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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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The death toll from violence in Israel and the Occupied Territories has increased with new Palestinian stabbing attacks and an intensified Israeli crackdown. On Sunday, an attacker identified as a 21-year-old Arab citizen of Israel knifed an Israeli soldier to death and then opened fire at a bus station in Beersheba, wounding 10 people. The attacker was killed. In an apparent case of racial profiling, a mob of soldiers and bystanders then shot and beat an Eritrean man to death, mistakenly thinking he was a second assailant. The incident comes after Israeli forces shot dead five Palestinians accused of stabbing attacks, including three in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron. After sealing off East Jerusalem neighborhoods last week, Israel is widening its crackdown on Arab areas. We’ll have more on the conflict and the U.S. response after headlines.
A U.S. drone strike in northwest Syria has killed a man the Pentagon identifies as the highest-ranking leader of the Khorasan Group. The Pentagon says Sanafi al-Nasr, a Saudi citizen, is the fifth top Khorasan leader killed in recent months. He was suspected of funneling money and fighters for al-Qaeda.
The general director of Doctors Without Borders says he does not believe the deadly U.S. bombing on his organization’s hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, was a mistake. The attack earlier this month killed at least 22 patients and medical staff members. Christopher Stokes told the Associated Press the bombing appears to have been a war crime.
Christopher Stokes: “The extensive, quite precise destruction of this hospital—and I’ve spent all morning going through it with my colleagues and looking at the extent of the destruction—doesn’t suggest that, doesn’t mean, doesn’t indicate a mistake. The hospital was repeatedly hit, both the front and the rear, and extensively destroyed and damaged, even though we had provided all the coordinates and all the right information to all the armed parties in the conflict. So we want a clear explanation, because all the indication points to a grave breach of international humanitarian law, and therefore a war crime.”
Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have voiced support for President Obama’s plan to keep U.S. troops in Afghanistan through the end of his term in 2017. Obama had declared an official end to the U.S. combat mission in Afghanistan last year, but last week announced he was halting the phased military withdrawal. Speaking on CNN, Hillary Clinton backed Obama’s decision.
Hillary Clinton: “I will not sit here today and say what I would do upon taking office, because, again, we want to bring our troops home. We certainly don’t want them engaged in on-the-ground combat. We want them to help support and train the Afghan army. And we want them to, you know, continue to work with the government of Afghanistan to try to help strengthen security for them. So I can’t predict where things will be in January of 2017. But I support the president’s decision.”
In an interview with ABC, Clinton’s rival, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, also declined to specify how many troops he would keep in Afghanistan, but said, “I think we need a certain nucleus of American troops present in Afghanistan to provide the training and support the Afghan army needs.”
The United Nations refugee agency says more than 10,000 people are stranded in Serbia as countries further west restrict the flow of refugees fleeing violence in their home countries. Thousands spent the night in the cold and rain after Hungary shut its border with Croatia, diverting the refugees to Slovenia, which also imposed border limits.
Meanwhile in Germany, Henriette Reker has been elected mayor of Cologne, despite being stabbed in the neck the day before elections by a man who opposed her support for refugees. And in Switzerland, the right-wing Swiss People’s Party, known for virulent attacks on immigrants and Islam, saw historic success in the Swiss parliamentary elections Sunday.
The U.S.-backed, Saudi-led coalition targeting Houthi rebels in Yemen has accidentally bombed forces loyal to ousted Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, killing 30 fighters and wounding 40. It was the latest in a series of so-called “friendly fire” incidents in the U.S.-backed campaign, which has also killed thousands of civilians. Meanwhile, the U.N. Children’s Fund warns more than half a million children in Yemen are facing life-threatening malnutrition amid an increasing risk of famine.
In the Philippines, tens of thousands of people have been evacuated and at least nine have been killed by a powerful typhoon. Typhoon Koppu has felled trees and cut off power. Officials fear the death toll could rise as remote areas remain cut off by floodwaters and debris.
The destruction in the Philippines comes as climate negotiators convene in Bonn, Germany, ahead of United Nations climate talks in Paris next month. Former Philippines negotiator Yeb Saño is currently walking from Rome to Paris on a “people’s pilgrimage” for climate action. African countries have objected to the latest draft of the global climate agreement, saying it is “unbalanced” and does not do enough to aid poorer countries hit hardest by climate change.
In a victory for environmentalists, the Obama administration has ended the possibility of oil drilling in the Arctic for the rest of President Obama’s tenure. The administration canceled plans to sell new drilling leases and refused to extend leases that were previously sold. The move comes after Shell halted its $7 billion bid to drill for oil in the Arctic.
The landmark nuclear deal between Iran, the United States and five other world powers has officially taken effect. President Obama has signed an order paving the way to ease sanctions on Iran, but the sanctions will remain until Iran takes steps to curb its nuclear program.
Canadians are heading to the polls today to decide whether to extend the nearly decade-long rule of Conservative Party leader Stephen Harper. Polls show Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau, the son of late Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, leading Harper, with the New Democratic Party in third. Trudeau has accused Harper of Islamophobia for seeking to ban Muslim women from covering their faces with the niqab, or veil, while taking their Canadian citizenship oath.
A newly published document shows former British Prime Minister Tony Blair vowed to support U.S. military action in Iraq in 2002—a year before the invasion. The memo, written by then-U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, was obtained by the Daily Mail as part of a batch of emails on Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s private server. Powell writes, “On Iraq, Blair will be with us should military operations be necessary.” The memo is dated a week before Blair met with President George W. Bush at Bush’s ranch in Crawford, Texas, and publicly said, “We are not proposing military action at this point in time.”
Republican candidate Donald Trump has claimed the 9/11 attacks would not have happened if he had been president. Speaking on Fox News Sunday, Trump said his tough immigration policies would have stopped the hijackers.
Donald Trump: “I am extremely, extremely tough on illegal immigration. I’m extremely tough on people coming into this country. I believe that if I were running things, I doubt those families would have—I doubt that those people would have been in the country. So there is a good chance that those people would not have been in our country. With that being said, I’m not blaming George Bush, but I don’t want Jeb Bush to say, 'My brother kept us safe,' because September 11 was one of the worst days in the history of this country.”
Donald Trump’s rival Republican candidate Jeb Bush—brother of former President George W. Bush—hit back at Trump in an appearance on CNN, saying he “looks as though he’s an actor playing a role of the candidate for president.”
In the latest acts of gun violence in the United States, one person was killed at a zombie-themed festival in Fort Myers, Florida, over the weekend. Meanwhile in Long Island, New York, a 12-year-old girl died after being hit by a stray bullet in her living room. In Chicago, a man has been charged with child endangerment after his six-year-old son accidentally shot and killed his three-year-old brother. A Washington Post tally shows small children are finding guns and shooting themselves or other people roughly once a week on average this year.
Hawaii has declared a state of emergency over homelessness. Governor David Ige said the move will help Hawaii ramp up shelter construction. This comes after officials cleared a homeless encampment in Honolulu that was one of the largest in the country. Last month the American Civil Liberties Union filed a class-action lawsuit saying Honolulu officials had destroyed homeless people’s property without due process.
The Obama administration has cut off millions of dollars in funding for Mexico’s drug war after finding Mexico did not meet some human rights goals. The State Department said it was “unable to certify that Mexico fully meets the criteria” for the aid. The Washington Post reports the $5 million diverted represents just a tiny fraction of the billions of dollars the United States has provided for Mexico’s drug war. This comes as Mexican security forces stand accused of carrying out multiple mass killings and playing a role in the disappearance of 43 students from Ayotzinapa teachers’ college last year.
In Texas, a federal judge has allowed state officials to continue denying birth certificates to immigrants whose children are born in the United States. The Constitution grants citizenship rights to all U.S.-born children, but U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman denied an emergency injunction requested by families whose children have been denied birth certificates, saying more evidence is needed.
And at an immigrant detention center in El Paso, Texas, 54 South Asian asylum seekers have launched a hunger strike to demand a halt to deportations and investigations into unfair hearings. The strike began Wednesday. Since then, organizers say nine of the hunger strikers have been released, while one of the leaders of the strike was “beaten up in front of other detainees and dragged away, likely to solitary confinement.” The asylum seekers have been detained for as long as 11 months.