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The gunman in the Planned Parenthood shooting rampage has admitted his guilt while expressing anti-choice views. At a court hearing where he was charged with 179 counts, Robert Lewis Dear acknowledged attacking the clinic, calling himself a “warrior for the babies.”
Robert Lewis Dear: “Protect the babies. Could you add the babies that were supposed to be aborted that day? Could you add that to the list?”
The attack in Colorado Springs killed three people and left nine wounded. Defense attorneys have suggested they may seek an insanity defense. Pro-choice activists have called for the Obama administration to treat the attack as domestic terrorism.
The FBI says the couple behind the San Bernardino shooting massacre were radicalized years before meeting in person and before the rise of the self-proclaimed Islamic State. FBI Director James Comey told a Senate hearing that the agency believes suspects Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik were inspired by foreign extremists, but that no evidence has emerged that ISIL or other groups ordered the attack.
Muslim Americans continue to report risings acts of Islamophobia in the aftermath of the Paris and San Bernardino attacks and increased anti-Muslim sentiment on the campaign trail. A Muslim store owner in Queens, New York, said he was beaten by an attacker who reportedly said, “I kill Muslims.” Other incidents include racist hate speech directed at two Muslim women in an Austin café, and a group of boys punching a Muslim girl in New York and pulling on her hijab. At a rally on Wednesday against Donald Trump’s call to ban Muslims from entering the United States, Khalid Latif of the Islamic Center at New York University said anti-Muslim racism today could be even worse than after 9/11.
Khalid Latif: “As these voices speak unchecked, we see a rise in anti-Muslim sentiment that is arguably worse than even the backlash experienced immediately after September 11th. They give rise and justify to those who have in recent weeks have burned down and vandalized mosques all over this country, who have pushed down women wearing headscarves onto train tracks, shot cab drivers, and even in our own city validated for three young men their beating of a sixth grade Muslim girl in Harlem as they punched her, beat her, tried to rip the scarf off of her head and called her ISIS over and over and over. That is not OK. We have to be better than that.”
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has apologized for the more than year-old police killing of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. Emanuel spoke at a City Council hearing on Wednesday.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel: “I am the mayor. As I said the other day, I own it. I take responsibility for what happened, because it happened on my watch. And if we’re going to fix it, I want you to understand it’s my responsibility with you. But if we’re also going to begin the healing process, the first step in that journey is my step, and I’m sorry.”
Emanuel is facing increasing pressure to step down over the city’s handling of the case and a potential cover-up. After the apology, protesters marched in the streets and staged a sit-in to demand his resignation.
Protester 1: “Getting Rahm to resign doesn’t mean our work is over. Getting Rahm to resign means our work is just getting started.”
Protester 2: “Like it’s been said, we got one down and two to go. We got two to go. It is sad that these people are in the office, and they can’t do their job. But you know what? To Rahm Emanuel, you can fire all these people, but you still would not get our vote, 'cause you're going to be out the office by Election Day.”
This comes as Chicago has released a three-year-old videotape of officers tasing, beating and dragging an African-American man, Philip Coleman. Coleman died in police custody, although the city claims it was from an allergic reaction. Mayor Rahm Emanuel has said the abuse was unacceptable. Coleman’s family says it wants the officers involved charged with crimes.
The Supreme Court has heard arguments in a case that could threaten affirmative action on college campuses. The petitioner, Abigail Fisher, is a white woman who accused the University of Texas-Austin of discrimination for rejecting her. On Wednesday, a majority of justices appeared to indicate they will come down against the University of Texas’ affirmative action policies, a stance that could ultimately threaten similar plans at other schools. Justice Antonin Scalia sparked outrage after saying that students of color with low grades are “pushed into schools that are too fast for them” and may be better off at “a less advanced school, a slower-track school where they do well.”
The Pentagon has asked the White House to build up a series of U.S. military bases across Africa, Southwest Asia and the Middle East. The New York Times reports top military officials want the network of bases to serve as hubs “for Special Operations troops and intelligence operatives who would conduct counterterrorism missions” against groups like the Islamic State, ensuring an “enduring” American military presence in several regions overseas.
The Pentagon says it’s prepared to send military advisers and helicopters to help Iraq retake Ramadi, which was captured by ISIL in May. Meanwhile, Iraq has asked NATO to pressure Turkey into withdrawing its forces from northern Iraqi areas. Turkish forces recently arrived near Mosul, but Turkey says it’s there at the request of the Iraqi government.
The Syrian government and rebel forces have completed a rare negotiated truce in the opposition stronghold of Homs. Hundreds of rebels and civilians left Homs on Wednesday as part of an agreement to end fighting that devastated the city for years. The evacuees will be resettled in other rebel-held areas of northern Syria.
Doctors Without Borders has delivered a petition to the White House demanding an independent probe of the U.S. bombing of the group’s hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan. The October 3 airstrike killed at least 30 people and wounded dozens more. At a rally across from the White House Wednesday, Doctors Without Borders’ board president, Dr. Deane Marchbein, paid tribute to the attack victims.
Dr. Deane Marchbein: “More than 66,000 patients had been treated at our hospital since it opened in 2011. Now, hundreds of thousands are cut off from lifesaving care. The patients who were killed believed that they had come to a safe place to be treated. They could not have imagined that they would instead become targets. The staff were brave individuals committed to providing healthcare for all regardless of ethnicity or political persuasion.”
And the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet has dedicated their Nobel Peace Prize to “every single Tunisian.” Abdessattar Ben Moussa of the Tunisian Human Rights League, one of the civil society groups that makes up the quartet, spoke on Wednesday before today’s award ceremony.
Abdessattar Ben Moussa: “We would like to thank the Norwegian Nobel Committee for having bestowed upon us, the quartet, this very prestigious prize. It is a prize awarded to every single Tunisian, to the people who lost martyrs. It is awarded in memory of all the martyrs who sacrificed their blood in service of liberty. It comes in recognition of the major sacrifice paid in blood by Chokri Belaid and Mohamed Brahmi.”
The Nobel Committee says the prize seeks to honor the quartet’s contribution to building a pluralistic democracy after the 2011 Tunisian revolution, which toppled Tunisia’s longtime U.S.-backed dictator.