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This week, Democracy Now! is celebrating our 22nd birthday. Since our first show in February 1996, our daily news hour has brought you fearless journalism and hard-hitting news you can trust--all without ads or corporate underwriting. How is this possible? Only with your support. In fact, if everyone reading this gave just $4, it would cover our operating expenses for the whole year. Right now, a generous donor will TRIPLE every donation, meaning your gift today will go three times as far. Pretty amazing, right? Please do your part. Take a moment to give right now for our 22nd birthday.
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At least six people have been killed and dozens wounded after an Amtrak train bound for New York City derailed in Philadelphia. Eight people remain in critical condition, and not everyone on board has been accounted for. The train had departed from Washington, D.C., carrying more than 240 people. Six cars overturned, with sections of the train so mangled people had to be rescued with the aid of hydraulic tools. Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter called it “an absolute disastrous mess,” saying “I have never seen anything like this in my life.” The cause remains unknown.
The Senate has rejected a measure to give President Obama fast-track authority to negotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP. On Tuesday, the Senate fell eight votes shy of the 60 needed to advance it. Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley said the TPP would hurt workers.
Sen. Jeff Merkley: “Why would you pave a path to put the workers in your state directly in competition with workers earning 60 cents an hour. Tell me that that’s advantageous to making things in your nation, and I will tell you, you are wrong.”
The failure to win the necessary votes came after pro-trade Democrats, including Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, insisted that fast track be bundled together with three other trade bills. It’s seen as a major setback for the White House, which has pushed back against progressive critics of the TPP in recent days.
A Madison, Wisconsin, police officer will not face criminal charges for fatally shooting an unarmed African-American teenager. Tony Robinson was shot dead in March after Officer Matt Kenny forced his way into an apartment following a “disturbance.” Kenny says Robinson attacked him upon his entry. On Tuesday, the Dane County district attorney said an investigation found Kenny was lawful in firing the fatal shots. Robinson’s family members say they have been denied justice.
Sharon Irwin, Tony Robinson’s grandmother: “I will miss him the rest of my life, when you guys go home and you don’t deal with this anymore. This is a forever thing with me. And I just want to say this is politics and not justice.”
In a show of support for Tony Robinson’s family, hundreds of people marched to the state Capitol on Tuesday. More actions are underway today.
At least 43 people have been killed and dozens wounded in an armed attack on a bus carrying Ismaili Shiite Muslims in the Pakistani city of Karachi. A group of gunmen stopped the bus and opened fire. There are no claims of responsibility so far.
The rescue effort continues in Nepal for survivors of the country’s second earthquake in less than three weeks. At least 66 people have been confirmed dead, adding to the more than 8,000 who died last month. Rescuers are also searching for a U.S. military helicopter that went missing while delivering aid. A U.N. spokesperson said a high death toll is feared.
Jens Laerke: “The first one came out as a red alert. Red alert is like the first one we had in April. That means that it’s very severe earthquake, it’s in a highly populated area. So, honestly, right now we fear the worst.”
Secretary of State John Kerry has met with Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov and President Vladimir Putin in a trip to Moscow. It’s the highest-level Russia visit by a U.S. official since the Ukraine crisis began just over a year ago. Kerry said the meeting was frank and constructive.
Secretary of State John Kerry: “I am grateful to President Putin for the significant amount of time that he made available to this discussion, for his directness and for his very detailed explanations of Russia’s position with respect to some of these challenges and of the ways that he believed that we have an ability to be able to work constructively together in order to resolve these problems.”
North Korea has reportedly executed its defense minister. The South Korean intelligence service says Hyon Yong-chol was killed after dozing off at a military event, which the regime saw as an act of disrespect to leader Kim Jong-un. Kim is said to have ordered the executions of more than a dozen senior officials this year for challenging his authority.
The imprisoned journalist and former Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal has been moved to the hospital for a second time this year. Supporters say they are concerned Abu-Jamal has a fever, as well as open wounds and sores on his legs.
A former government contractor whose case ignited a controversy over the Obama administration’s targeting of journalists has been freed after 10 months in prison. Stephen Kim was convicted of leaking documents on North Korea to Fox News. Kim was charged under the Espionage Act, the nearly century-old law which was also used to classify Fox News reporter James Rosen a “co-conspirator” in the case. Kim has always maintained his innocence.
More sources are confirming a key claim in an explosive story challenging the Obama administration’s account of the killing of Osama bin Laden. Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh reported this weekend a former Pakistani intelligence officer disclosed bin Laden’s location to the CIA. Hersh said U.S. claims it found bin Laden by tracking his personal courier were false. NBC News confirmed Hersh’s claim of the informant through three different intelligence sources. Now the Pakistani newspaper The News reports Pakistani officials are also acknowledging the story and have identified the officer as Usman Khalid. Hersh’s story says the officer received a $25 million bounty and is now living under U.S. protection near Washington. Carlotta Gall, a New York Times reporter who spent years in Afghanistan and Pakistan, is also now claiming she heard from a high-level Pakistani source that Pakistan was hiding bin Laden and later that an officer had told the CIA. Gall says she didn’t publish the story because she couldn’t corroborate it in the United States. Meanwhile, national security blogger R.J. Hillhouse is pointing out she reported some of Hersh’s key claims four years ago. In August 2011, Hillhouse wrote on her blog that the informant who led the CIA to bin Laden was a walk-in seeking financial compensation and that Pakistani officials were keeping bin Laden under house arrest with Saudi financial support.
And Democracy Now! co-host and New York Daily News columnist Juan González has won an award for opinion writing from the Deadline Club, New York City’s chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. The awards were presented last night in New York.