Each Wednesday, we recap the most important headlines from our global community to keep you up to speed on world news.
At least 15 Indigenous activists and allies were arrested in South Dakota Friday after blocking a highway leading to Mount Rushmore, where President Trump gave a divisive speech attacking what he called “far-left fascism.”
The Indigenous activists were part of a protest against a visit to the memorial by Donald Trump, as well as racial injustice and the theft of the Black Hills from Indigenous peoples who once called it home and still consider it a sacred place.
During his Mount Rushmore address, Trump made only a passing reference to the coronavirus pandemic. Public health officials criticized the White House for not requiring social distancing or masks at the event.
Friends and supporters lobbied for the release of those Indigenous activists and allies at a road blockade at Mount Rushmore National Memorial, staging a rally outside the Pennington County Jail in Rapid City and asking for donations to a bail fund.
The NDN Collective, a Rapid City, S.D.-based advocacy organization, identified two of those arrested as its president and CEO, Nick Tilsen, and Krystal Two Bulls, a founder of Voices of the Sacred. The NDN Collective was soliciting donations to the Black Hills Bail and Legal Defense Fund to defray the cost of bailing out those protesters who remained in jail.
States can require Electoral College voters to back the victor of their state’s popular vote, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously, in a major dispute that could have an impact on November’s presidential contest. Justice Elena Kagan, who authored the opinion of the court, wrote that “nothing in the Constitution expressly prohibits States from taking away presidential electors’ voting discretion.”
The decision raises questions about the future of the Electoral College, and, in particular, about the so-called National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, in which states accounting for at least 270 electoral votes would agree to award their electors to whichever presidential candidate received the most votes nationwide. Fifteen states and the District of Columbia, with 196 electoral votes among them, have signed on, but their commitment will not take effect unless enough states join them to reach 270.
Supporters of the compact see it as a way to functionally abolish the Electoral College without going through the extraordinarily difficult process of amending the Constitution to abolish it formally.
In a major victory for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and Indigenous and environmental activists, a judge has ordered the Dakota Access Pipeline be shut down and emptied of all oil in the next 30 days, pending an environmental review. U.S. District Court Judge James Boasberg said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had violated environmental law when it granted a permit for the pipeline without an extensive environmental assessment. The fight to stop DAPL, led by Indigenous land defenders, catalyzed a major grassroots movement, with the 2016 resistance at Standing Rock watched by millions of people around the world.
By 2021, Scotland public school pupils will receive lessons in the equality and identity issues faced by the LGBT community. Deputy First Minister and Education Secretary John Swinney said “Scotland is already considered one of the most progressive countries in Europe for LGBTI [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex] equality.
Last year, a study found that a majority of British people think primary schools should teach LGBTQ-inclusive lessons. Support is even higher among young people, as this figure increases to 68% for Brits aged 16-24.
After hundreds of experts called for the W.H.O. to review its guidance on the possibility of airborne transmission of the virus, the agency acknowledged on Tuesday that airborne transmission may be important in indoor spaces and said it planned to release updated recommendations. Two scientists from the World Health Organization will travel to China this weekend to begin preparations for a larger investigation into the origin of the coronavirus.
Immigration authorities announced Monday that they would discontinue exceptions to visa requirements that are currently allowing international students studying at American universities to attend all of their classes online.
President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil, who has railed against social distancing measures and repeatedly downplayed the threat of the coronavirus as the epidemic in his country became the second-worst in the world, has been infected. Brazil now has more than 1.6 million confirmed cases and more than 65,000 deaths, more than any country except the United States.
The virus death toll in India surpassed 20,000 on Tuesday, and, with more than 719,500 confirmed cases, the country has overtaken Russia to become the third hardest-hit with number of confirmed cases, after the United States and Brazil. India is one of many developing nations where leaders feel the economic situation means they have no choice but to prioritize reopening despite surging infections.