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This week, Democracy Now! is celebrating our 22nd birthday. Since our first show in February 1996, our daily news hour has brought you fearless journalism and hard-hitting news you can trust--all without ads or corporate underwriting. How is this possible? Only with your support. In fact, if everyone reading this gave just $4, it would cover our operating expenses for the whole year. Right now, a generous donor will TRIPLE every donation, meaning your gift today will go three times as far. Pretty amazing, right? Please do your part. Take a moment to give right now for our 22nd birthday.
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Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson has resigned days after a grand jury elected not to indict him for the killing of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown. Ferguson Mayor James Knowles said Wilson will leave the police force with no severance.
Ferguson Mayor James Knowles: “The city manager has accepted Officer Wilson’s resignation, and as of yesterday, Officer Wilson is no longer an employee with the city of Ferguson. There is no severance agreement with Officer Wilson and the city of Ferguson. The city of Ferguson will not be making a severance payment to Officer Wilson.”
Officer Darren Wilson’s resignation comes amidst continued protests in Ferguson and around the country over the grand jury decision. Over the past week, there have been demonstrations in more than 150 cities — on public roadways, in shopping malls and government buildings. On Saturday, protesters kicked off a 120-mile, seven-day march dubbed the “Journey for Justice” from Ferguson to Jefferson City, the capital of Missouri. Black Friday was also a day of action as activists staged protests at shopping centers across the country. In St. Louis, two malls shut down after protesters staged a mass die-in. In Seattle, police arrested five people after protesters marched in two malls. At the Pacific Place mall, activists chained shut two doors. At the Westlake Centers, a mass die-in was staged. In New York City, seven people were arrested after a Black Friday action outside Macy’s flagship store. A day earlier, seven others were arrested for trying to disrupt the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. On Sunday, demonstrators temporarily shut down part of the busy Interstate 395 highway that runs through Washington, D.C. In Oakland, demonstrators briefly shut down a BART train station by chaining themselves to a train.
Members of the National Football League’s St. Louis Rams also took part in an act of protest. Ahead of Sunday’s football game, a group of players entered the stadium with their hands raised overhead in the “hands up, don’t shoot” pose in a show of solidarity with Michael Brown. The St. Louis Police Officers Association has complained to the NFL, calling for the players to be disciplined.
The Egyptian government says it will not pursue further legal action against former President Hosni Mubarak following a court decision to drop all remaining charges against him. On Saturday, Mubarak was cleared of ordering the killing of hundreds of protesters during the uprising against his regime almost four years ago. The decision, which came on a technicality, means he will walk free after finishing a prison term on corruption charges, possibly within a few months. In a statement, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi said Egypt must now “look to the future” and “cannot ever go back.” Several thousand protesters gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Saturday to protest the verdict, leading to a crackdown by state forces. At least two people were killed.
Clashes have broken out in Hong Kong after pro-democracy protesters escalated their campaign for free elections. Thousands of demonstrators surrounded government buildings on Sunday, forcing their temporary closure. Police responded with pepper spray and raids on the massive street encampment where thousands have stayed for weeks to seek an open vote for the city leader.
France has set a two-year deadline to recognize Palestinian statehood unless a negotiated solution is reached. The French initiative calls for recognizing the state of Palestine unless Israel agrees to allow Palestinian statehood through negotiations. The French member of parliament who drafted the measure, Élisabeth Guigou, said the aim is to advance the two-state solution that Israel claims to support.
Élisabeth Guigou: “We are not presumptuous to the point of thinking that our resolution will make peace in the Middle East, but we hope that it will contribute to a movement for peace that says we cannot just continue to be with the status quo. The status quo is very dangerous. We want to help also those who in Israel say, 'We must act for a two-state solution.' That’s what we want to do, as well.”
The French Parliament is set to hold a formal vote on Tuesday. Britain, Spain and Sweden have advanced similar measures over the past two months.
The militant group Boko Haram has carried out several attacks in Nigeria. Earlier today, a twin blast was reported in the area where dozens were killed in a market bombing last week. This follows an attack that killed at least 120 people on Friday at a mosque in the northern city of Kano. Scores were also reportedly killed on Saturday when Boko Haram fighters raided a town in Borno state.
The annual United Nations climate summit opens today in Lima, Peru. Diplomats from around the world are hoping to reach a draft agreement on a measure that would limit the greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming. It would then be finalized at talks in Paris, France, next year. On the eve of the summit, activists from the group Greenpeace projected a message onto the historic Machu Picchu site calling for the use of renewable energy.
Martin Kaiser, Greenpeace climate chief: “Greenpeace is calling on the world leaders to transfer the energy system away from coal and oil towards a 100 percent renewable energy future by mid-century.”
Tune in to Democracy Now! when we broadcast from the U.N. climate summit in Lima all next week.
The United Nations Committee Against Torture has issued a report criticizing a wide range of U.S. practices. The panel’s “Concluding Observations” follow a series of hearings in Geneva last month. On criminal justice, the report calls for several reforms including accountability for police brutality and for the targeting of people of color. On torture and imprisonment, the report criticizes the White House’s refusal to prosecute George W. Bush administration officials for torture and to provide redress to their victims. It also faults the United States for the indefinite imprisonment of foreign nationals at Guantánamo Bay and calls for an end to force-feedings.
The U.N. torture panel also calls on the Obama administration to release the Senate report on CIA torture “in the most complete and comprehensible form possible.” This comes as Senate Democrats have accused the White House of trying to censor key portions. The Senate Intelligence Committee and administration officials have been in talks for months on releasing a summary of the 6,000-page report, which details the torture of foreign prisoners under the administration of George W. Bush. According to The New York Times, Senate Democrats say the White House has sided with the CIA in “trying to thwart negotiations over the report’s release.” In deference to CIA wishes, the White House “has blocked Democrats from informing the public as to how much torture went on in the previous administration, and how poorly it worked.” The administration also wants to hide the pseudonyms of the CIA officers involved in torture, including some who received promotions.
Police in Austin, Texas, have killed a man who opened fire on major downtown buildings. The gunman, identified as 49-year-old Larry McQuilliams, fired over 100 rounds at the Mexican Consulate, the federal courthouse and the Austin Police Department headquarters before he was killed. Police say McQuilliams also tried to set the Mexican Consulate on fire.
Former Baltimore Ravens player Ray Rice has won an appeal of his indefinite suspension from the National Football League. Rice was barred in September following the emergence of a video showing him punching his then-fiancée, now wife, in a casino elevator. The NFL has repeatedly said it did not see the video until it was released publicly and that Rice had misled league executives when he was initially suspended for just two games. But U.S. District Judge Barbara Jones ruled that Rice did not lie or mislead the league. The decision has raised new questions about NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s handling of the case. Rice is now free to sign with any team.
A missing football player at Ohio State University has been found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Kosta Karageorge had been missing since Wednesday. He had a history of concussions as a football player and wrestler, prompting speculation his suicide is linked to concussion-related brain trauma. Karageorge had sent his mother a text message shortly before his disappearance apologizing for being an “embarrassment” as a result of the head injuries.
Wal-Mart workers have held Black Friday protests against the retail giant for a third straight year. Demonstrators with the group OUR Walmart staged demonstrations outside Wal-Mart stores on Thursday and Friday in a call for $15-an-hour wage and stable, full-time work hours. Hundreds of people took part in a protest at a Wal-Mart in Washington, D.C.
Ned Mesal: “We’re here to let Wal-Mart know that it’s not treating its workforce right. It doesn’t pay us enough to live on. It doesn’t give us the respect and dignity we deserve. It doesn’t give us enough hours to live on to get a decent paycheck.”
Rev. Grayland Hagler: “We are here to demand that Wal-Mart, Wal-Mart, greedy Wal-Mart, share its resources with workers, to respect workers like they should be respected.”