Headlines for October 25, 2023 – Democracy Now!

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The U.N. agency serving Palestinians warned it would have to stop its life-saving operations in Gaza by tonight unless it receives more fuel. The humanitarian situation in Gaza has reached catastrophic levels, with hospitals shutting down and others cutting back critical services amid the lack of fuel and supplies. At the Indonesian Hospital in northern Gaza, staff have resorted to using smartphone lights to see in the darkness, as the hospital was forced to switch off power in all but a few parts of the building.
The nonstop Israeli bombardment of Gaza continues. On Tuesday, a father in Khan Younis carried the body of his young daughter in his arms after she was killed in an Israeli airstrike on their home.
Abdullah Teish: “I don’t want to let her go. This is my daughter. I want as much time with her as I have before we bury her. They wanted to cover her face, but I told them, 'No, we do not cover the faces of martyrs.' The martyr’s face is never covered. The martyr’s face is never covered.”
The Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza says over 6,500 people have been killed since October 7. The 1.4 million internally displaced Gazans — representing over half its total population — are facing increasing rates of disease due to overcrowding, poor sanitation and lack of essentials like food and water.
Sojood Najm: “At night it’s cold, and there aren’t enough blankets for everyone. There is sand right beneath us. The children are all sick, some coughing. Some have runny noses. Some have fevers at night. Where are the rights of our children? Where are our human rights?”
Israel appears poised to further escalate its attack on innocent civilians as its army chief says it’s “ready for ground operation.” The U.S. has sent top military commanders to advise Israel on its assault, including Marine Corps Lieutenant General James Glynn, who led U.S. forces in its failed operations in Iraq, in Fallujah.
A war monitor said Israeli strikes hit Syria’s Aleppo airport today in the fourth such attack over the past two weeks as fears mount of a wider regional conflict.
Israel is lashing out at the U.N. after Secretary-General António Guterres said it was guilty of “clear violations of international humanitarian law” and that the October 7 Hamas attack in Israel “did not happen in a vacuum.” The Israeli envoy to the U.N. demanded Guterres resign over the comments, as Israel has reportedly refused a visa to U.N. humanitarian affairs chief Martin Griffiths to “teach them a lesson.”
Here in the U.S., activists and voters continue to pressure lawmakers to call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. On Tuesday, a group of Christian, Jewish and Muslim faith leaders and activists held a “pray-in” at House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries’s D.C. office. This is Rabbi Alissa Wise.
Rabbi Alissa Wise: “We can’t overstate the crisis. Like, it is truly catastrophic on every level. Over 2,000 children have been killed. And it’s being done in the name of the Jewish people. And the message of Judaism is one of life. The most sacred obligation in Jewish tradition is pikuach nefesh, which is saving a life. It trumps every other law.”
Also on Tuesday, protesters in the Bronx rallied to demand an end to unchecked U.S. military support for Israel. The protest started in front of the office of Congressmember Ritchie Torres, a staunch ally to Israel, whom activists accused of complicity in its genocide against Palestinians.
In Cleveland, Ohio, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, is calling for a car ramming of a Palestinian American man to be investigated as a hate crime. The 20-year-old victim has been hospitalized. The driver reportedly shouted “Kill all Palestinians” and “Long live Israel” before hitting him with his car.
The University of Vermont canceled an in-person event this week featuring prominent Palestinian poet and journalist Mohammed El-Kurd, citing “safety” concerns. The move comes as Palestinian Americans and allies on college campuses across the U.S. are sounding the alarm over the increasing suppression of their voices.
In news from Washington, D.C., House Republicans nominated ultraconservative Louisiana congressmember and Trump ally Mike Johnson as their fourth pick for House speaker. The news came late Tuesday after another chaotic day that saw Majority Whip Tom Emmer nominated for the job, only to drop his bid just hours later. Emmer, a more moderate Republican, failed to gain the support of the far-right flank of his party, as well as Trump, who blasted him on social media and on a call with GOP lawmakers. Trump reportedly declared, “I killed him,” after Emmer’s withdrawal. The Minnesota lawmaker voted in favor of same-sex marriage rights and for the certification of Biden’s 2020 win. The House has been without a speaker for over three weeks following Kevin McCarthy’s ouster.
In Georgia, Jenna Ellis, Donald Trump’s former lawyer and a co-defendant in Fulton County’s racketeering case, pleaded guilty to conspiring to overturn Trump’s 2020 election loss. Ellis becomes the third former Trump lawyer to plead guilty and agree to cooperate with prosecutors, following Kenneth Chesebro and Sidney Powell last week. Jenna Ellis addressed an Atlanta court Tuesday.
Jenna Ellis: “In the frenetic pace of attempting to raise challenges to the election in several states, including Georgia, I failed to do my due diligence. I believe in and I value election integrity. If I knew then what I know now, I would have declined to represent Donald Trump.”
Ellis was sentenced to five years of probation, a fine of $5,000 and 100 hours of community service. She will also write a letter of apology to the state of Georgia.
Here in New York, Michael Cohen testified in Trump’s civil fraud trial that his former boss instructed him to inflate the value of his assets “based upon a number that [Trump] arbitrarily elected.” Michael Cohen, Trump’s one-time fixer and lawyer, said he would “reverse engineer” financial data to reach “whatever number [Trump] told us.” Cohen took the stand as Trump watched on just feet away.
Meanwhile, ABC News is reporting former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows testified at least three times to a federal grand jury after he was given immunity in special counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Meadows reportedly testified Trump was being “dishonest” with Americans and that Meadows did not believe the election fraud claims were true.
Forty-one states and the District of Columbia have sued Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, accusing the social media giant of knowingly promoting addictive features that harm the mental health of young people. The lawsuit says Meta has contributed to a mental health crisis in the United States and has violated a range of state consumer protection statutes, including a child privacy law that prohibits companies from collecting personal data of children under the age of 13 without parental consent. This is plaintiff, New Jersey Attorney General Matt Platkin.
Attorney General Matt Platkin: “We know that kids were and are being induced by Meta’s Instagram and Facebook platforms to spend hours upon hours scrolling and being subjected to images and words that exacerbate a number of health and social issues, including body image, eating disorders, anxiety, loneliness, depression and envy. Meta knew what they were doing.”
Hurricane Otis made landfall on Mexico’s southern Pacific coast early this morning as a historic Category 5 storm, unleashing dangerously high winds and torrential rains. Officials have warned of potential “catastrophic” and “life-threatening” conditions, including landslides and floods in the town of Acapulco and surrounding areas.
In related news, thousands of people were displaced in southeastern Yemen as Cyclone Tej triggered rare downpours. Severe cyclones are nearly unprecedented in the region, but warming ocean temperatures due to the climate crisis have made them more likely. The Guardian reports Tej is only the second such storm to make landfall in Yemen in recorded history.
Women and nonbinary people across Iceland held a 24-hour strike Tuesday to highlight the gender pay gap and gender-based violence. It was the seventh countrywide strike since the movement started in 1975. Though Iceland has topped the World Economic Forum’s Gender Gap Report for 14 straight years, researchers say 40% of women will still experience gender-based discrimination and sexual violence. Yesterday’s work stoppage, led by trade unions, affected all industries, from schools to the highest echelons of government, with Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir also participating in the strike. This is Agriculture Minister Svandís Svavarsdóttir.
Svandís Svavarsdóttir: “It’s about gender equality. We have been fighting for it for decades. And this day is very special for us, for women in Iceland, because we all skipped work 48 years ago, and we are doing it again today because the gap is still there and we are fighting against it.”

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