Lack of Oxygen, Not Fentanyl, Ex-NFL Player with History of Concussions Kills 5 Before Turning Gun on Himself, President Biden Cracks Down on "Ghost Guns" and Calls on Congress to Ban Assault Rifles, Johnson & Johnson to Slash Deliveries of COVID-19 Vaccine After Factory Error, Pakistani PM Condemned as "Rape Apologist" After Blaming Sex Assaults on How Women Dress, Unionists Riot in Belfast as Brexit Stokes Northern Ireland Divisions , Britain's Prince Philip Has Died at Age 99, Allegations of Abuse, Sexual Assault in Texas Migrant Facility for Unaccompanied Children, Texas GOP Official Called for "Army" of Poll Watchers to Deploy in Communities of Color, New Mexico Bans Qualified Immunity for Police and Other Government Employees, "No" Votes Lead in AL Amazon Union Drive Amid Reports Amazon Unlawfully Installed Onsite Mailbox, Reese Erlich, Author and Reporter on U.S. Imperialism, Dies After Battle with Cancer, Antiwar Activists Block Entry to Creech Air Force Base in Nevada to Protest U.S. Drones
Posted: April 9, 2021, 12:00 pm
As people try to find a safe way to gather and travel during the pandemic, there is growing interest in documenting who has been vaccinated or tested negative for COVID-19. The World Health Organization has warned so-called vaccine passports may not be an effective way to reopen, and healthcare professionals argue vaccine certificates may further exacerbate vaccine inequality. New York is already testing a digital vaccine passport app made by IBM called the Excelsior Pass, while countries including the U.K. and Israel have issued their own versions of electronic vaccine certificates. The U.S. government has ruled out the introduction of mandatory vaccine passports at the federal level, but many private companies are now developing COVID-19 tracking systems. ACLU policy analyst Jay Stanley says smartphone-based vaccine passport apps "raise a lot of questions" around privacy, access and discrimination. "We have systems in place already for proving you've been vaccinated," he says. "Is that system so broken that we need to construct an entirely new electronic system?"
Posted: April 8, 2021, 12:47 pm
The Biden administration is facing criticism from human rights groups after it announced this week it will leave in place a Trump-era policy to allow military commanders to use landmines across the globe. A Pentagon spokesperson described landmines as a "vital tool in conventional warfare" and said restricting their use would put American lives at risk, despite Biden's campaign promise to promptly roll back Trump's policy. Jody Williams, recipient of the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize for her work with the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, says landmines were invented "in order to maim people" and have a devastating impact on children, women and the elderly around the world. "It is an indiscriminate weapon that has no place on this planet."
Posted: April 8, 2021, 12:33 pm
The United States and Iran are holding more indirect talks as part of a push to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, after former President Donald Trump pulled out of the accord nearly three years ago. The two countries agreed to set up two expert-level working groups along with other signatories of the 2015 deal, which is formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA. While Iran formally remains in the JCPOA, it has faced international criticism for increasing production of nuclear materials it says are for peaceful purposes. The United States has imposed some 1,600 different sanctions on Iran in a move that has also made it harder for Iranians to import food and medicine, a situation that became even more dire during the pandemic. The main hurdle to reviving the nuclear deal is doubt over the U.S. commitment to diplomacy, says Seyed Hossein Mousavian, Middle East security and nuclear policy specialist at Princeton University and former spokesperson for Iran on its nuclear negotiations with the European Union. "The U.S. needs to do some serious steps to revive the trust," Mousavian says.
Posted: April 8, 2021, 12:14 pm
Global Coronavirus Cases Surge, With Record Daily Infections in India, Turkey and Iran, Brazil's President Rejects Nationwide Lockdown Despite Record COVID-19 Death Toll, Countries Cut Back on AstraZeneca Vaccinations After Reports of Rare Blood Clots, U.S. COVID-19 Cases and Hospitalizations Rise, Driven by Young People, Gaza Strip Locks Down Amid COVID Surge and Vaccine Shortage as Cases Plummet in Israel, U.S. Restores Financial Aid to U.N. Relief Agency for Palestine, Biden Names Gun Control Advocate to Lead Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Sen. Joe Manchin Doubles Down on Opposition to Weakening Filibuster, Expert Witness Says Derek Chauvin Used Excessive Force Against George Floyd, Trump Campaign Refunds Donations After Misleading Supporters into Recurring Payments, GA State Rep. Won't Face Charges for Knocking on Governor's Door as He Signed Voter Suppression Bill, Virginia to Legalize Recreational Marijuana Possession Beginning July 1, Amazon Overnight Workers in Chicago Walk Off Job to Protest Grueling 10+ Hour Overnight Shifts, 2021 Izzy Award Honors News Outlet Truthout, Journalists Liliana Segura and Tim Schwab
Posted: April 8, 2021, 12:00 pm
After a year of layoffs, cuts and austerity, the faculty and staff of four unions at Rutgers University have voted in support of an unusual and pioneering agreement to protect jobs and guarantee raises after the school declared a fiscal emergency as a result of the pandemic. A key part of the deal is an agreement by the professors to do "work share" and take a slight cut in hours for a few months in order to save the jobs of other lower-paid workers. "The historic nature of this agreement is that it encompasses all four unions," says Christine O'Connell, president of the union representing Rutgers administrators. "This agreement protects jobs." We also speak with Todd Wolfson, president of the Rutgers Union of graduate workers, faculty and postdocs, who says the unions' core demand was stopping further layoffs. "That core demand was met, and there's no layoffs through the calendar year and into next year."
Posted: April 7, 2021, 12:47 pm
As the first anniversary of the police killing of George Floyd approaches, we speak with author and journalist Victoria Law, who says despite the mass movement to fight systemic racism sparked by Floyd's death, persistent myths about policing, incarceration and the criminal justice system still hinder reform. "Why do we think prisons keep us safe? Obviously, Derek Chauvin wasn't afraid of being arrested or imprisoned when he killed George Floyd," says Law, who examines these issues in her new book, "'Prisons Make Us Safer': And 20 Other Myths About Mass Incarceration."
Posted: April 7, 2021, 12:33 pm
This week at the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, numerous members of the Minneapolis Police Department have taken the stand and testified that Chauvin violated policy by kneeling on Floyd's neck for nine-and-a-half minutes, and the emergency room doctor who tried to save Floyd's life said his chances of living would have been higher if CPR had been administered sooner. The trial is putting a spotlight on "the disproportionate killing of Black people by police" in the United States, says Marq Claxton, a retired New York Police Department detective who is now director of the Black Law Enforcement Alliance. He argues that until police officers are arrested, charged and convicted for such killings, "these tragedies will continue to occur."
Posted: April 7, 2021, 12:11 pm
U.S. Moves Up Vaccine Eligibility for Adults as Global Access Inequities Plague Poorer Nations, Minneapolis Police Trainer Says Derek Chauvin Kneeling on Floyd's Neck Was Not Authorized Technique, Arkansas Becomes First State to Criminalize Gender-Affirming Treatment for Trans Youth, Tishaura Jones Elected as First Black Woman Mayor of St. Louis, Florida Democratic Rep. Alcee Hastings Dies at Age 84, Democrats Can Use Reconciliation to Pass More Budget Bills with Simple Majority, U.S and Iran Say Early Talks on Relaunching Nuclear Deal "Constructive", U.N. Warns One-Third of Population of Democratic Republic of the Congo Facing Acute Hunger, Amnesty USA Calls on Biden to End U.S. Landmines Policy, Join International Ban, Israeli Soldiers Shoot Dead West Bank Man, Palestinian Mayor Says Case May Be Brought to ICC, Yemeni American Activists on Hunger Strike to Call for End of U.S.-Backed, Saudi-Led War on Yemen, Multiple Personnel Suspended, Under Investigation at Fort Sill After Sexual Assault Allegation, NYT: Matt Gaetz Sought Blanket Pardons from Former President Trump, CO2 Surpasses 420 Parts Per Million for First Time, Proposed NY Budget Includes $2 Billion for First-Ever Excluded Workers Fund
Posted: April 7, 2021, 12:00 pm
We speak with economist Darrick Hamilton, founding director of the Institute on Race and Political Economy at The New School, about how U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is calling for a minimum global corporate income tax to help pay for President Joe Biden's proposed $2.25 trillion infrastructure and jobs plan, aimed in part at combating the climate crisis and addressing racial inequities in housing and transportation. The plan includes over $650 billion for roads, bridges, railways and ports; $650 billion to expand broadband, retrofit homes and upgrade water systems and the electrical grid; $400 billion for "home- or community-based care" for the elderly and people with disabilities; and $300 billion for domestic manufacturing. "The good news is the conception of infrastructure has been expanded to include human infrastructure, as well as addressing the environment, beyond just traditional bridges and roads," says Hamilton, but he adds the bill is still too small to properly address the economic problems facing the United States. "The scale of the problem and the size of the bill is incongruent."
Posted: April 6, 2021, 12:47 pm
We look at pandemic profiteering in the medical system as a new report by Kaiser Health News reveals some of the nation's richest hospitals recorded hundreds of millions of dollars in surplus over the past year after accepting federal healthcare bailout grants. This comes as hospitals in New York have sued thousands of patients during the pandemic, and Northwell — which is run by a close ally of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo — has faced intense criticism for practices like billing patients at its Lenox Hill Hospital over $3,000 for COVID tests — more than 30 times the typical cost. "There's a lot of talk in our healthcare system about putting patients first, … but this is not doing that," says Elisabeth Benjamin, vice president of health initiatives at the Community Service Society of New York and co-founder of the Health Care for All New York campaign. "Suing patients ruins their lives." We also discuss how Biden's CARES Act made 3.7 million more people eligible for the Affordable Care Act's premium subsidies.
Posted: April 6, 2021, 12:28 pm
More than a year into the pandemic and the economic crisis it generated, many workers continue to be excluded from receiving any government relief. These excluded workers include undocumented people — many of them in essential services — and people recently released from prison. Hundreds of essential workers across New York are leading marches and hunger strikes to demand lawmakers support a $3.5 billion fund that would be the first of its kind in the United States to provide pandemic relief funding to those excluded from the current system. Governor Andrew Cuomo is now in final negotiations with legislators on a budget bill that was due last month, which could issue payments to up to 275,000 people. "I truly believe that this is the job of government," says Marcela Mitaynes, a New York assemblymember who is joining excluded workers in their hunger strike to push for pandemic relief and has called for a wealth tax to fund it. "We're supposed to provide for our people. And this is a moment where we need to step up."
Posted: April 6, 2021, 12:12 pm
Minneapolis Police Chief Condemns Derek Chauvin's Use of Force on George Floyd, Montana Governor Who Ended Mask Mandate in February Tests Positive for Coronavirus, 38,000 Texas Rangers Fans Pack Home Opener, Widely Flouting Mask Requirement, Florida Expands COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility to 16+ as Racial Disparities in Vaccinations Persist, Saudi Arabia to Reopen Mecca Holy Site to "Immunized" Pilgrims, Haiti Has Yet to Receive a Single Vaccine Dose for Its 11 Million People, Biden Administration Lifts Trump-Era Sanctions on International Criminal Court Officials, Benjamin Netanyahu Gets First Shot at Forming New Israeli Government as Corruption Trial Opens, Sen. Manchin Won't Back White House Bid to Partially Roll Back Trump-Era Corporate Tax Breaks, Arkansas GOP Gov. Asa Hutchinson Vetoes Ban on Gender-Affirming Care for Trans Youth, Virginia Bans So-Called Gay and Trans Panic Defense in Murder and Manslaughter Trials, Prisoners in St. Louis Jail Hold Uprising to Demand End to Cash Bail, Court Dates
Posted: April 6, 2021, 12:00 pm
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated 53 years ago, on April 4, 1968, at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee, at the age of 39. While Dr. King is primarily remembered as a civil rights leader, he also championed the cause of the poor, organized the Poor People's Campaign to address issues of economic justice, and was a fierce critic of U.S. foreign policy and the Vietnam War. We air an excerpt of his "Beyond Vietnam" speech, delivered at New York's Riverside Church on April 4, 1967, a year to the day before he was assassinated, in which Dr. King called the United States "the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today" and urged support for "a genuine revolution of values" that centers collective liberation and revolt against oppressive systems. "Our only hope today lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go out into a sometimes hostile world declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism and militarism," King said.
Posted: April 5, 2021, 12:48 pm
We get an update on how the Ethiopian government has announced Eritrean forces are withdrawing from the Tigray region in northern Ethiopia, where harrowing witness accounts have emerged of Eritrean soldiers killing Tigrayan men and boys and rape being used as weapon of war by Ethiopian and Eritrean soldiers. Eritrea entered the Tigray region to support Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's military offensive in November targeting the Tigray People's Liberation Front. The true death toll from the conflict remains unknown, but researchers recently identified almost 2,000 people killed in 150 massacres by warring factions. CNN senior international correspondent Nima Elbagir, who just returned from reporting on the region, says what started as a "competition for power" has descended into ethnic cleansing. "Many people believe that it is now genocidal, that what is a political intent to destroy is becoming now an intent to destroy, in whole or part, a people," says Elbagir.
Posted: April 5, 2021, 12:32 pm
We look at the urgent push to ensure equal access to COVID-19 vaccines for all nations, rich and poor, and growing calls for Big Pharma to waive their patent rights, as COVID-19 cases soar in India and the Modi government has suspended exports of coronavirus vaccines to many of the world's poorest countries that depend on AstraZeneca vaccines it produces. "These are not India's vaccines," says Achal Prabhala, coordinator of the AccessIBSA project, which campaigns for equitable access to medicines. "The number of vaccine doses that have gone out to a third of humanity — 91 poor countries — is 18 million doses, or just enough to cover about 1% of the populations of these countries if they've even got vaccines, which some have not," Prabhala notes. Leena Menghaney, an Indian lawyer who heads Médecins Sans Frontières's access campaign in India, links the supply shortage to Oxford University's decision to sign an exclusive deal with the Serum Institute in India rather than contracting several manufacturers to produce the vaccine. "The monopoly is going to cost us," Menghaney says.
Posted: April 5, 2021, 12:12 pm
India Hits 100,000 Daily COVID Cases; More Nations Enter Lockdown; Pope Calls for Vaccine Equality, U.S. Vaccinations Pick Up Speed, But Health Experts Say Country Is Still at Risk for New Wave, U.S. Capitol Police Officer Killed After Man Rams Car into Security Checkpoint, Veteran Minneapolis Police Officer Calls Chauvin Kneeling on Floyd's Neck "Totally Unnecessary", U.S. and Iran Holding Talks Via Nuclear Deal Signatories in Attempt to Revive 2015 Accord, Jordan Arrests Ex-Crown Prince, Other Top Figures Accused of Plotting Coup Against King, Demonstrations Continue Against New U.K. Bill That Would Empower Police to Suppress Protests, Five Civilians Killed in Mogadishu Suicide Bombing, 22 Indian Police Officers Killed After Battle with Maoist Fighters, Massive Flooding Kills at Least 100, Submerges Thousands of Homes in Indonesia, Florida Wastewater Pond on Brink of Catastrophic Collapse, Texas Police Officers Fired for Killing Black Man Jailed for Marijuana Possession, Chicago Protests Erupt over Police Killing of 13-Year-Old Adam Toledo, MLB Moves All-Star Game from Atlanta to Protest Georgia Voter Suppression Law, Steelworkers Begin Second Week of Strike over Unfair Labor Practices at Allegheny Technologies
Posted: April 5, 2021, 12:00 pm