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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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Slovenia has called in the army as refugees fleeing violence in their home countries are streaming across Slovenian territory in a bid to reach northern Europe as winter approaches. Earlier today, a major fire erupted at a Slovenian refugee camp. About 20,000 people have arrived in Slovenia since the weekend, when Hungary closed its border with Croatia.
In Sweden, a suspected arson attack has gutted a shelter for asylum seekers southwest of Stockholm. Fourteen people fled, none were seriously injured. More than a dozen fires have been reported at accommodations for refugees in Sweden this year.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is facing criticism for saying the Palestinian grand mufti of Jerusalem was the one who inspired Adolf Hitler to exterminate European Jews. Netanyahu described a supposed meeting between the mufti and Hitler in November 1941, when Hitler “didn’t want to exterminate the Jews … he wanted to expel the Jew,” but the mufti encouraged Hitler to “burn them” instead. The claim that the mufti inspired the Nazi genocide of European Jews is a fringe theory rejected by most historians. The Nazis’ “Final Solution” was already underway when the meeting took place.
The comments come amid a spate of violence in Israel and the Occupied Territories. Earlier today, Israeli forces shot and injured a Palestinian teenage girl in the West Bank. Israeli forces accused the girl of having a knife and planning to sneak into a settlement to stab residents.
Canada’s newly elected prime minister, Justin Trudeau, says he has spoken to President Obama and confirmed his election pledge to withdraw Canadian fighter jets from the U.S.-led bombing campaign against ISIL. Speaking hours after his election, Trudeau declined to say when the jets will be withdrawn.
Prime Minister-elect Justin Trudeau: “About an hour ago, I spoke with President Obama, and we talked about Canada’s continued engagement as a strong member of the coalition against ISIL, and I committed that we would continue to engage in a responsible way that understands how important Canada has as a role to play in the fight against ISIL. But he understands the commitments I’ve made around ending the combat mission.”
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has traveled to Moscow for his first overseas trip since the uprising against him erupted in 2011. Assad held talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Russia launched airstrikes in Syria three weeks ago, saying it was targeting the self-proclaimed Islamic State, although its attacks have hit rebels fighting Assad. During the visit, Assad praised Russia for the “help they are giving Syria,” while Putin said he wanted to see a political settlement to the conflict.
The Obama administration has approved an $11.25 billion deal to sell four advanced, Lockheed Martin-made warships to Saudi Arabia. The move comes as Amnesty International has called on the United States to halt arms transfers to Saudi Arabia or risk being complicit in war crimes in Yemen, where Saudi Arabia is waging a U.S.-backed campaign against Houthi rebels.
Mexico has agreed to relaunch its search for 43 students from Ayotzinapa teachers’ college who disappeared last year. The Mexican government says the students were attacked by local police and turned over to drug gang members who killed and incinerated them. But international experts have rejected the Mexican government’s account and pointed to involvement by federal police and the military.
The student Senate at the University of Mississippi has voted to call for removing the Mississippi state flag from university grounds. The flag features the Confederate battle symbol in its upper left corner—the only state flag in the country that continues to use the design. Tuesday night, students voted 33 to 15, with one abstention, to remove the flag. The university chancellor still has the ultimate authority to decide whether the flag is removed; he has not yet said what he will do. To see our interview with two student activists at the University of Mississippi, go to democracynow.org.
Wisconsin Congressmember Paul Ryan says he is willing to serve as House speaker if the Republican Party unites behind him. Ryan was Mitt Romney’s running mate in the 2012 presidential race and is known for pushing deep budget cuts. He made the announcement Tuesday.
Rep. Paul Ryan: “We have been entrusted by them to lead. And yet, the people we serve, they do not feel that we are delivering on the job that they hired us to do. We have become the problem. If my colleagues entrust me to be the speaker, I want us to become the solution.”
Utah Congressmember Jason Chaffetz has said he will drop out of the speaker’s race to back Ryan.
Former Virginia Senator Jim Webb has dropped out of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, saying he will consider running as an independent.
Jim Webb: “I’m stepping aside from the Democratic primary process. But I will never abandon my loyalties to the people who do the hard daily work of keeping this country great at home and secure abroad, and we’ll just have to see what happens next.”
Webb is a former Republican who served as Navy secretary under President Ronald Reagan.
The Arkansas state Supreme Court has delayed the planned executions of eight prisoners until at least March to allow prisoners to continue challenging secrecy around the source of lethal injection drugs. The move blocks two executions scheduled for today. It’s the latest fallout from a shortage of execution drugs after European firms barred their use in U.S. executions. This week Ohio delayed all executions until at least 2017 due to difficulty obtaining the drugs. Meanwhile in Oklahoma, officials are testifying before a grand jury about how they used the wrong drug to execute Charles Warner in January. Nebraska, meanwhile, bought $54,000 worth of drugs from Salt Lake City—India, not Utah. BuzzFeed News has revealed a salesman in India has illegally sold execution drugs to Nebraska and at least three other states.
In Florida, family and friends are raising questions about a plainclothes police officer’s fatal shooting of African-American musician Corey Jones. Palm Beach Gardens police say officer Nouman Raja was in an unmarked cruiser when he stopped to investigate Jones’ car, which had broken down. Police said the officer was “suddenly confronted by an armed subject” and opened fire, killing Jones. It’s unclear if Raja identified himself as an officer. There is no police dashboard or body camera video of the shooting.
And Ahmed Mohamed, the Texas teenager who was arrested for bringing a homemade clock to school after authorities said it resembled a bomb, is moving to Qatar, where he has a scholarship to continue his education. The announcement comes after Mohamed visited the White House for Astronomy Night and met President Obama on Monday.