Tuesday, Mar 21st

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Cyclone Freddy wrecks Malawi and Mozambique, killing more than 200 people

Cyclone Freddy wrecks Malawi and MozambiqueThe devastating Tropical Cyclone Freddy which has ripped through southern Africa in a rare second landfall has killed at least 216 people in Malawi and Mozambique since Saturday night, with the death toll expected to rise.

Heavy rains that triggered floods and mudslides have killed 199 people in Malawi, authorities said Tuesday. President Lazarus Chakwera declared a "state of disaster" in the country's southern region and the now-ravaged commercial capital, Blantyre. Some 19,000 people in the south of the nation have been displaced, according to Malawi's disaster management directorate.

"Power and communications are down in many affected areas, hindering aid operations," said Stephane Dujarric, the U.N. Secretary General's spokesperson at a press briefing Tuesday afternoon. The most affected regions remain inaccessible so the full extent of the damage is so far unknown.


A man burned a cross in a hate crime. He's now sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison

Man sentenced to 3 1/2 years for cross burning

A Mississippi man has been sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison after he burned a cross in his front yard to intimidate his Black neighbors, according to the Justice Department.

Axel Cox, 24, was sentenced on Thursday after he pleaded guilty to a federal hate crime and violating the Fair Housing Act in December.

According to the Justice Department, Cox burned a cross in his front yard on Dec. 3, 2020, and used "threatening and racially derogatory remarks" toward his Black neighbors.

The 24-year-old built the cross from supplies in his home — as he put together the wooden cross and placed it in his front yard, propping it up so his Black neighbors could see it. He then doused it with motor oil and lit it on fire.


Michigan Senate votes to repeal right-to-work law in victory for organized labor

Gov. Whitmer of Michigan

The Michigan Senate approved a bill on Tuesday to repeal the state’s right-to-work law that allows employees in unionized jobs to opt out of membership and paying dues in a victory for organized labor, sending the bill to the state House.

The bill, which narrowly passed along party lines in a 20-17 vote, would remove language from the state’s Employment Relations Commission Act that has allowed individuals at unionized workplaces to not be required to become a member of a union or pay any fees or dues to the union.


South Carolina GOP lawmakers consider death penalty for people who have abortions

Deeath penalty for abortion proposed in SC

South Carolina Republican lawmakers are considering a bill that would make a person who has an abortion eligible for the death penalty.

The bill, titled the South Carolina Prenatal Equal Protection Act of 2023, would change the state’s criminal code and redefine “person” to include a fertilized egg at the point of conception.

According to the bill, the change would “ensure that an unborn child who is a victim of homicide is afforded equal protection under the homicide laws of the state." Under South Carolina law, that includes the death penalty.

The bill provides exceptions for pregnant people who had an abortion if they were “compelled to do so by the threat of imminent death or great bodily injury” and also provides an exception if the abortion was done to save the life of the mother. There are no exceptions for rape or incest.


EPA sets ‘groundbreaking’ limits on toxic ‘forever chemicals’ in drinking water

Limits set of PFA chemicals in drinking water

The US Environmental Protection Agency has taken the extraordinary step of setting legal drinking water limits for six of the most studied and toxic PFAS compounds, known commonly as “forever chemicals”, that are at the center of an ongoing environmental crisis.

The new limits mark the first time in 26 years that the EPA has set legal limits for a contaminant in drinking water. Municipal utilities will be required to remove the compounds from drinking water, which could set off a wave of lawsuits directed at PFAS polluters, including the US military and chemical producers like 3M, DuPont and Chemours.


Zuckerberg’s Meta to lay off another 10,000 employees

Mark ZuckerbergMark Zuckerberg’s Meta is laying off another 10,000 people and instituting a further hiring freeze as part of the company’s “Year of Efficiency”, the chief executive announced in a Facebook post on Tuesday.

The restructuring, which also sees a further 5,000 unfilled job adverts closed without hiring, comes less than six months after the company announced another wave of 11,000 redundancies. At its peak in 2022, Meta had grown to 87,000 employees globally, with a substantial portion of that hiring occurring since the onset of the Covid pandemic.

“This will be tough and there’s no way around that,” Zuckerberg wrote in a blogpost. “Over the next couple of months, org leaders will announce restructuring plans focused on flattening our orgs, canceling lower priority projects, and reducing our hiring rates.”


Russian jet collides with US drone over Black Sea

Russian jet collides with US drone

A Russian fighter jet has collided with a US drone over the Black Sea, forcing the US to bring down its unmanned aircraft, the American military says.

It says the drone was on a routine mission in international airspace when two Russian jets tried to intercept it.

The US European command said the incident was the result of an "unprofessional act by the Russians".

US and allied forces will continue to operate in international airspace, the statement added.


Biden rips Florida over 'cruel' anti-trans push — ‘Close to sinful'


President Joe Biden bashed a wave of anti-trans legislation from Florida Republicans, calling their efforts to ban gender-affirming care and enact other anti-LGBTQ policies “cruel” and “close to sinful.”

On Monday’s episode of “The Daily Show,” actor and former Obama administration staffer Kal Penn spoke with Biden about his support for LGBTQ rights.

Republicans across the country have deployed an arsenal of legislation against the LGBTQ community, including bills to ban public drag performances, block trans athletes from playing on school teams, and bar discussion about sexuality and gender identity in schools.

Florida Republicans, with the support of Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, have targeted diversity efforts in school and expanded the infamous “Don’t Say Gay” law he signed last year. DeSantis has also attacked gender-affirming care for trans youth, and the Florida House has proposed banning drag shows.


Trump Blames Mike Pence For Jan. 6 Violence For Not Going Along With His Coup Attempt

Trump blames Pence for Jan 6Donald Trump, whose coup attempt on Jan. 6, 2021, put his vice president’s life at risk as a mob of his supporters attacked the U.S. Capitol, on Monday blamed Mike Pence for the violence that day because he didn’t go along with the scheme.

“Had he sent the votes back to the legislators, they wouldn’t have had a problem with Jan. 6,” the former president told reporters on a flight to an Iowa campaign stop. “So in many ways, you can blame him for Jan. 6.”


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