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You turn to Democracy Now! for ad-free news you can trust. Maybe you come for our daily headlines, or for in-depth stories that expose government and corporate abuses of power. We produce our daily news hour at a fraction of the budget of a commercial news operation, all without ads, government funding or corporate underwriting? This is only possible with your support. Right now every donation to Democracy Now! will be doubled by a generous supporter. This means if you give $25 today, Democracy Now! will get $50 to support our daily news hour. Please do your part. It takes just a couple of minutes to make sure that Democracy Now! is there for you and everybody else in the coming year. Thanks so much. -Amy Goodman
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Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has declared a state of emergency ahead of the grand jury’s decision on whether to indict the white police officer who killed unarmed African-American teenager Michael Brown. Brown was shot dead by officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson on August 9. Since then, mass protests against police brutality have erupted in Missouri and across the country. On Monday, Nixon issued an executive order to activate the National Guard in response to what he called “the possibility of expanded unrest.” The grand jury has been meeting in secret for nearly three months, and several groups have vowed to escalate protests if they choose not to indict. A decision could come any day. We will have more on Missouri after headlines.
The parents of a U.S. aid worker executed by the Islamic State have spoken out for the first time since the death of Peter Kassig. Paula and Ed Kassig remembered their son, who was also known as Abdul-Rahman after he converted to Islam in captivity.
Paula Kassig: “Our hearts are battered, but they will mend. The world is broken, but it will be healed in the end. And good will prevail as the one god of many names will prevail.”
Ed Kassig: “Please pray for Abdul-Rahman, or Pete, if that’s how you know him, at sunset this evening. Pray also for all people in Syria, in Iraq and around the world.”
A monitoring group says the Islamic State has killed more than 1,400 Syrians in non-battlefield attacks. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, most of those killed were civilian. U.S. airstrikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria have continued with more than 30 since Friday.
In Jerusalem, two Palestinians wielding a meat cleaver and a gun attacked worshipers at a Jewish synagogue, killing four people, before the attackers were shot dead. Six people were injured. It was the deadliest such incident to hit Jerusalem since 2008. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to wage a “harsh response,” while Secretary of State John Kerry condemned the attack as an “act of pure terror.” The killings came a day after a Palestinian bus driver was found hanged in his vehicle in what Israeli authorities say was a suicide. The man’s relatives say bruises on his body show he was murdered.
A surgeon brought to the United States over the weekend after contracting Ebola in Sierra Leone has died, marking the second Ebola fatality in the United States. Martin Salia was a native of Sierra Leone and a legal permanent resident of the United States. His wife, who lives in Maryland, reportedly paid $200,000 to fly him to the United States, but by the time he arrived he had been sick for nearly two weeks. Dr. Dan Johnson, director of critical care at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, said Salia was critically ill when he was admitted.
Dr. Dan Johnson: “He had no kidney function. He was working extremely hard to breathe, and he was unresponsive. Within the first few hours of his arrival, we started running continuous dialysis, and within the first 12 hours, he had progressed to complete respiratory failure, requiring intubation and mechanical ventilation.”
Doctors said Salia received the same treatments as other Ebola patients in the United States, included a dose of the extremely rare experimental drug ZMapp.
A new report accuses police in the Democratic Republic of Congo of summarily killing at least 51 youths and disappearing 33 others during an anti-crime campaign launched last year. Human Rights Watch says uniformed police dragged suspected gang members from their homes at night, then killed them.
The latest round of nuclear talks between Iran, the United States and five other world powers have opened in Vienna, Austria. The talks are aimed at reaching a deal over Iran’s disputed nuclear program before a deadline next Monday.
In the United States, Senate lawmakers are set to vote today on whether to advance a measure to rein in the National Security Agency’s dragnet surveillance programs. The USA FREEDOM Act, sponsored by Vermont Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy, would curb the bulk collection of telephone records by requiring the NSA to make specific requests to phone companies for a user’s data, rather than vacuuming up all records in a given area. It would also create a panel to advocate for privacy rights before the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. Major tech companies including Facebook, Google and Twitter have backed the bill, saying it would let them provide more transparency about government demands for user data. Privacy groups have also backed the bill, despite seeing it as a compromise that could still leave room for abuses.
The Senate is set to vote today on a bill to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline after the House took similar action last week. President Obama has signaled he may veto the measure backed by Louisiana Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu, who faces a tight runoff for re-election. On Monday, protesters rallied outside Landrieu’s home holding a sign that read “Sen. Landrieu: If you’re not a climate denier, don’t vote like one.” The pipeline would carry carbon-intensive tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada, to the U.S. Gulf Coast, passing through states including South Dakota, where it would run through the Rosebud Sioux Reservation. Rosebud Sioux President Cyril Scott has vowed to defend the reservation’s borders against the pipeline, which he calls an “act of war against our people.”
In Britain, a law student has been convicted on a terrorism charge following a trial that was largely conducted in secret. Erol Incedal was found guilty of possessing a bomb-making document last Tuesday, but a judge barred the media from reporting the verdict until Monday. Much of the evidence against Incedal was heard in secret after prosecutors cited national security concerns.
In Athens, tens of thousands of people marched to oppose austerity and commemorate the 41st anniversary of the student uprising against Greece’s military dictatorship. The demonstrators, policed by some 7,000 officers, marched on the U.S. Embassy to protest U.S. backing for the dictatorship, which lasted from 1967 to 1974. Protester Dimitris Papoulias said, four decades later, the legacy of the student protests continues.
Dimitris Papoulias: “Some 40 years later, the message from the polytechnic is still alive, because then there was a junta, and today we are imprisoned by the euro, the European Union, the IMF and all these unpopular measures that have degraded the middle class and the youth. They have made us poor.”
Colombia has suspended talks with FARC rebels and launched a massive search after the rebels kidnapped an army general. The kidnapping over the weekend marks the first time the FARC has taken a general hostage. General Rubén Darío Alzate had reportedly entered the area in civilian clothes to visit an energy project. Talks aimed at ending the 50-year conflict with the FARC were due to resume today, but Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos suspended them and ordered the rebels to release the general and two other people who were captured with him.
A new report finds the number of homeless children in the United States surged 8 percent last year to a record high of 2.5 million. That means one in 30 children in the United States are homeless. The National Center on Family Homelessness says the crisis has reached “epidemic proportions,” fueled by factors like racial inequality, domestic violence and a lack of affordable housing.
In Philadelphia, an undocumented mother of two U.S. citizens has taken sanctuary from her deportation order inside a church. Angela Navarro, whose children are eight and 11, is among millions of people who could potentially benefit if Obama issues an executive order to end his record deportations. According to the faith-based group New Sanctuary Movement, Navarro is the ninth immigrant nationwide to take sanctuary in a church after receiving a final deportation order, and the first on the East Coast.
Time Magazine has apologized for including the word “feminist” on a poll of words that should be banned in 2015. Time apparently included “feminist” in response to a growing number of celebrities, from Beyoncé to Taylor Swift, who have embraced the term. Time’s suggestion the term should be banned sparked massive protest, prompting Time’s managing editor, Nancy Gibbs, to issue an apology, saying, “While we meant to invite debate about some ways the word was used this year, that nuance was lost.”