More than 10,000 people are feared dead in the central Philippines following one of the most powerful storms ever recorded. Nearly 1,000 people are confirmed dead so far, but the toll is expected to rise. Typhoon Haiyan sent huge waves that inundated towns, washed ships ashore and swept away coastal villages. More than 600,000 people have been displaced, and many still have no access to food, water or medicine. The city of Tacloban was described as a scene of massive devastation, with bodies scattered in the streets and buried under flattened buildings.
Nuclear talks between Iran and six world powers have ended without a deal in place. The two sides were reportedly close to reaching a short-term agreement that would see a limited relief of sanctions on Iran in return for a slowdown of its nuclear activities. But the pact collapsed after France refused to sign on. On Sunday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the right to enrich uranium remains a “red line” his government will never give up.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani: “We have shown those on the other side of the negotiations, both verbally and through our actions, that threats, sanctions, belittling and discrimination will not work, not under any circumstances. For us, there are red lines that cannot be crossed. The rights of the Iranian nation are our red lines. National interests are our red lines, and that includes our rights under the framework of international regulations and enrichment on Iranian soil.”
Despite the apparent breakdown in talks, both sides say progress was made and have agreed to resume meetings in Geneva next week. Secretary of State John Kerry said the two sides are closer to an agreement than before.
Secretary of State John Kerry: “We are closer now, as we leave Geneva, than we were when we came, and that with good work and good faith over the course of the next weeks we can in fact secure our goal. We came to Geneva to narrow the differences, and I can tell you, without any exaggeration, we not only narrowed differences and clarified those that remain, but we made significant progress in working through the approaches to this question of how one reins in a program and guarantees its peaceful nature.”
Speaking today in Abu Dhabi, Kerry said he expects an agreement with Iran within the next several months. But even as the talks progress, a bipartisan group of lawmakers is moving ahead with plans for a vote on tightening anti-Iran sanctions. Meanwhile in Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continued his public campaign against an Iran nuclear deal in a speech to supporters.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: “It’s a bad and dangerous deal that deals with a thing that affects our survival. And when it comes to the question of Jewish survival and the survival of the Jewish state, I will not be silenced. Ever. Not on my watch.”
In a move that will bolster the talks next week, Iran says it has reached an agreement with the United Nations’ nuclear agency to expand international monitoring. The deal will give the International Atomic Energy Agency greater access to Iranian sites including its heavy water reactor. Speaking during a visit to Iran, IAEA chief Yukiya Amano said the inspections “roadmap” will be implemented over the next three months.
In Iran, the country’s deputy minister of industry has been shot dead in Tehran. It was the first known killing of a top Iranian official in years.
The United Nations’ annual climate summit begins today in Warsaw, Poland. A binding agreement on tackling global warming is off the table, with negotiators focused on reaching a deal for 2015. On the eve of the summit, a group of environmentalists staged a protest in central Warsaw.
Kelly Dent: “Climate change is impacting on hunger and food production, so we’re here at the start of the climate talks in Warsaw to call on governments to urgently take action on climate change. We want to see emissions reduced, and we want to see money for poor people in developing countries to be able to adapt and cope with the impacts of climate change that they’re feeling right now.”
Tune in next week when Democracy Now! broadcasts live from the U.N. climate summit.
At least five people have been killed in two reported U.S. drone strikes in Yemen. The victims were described as suspected al-Qaeda militants in the southern province of Abyan.
In Pakistan, hundreds of people rallied in multiple cities on Friday to protest the U.S. drone war. Demonstrators in the city of Peshawar staged a massive sit-in, blocking a NATO supply line. The action followed the strike that killed the head of the Pakistani Taliban, Hakimullah Mehsud, earlier this month, jeopardizing peace talks with the Pakistani government. In an interview, Pakistani opposition leader Imran Khan accused the United States of undermining a chance for peace.
Imram Khan: “If there was a chance of peace talks, we should have grabbed it. And I’m afraid — while the interior minister did his best, I’m afraid I’m really disappointed in the way the prime minister has taken this whole peace process, because this was the — this should have been his number one priority. I think that the Americans basically could have taken out Hakimullah whenever they wanted. I think that the timing was to sabotage the peace process.”
Clashes have erupted in Saudi Arabia amidst a crackdown on foreign workers. The Saudi government began arresting thousands of people last week after an amnesty period for workers without visas expired. At least two people were killed and dozens were injured after police confronted workers on Saturday.
In Qatar, a U.N. expert is calling for reforms in the labor conditions of foreign workers. François Crépeau, the U.N. special rapporteur on human rights of migrants, said guest workers in Qatar are being housed in squalor.
François Crépeau: “I have seen dwellings by migrant workers, and these are slums. And I think this is a stain in the reputation of Qatar, which is the richest country per capita. I think Qatar should not tolerate slums to be created on its territory. And there are means of making this better, probably relatively quickly.”
Qatar has the world’s highest proportion of migrant workers, with 90 percent of the workforce coming from outside of the country. The country is hosting soccer’s World Cup in 2022.
Thousands of people rallied in Greece on Sunday following a police raid on the state’s broadcaster. Employees of ERT had remained in their offices since June when the station was abruptly shut down, part of a series of cost-cutting moves demanded by international creditors. But the ERT workers were finally evicted last week when riot police broke into the network and cleared it room by room. On Sunday, Greece’s ruling party survived a censure vote over the raid brought by the opposition.
Two people were killed and at least 22 others were wounded in Houston, Texas, on Saturday when gunfire broke out at a house party. Around 100 people were inside the home when the shooting began. A police spokesperson briefed reporters on the victims.
Thomas Gilliland: “What I can tell you right now is we have two confirmed killed. One was confirmed at the hospital; one was confirmed here at the scene. We have a third gunshot victim at Memorial Hermann Medical Center that is undergoing surgery. I don’t have the status on that victim yet. We have an additional 15 other victims bearing degrees of non-life-threatening gunshot wounds, from grazings to bullet wounds in the legs, ankles, that sort of stuff.”
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has asked a federal appeals court to vacate a judge’s rulings against the New York City Police Department’s controversial program of “stop-and-frisk.” In August, U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin found stop-and-frisk unconstitutional, saying police had relied on a “policy of indirect racial profiling” targeting blacks and Hispanics. Scheindlin appointed a federal court monitor to oversee a series of reforms. But a three-judge panel froze the reforms and removed Scheindlin last month, saying she had violated judicial standards. On Saturday, the Bloomberg administration said Scheindlin’s decisions should be permanently undone. Bloomberg’s successor, Bill de Blasio, has vowed to withdraw Bloomberg’s appeal when he takes office in January.
CBS News has retracted a controversial story on the deadly attack on the U.S. diplomatic site in Benghazi, Libya. In a segment for “60 Minutes” that aired last month, security contractor Dylan Davies offered what he called an eyewitness account of the militant raid that killed four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador, on September 11, 2012. Davies claimed he rushed to the scene and clubbed a militant attacker with the butt of his rifle. He also said he visited Ambassador Christopher Stevens in the hospital. His comments fueled right-wing theories surrounding a lackluster U.S. military response. But Davies’ own statements to both the FBI and the firm he worked for, Blue Mountain, undermined his claims. Davies had in fact told investigators he spent most of the night of the attack in his villa. CBS failed to vet Davies’ comments for accuracy despite working on the story for one year. After initially standing by the story, “60 Minutes” correspondent Lara Logan apologized to viewers.
Lara Logan: “On Thursday night, when we discovered the account he gave the FBI was different than what he told us, we realized we had been misled, and it was a mistake to include him in our report. For that, we are very sorry. The most important thing to every person at '60 Minutes' is the truth. And the truth is we made a mistake.”
Davies was on “60 Minutes” to promote his new book, which is published by Simon & Schuster, itself owned by CBS’s parent company, Viacom. The book has now been pulled from shelves. In an interview, the chair of CBS News, Jeff Fager, called the report “as big a mistake as there has been” in 60 Minutes’ five decades on the air. The watchdog group Media Matters is calling on CBS to form an independent panel to investigate the Benghazi report as it did with a story about President George W. Bush’s service in the Texas Air National Guard. The Bush report led to the ouster of CBS anchor Dan Rather and several other journalists. The reporter on the Benghazi story, Lara Logan, has previously advocated a forceful response to the Libya attack. In a speech last year, Logan said the United States should send in its military forces to “exact revenge.”
Lara Logan: “When I look at what’s happening in Libya, it’s a big song and dance about whether this was a terrorist attack or a protest. And you just want to scream, 'For God's sake, are you kidding me?’ The last time we were attacked like this was the U.S.S. Cole, which was a prelude to the 1998 embassy bombings, which was a prelude to 9/11. And you’re sending in FBI to investigate. I hope to God that you’re sending in your best clandestine warriors who are going to exact revenge and let the world know that the United States will not be attacked on its own soil, that its ambassadors will not be murdered, and the United States will not stand by and do nothing about it.”
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham is maintaining his vow to block all of President Obama’s nominations until Benghazi survivors are allowed to appear before Congress. Graham had announced his stance after the CBS report aired. But he now says his position remains unchanged despite the report’s retraction.
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