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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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Hong Kong is facing its largest political unrest in decades as pro-democracy protesters have refused to leave the streets. Tens of thousands of people have defied a police crackdown to demand greater political freedom. The protests began last week over China’s recent rejection of free elections for Hong Kong. We will go to Hong Kong for more after headlines.
Afghanistan’s new government has signed an agreement to keep 10,000 U.S. troops in the country. The deal came a day after President Ashraf Ghani was inaugurated. His predecessor, Hamid Karzai, had refused to sign the deal. White House counselor John Podesta praised the new Afghan government on Monday.
John Podesta: “The unity government represents the votes of all Afghans, and I encourage all Afghans to cooperate with the new government, and the United States looks forward to supporting the unity government and the Afghan people. Toward that end, we very much look forward to tomorrow’s signing of the bilateral security agreement with Afghanistan, an important step in strengthening the strategic partnership between our two countries. The United States remains committed to a stable, sovereign, unified Afghanistan responsible for its own security.”
The new vice president of Afghanistan, Abdul Rashid Dostum, is one of the country’s most notorious warlords, who was once described by now-President Ghani himself as a “known killer.” We will have more on the story later in the broadcast.
The Islamic State has released a third propaganda video of British hostage John Cantlie. Cantlie, a photojournalist whose work appeared in Getty and other outlets, is shown seated at a table in an orange jumpsuit. He recites what appears to be a prepared script criticizing U.S.-led airstrikes on ISIS in Iraq and Syria, saying, “Air power is good at taking out specific targets, but it is not much use at taking and holding ground.”
Violence is continuing in eastern Ukraine despite a ceasefire between pro-Russian rebels and Ukrainian troops. On Monday, a military official said nine Ukrainian soldiers had been killed, while the city council in Donetsk reported at least three civilians had been killed by shelling.
A new report finds more than 3,000 migrants have died crossing the Mediterranean Sea to Europe this year, more than twice the previous high from 2011. Globally more than 4,000 migrants have died this year trying to reach wealthier or safer countries, including more than 200 on the Mexican border. Frank Laczko of the International Organization for Migration unveiled the findings.
Frank Laczko: “We now have a global estimate which indicates that we’re dealing here with a long-term problem. Nearly 40,000 migrants, we believe, have perished since the year 2000. So this is a long-term policy issue which is not being properly tackled.”
Spain’s constitutional court has suspended a referendum on independence for the region of Catalonia. Hundreds of thousands have taken to the streets in Barcelona to support the referendum planned for November. The court has suspended all campaigning while it considers the Spanish government’s opposition.
In the Mexican state of Guerrero, more than 50 students from a teacher training college have been missing since Friday night following violent clashes with police. According to human rights groups, police and unidentified gunmen opened fire on students in separate incidents near the city of Iguala, killing at least two and leaving one in a vegetative state. A third student was reportedly found dead with signs of torture. More than 20 police have been detained in connection with the incidents. The scores of missing students include many detained by police and others who scattered during the violence.
A U.S. judge has held Argentina in contempt of court over its refusal to pay U.S. hedge funds that are seeking to profit off the country’s debts. Argentina has moved to repay its debts domestically in order to avoid the judge’s ruling, which barred them from repaying any creditors without also paying the so-called vulture funds. Argentine Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman condemned the judge’s latest move.
Héctor Timerman: “This new attempt of judicial aggression against Argentina is an act of desperation on behalf of the vulture funds; they know that the impunity of their actions at the international level has its days numbered.”
New reports reveal a man armed with a knife who jumped a White House fence earlier this month managed to run across most of the building’s main floor. Secret Service officials previously said Omar Gonzalez, a former Army sniper, was caught near the main entry. But he actually managed to run past a stairway to the first family’s living quarters and through the East Room before he was tackled at the entrance to another room. Secret Service Director Julia Pierson faces questioning over the incident before Congress today.
The U.S. Supreme Court has delayed early voting in Ohio hours before it was due to begin today ahead of the November elections. The decision places a stay on lower-court rulings which had blocked state attempts to cut early voting from 35 to 28 days. The American Civil Liberties Union, which has challenged Ohio’s bid to restrict voting, said that in the 2012 election, more than 157,000 Ohioans voted on days that have now been cut, a disproportionate percentage of them low-income and African-American.
A judge overseeing Detroit’s bankruptcy has ruled the city can continue shutting off water to residents who have fallen behind on payments. Judge Steven Rhodes ruled there is no “enforceable right” to water. Detroit began cutting off water to thousands of households several months ago, prompting protests from residents and the United Nations.
California has passed a landmark bill to address sexual assault on college campuses. The so-called “yes means yes” law is the first in the country to require schools to adopt a standard of “affirmative consent” when adjudicating sexual assault cases. It defines consent as “affirmative, conscious and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity.” It specifies that “lack of protest or resistance does not mean consent, nor does silence mean consent.”
More than half the world’s population of wild animals has disappeared in the past four decades. Scientists at the World Wildlife Fund and Zoological Society of London say human-caused pollution, over-hunting, devastation of habitats and climate change have combined to cut wildlife populations by 52 percent since 1970.
New research has confirmed the link between human-driven climate change and record heat in Australia. Researchers found the heat wave which made last year the hottest on record in Australia would have been “virtually impossible” without climate change.
Black Panther Sundiata Acoli has been ordered released on parole by a state appeals court in New Jersey after more than four decades in prison. Acoli and fellow Black Panther Assata Shakur were both convicted of killing New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster in 1973 after being pulled over on the New Jersey Turnpike. The shootout left both the officer and a fellow Black Panther, Zayd Malik Shakur, dead. Assata Shakur has said she was shot by police with both arms in the air, and then again from the back. She later managed to escape from jail and flee to Cuba. Last year she became the first woman added to the FBI’s most wanted list. Sundiata Acoli is now 77 years old. On Monday, the court ordered his release, finding the parole board had “acted arbitrarily and capriciously” when it previously denied him parole.