In today’s digest:
- Brazilian president fears ‘end of democracy’
- 6,500 migrants rescued in one day off Libya
- Report says Syrian regime funded by UN aid programs
- US to revise use of private immigration detention centers
- Venezuelan opposition leader taken to jail from house arrest
- Recently arrested Egyptian photojournalist found with signs of torture
- California farmworkers to see overtime pay in a few years
- Calls for resignation of Maine’s governor over racists remarks
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff gave her defense speech at her impeachment trial Monday, taking questions from senators. Warning about impeachment being equal to a coup, she said that she survived torture and cancer and she is now worried for the end of democracy in her country. Rallies in her support were held in Brasilia, and police dispersed them with teargas. A final verdict is expected Tuesday or Wednesday.
Monday’s was one of the largest sea rescues of migrants ever recorded. Over 6,500 people, mostly from Eritrea and Somalia, rescued in 40 joint operations in one day by NGOs vessels and the Italian Coast Guard off the coast of Libya.
The Syrian regime is funded by UN aid programs. A Guardian investigation found that in order to operate aid programs in Syria, the UN works with agencies and individuals sanctioned by the EU, and is forced by the regime into procuring infrastructure and goods by businesses and entities linked to repression and possible war crimes.
The Department of Homeland Security is evaluating its use of private immigration detention centers. In the wake of the Justice Department announcement that it will phase out its use of private prisons, DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson directed his advisory council to look into similar changes. A decision on the matter will be announced by the end of November.
Venezuelan opposition leader Daniel Ceballos was transferred to jail from his ongoing house arrest. Under the pretense of a medical exam, the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service took Ceballos in an ambulance over the weekend. Government officials said Ceballos was planning on fleeing the country on September 1, when large anti-government protests are expected. The US State Department condemned his arrest and asked for his release, prompting Venezuela to say the US is conspiring in an attempted coup.
A photojournalist who was arrested on Saturday in Cairo was seen at Marg police station on Monday bearing signs of torture, according to his lawyer Ali al-Halawany. Omar Adel was arrested on Saturday at Matareya metro station and his whereabouts remained unknown for two days. His lawyer filed three complaints against Adel’s arrest, until he caught sight of him on Monday.
California farmworkers could see overtime pay within the next six years. Nearly 80 years in the making, state lawmakers passed legislation that would require farms to pay workers overtime after eight hours of work. Small farms with less than 25 employees will have until 2022 to make changes, while large farms will begin overtime pay in 2019. The bill, which will impact over 825,000 farm workers in the state, now heads to Governor Jerry Brown’s desk for his signature.
Maine Governor Paul Le Page is seeking advice following calls for his resignation after he made several racists remarks. A video released on Friday shows the Governor calling people of color as “the enemy.” Last week, the Governor said he keeps a binder of drug dealers arrested in the state and that 90% of them are black and Latino. The ACLU filed a Freedom of Access Act requesting the Governor’s binder linking it to racial profiling.
The US has met its goal of accepting 10,000 Syrian refugees. White House National Security Advisor Susan Rice said the refugees arrived on Monday. The Obama Administration met its pledge one month ahead of schedule after working with a comprehensive screening process. President Obama has stated he would like to increase the number of refugees accepted next year.
Human Rights Watch called for UN sanctions on Syria over chemical weapons attacks. A report by the group documented nine cases of chlorine barrel bombing by the regime, and mustard gas use by ISIS between 2014 and 2015. A mother and her two children died in the latest suspected chlorine gas attack in Aleppo on August 10.
The AP has documented 72 mass graves of ISIS victims in Iraq. Survivor testimonies detail the Islamic State’s genocidal warfare on ethnic Yazidi tribes in the Sinjar mountains, as entire communities were told to convert or die. At least 5,000 Yazidis were killed in the 2014 campaign, and thousands more remain enslaved in Syria or missing.
A suicide bomb attack in Kyrgyzstan’s capital injured three people. The attack happened a day before the country’s Independence Day celebrations. Kyrgyz nationals have been implicated in jihadist attacks abroad, including the Istanbul airport attack last month.
A truck bomb targeted a popular hotel in Somalia’s capital on Tuesday. The blast, near the presidential palace, heavily damaged two hotels and killed at least five people. Two journalists were reported among the injured.
The European Commission declared Ireland’s arrangement with Apple unlawful under state aid rules, and ordered the country to recover up to $14.5 billion from Apple in tax benefits.