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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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Republican front-runner Donald Trump has called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.”
Donald Trump: “Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what the hell is going on. We have no choice. We have no choice.”
Trump was speaking at a rally at the USS Yorktown in South Carolina on Monday night. His campaign manager said the proposed ban would apply to both Muslims seeking immigration visas and tourists simply seeking to visit the United States. It came only one day after President Obama spoke in a rare televised address from the Oval Office, calling for the nation to reject Islamophobia in the wake of the San Bernardino shootings, which Obama called an act of terror.
Trump’s proposal quickly drew comparisons to policies enacted by Nazi Germany against the Jews and condemnation from both Republican and Democratic candidates, as well as an array of civil society groups. The head of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Nihad Awad, compared Trump to the leader of a lynch mob.
Nihad Awad: “We were extremely shocked to hear Donald Trump calling for total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the U.S. This is outrageous, coming from someone who wants to assume the highest office in the land. It is reckless and simply un-American. Donald Trump sounds more like a leader of a lynch mob than a great nation like ours. He and others are playing into the hands of ISIS.”
Later, award-winning Nigerian-American writer and New Yorker magazine contributor Teju Cole posted on his Facebook: “Trump is a dangerous clown … But it is important to understand that his idea of 'banning all Muslims,' scandalous as it is … is far less scandalous than the past dozen years of American disregard for non-American Muslim lives. And that wasn’t Trump. Trump didn’t murder thousands of innocent people with drones in Pakistan and Yemen. Trump didn’t kill hundreds of thousands of innocent people with bombs in Iraq and Afghanistan. Trump didn’t torture people at Bagram, Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, or the numerous black sites across the planet. No American president in the past fourteen years has openly championed Islamophobia, but none has refrained from doing to Muslims overseas what would be unthinkable to do here to Americans of any religion.”
Beijing has issued its first-ever “red alert” for pollution, as China’s capital city is engulfed in thick smog rife with poisonous chemicals that can make residents sick from simply stepping outside. The government has urged schools to close and has ordered a halt on all outdoor construction work. In some Beijing neighborhoods, residents can see only about 600 feet ahead of them. Beijing resident Li Teng spoke out.
Li Teng: “I think it’s really scary. I guess the pollution is serious enough.”
This comes as the western coast of Norway experiences the worst flooding since record-keeping began more than 100 years ago. We’ll speak with climate scientist Kevin Anderson of the University of Manchester in Britain later in the broadcast.
The United Nations has asked for $20 billion to respond to greatest mass displacement of people since World War II. It’s the largest appeal to address forced displacement that the United Nations has ever launched. U.N. officials cited the wars in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and South Sudan as one of the major reasons there are nearly 60 million people forcibly displaced worldwide. U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres warns that at the present level of funding, the agency is “not able to provide even the very minimum in core protection and lifesaving assistance.”
The U.N. aid appeal comes as Germany releases new figures showing it is on track to accept more than 1 million new refugees this year alone. That’s more than four times the number of refugees who resettled in Germany in 2014. The figures show that in recent months Syrians have constituted more than 30 percent of all refugee applications.
Meanwhile, dozens of Central American mothers whose children went missing in Mexico while attempting to flee violence in their home countries are now traversing Mexico on a journey to search for their missing children. The three-week-long Caravan of Central American Mothers includes women from El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua. Their children are among the tens of thousands who disappear each year along what experts call one of the most deadly migration routes in the world. Speaking at a press conference in Mexico City on Monday, Lourdes Sauzo, whose son was killed in Mexico, spoke about his body being returned to her in pieces.
Lourdes Sauzo: “After 26 months, we received his remains, the pieces. We did not receive all the pieces of his body. We demand that, please—not please, but a demand—that the bodies be sent in their entirety, to send the right remains, because bodies have been sent that don’t belong to the victim. They say it’s a woman, and they send the body of a man.”
In the United States, seven detained asylum seekers on hunger strike have been sent to the medical unit at the Etowah County Detention Center as their strike stretches into its 12th day. They are demanding their freedom. Other hunger strikers report being subject to sleep deprivation and threatened with force-feeding or deportation. Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley have expressed support for the more than 100 asylum seekers on hunger strike across the United States.
In the Occupied West Bank, Israeli troops have shot and killed two Palestinians. On Tuesday, Palestinian medical sources say Israeli troops shot and killed 19-year-old Malik Shaheen during a raid in the Dheisheh Refugee Camp in Bethlehem. This comes one day after Israeli security forces shot and killed a man in Hebron whom they accused of carrying out a nonlethal stabbing attack. Since October 1, Israeli security forces have killed 105 Palestinians. Nineteen Israelis and one U.S. citizen have been killed by Palestinians during this same time period.
Some of the world’s largest military contractors, including Lockheed Martin and Raytheon, have told investors that the companies will see “benefits” from the growing conflicts across the Middle East. In a story first reported by The Intercept, the contractors spoke of the growing demand for F-22 and F-35 fighter jets, rockets and armored vehicles during a West Palm Beach conference this week.
In Baltimore, medical experts have testified to a jury that 25-year-old Freddie Gray, who suffered a fatal spinal cord injury in police custody in April, might have survived if the police had taken him to a hospital sooner. The testimony came Monday as the trial against Officer William Porter entered its second week. Porter is the first of six officers who are being charged for Freddie Gray’s death.
At Yale University, a professor who sparked protests after dismissing concerns about culturally offensive Halloween costumes has resigned. The controversy began in October, when Yale’s administration sent an email reminding students to respect each other’s cultures on Halloween and to avoid wearing offensive or appropriative costumes. In response, professor Erika Christakis sent an email pushing back against the advice, writing: “Is there no room anymore for a child or young person to be a little bit obnoxious… a little bit inappropriate or provocative or, yes, offensive?” Her email sparked protests and came amid other instances of racism on campus, including a woman of color reportedly being denied entry to a fraternity party because she is not white. On Monday, a statement issued by Yale said Christakis had voluntarily decided not to teach in the future at Yale University.