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Daily Audio Newscast - May 29, 2024

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News from around the nation.

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Trump case expected to head to the jury today; Indiana food banks concerned about draft Farm Bill; New Hampshire parents, educators urge veto of anti-LGBTQ+ bills; Study shows a precipitous drop in migratory fish populations, in US and worldwide.


The Public News Service Dailly Newscast, May the 29th, 2024, I'm Mike Clifford.

At times Tuesday, it was difficult to tell whether former President Donald Trump or his former ally Michael Cohen was on trial.

That's the take from NBC News.

They report a largely stoic Trump nearly faded into the background as lawyers for the prosecution and defense laid out their summations.

Lawyers were treated to dueling portraits of Cohen, the star witness of the trial, and the relative significance of both his history of lies and the testimony provided in the case.

The judge, Juan Marchand, kept the court in session until 757 Tuesday night in order to inch closer to the point at which Trump's fate is handed to the jury.

That's expected to happen today.

And groups fighting hunger in Indiana say they're deeply concerned about proposed cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.

Our Joey Lurie reports.

Republicans in Congress have advanced a long-anticipated farm bill through the U.S.

House Agriculture Committee despite Democratic opposition to the cuts it contains.

Keir Krites-Muller is president and CEO of Food Finders Food Bank in Lafayette.

She says food insecurity is on the rise in Indiana and is already at its highest since 2014.

The farm bill plays a pivotal role in addressing food insecurity, yet policy changes proposed by the bill make harmful cuts to crucial federal nutrition programs that help millions of people access the food they need to thrive.

The $1.5 trillion legislation sets policy and funding for key food, agriculture, and conservation programs for the next five years.

SNAP benefits are based on the cost of budget-conscious groceries for a family of four, or what's known as the "thrifty food plan."

It's not immediately clear when the farm bill will be brought before the full House for debate.

And the New Hampshire Senate has advanced a series of bills which opponents say will roll back protections for LGBTQ+ people.

We get the details from Catherine Carley.

The measures ban transgender girls from playing sports in middle and high school, ban transgender people from using bathrooms that align with their gender, and ban gender-affirming surgeries for patients under 18.

Sarah Robinson, an organizer with Granite State Progress, calls the bills discriminatory and cruel.

LGBTQ+ people and those who know and love them are urging a swift veto to these mean-spirited bills that are based on misinformation.

When we say "live free or die," we mean everyone.

Supporters say the bills are needed to ensure safety and fairness in both sports and public spaces and protect young people from making decisions they may regret.

Governor Chris Sununu has said he shares those concerns but has not indicated whether he'll sign the bills.

More than 200 businesses recently signed on to a letter to Governor Sununu warning him that bills targeting transgender youth are tarnishing the state's reputation.

This is Public News Service.

And a new World Wildlife Fund survey shows since 1970, more than 80 percent of the global populations of freshwater migratory fish have declined, and significantly.

The report calls development in its Living Planet Index distressing and false habitat loss and degradation.

It says factors like river fragmentation due to dams and agricultural encroachment account for half of the threats.

The Shell team monitors freshwater species for the World Wildlife Fund and says though the trend is heading downward, there are efforts underway to save these species.

On average, we've seen freshwater migratory fish populations in North America decline by 34 percent since 1970.

This is a little bit lower than what we're seeing globally, but it's still not a good number.

The index follows more than 1,800 populations of 284 native migratory freshwater fish species from around the world.

The team says these fish often make the difference in food security and nutrition for vulnerable communities while supporting the livelihoods of millions of local and recreational fishing industries in global trade.

Mark Richardson reporting.

And with the Port of Baltimore nearing a return to full commercial operations, advocates are renewing their call for an executive order to address maritime shipping emissions.

Last year, 45 environmental groups sent a letter calling on the Biden administration to decarbonize the maritime shipping sector.

Included among their recommendations was eliminating in-port ship emissions by 2030 with one approach to connect ships to shore power while docked.

Antonio Santos with the non-profit Pacific Environment says reducing emissions is not just about climate change.

As you're reducing emissions, you're also protecting those directly impacted.

And when we talk about where these ships tend to congregate, it is port workers and those frontline communities, those port adjacent communities that are directly affected.

Brett Pivito reporting.

Finally, Eric Tengenhoff lets us know workers at an Oregon hospital are celebrating their recent vote in favor of unionizing.

More than 260 Legacy Mt. Hood health care workers voted to join SEIU Local 49.

The union represents other legacy health care workers in the Portland area, including at Emanuel, Randall Children's and Good Samaritan Hospitals.

Kathy Mitchell is a certified health technician at Legacy Mt. Hood.

We wanted to form a union, stand up for our fair pay and respect.

And not only that, my idea is I'm going to retire in five years and I want this for future generations and future employees.

Next, the union will determine its priorities for bargaining and begin negotiations on its first contract.

SEIU Local 49 represents about 15,000 workers in Oregon and Southwest Washington.

This is Mike Clifford for Public News Service, member and listener supported.

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