Cubans protest regime
Human Race: The island nation’s Communist leader called for violence against citizens decrying poor conditions
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Thousands of Cubans chanted “Freedom,” “Unite,” and “Enough” as they marched through the streets of Havana in protest against the country’s Communist dictatorship on July 11. Cubans stood on their balconies and cheered as protesters marched toward the city’s Malecon promenade while the government shut down internet service to keep people from broadcasting with their cell phones. The protests came amid a food shortage there. “We are fed up with the queues, the shortages. That’s why I’m here,” one protester said. Cuban police began patrolling the streets in force in several cities. “The people came out to express themselves freely, and they are repressing and beating them,” said the Rev. Jorge Luis Gil, a Roman Catholic priest. At least one protester died in clashes. U.S. President Joe Biden said the United States stood with the protesters “demanding their freedom.”
To prevent a vote on new election laws, more than 50 Democratic members of Texas’ House of Representatives chartered two flights from Austin, Texas, to Washington, D.C, on July 12. While in D.C., they lobbied the Biden administration to pass the For the People Act to prevent election reform efforts in Republican-led states. Vice President Kamala Harris praised the Texas Democrats. Meanwhile, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott threatened to arrest them. He can keep calling 30-day special sessions to force a vote. Democrats also walked out of Texas legislative chambers in May to prevent an earlier vote on the election overhaul. Abbott responded at the time by vetoing paychecks for 2,000 state Capitol employees.
Christian florist Barronelle Stutzman will have to pay a fine for following her religious beliefs after the U.S. Supreme Court on July 9 declined to consider her case. Stutzman had declined to provide florist services for the same-sex wedding of a longtime customer. The Washington Supreme Court has ruled against the florist twice. The U.S. Supreme Court vacated the first ruling and sent it back for reconsideration in 2018 after deciding in favor of Christian baker Jack Phillips in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, but the Washington Supreme Court judges unanimously said they found no such animus toward Stutzman. Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Neil Gorsuch said they would have heard her second appeal.
Allen Weisselberg, a top executive for the Trump Organization, pleaded not guilty to tax crimes on July 1. An indictment followed a two-year investigation by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. and New York Attorney General Letitia James, both Democrats, into former President Donald Trump’s business dealings. Prosecutors charged the Trump Organization, the Trump Payroll Corp., and Weisselberg with 15 felony counts of fraud. The Trump Organization criticized what it called a “scorched-earth attempt to harm the former president.”
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