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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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The United States and 11 other Pacific Rim nations have reached an agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the largest regional trade accord in history. The agreement has been negotiated for eight years in secret and will encompass 40 percent of the global economy. Corporations from agricultural giant Cargill to military contractor Boeing have praised the deal. Congress now has at least 90 days to review the TPP before voting on it. The deal came after an agreement on drug company monopolies which Public Citizen said “fell short of Big Pharma’s most extreme demands but will contribute to preventable suffering and death.” The United States had pressed for longer monopolies on new biotech drugs. We’ll have more on the TPP after headlines.
The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan has acknowledged civilians were “accidentally struck” when a U.S. airstrike hit a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz. The attack Saturday killed 12 medical staff and 10 patients, three of them children. Witnesses described patients burning in their beds. Thirty-seven people were wounded. Doctors Without Borders said it had provided the GPS coordinates to U.S. and Afghan officials and that the bombing continued for half an hour after U.S. and Afghan authorities were told a hospital had been hit. Speaking Monday, General John Campbell said the airstrike came at the request of Afghan forces.
Gen. John Campbell: “We have now learned that on October 3rd Afghan forces advised that they were taking fire from enemy positions and asked for air support from U.S. forces. An airstrike was then called to eliminate the Taliban threat, and several civilians were accidentally struck. This is different from the initial reports, which indicated that U.S. forces were threatened and that the airstrike was called on their behalf.”
General Campbell said he has ordered a “thorough investigation,” and “If errors were committed we will acknowledge them.”
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said the bombing could be a war crime.
Ravina Shamdasani: “We absolutely condemn the attack against the hospital in Kunduz. As we know, it was really the last remaining hospital serving a need that was dire in the area. The attacks, you know, against medical facilities could amount to a war crime.”
Doctors without Borders has called for an independent investigation.
Russia says “volunteer” ground forces may soon be dispatched to Syria, following Russia’s decision to begin airstrikes inside Syria last week. U.S. officials say Russia already has at least 600 military personnel in Syria.
The Israeli army has shot and killed a 13-year-old Palestinian boy at a refugee camp near Bethlehem Monday, less than 24 hours after Israeli soldiers killed another Palestinian teenager in the West Bank Sunday night. This comes as Israeli forces have demolished the homes of two Palestinians who Israel says were behind attacks on Israelis last year.
North Korea has released a South Korean New York University student after detaining him in April. Won-moon Joo said he entered North Korea from China illegally on purpose in an effort to improve relations between North and South Korea.
At least 13 people have died amid “once-in-a-millennium” floods in North and South Carolina. The flooding has breached at least 18 dams and unearthed caskets at local cemeteries. On Monday, as many as 40,000 people were without drinking water, and more than 26,000 people were without power. The mayor of Columbia, South Carolina, Steve Benjamin said Monday, “I believe that things will get worse before they get better.”
The U.S. Coast Guard has confirmed the cargo ship El Faro sank off the Bahamas after being battered by Hurricane Joaquin. One body has been found as the search for survivors continues. Thirty-three people were on board, most of them American. It appears to be the worst cargo shipping disaster involving a U.S.-flagged vessel in over three decades. Scientists have linked stronger hurricanes to climate change.
At least 11 people have died and four more are missing after a typhoon hit China’s southern coast, sparking a flurry of deadly tornadoes with winds up to 134 miles per hour. Newscasters say the strength of the storm was unexpected.
The Justice Department says it has finalized a $20.8 billion settlement with BP to resolve all outstanding civil claims over the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil disaster. It’s the largest civil settlement with any single entity in U.S. history. Attorney General Loretta Lynch praised the settlement as “a strong and fitting response to the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history.” But some groups are criticizing the terms of the deal for failing to stop BP from writing off some of the fines as tax breaks, with the Public Interest Research Group estimating when the settlement was first announced in July that BP will likely pay no more than $14 billion.
California Governor Jerry Brown has signed into law a measure to let doctors prescribe drugs to help dying patients end their lives. California is the fifth state to legalize assisted suicide. The move comes after “right-to-die” advocate Brittany Maynard took her own life last year at the age of 29 while suffering from an aggressive form of brain cancer. She had moved from California to Oregon to benefit from Oregon’s right-to-die law, which the California measure was modeled on.
National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden says he has offered to go to prison as part a plea deal that would allow him to return to the United States from Russia. But Snowden says the Justice Department has not contacted him to discuss the potential deal. In an interview with the BBC, Snowden said, “I’ve volunteered to go to prison with the government many times. What I won’t do is I won’t serve as a deterrent to people trying to do the right thing in difficult situations.”
Meanwhile, activists with the group Intelexit flew a drone over a key NSA complex in Germany Friday. The drone dropped fliers urging employees at the Dagger Complex to quit in protest over mass spying.
In France, more than 100 workers stormed Air France’s headquarters after the company announced plans to lay off nearly 3,000 people. During the protest, the workers ripped the shirts off two managers, sending the executives fleeing half-naked over a chain-link fence.
Democracy Now! criminal justice correspondent Renée Feltz has won the Front Page Award for TV Special Reporting from the Newswomen’s Club of New York for her Democracy Now! report on the Obama administration’s mass detention of women and children from Central America in private prisons. You can watch Part 1 and Part 2 of her award-winning reports at democracynow.org.
And the legendary Detroit activist and philosopher Grace Lee Boggs has died at the age of 100. Grace Lee Boggs was involved with the civil rights, black power, labor, environmental justice and feminist movements over the past seven decades. She died on Monday at home in Detroit. Her friends and caretakers Shea Howell and Alice Jennings said, “She left this life as she lived it: surrounded by books, politics, people and ideas.” Over the past decade Grace Lee Boggs was a frequent guest on Democracy Now! In 2010, she talked about why it was important for the U.S. Social Forum to come to Detroit.
Grace Lee Boggs: “Detroit, which was once the symbol of miracles of industrialization and then became the symbol of the devastation of deindustrialization, is now the symbol of a new kind of society, of people who grow their own food, of people who try and help each other, to how we begin to think, not so much of getting jobs and advancing our own fortunes, but how we depend on each other. I mean, it’s another world that we’re creating here in Detroit.”
Grace Lee Boggs died Monday at the age of 100. We’ll remember her in her own words and with her longtime friend Alice Jennings later in the broadcast.