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Daily News Flash with Robert Jensen on Syria Carnage, Ukraine Fighting, and White House Report on Costs of Climate Change – Plus Update on Gaza

Uprising’s guest expert Robert Jensen, an author and a Professor of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin, analyzes today’s news headlines:

Sixteen hundred people have been killed in Syria in the last 10 days alone, as new gruesome videos emerge. Violence in Syria, which has been eclipsed by the Israeli war on Gaza, has reached a breaking point. On Sunday alone, 180 people were killed. Newly posted online videos from parts of the country controlled by the militant group ISIS, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, show horrific scenes from city streets where the group has apparently been carrying out public executions, including beheadings and crucifixions. The bodies in the videos seem to be those of Syrian armed forces. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has documented 115,000 deaths since the war broke out more than 3 years ago. Click here for a CNN.com article about the story.

Intense fighting in the Eastern part of Ukraine between Ukrainian forces and Russian-backed separatists has resulted in dozens of deaths. The fighting, taking place primarily in the city of Donestk, threatens to trap hundreds of thousands of civilians, as Ukrainian forces march toward the site of the downed Malaysian Airlines passenger plane. Ukraine says it has retaken several cities from rebel control. Meanwhile the United States and European Union are preparing major sanctions against key sectors of the Russian economy including banking, technology, and arms, in retaliation for what they say is Russian support for the rebels. Click here for a New York Times article about the story.

The White House has released a new report on Climate Change today that tallies up the economic costs of delaying action against a carbon based economy. The report, prepared by the Council of Economic Advisors found that costs of mitigation increase 40% for each decade that action is delayed. Writing in the Huffington Post, Jason Furman, chair of the Council, and John Podesta, the President’s Counselor warn that “climate targets that are within reach today may become unrealistic if we delay.” Among the solutions they tout are Obama’s Clean Power plan which “will help reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 30 percent below 2005 levels and improve air quality.” Click here for a Huffington Post article about the report.


The Israeli war on Gaza has greatly intensified in the last 24 hours with more than 100 Palestinians killed overnight. On day 22 of the operation, Israel took credit for destroying the four-story home and office of what it says is a top Hamas leader as well as the organization’s radio and TV station. Israeli fire has also put Gaza’s main power plant out of commission, leaving residents without electricity. The same plant was attacked in 2006. A spokesperson said, “The shelling of the station is a violation of all red lines.” At least 1,200 Palestinians have been killed so far. As of Monday night nearly 5000 homes have been completely destroyed and more than 200,000 Gazans have become internally displaced refugees. The UN Human Rights Council considers Israel’s attack on a UN facility last week a war crime.

Despite the astounding death toll, the Obama Administration’s National Security Adviser Susan Rice reiterated the US’s unconditional support for Israel this week saying, “Here is one thing you never have to worry about: America’s support for the state of Israel…Hamas initiated this conflict. And Hamas has dragged it on.” This, despite the fact that it has now emerged Hamas had nothing to do with the deaths of the three Israeli teens which was used as an impetus by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for starting this operation.