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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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In Baltimore, Maryland, police in riot gear fired tear gas and smoke grenades overnight as hundreds of people defied a 10 p.m. curfew to continue protesting the death of Freddie Gray. Gray died of spinal injuries a week after an arrest where witnesses said he was bent like a pretzel. He was accused of making eye contact with a police lieutenant, then running away. His family said his spine was 80 percent severed at the neck. Overnight at least 10 people were arrested amid relative calm, following the previous night’s uprising, which led to more than 200 arrests, dozens of cars set on fire, and many buildings badly damaged. The overnight curfew was enforced by 3,000 police and National Guard troops. On Monday, President Obama called for “soul searching” over police killings but criticized the previous night’s destruction.
President Obama: “There’s no excuse for the kind of violence that we saw yesterday. It is counterproductive. When individuals get crowbars and start prying open doors to loot, they’re not protesting, they’re not making a statement, they’re stealing.”
The death toll from a 7.8-magnitude earthquake in Nepal has topped 5,000 with twice that number injured. Aid has reportedly finally reached an area near the epicenter for the first time, four days after the earthquake struck. Remote villages remain cut off from needed supplies. Jens Laerke of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs called the aid effort a race against time.
Jens Laerke: “The headline is really that this is a race against time. It’s also a race against a moving target, in the sense that we still do not have a full assessment of the needs and the requirements in the rural areas outside of Kathmandu. As you know, the disaster itself has created a lot of infrastructure problems, and it is simply a country that, because of its geography, is such that it’s difficult to move into these areas.”
The U.S. Supreme Court appears sharply divided after hearing arguments on a case that could establish the constitutional right to same-sex marriage across the United States. Justice Anthony Kennedy, considered a key swing vote, gave conflicting signals but appeared to side more with same-sex couples. A decision is expected in June.
The United Nations and African Union are sending envoys to the Central African nation of Burundi amid the largest mass protests since the end a civil war in 2005. Protests erupted Sunday over President Pierre Nkurunziza’s bid for a third term. At least six people have been killed as police fire tear gas, water cannon and live rounds at protesters.
The Nigerian military says it has rescued nearly 300 girls and women from the militant group Boko Haram in the northeastern Sambisa Forest. Despite initial hopes, the army said the girls are not the same ones who were captured from a school in the town of Chibok a year ago.
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz has fired his chosen successor, reportedly over his opposition to the Saudi-led military campaign against Iranian-aligned Houthi rebels in Yemen. Muqrin bin Abdulaziz, the crown prince and deputy prime minister, was replaced by the king’s nephew as part of a broader shakeup, which also saw the country’s foreign minister replaced by the U.S.-educated Saudi ambassador to the United States, Adel al-Jubeir. On Tuesday, the Saudi-led coalition struck the international airport in the Yemeni capital Sana’a, damaging the main runway, to prevent the landing of an Iranian plane, which Iran said carried food and medicine.
President Obama hosted Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for a White House state dinner Tuesday during Abe’s week-long visit to the United States. At a meeting earlier in the day, Obama said the two leaders discussed strengthening military ties and the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.
President Obama: “Based on the progress we’ve made, Prime Minister Abe and I discussed how the United States and Japan, as the two largest economies in the TPP negotiations, will now work together to lead our TPP partners to swift and successful conclusions of the broader negotiations.”
Japanese Prime Minister Abe will push for the TPP in an address to Congress today. Last week, panels in both the House and Senate passed a measure to give Obama authority to negotiate the deal, then rush it through Congress on a yes-or-note vote. More than 2,000 organizations have now joined together to urge Congress to reject fast-track authority for the TPP, saying the deal would hurt workers, undermine regulations and expand corporate power. Signers of the letter include environment, labor and family farm groups, the NAACP, Presbyterian Church USA, and Alliance for Retired Americans.
Indonesia has executed eight people for drug crimes despite pleas from around the world to spare their lives. The eight men shot to death by firing squad earlier today include two Australians, four Nigerians, a Brazilian and an Indonesian. A Filipina woman also scheduled to die was granted a stay of execution after a woman who allegedly recruited her to carry drugs reportedly turned herself in. Australia has deplored the executions and recalled its ambassador to Indonesia.
Sweden’s top court has granted WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange the right to appeal an arrest warrant which has kept him holed up in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London for nearly three years. Assange sought refuge in the embassy over fears the warrant on sex crime allegations could lead to his extradition to Sweden and then to the United States. Last month, after years of refusal, Swedish prosecutors said they would travel to London to interview Assange. He has not been charged with a crime.
Attorneys for an Indiana woman sentenced last month to 20 years in prison for what she says was a miscarriage have filed an appeal. Purvi Patel was convicted of both feticide and felony neglect after she arrived at a hospital, bleeding, and later acknowledged disposing of her stillborn fetus in a dumpster. Prosecutors accused her of taking abortion-inducing pills, even though no such drugs were found in her system, and used a discredited “float test” to argue the fetus was born alive.