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Daily News Flash with Courtney Morris on White House Prisoner Swap, Proposed EPA Regulations on Coal Emissions, and El Salvador’s New President

Uprising’s guest expert Courtney Morris, assistant professor of African American and women’s Studies at Penn State University, analyzes today’s news headlines:

The White House has sparked a major political battle with a prisoner exchange this weekend. The Obama Administration released 5 Taliban leaders in exchange for US Sargent Bowe Bergdahl, a prisoner of war who was in captivity for 5 years. The move sparked angry accusations from Republicans of “negotiating with terrorists,” to which Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel responded, “That’s a normal process in getting your prisoners back.” Senator Ted Cruz, who has been openly courting a presidential run, said, the move by Obama signaled to “terrorists,” that “you capture a US soldier you can trade that soldier for five terrorist prisoners.” Click here for a Guardian newspaper article about the story.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will announce new rules today to cut coal emissions by as much as 30%. The move is part of the Obama Administration’s attempt to curb climate change using executive authority, given the deadlock in Congress. The federal agency will recommend cuts for each state, and offer a variety of options to arrive at those targets using a combination of solar and wind energy supplementation as well as the so-called cap-and-trade program allowing companies to pay to pollute. The rules have been heavily attacked by Republicans and some Democrats in coal-heavy states, even before they were released. Click here for an Al Jazeera America article about the story.

El Salvador has just sworn in its new President, 69 year old Salvador Sanchez Ceren, a former guerilla with the FMLN, or Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front. The FMLN was the main front in a deadly war against a US-backed regime that lasted more than a decade and in which more than 70,000 Salvadorans died. El Salvador’s most pressing problems these days are poverty and gang violence. President Sanchez Ceren has promised to take on the issues head first, and also maintain good ties with the US, which is home to hundreds of thousands of Salvadoran migrants. Click here for a USA Today article about the story.

The great civil rights activist Yuri Kochiyama has died. She was 93 years old and passed away yesterday. Yuri Kochiyama spent time in the Japanese internment camps during World War II. She was active in racial justice and anti-war movements and was at the side of Malcolm X when he was shot and killed.