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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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The United Nations say 20 million people, 78 percent of the population, need urgent humanitarian aid in Yemen. That’s an increase of four million from just three months ago. Aid agencies have urged Saudi Arabia to ease a naval blockade depriving Yemen of basic goods. Saudi Arabia has also failed to hand over any of the $274 million it pledged to the U.N. emergency humanitarian fund for Yemen in April. The news comes amid continued fighting between Houthi rebels and rival forces backed by the Saudi-led coalition. On Sunday, dozens of Houthi-allied soldiers were killed in an airstrike in the capital Sana’a. Saudi Arabia also shot down a Scud missile fired by Houthi forces across the border from Yemen. This comes days after a Saudi airstrike in Saada province killed at least 50 people, most of them civilians.
President Obama is joining other world leaders in Germany today as the G7 summit comes to a close. Heads of state are holding talks in a secluded resort inside a 100-year-old castle. Outside the summit, protesters have been met by a massive show of police force, with as many as 20,000 officers deployed. Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets Saturday in the nearby town of Garmisch. On Sunday, leaders and reporters had to be shuttled to the G7 talks by helicopter after protesters blocked a main road. Issues under discussion include climate change, austerity, Greece’s fiscal crisis, the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, and what President Obama called “Russian aggression” in Ukraine.
Turkey’s ruling party has lost its parliamentary majority in a major defeat for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The Justice and Development Party, or AKP, still won the most seats, but lost legislative control for the first time in 13 years. The result will thwart Erdogan’s bid to increase his presidential powers. The pro-Kurdish HDP party won seats for the first time after appealing to Erdogan’s leftist and secular opponents.
Pakistan has acknowledged it has cleared eight of the 10 people convicted for the attempted murder of Pakistani education activist Malala Yousafzai. In 2012, Yousafzai was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman who boarded her school bus. She survived serious wounds and now continues to campaign around the world, winning the Nobel Peace Prize last year. In April, Pakistan said 10 men had been sentenced to life imprisonment for the attack. But Pakistan now says eight of them were actually acquitted due to a lack of evidence.
Protests broke out in parts of Mexico on Sunday as the country held midterm elections. Both striking teachers and relatives of 43 students missing since last year burned ballots in acts of anti-government unrest. The PRI party of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto retained its congressional majority, though with a smaller number of seats.
Thousands of people have rallied in Honduras calling for the resignation of President Juan Orlando Hernández over a corruption scandal. The protesters turned out after Hernández admitted his election campaign received donations from companies linked to social security embezzlement.
Protester: “We are protesting against impunity and corruption. We will not stand for criminalization and insecurity. This country is collapsing. Public enterprise has been disarmed. This government cannot do anything. It must be removed.”
Hernández has denied any personal involvement in the payments.
Saudi Arabia’s top court has upheld the controversial verdict against activist Raif Badawi. Badawi was arrested in 2012 after setting up a website for political and social debate. He was sentenced in January to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in prison.
Two people have come forward with specific allegations of child molestation against former House Speaker Dennis Hastert. Hastert was indicted last month on federal charges of lying to the FBI and illegally paying $3.5 million to hide alleged “misconduct.” FBI sources say Hastert was making payments to a former student to conceal sexual abuse that occurred during Hastert’s previous career as a high school teacher and coach in Illinois. Now the sister and a classmate of another former student, Stephen Reinboldt, have identified him as at least the second potential victim of Hastert’s abuse. The unidentified friend spoke to NBC News.
Unidentified: “He started to talk about his relationship with Denny Hastert, and told me that they had been sexual. And I was flabbergasted. I said, 'What do you mean?' And he said, 'Well, we would do things sexually, and it would sometimes start with a massage.'”
Meanwhile, Stephen Reinboldt’s sister, Jolene Burdge, said she found out when Reinboldt told her he was gay.
Jolene Burdge: “I asked him, 'Stevie, when was your first same-sex experience?' I mean, he just looked at me and said, 'It was with Dennis Hastert.' And I just — you know, I was stunned. I said, 'Why didn't you ever tell anybody, Stevie? I mean, he was your teacher. Why didn’t you ever tell anybody?’ And he just looked at me and said, 'Who is ever going to believe me? In this town, who is ever going to believe me?'”
Reinboldt died of AIDS in 1995. According to Jolene Burdge, Hastert showed up at her brother’s funeral. She says she confronted Hastert about the abuse.
Jolene Burdge: “He just stood there and stared at me. And then I just continued to say, 'I want you to know that your secret didn't die in there with my brother. And I want you to remember that I’m out here and that I know.’”
The former student whom Hastert was paying has not been identified. According to CBS News, authorities believe there could be a third victim. Hastert served as speaker of the House from 1999 to 2007, making him the longest-serving Republican speaker in history.
Thousands of people marched in St. Paul, Minnesota, on Saturday in a show of opposition to tar sands pipelines. Organizers focused on calling for the cancellation of the proposed Sandpiper pipeline, which would run near pristine water reserves. Saturday’s action is said to be the largest anti-tar sands rally in the Midwest to date.
A manhunt is underway in New York after two convicted murderers escaped from a maximum-security prison. The prisoners used power tools to drill through the walls and break out of the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora. Charles Guess of the New York State Police said the pair may have had help.
Charles Guess: “We’re leaving no stone unturned. It’s been approximately 36 hours since these inmates escaped. They could be literally anywhere, although we have notified our partners in Canada, the ports of entry across the northern border, and certainly every law enforcement agency in the Northeast. They could be out of state, but they still could be holed up here in Dannemora. We do not know if they had access to a vehicle, but we presume that they may have had access to a vehicle, as well as they may have received assistance in their escape effort, if for no other reason at least outside the secure perimeter of this facility.”
It’s the first escape from Clinton’s maximum-security wing in its history. Governor Andrew Cuomo has declared the manhunt a “crisis situation.”
A Texas police officer has been put on leave after video emerged of him wrestling an African-American teenage girl to the ground, pulling her hair and pulling his gun on another teen. The officer was helping respond to neighbors’ complaints about a disturbance at a party the teens were attending at a local pool. Several African-American teens in attendance say a dispute only broke out after local white residents voiced anger at their presence. The video appears to show the officers singling out the African-American teens.
A coroner has ruled the death of a 21-year-old Nigerian native in a Savannah, Georgia, jail cell a homicide. Matthew Ajibade died on New Year’s Day of what the coroner described as “blunt force trauma,” including “abrasions, lacerations, skin injuries about the head and some other areas of the body.” At the time of his death, he was restrained in an isolation cell after authorities said he became combative during an altercation which injured three deputies. Last month, nine Chatham County deputies were fired in connection with his death.
Meanwhile, the graphic full video of a Salt Lake City, Utah, police officer shooting an unarmed man last summer has been released. The video shows Officer Bron Cruz approaching Dillon Taylor as he walks away from him with headphones in his ears. Cruz shouts at Taylor to get his hands out, then opens fire as Taylor appears to raise his hands. Cruz then handcuffs Taylor and searches his pockets as blood gushes from his chest and abdomen. The shooting took place two days after the killing of Micheal Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. The Salt Lake County district attorney ruled it justified, saying Cruz reasonably perceived a threat.
An immigrant teenage mother has attempted suicide at a private Texas family detention center after being denied asylum. Nineteen-year-old Lilian Olia Yamileth has sought refuge with her four-year-old son in the U.S. to escape severe domestic abuse in her native Honduras. But after her bid was denied, she cut her wrist and left a suicide note saying she has been “treated worse than an animal.” Doctors say her wound is not life-threatening. The Karnes facility holds about 500 immigrant women and children. Last week, Karnes released five pregnant women just hours after their detention there was revealed.
A funeral was held on Saturday for Beau Biden, the late son of Vice President Joe Biden. Beau Biden died last week of brain cancer at the age of 46. President Obama delivered the eulogy.
President Obama: “It’s no secret that a lot of what made Beau the way he was was just how much he loved and admired his dad. He studied law like his dad, even choosing the same law school. He chased public service, like his dad, believing it to be a noble and important pursuit. From his dad, he learned how to get back up when life knocked him down. He learned that he was no higher than anybody else and no lower than anybody else.”
And a young man imprisoned for three years at Rikers in New York without charge has committed suicide. Kalief Browder was a 16-year-old high school sophomore when he was detained on suspicion of stealing a backpack. Browder never pleaded guilty and was never convicted. He maintained his innocence and requested a trial, but was only offered plea deals while the trial was repeatedly delayed. After enduring nearly 800 days in solitary confinement and abuses from guards, Browder was only released when the case was dismissed. Browder died last week at his home in the Bronx. He was 22 years old.