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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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At least 29 people are dead after a militant attack on Pakistan’s main international airport in Karachi. Gunmen disguised as state forces made it past a security checkpoint to attack a terminal used by government officials. Pakistani forces regained control of the terminal after an overnight gun battle. Ten airport guards were killed along with 10 militants. The Pakistani Taliban has claimed responsibility, claiming it was avenging the treatment of its prisoners and a U.S. drone strike that killed its leader, Hakimullah Mehsud, late last year. The Pakistani government moved toward peace talks with the Taliban earlier this year, but the process has faltered with a split inside the Taliban over whether to take part.
Egyptian military leader Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has been sworn in as the country’s new president following his landslide election win last month. Sisi took over 96 percent in a vote boycotted by opponents and criticized by international observers. Sisi headed the country’s ruling military council after leading the coup that overthrew Mohamed Morsi one year ago next month. In his inaugural address, Sisi pledged to overcome what he called the “mistakes of the past.”
Abdel Fattah el-Sisi: “I intend to make sure the upcoming rebuilding phase will be full of pledges domestically and internationally to make up for what we have missed and fix the mistakes of the past. We will establish a strong republic that will be just, safe and stable, prosperous and blessed, a republic that believes in knowledge and work, and a state that realizes that resources have to come from its children and go to its children.”
Sisi is the sixth military leader to run Egypt since the army overthrew the monarchy in 1952.
Five people are dead in Las Vegas after a pair of shooters killed three people and then took their own lives. The suspects reportedly shouted “this is a revolution” before shooting dead two police officers eating lunch in a restaurant. They then fatally shot a civilian inside a nearby Wal-Mart. Las Vegas Sheriff Doug Gillespie detailed how the rampage unfolded.
Doug Gillespie: “After shooting our officers, the suspects went across the parking lot to the Wal-Mart in the same plaza. At 11:27, our dispatch received a second call of shots fired at the Wal-Mart store. Two teams of patrol officers arrived on scene and did hear shots being fired. One citizen was discovered deceased inside the front door of the store. Our officers entered the front and back of the Wal-Mart store. Our officers did come in contact with suspects, at which time gunfire took place between the officers and the suspects. A short time later, more shots were heard. Preliminary, it appears the female suspect shot the male suspect, then took her own life.”
The shooters reportedly laid down “Don’t Tread on Me” flags of the American Revolutionary War on the officers’ bodies. According to ABC News, the U.S. is now averaging 15 mass shootings a year, a threefold increase from six years ago.
New details have emerged of freed U.S. soldier Bowe Bergdahl’s time in Taliban captivity. Bergdahl has told military doctors he was beaten, tortured and locked in a metal cage for weeks and possibly months at a time as punishment for trying to escape. He is reportedly now in good enough physical condition to fly home to the United States, but will remain at an American military hospital in Germany until mentally ready. The Obama administration faces continued Republican criticism for winning Bergdahl’s freedom in return for five Taliban prisoners held at Guantánamo Bay. Speaking to CNN, Republican Senator John McCain claimed Obama has released “hardcore military jihadists who are responsible for 9/11.” Speaking to CNN, Secretary of State John Kerry defended the prisoner exchange.
Secretary of State John Kerry: “It would have been offensive and incomprehensible to consciously leave an American behind, no matter what, to leave an American behind in the hands of people who would torture him, cut off his head, do any number of things. And we would consciously choose to do that? That’s the other side of this equation. I don’t think anybody would think that is the appropriate thing to do.”
The FBI, meanwhile, says it’s investigating death threats sent to Bowe Bergdahl’s father, Bob. The first of the threats were received last week when the town of Hailey, Idaho, canceled a rally celebrating the younger Bergdahl’s release. Bob Bergdahl has been the target of right-wing criticism after he learned to speak Pashto and grew out his beard in a bid to reach out to his son’s captors.
Dozens of LGBT couples have exchanged vows in Wisconsin after a federal judge struck down the state’s same-sex marriage ban. Couples flocked to county clerk’s offices in Milwaukee and Madison on Friday shortly after the ruling came down. Larry Dupuis of the American Civil Liberties Union called the decision a victory for equality.
Larry Dupuis: “This is an incredible day. Time to celebrate. Obviously there are more steps coming, but this is a huge, huge victory for equality and freedom in this state.”
Wisconsin’s ban became the latest to be rejected since the Supreme Court overturned the Defense of Marriage Act last year. Gay marriage advocates have now won 15 straight cases since the Supreme Court’s decision. Wisconsin’s Republican attorney general is seeking an emergency order to stop the weddings, meaning they could be put on hold.
Texas Republicans have adopted LGBT “conversion” as an official party position. Around 7,000 delegates approved without debate a platform that includes so-called “reparative therapy.” The tea party-backed plank recognizes “the legitimacy and efficacy of counseling … for those patients seeking healing and wholeness from their homosexual lifestyle.” Both New Jersey and California have banned so-called “conversion” therapy on minors.
The federal government has transferred hundreds of undocumented immigrant children to a makeshift detention center in Arizona following a surge of crossings from Central America. Over 1,000 children are reportedly being held at a warehouse in Nogales, some sleeping in plastic containers. Around 300 children caught near the Texas border crossing with Mexico were moved to Nogales over the weekend. Cyndi Whitmore of the Phoenix Restoration Project, an immigrant rights group, voiced concerns over the children’s conditions.
Cyndi Whitmore: “I think that the volume that we’re seeing right now is pretty unprecedented and that they’re putting together some last-minute and transitional shelters and processing areas, which of course we have concerns about whether or not those facilities are adequate, as we’ve already seen that the facilities in which the family units were being held were very inadequate, and to the point of being inhumane.”
After their detention at the Nogales site, the children will be sent to one of three U.S. military bases in Oklahoma, California or Texas. The Department of Homeland Security says it’s seeing a surge of migrants fleeing poverty and violence in Central America. Up to 90,000 unaccompanied minors are expected to cross into the United States this year. Last month, U.S. officials dropped off hundreds of undocumented immigrants at a Phoenix bus station. They were told to find their relatives around the nation and then report to the nearest federal immigration center. Advocates have accused the government of stranding the migrants with no food or money in sweltering heat.
The writer and activist Maya Angelou was remembered Saturday at a memorial service in North Carolina. Angelou died last month at the age of 86. First lady Michelle Obama, former President Bill Clinton and media mogul Oprah Winfrey were among the dignitaries to honor Angelou at Winston-Salem’s Wake Forest University, where she taught for three decades. Obama said Angelou had championed African-American women like no one before.
Michelle Obama: “She showed us that eventually, if we stay true to who we are, then the world would embrace us. And she did this not just for black women, but for all women, for all human beings. She taught us all that it is OK to be your regular old self, whatever that is, your poor self, your broken self, your brilliant, bold, phenomenal self. That was Maya Angelou’s reach.”
Tens of thousands of people rallied in Spain over the weekend as part of a continued push for a referendum on ending the monarchy. Anti-monarchy demonstrations have erupted since King Juan Carlos announced plans to abdicate the throne to his son Prince Felipe last week. The king was selected by dictator Francisco Franco and crowned after Franco’s death in 1975. Meanwhile in the northern Basque region, tens of thousands of people held hands on Sunday to form a giant human chain calling for a vote on independence. An estimated 100,000 people took part.
And a Russian court has sentenced five people to prison for the 2006 murder of the journalist and human rights advocate Anna Politkovskaya. A fierce critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Chechen War, Politkovskaya was shot dead outside her home. Two of the defendants were jailed for life, while three others were given sentences between 12 to 20 years. Russian activists say they want the case to remain open until it’s determined who ordered Politkovskaya’s murder.