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University of Missouri President Tim Wolfe has resigned after mass protests over his handling of racism on campus. For weeks, African-American students staged demonstrations over what they called a lax response to racial slurs and vandalism. Graduate student Jonathan Butler went on hunger strike last week. In a key moment Saturday, African-American football players joined the protest, vowing to boycott games and other team activities until Wolfe resigned. Faculty members staged a walkout, and the Missouri Students Association, representing 27,000 undergraduates, called for Wolfe’s resignation. He announced his departure at a news conference Monday.
Tim Wolfe: “I’d ask everybody, from students to faculty to staff, to my friends, everybody, use my resignation to heal and start talking again, to make the changes necessary, and let’s focus on changing what we can change today and in the future.”
Columbia campus Chancellor Bowen Loftin also said he will step down.
The protests at the University of Missouri come as a similar dynamic plays out at one of the nation’s top Ivy League schools. On Monday, more than 1,000 students at Yale University in Connecticut held a march over racism on campus. We’ll have more after headlines with a student and professor at University of Missouri, Nation columnist Dave Zirin, and the president of Yale’s Black Student Alliance.
Fast-food workers say they are walking off the job in a record 270 cities today in what organizers call the largest action of its kind to date. One year ahead of the 2016 presidential elections, the workers are ramping up their call for a $15-an-hour minimum wage and union rights. Protests by low-wage workers, including home care aides and child care workers, are expected in 500 cities today.
Nearly 1,000 youth activists converged in Washington, D.C., Monday, shutting down parts of the city to demand action on climate change, racial justice and immigration. Under the banner of “Our Generation, Our Choice,” the protest brought together youth from the environmental, immigrant rights and Black Lives Matter movements. It came as the World Meteorological Organization said greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere reached a record high last year. Talks aimed at reaching a global climate deal open in Paris November 30. Democracy Now! will be there for the full two weeks of the talks.
Following the defeat of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, environmentalists continue to oppose other oil and gas pipelines across the country. Here in New York, nine people were arrested when protesters blocked the entrance to a wareyard in Montrose in protest of a Spectra Energy pipeline. The protesters say the AIM pipeline would run within 100 feet of the Indian Point nuclear plant and expose local communities to toxic emissions.
In Egypt, a leading journalist and human rights activist has been released following his controversial detention this weekend. Hossam Bahgat was detained after publishing a report on the secret convictions of 26 military officers accused of plotting a coup against the government of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. His detention sparked international condemnation. We’ll go to Egypt for more on his case later in the broadcast.
President Obama has promised a full investigation after a Jordanian police officer killed two American contractors, two Jordanians and a South African at a U.S.-funded police training center near Amman. The gunman was killed in a shootout. Four others, including two Americans, were wounded. The slain Americans were reportedly contractors with the military firm DynCorp, working for a State Department program to train Palestinian security forces. Obama denounced the shooting Monday.
President Obama: “The fact that someone dressed in military uniform carried out an attack at a training facility in which it appears that there may have been two or three U.S. citizens killed and a number of other individuals injured. Obviously, a full investigation is taking place. We take this very seriously, and we’ll be working closely with the Jordanians to determine exactly what happened.”
The United Nations has warned the East African nation of Burundi is on the verge of “catastrophe” amid fears of a potential genocide. The violence erupted earlier this year when President Pierre Nkurunziza announced what many say was an unconstitutional bid for a third term, winning re-election in July. The ensuing violence has killed at least 240 people, and more than 200,000 have fled the country.
Parliament members in Spain’s Catalonia region have voted in favor of independence, approving a plan that would see them secede within 18 months. Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy vowed to oppose the measure in court, saying, “Catalonia is not going anywhere.”
Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has agreed to a debate on marijuana after the Mexican Supreme Court paved the way for legalization. In a rebuke of the U.S.-backed war on drugs, the court ruled last week that four people who want to grow marijuana for personal use can do so. On Monday, President Peña Nieto said he was open to a debate.
President Enrique Peña Nieto: “For me, it would not be desirable, nor am I in favor of the eventual legalization of marijuana consumption. But my personal conviction does not keep me from opening up debate, a debate which scientifically and with solid arguments could allow us to arrive at another position.”
Drug-related violence has killed well over 100,000 people in Mexico since the war on drugs began under President Felipe Calderón in 2006.
President Obama’s executive actions on immigration have suffered another setback in court. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld an earlier injunction blocking the plan to protect up to 5 million people from deportation. The challenge was brought by states with Republican governors who oppose programs to protect parents of U.S. citizens and undocumented people who came here as children. The administration may appeal to the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court has accepted another challenge to the Obama administration’s initiative to require birth control coverage in employee health plans. Already, employers who object to providing birth control on religious grounds can claim an exemption, shifting the burden to insurers and the federal government. All they have to do is notify the government of their beliefs, generally by filling out a short form. But some groups say even that step violates their beliefs. The Supreme Court will consider several cases brought by groups including the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington and the Little Sisters of the Poor, which runs homes for the elderly.
A federal appeals court has ruled Louisiana can continue to imprison Angola 3 member Albert Woodfox and proceed with plans to try him a third time for murder, after his two previous convictions for the crime were overturned. Woodfox has spent more than 40 years in solitary confinement. He was convicted of the 1972 murder of a prison guard, a crime for which he and late, fellow Angola 3 member Herman Wallace say they were framed because of their political activism. The slain guard’s widow is among those to call for Woodfox’s release. Herman Wallace was released in October 2013 and died of liver cancer three days later. Woodfox will remain in prison.
And today marks the 20th anniversary of the execution of Nigerian activist Ken Saro-Wiwa. Saro-Wiwa led the movement against Shell’s oil practices in the Ogoni region. Oil pipelines crisscrossed Ogoni land, and gas flares the size of apartment buildings lit up the night sky. Despite widespread international protests, Saro-Wiwa was hanged under the Nigerian dictatorship after a sham trial along with eight other Ogoni rights activists. The anniversary of Saro-Wiwa’s death comes as Amnesty International says areas of the Niger Delta remain heavily polluted by oil spills, years after Shell claims to have cleaned them up.