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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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As many as 128 people died in Turkey Saturday when nearly simultaneous explosions ripped through a pro-peace rally in the country’s capital of Ankara. More than 245 people were injured. The bombs exploded just as a large group of Kurdish groups, trade unions and leftist organizations were preparing to begin a march to protest the resumption of fighting between the Turkish state and Kurdish militants. Earlier today, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu blamed ISIL for carrying out the attack. But march organizers have accused the government of failing to prevent it. We’ll have more on Turkey later in the broadcast.
Iranian State TV reports Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian has been convicted in an espionage trial which ended two months ago. The decision can be appealed, and the sentence remains unknown, but the charges carry up to 20 years in prison. Rezaian has been held since July 2014 in Iran’s Evin Prison. Washington Post foreign editor Douglas Jehl said Rezaian is innocent of all charges.
Douglas Jehl: You know, the only thing that’s been clear in this case from the beginning is Jason’s innocence. Everything else has been under a real shadow of darkness.”
The Pentagon is offering “condolence payments” to people injured and the family members of those killed by a U.S. airstrike on a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan. The strike killed 12 medical staff and 10 patients, while 33 people remain missing. Doctors Without Borders has called for an investigation under the Geneva Conventions into a possible war crime.
Meanwhile, U.N. data shows the Taliban’s reach in Afghanistan is wider than at any point since the 2001 U.S. invasion. The United Nations rates about half of Afghanistan’s administrative districts as under a “high” or “extreme” Taliban threat, which appears to conflict with more optimistic statements by U.S. Commander John Campbell before Congress last week.
European ministers are meeting today in Luxembourg to discuss the conflict in Syria, as Russian President Vladimir Putin says the goal of Russian airstrikes is to defend Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Speaking on Russian state TV, Putin said that Russia’s support for Assad was intended to prevent Syria from being taken over by terrorist groups. Other countries, including the United States, have demanded Assad’s ouster. On Monday, the European Union’s foreign affairs chief called Russia’s role “a game-changer.”
In the United States, two people have died in two separate university shootings Friday morning in Arizona and Texas, as President Obama visited the families of those killed in the mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, two weeks ago. Obama spoke out against gun violence later that day at a campaign event in Seattle.
President Obama: “We know that we’ve got to do something to prevent the kind of gun massacres that we saw just last week and two months before that and two months before that and two months before that, because it is not normal, it is not inevitable, it doesn’t just happen. It is a choice that we make, and it is a choice that we can change.”
In Gaza, an Israeli airstrike killed a pregnant Palestinian woman and her daughter Sunday, as Israeli soldiers also killed a 13-year-old Palestinian boy in the West Bank. This comes amid escalating violence across the region. Israeli soldiers shot and killed nine Palestinians along the border with Gaza over the weekend, as well as two Palestinian boys in the West Bank Friday. At least two Israelis have been killed and more wounded over the last two weeks in a series of stabbings by Palestinians. This comes after the fatal shooting of an Israeli couple in the West Bank on October 1.
In the United States, two independent investigations have concluded Cleveland, Ohio, police officer Timothy Loehmann was justified in fatally shooting 12-year-old African American Tamir Rice as he played with a toy gun in a park last November. Police pulled up and fatally shot Rice within two seconds of their arrival after a 911 caller reported seeing him with a gun that was “probably fake.” Police failed to provide medical help and tackled Tamir’s 14-year-old sister to the ground as she ran to his aid, then handcuffed her and put her in a cruiser. The independent probes were carried out by a Colorado prosecutor and a former FBI agent. Ultimately a grand jury will decide if Officer Loehmann faces criminal charges.
Tens of thousands from across the country gathered on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., Saturday for the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March. The rally commemorated the 1995 march called by Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. This year’s theme was “Justice or Else.” We’ll have more on the march later in the broadcast.
Republicans are reportedly seeking to recruit Wisconsin Congressmember Paul Ryan for the post of House speaker, saying he is the only one who can unite the party, after John Boehner announced his departure. California Congressmember Kevin McCarthy, the clear favorite, dropped out, leaving Florida Congressmember Daniel Webster and Utah Congressmember Jason Chaffetz now in the race. Ryan, who ran for vice president alongside Mitt Romney and is known for backing deep budget cuts, has said he will reconsider his previous rejection of the post. Technically the Constitution does not require the speaker to be a member of the House, but all past speakers have been members.
Just 158 families have provided nearly half of the funding so far in the 2016 presidential election. The New York Times found, “Not since before Watergate have so few people and businesses provided so much early money in a campaign, most of it through channels legalized by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision five years ago.” Of those 158 families, all but 20 are backing Republicans, and most made their fortunes in the financial or oil and gas industries.
WikiLeaks has released what appears to be the final negotiated text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership’s intellectual property chapter, after the United States and 11 other Pacific Rim nations finished negotiating the secret trade pact. The digital rights group Fight for the Future said the final text “confirms advocates’ warnings that this deal poses a grave threat to global freedom of expression and basic access to things like medicine and information.”
Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands marched in Berlin, Germany, Saturday to protest a planned trade pact between the United States and European Union. Critics say the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTIP, will undermine safety and environmental regulations to serve corporate interests — just like the TPP.
The World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Defense of Life has opened in Bolivia, ahead of the United Nations climate summit in Paris, which begins November 30. Bolivian President Evo Morales said the impact of climate changes is being felt around the world.
President Evo Morales: “As governments, we have the responsibility to submit a document to the United Nations called 'The National Predetermined Contribution from the Multinational State of Bolivia,' a document prepared by Bolivia to take care of the Mother Earth — la Pachamama — because what’s happening to the planet is very serious, sometimes with drought, other times extreme cold. In La Paz this year, there were times when we couldn’t tell if it was summer or winter, because it snowed all year long. This is happening all over the world.”
Ahead of the Paris climate talks, experts say the pledges made by countries around the world to cut carbon emissions will fall far short of what is needed to stop the Earth from warming beyond the globally agreed-upon limit of 2 degrees Celsius. That could put the Earth at risk of catastrophic sea level rises, food shortages and drought.
The 2015 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences has been awarded to economist Angus Deaton of Princeton University for “his analysis of consumption, poverty, and welfare.” Deaton’s recent work focuses on the dynamics of poverty.
In New York City, more than 100 warehouse workers have launched a campaign Sunday to unionize B&H Photo Video, the largest non-chain photo store in the United States. The workers are alleging widespread racial discrimination, wage theft and unsafe working conditions inside B&H’s two Brooklyn warehouses. In one case, workers say they were locked inside one of the warehouses during a recent fire in an adjacent building.
And California has become the first state in the country to pass a law banning public schools from using the term “Redskins” as a team name or mascot. The law impacts four high schools and comes amid growing opposition to the name, which Native Americans say is a racist slur.
Today is Columbus Day, the federal holiday to commemorate the arrival of Christopher Columbus to the so-called New World in 1492, but a growing number of cities are recognizing today as Indigenous Peoples’ Day instead. We’ll have more on that later in the broadcast.