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President Obama has personally apologized to Doctors Without Borders for the U.S. airstrike that struck its hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, killing 12 staff members and 10 patients, including three children, on Saturday. White House spokesperson Josh Earnest announced the apology.
Josh Earnest: “President Obama spoke by telephone with Doctors Without Borders International President Dr. Joanne Liu to apologize and express his condolences for the MSF staff and patients who were killed and injured when a U.S. military airstrike mistakenly struck an MSF field hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, over the weekend.”
In response, Doctors Without Borders repeated its demand for an independent investigation into what it has called a possible war crime. The organization has said U.S. forces knew the coordinates of the hospital and continued the attack for half an hour after being informed a hospital had been hit.
Russia has escalated its military campaign in Syria, saying it has launched more than two dozen cruise missile attacks from naval vessels in the Caspian Sea. This comes as Russian airstrikes reportedly destroyed the weapons depot of a U.S.-trained Syrian rebel group. Russia said Wednesday it was willing to coordinate with the U.S. on the military campaign against ISIL in Syria, an offer that the Pentagon rejected, citing Russia’s “flawed strategy.”
In Yemen, a Saudi-led airstrike has killed at least 23 people attending a wedding party south of the capital Sana’a Wednesday. Another Saudi-led airstrike killed at least 70 people attending a wedding last week. The United Nations says the U.S.-backed bombing campaign in Yemen has killed more than 1,100 civilians in the past six months. Amnesty International has called on the United States to halt arms transfers to Saudi Arabia or risk being complicit in war crimes.
The U.S. Coast Guard has called off the search for surviving crew members from the cargo ship El Faro, which sank off the Bahamas after being battered by Hurricane Joaquin over the weekend. Thirty-three people were on board, most of them American. Scientists have linked stronger hurricanes to climate change.
In California, Governor Jerry Brown has signed a new law requiring the state to produce half of all of its electricity using renewable energy by 2030. Brown said the bill was a step toward a “de-carbonized future.”
Volkswagen CEO Michael Horn will testify to U.S. Congress today that he knew of the auto giant’s emissions cheating devices as early as spring 2014. This comes as Volkswagen says it will launch a massive recall in January of diesel cars that were illegally installed with devices used to cheat EPA emissions rules. A New York Times analysis estimates the extra pollution may have caused more than 100 deaths in the United States alone.
House Republicans have launched their latest attack on Planned Parenthood, establishing a select committee with the power to subpoena documents and testimony. The move follows the release by an anti-choice group of heavily edited undercover videos showing Planned Parenthood employees discussing the sharing of fetal tissue with researchers. Republican Utah Congressmember Jason Chaffetz, who presided over a five-hour hearing grilling Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards last week, has acknowledged to CNN: “I’m not suggesting that [Planned Parenthood] broke the law.” Chaffetz is seeking to become the next speaker of the House.
Senate Democrats are launching a renewed push for gun control legislation in the wake of the mass shooting which killed nine people at a community college in Oregon last week. The package includes expanded background checks for gun purchases. While the proposal is likely to fail amid Republican opposition, Democrats reportedly plan to block other measures until gun control receives a vote.
The University of Washington has sued the CIA over the agency’s withholding of documents about the U.S.-trained retired Salvadoran Army officer Sigifredo Ochoa Pérez. He is currently under investigation in El Salvador for his role in the 1981 Santa Cruz massacre, in which dozens of civilians were killed by soldiers under his command.
Longtime FIFA President Sepp Blatter and other top officials have been suspended for 90 days as Swiss authorities investigate their involvement in the growing corruption scandal that has thrown the world soccer governing body into turmoil. This comes after FIFA’s second-ranking official was placed on leave last month. The suspensions take effect immediately.
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has come out against the Trans-Pacific Partnership, days after the United States and 11 other Pacific Rim nations reached an agreement on the deal Monday. Clinton made the remarks on PBS NewsHour.
Hillary Clinton: “What I know about it, as of today, I am not in favor of what I have learned about it. And there’s one other element I want to make, because I think it’s important. Trade agreements don’t happen in a vacuum, and in order for us to have a competitive economy in the global marketplace, there are things we need to do here at home that help raise wages, and the Republicans have blocked everything President Obama tried to do on that front. So, for the larger issues, and then what I know — and again, I don’t have the text, we don’t yet have all the details — I don’t believe it’s going to meet the high bar I have set.”
Clinton’s rival candidate, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, has long opposed the TPP.
Media mogul Rupert Murdoch is facing a torrent of criticism on social media after posting a tweet suggesting President Obama is not a “real black president.” Murdoch expressed support for African-American Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson, tweeting, “What about a real black President who can properly address the racial divide?”
In New York City, a police review board has recommended disciplining officer James Frascatore for using excessive force when he slammed retired African-American tennis star James Blake to the ground last month. Officer Frascatore will now face internal NYPD proceedings that could lead to his dismissal. He has a lengthy pattern of excessive force complaints against him.
And the Nobel Prize in Literature has been awarded to Svetlana Alexievich, a Belarusian journalist and writer. She is best known for giving voice to survivors of World War II, the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan and the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. She becomes the 14th woman to win the Nobel Prize in Literature.