Progressives Demand “Corporate-Free Cabinet” & Global News

by Debra Brown

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Each Wednesday, we recap the most important headlines from our global community to keep you up to speed on world news.


Progressives Demand “Corporate-Free Cabinet” 

Democratic New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has criticized President-elect Joe Biden for considering former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel for a cabinet position and then a possible role as U.S. trade representative after despite Emanuel’s role as Chicago mayor in the cover-up of the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald by Chicago police in 2014.

Biden had originally considered Rahm as a possible Secretary of the Department of Transportation, but backtracked on Sunday after Ocasio-Cortez and at least two other Democratic politicians blasted Rahm for the role he played in the police cover-up of the shooting of 17-year-old Black teen Laquan McDonald in 2014 when Rahm was Chicago’s mayor.

Biden is now considering Rahm for a less prominent role as a trade representative, but on Monday afternoon, Ocasio-Cortez called it “shameful and concerning” that Rahm is being considered for any position at all.

Under Emanuel’s administration, Chicago city lawyers fought to hide police dashboard camera video of McDonald’s being shot 16 times in the back by an officer while McDonald posed no clear threat.

Climate and racial justice activists are also mobilizing with union members and newly elected members of Congress at the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee to call on President-elect Joe Biden to address the intersecting crises of the pandemic, economy and climate change. They’re also calling for Biden to create a “corporate-free Cabinet,” following his recent announcement of aides that included people with close ties to the pharmaceutical and fossil fuel industries.

Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. and Ilhan Omar, D-Minn. are mounting a petition against President-elect Biden nominating his former chief of staff Bruce Reed for a role within the White House, claiming Reed is a “deficit hawk,” Ocasio-Cortez, Omar and Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., are the first members of Congress to sign the petition, launched by the Justice Democrats. The group objects to Reed potentially serving as the head of the Office of Management and Budget. 


French Lawmakers Pass Bill Restricting Publication of Images of Police

French lawmakers passed a bill that critics say could make it harder for journalists and human rights advocates to hold police accountable.

The Global Security Bill’s most controversial section, Article 24, approved by lawmakers, forbids the publication of images that allow the identification of a law enforcement officer “with the intent to cause them harm, physically or mentally.”

There were more protests against the bill with an estimated 22,000 people taking part in marches across France. In Paris the crowds included representatives of the media, along with some gilets jaunes (yellow vest) protesters and members of Extinction Rebellion.

Overall, the Global Security Bill would expand the ability of security forces to film ordinary citizens without their consent through police bodycams and drones, while restricting the publication of photos or videos of police officers’ faces.


U.S. Agrees To Pause Deportations For Women Alleging Abuse At ICE Facility

The U.S. government has agreed to freeze any planned deportations of the immigrant women alleging abuse at a detention facility in Georgia. In a consent motion filed in U.S. District Court, authorities and the accusers’ attorneys jointly notified the court that the alleged victims and others with “substantially similar factual allegations” will not be removed from the United States.

The agreement represents a reprieve for the dozens of women who say that they endured unwanted procedures at Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla, Ga., including hysterectomies or other surgeries that left them sterile. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility is privately operated by the for-profit LaSalle Corrections, which has denied the allegations.

“In all, more than 43 women have reportedly alleged that they underwent nonconsensual and/or medically unnecessary gynecological procedures while detained at ICDC,” a group of more than 100 Democratic lawmakers said in a letter to the departments of Homeland Security and Justice.


Covid-19 Updates from Around the World 

According to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, at least 1.3 million people have died as a result of and at least 59 million people have been infected with COVID-19 worldwide.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are more than 150 vaccines under development for COVID-19. Almost 4.4 billion doses of the various vaccines have been pre-ordered around the world, according to a tally by the Reuters news agency.

More than one million travelers in the U.S. were screened at airport security checkpoints prior to the thanksgiving holiday, a new high for travel during the pandemic.

Carbon dioxide levels hit new highs last year and are expected to keep growing in 2020, despite coronavirus-related restrictions that forced a global industrial slowdown.


Surrender Deadline Nears as Ethiopia Prepares Tigray Attack

Ethiopia’s prime minister rejected growing international demands for dialogue and a halt to deadly fighting in the northern Tigray region as “interference”, saying his country will handle the conflict on its own as the 72-hour surrender ultimatum expires. 

The international community has urgently called for communications to be restored to the Tigray region so warring sides’ claims can be investigated, and so food and other desperately needed supplies can be sent as hunger grows.

The United Nations says it has been unable to send supplies into Tigray since the fighting began on November 4, when Abiy accused the TPLF of attacking a military base.

Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people have been killed in three weeks of fighting. More than 40,000 refugees have fled into Sudan. Nearly 100,000 Eritrean refugees at camps in northern Tigray have come close to the line of fire.

It is impossible to verify statements made by either side since phone and internet connections to Tigray are down and access to the area is strictly controlled.


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