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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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Ukraine has seen its worst violence since a ceasefire was brokered to end months of fighting in February. Both the Ukrainian government and Russian-backed separatists accused the other of launching attacks near the city of Donetsk. At least 15 people were killed, including civilians. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has warned of a “colossal threat” that hostilities might resume.
The death toll from India’s heat wave has topped 2,300, making it the fifth deadliest in recorded history. India’s earth sciences minister, Harsh Vardhan, said: “It’s not just an unusually hot summer, it is climate change.”
Amnesty International is accusing the Nigerian military of war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity in its fight with the Boko Haram. A new report says more than 8,000 prisoners have been killed since 2011, and hundreds more rounded up and shot dead. Amnesty’s Anna Neistat said top commanders should be held responsible.
Anna Neistat: “This report presents cases of extrajudicial executions, massive deaths in custody, torture and forced disappearances and massive arbitrary arrests. And most importantly, in this report we name the officials who we believe are individually responsible or bear command responsibility for these violations. These are some of the highest levels of military command in Nigeria. And first and foremost, we are calling for an investigation to establish their responsibility and to bring them to justice.”
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has announced an independent review of the world body’s failure to investigate allegations of sexual abuse. French soldiers reportedly raped children who they were supposed to be protecting in the Central African Republic. Even after the exploitation was brought to the attention of senior U.N. officials, the U.N. never reported it to French authorities — nor did it do anything to immediately stop the abuse. U.N. spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric announced the probe.
Stéphane Dujarric: “The secretary-general is deeply disturbed by the allegations of sexual abuse by soldiers in the CAR, as well as allegations on how this was handled by the various parts of the U.N. system involved. His intention in setting up this review is to ensure that the United Nations does not fail the victims of sexual abuse, especially when committed by those who are meant to protect them.”
Hundreds of thousands of people marched across Argentina on Wednesday to demand an end to gender-based violence. Local activists say there were 277 femicides in Argentina last year and over 1,800 since 2008. A massive crowd surrounded the National Congress in Buenos Aires, along with marches in dozens of cities. Similar protests were also held in Chile, Mexico and Uruguay.
Prosecutors say a man shot dead by law enforcement in Boston this week was involved in a plot to behead police officers. Agents had been monitoring 26-year-old Usaama Rahim as part of a terrorism probe when they say they overheard him talking about beheading an officer. Rahim was shot dead after allegedly lunging at two officers with a knife. On Wednesday, a relative of Rahim’s identified as David Wright was arrested and charged with conspiracy. Anonymous officials say Rahim became radicalized by online jihadist sites and was inspired by the Islamic State. Briefing reporters, Boston Police Commissioner William Evans said he had been under 24-hour surveillance.
Boston Police Commissioner William Evans: “This guy required 24/7 surveillance, so we thought the threat was severe enough that we had to approach him. We never expected what happened, but, you know, hopefully it will all come out later so there’s a better understanding of the level of threat. But I can’t go into anything more than, you know, it was a very serious threat, and that’s why we didn’t take it lightly.”
North Carolina lawmakers have approved a bill that would impose a 72-hour waiting period on women seeking an abortion. Republican Governor Pat McCrory says he plans to sign it into law.
Texas has executed a death row prisoner convicted of the 1983 killings of four men. Lester Bower is the oldest person executed in Texas in three decades, at 67 years old. Bower had always maintained his innocence. In March, the Supreme Court rejected a review of the case, but three justices said they favored throwing out his death sentence.
Cleveland investigators have submitted their findings on the fatal police shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice six months ago. Rice was playing with a toy replica gun when an officer shot him dead seconds after pulling up in his vehicle. Prosecutors are expected to review the case and present it to a grand jury.
A Madison, Wisconsin, police officer will not face internal discipline 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. Prosecutors declined to charge Kenny last month. On Wednesday, police said he has also been cleared by the Madison Police Department’s Internal Affairs unit.
Former Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee has entered the race of the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination. Chafee kicked off his campaign at George Mason University in Virginia.
Lincoln Chafee: “I enjoy challenges, and, certainly, we have many facing America. Today, I am formally entering the race for the Democratic nomination for president. If we, as leaders, show good judgment and make good decisions, we can fix much of what is ailing us. We must deliberately and carefully extricate ourselves from expensive wars.”
Chafee previously served as a Republican senator before switching to the Democrats in 2013. He was the only Republican senator to vote against the Iraq War.