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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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France has entered a third day of mourning after 129 people were killed in Paris in a series of suicide bombings and shootings. It was the deadliest attack on French soil since World War II. Hundreds more were wounded, 99 critically. In a series of coordinated attacks Friday evening, gunmen and bombers targeted restaurants, the national soccer stadium and the Bataclan concert hall, where at least 89 people were killed. Authorities have blamed the attacks on the self-proclaimed Islamic State. In retaliation, France launched its heaviest airstrikes yet against the Syrian city of Raqqa, which has long served as ISIL’s de facto capital. About 200,000 civilians live in Raqqa. The strikes have reportedly knocked out electricity in the city. U.S. Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said the United States would join France in intensifying airstrikes.
Ben Rhodes: “What we’ve made clear to the French is we will be shoulder to shoulder with them in this response. They’re in our military campaign in Iraq and Syria already. Clearly they want to energize their efforts. There is a French two-star general who is positioned at CENTCOM to help that coordination go forward. And we’re confident that in the coming days and weeks working with the French, we’ll be able to intensify our strikes against ISIL in both Syria and Iraq to make clear that there’s no safe haven for these terrorists.”
Earlier today, U.S. officials said U.S. planes had for the first time bombed hundreds of trucks used to smuggle out oil in a bid to cut off a key source of ISIL’s revenue.
French authorities said they believed the Paris attacks were carried out by eight assailants working in three teams. Seven of the men died in the attacks and a massive manhunt is underway for the eighth—Salah Abdeslam, a Belgian-born French national. Two of his brothers were said to have died in the attack. Several of the attackers were French nationals. Overnight, French authorities carried out 168 raids, making 23 arrests, as part of the investigation. Police in the Belgian city of Molenbeek also carried out a series of raids this morning.
Authorities also said one of the suicide bombers who blew himself up outside the national stadium in Paris was carrying a Syrian passport and his fingerprints matched someone who passed through Greece in October. In response to the attacks, Poland’s incoming European affairs minister said Poland now cannot accept refugees under an EU plan, while in the United States the governors of Alabama and Michigan also refused to resettle any Syrian refugees. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said Syrian refugees fleeing from ISIL should not be confused with the Paris attackers.
Jean-Claude Juncker: “We should not mix the different categories of people coming to Europe. The one who is responsible for the attacks in Paris cannot be put at equal foot with real refugees, with asylum seekers and with displaced people. He’s a criminal and not a refugee and not an asylum seeker.”
Reports of Islamophobia have already emerged following the Paris attacks. In St. Petersburg, Florida, a mosque received a voicemail from a caller who threatened to “firebomb you and shoot whoever is there in the head.” We’ll have more on the Paris attacks and the aftermath after headlines.
The Paris attacks have dominated discussions by world leaders at the G20 summit in Antalya, Turkey. Protesters have been kept miles away from the meeting venue, and dozens of people were arrested during peaceful protests opposing G20 policies on war and climate change.
In Iraq, two mass graves containing scores of bodies have been found in the area of Sinjar, after Iraqi Kurdish forces said they had reclaimed the area from the self-proclaimed Islamic State. One of the graves reportedly contained the bodies of 78 women believed to be members of the Yazidi religious minority. A second grave contained about 50 or 60 bodies. Authorities say they expect to uncover additional graves.
Lebanese forces have arrested nine people in connection with last week’s double bombings in Beirut which killed more than 40 people. Seven of the suspects are from Syria, while two are Lebanese. Hundreds of people were wounded in the attacks on a civilian neighborhood, marking one of the worst attacks to hit Beirut in years. The attacks took place one day before the massacre in Paris.
While Facebook activated its safety check feature for the Paris attacks, allowing residents to mark themselves “safe” to reassure family and friends, the feature was not activated for the attacks in Beirut.
At least 15 Sudanese refugees have been shot and killed while attempting to cross the border from Egypt into Israel. There were reports the refugees were shot dead by Egyptian border police after failing to heed calls to stop, but conflicting accounts said they may have been caught in crossfire between smugglers and police. It appears to be one of the highest death tolls in years for people from Sudan, Eritrea and other East African countries who cross the Sinai Peninsula seeking asylum in Israel.
Israeli troops have killed at least two Palestinians and injured three after entering a refugee camp near Jerusalem. The troops arrived to demolish the home of a Palestinian accused of shooting and killing an Israeli this summer. On Saturday, Israeli forces destroyed the homes of the families of four Palestinians accused of fatally shooting Israelis.
The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a challenge to a sweeping anti-choice law in Texas, marking what could be the most significant abortion rights case in decades. The case was brought by abortion providers against a law which could shutter all but 10 clinics in Texas if it comes into full effect. Already, about half of the more than 40 clinics in Texas have been forced to close under the law. In a statement Friday, the Center for Reproductive Rights, which represents the plaintiffs, said, “Today the Supreme Court took an important step toward restoring the constitutional rights of millions of women, which Texas politicians have spent years dismantling.” Justice Anthony Kennedy is expected to be the key swing vote in the case, which could shape the future of abortion access nationwide.
Democratic presidential candidates faced off Saturday during a debate in Iowa, the day after the attacks in Paris. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders criticized former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s 2002 Senate vote in support of the Iraq War, saying the “disastrous invasion of Iraq,” which Sanders opposed, led to the rise of ISIL. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton invoked 9/11 to defend herself against Sanders’ criticism of her Wall Street ties.
Sen. Bernie Sanders: “Why do—why, over her political career, has Wall Street been a major—the major campaign contributor to Hillary Clinton? Now, maybe they’re dumb, and they don’t know what they’re going to get, but I don’t think so.”
Hillary Clinton: “I represented New York, and I represented New York on 9/11, when we were attacked. Where were we attacked? We were attacked in downtown Manhattan, where Wall Street is. I did spend a whole lot of time and effort helping them rebuild. That was good for New York. It was good for the economy. And it was a way to rebuke the terrorists who had attacked our country.”
Clinton’s reference to 9/11 in response to criticism of Wall Street donations led to widespread criticism on social media. In a Twitter post read aloud by moderators during the debate, one user wrote: “Have never seen a candidate invoke 9/11 to justify millions of Wall Street donations. Until now.”
The Obama administration has transferred five Yemeni prisoners out of Guantánamo to the United Arab Emirates. Each of the prisoners had been held by the United States for nearly 14 years without ever being charged with a crime. Their transfer leaves 107 prisoners at Guantánamo.
University of Missouri football coach Gary Pinkel has announced his resignation a week after voicing support for African-American players who went on strike to protest racism at the school. Pinkel supported the football players’ boycott, which helped force the resignation of University of Missouri President Tim Wolfe and Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin. Pinkel denied the move had anything to do with the protests, saying he was leaving after being diagnosed with lymphoma in May.
Protests have erupted in Minneapolis, Minnesota, after the shooting of an African-American man who is reportedly on life support. Police said Jamar Clark was shot after a scuffle with officers who responded to a report of an assault. Witnesses have said Clark was handcuffed when he was shot. Black Lives Matter activists occupied the entrance to a police precinct, calling for police to release security camera footage and for a federal investigation.
And protests against the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal have escalated around the world after the full text of the 12-nation deal was released earlier this month. Multiple actions are expected today in Washington, D.C., after a series of protests in New Zealand over the weekend. Here in New York City, medical students, doctors and activists gathered outside the headquarters of pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Friday to protest provisions they say will protect corporate patents and hinder access to cheaper, generic medications. Alison Case, education and advocacy fellow for the American Medical Student Association, spoke outside Pfizer headquarters.
Alison Case: “So we’re here in front of Pfizer today because we wanted to expose the heavy hand that the pharmaceutical industry did have on the TPP negotiations. We know that they were speaking with the trade representatives, with President Obama. We know that they were present for the negotiations, when the public—so, civil society groups, elected officials—were kept out. So these negotiations were entirely secret except for the presence of corporations, and Big Pharma being one of them. And they did influence heavily the access-to-medicines provisions.”