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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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Greece and its European creditors have reached a deal that will force Greece to accept sweeping, German-backed austerity measures in order to receive a third bailout and remain in the eurozone. Provided the Greek Parliament accepts the terms, the deal paves the way for a three-year bailout worth up to $96 billion. After European leaders pressed Greece to accept an austerity package seen as amounting to a surrender of its fiscal sovereignty, the hashtag “#ThisIsACoup” trended on social media. Talks continued overnight until Greece agreed to immediately implement measures including pension reform and the privatization of its energy transmission network. The deal comes after the Greek Parliament voted Saturday to accept austerity reforms proposed by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, just days after Greek voters rejected similar terms in a historic referendum. Speaking earlier today, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she would ask the German Parliament to back the bailout deal.
Chancellor Angela Merkel: “I think we found ways where it’s true what I have repeatedly said, that advantages clearly dominate disadvantages. The basic principles which we always followed to rescue the euro are there, namely, on the one side, solidarity among member countries and, on the other side, the responsibility of the country where changes need to take place.”
In Yemen, Saudi-led airstrikes have continued despite a U.N. truce aimed at delivering much-needed humanitarian aid. Clashes between Houthi rebels and fighters loyal to ousted President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi killed at least 35 people Sunday near the southern port city of Aden. Meanwhile, Saudi-led strikes targeting the Houthis killed at least 10 civilians across Yemen, including a family of eight. On Saturday, a mass funeral was held for 53 soldiers killed when Saudi-led strikes erroneously hit a military base filled with troops fighting on the same side as the Saudis. The United States backs the Saudi campaign in Yemen, despite widespread civilian casualties.
A new independent review has revealed how members of the the American Psychological Association, the world’s largest group of psychologists, lied about their close collaboration with officials at the Pentagon and CIA to weaken the association’s ethical guidelines and allow psychologists to participate in the government’s interrogation programs after 9/11. The 542-page report was commissioned by the psychological association’s board of directors last year. It undermines the APA’s repeated denials that some of its members were complicit in torture. We’ll have more on the report after headlines.
Negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program have entered their 17th, and possibly final, day in Vienna, Austria, as an interim agreement is set to expire tonight. Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters he is confident a deal is within reach, but negotiators are still smoothing over key details, including the pace of sanctions relief and whether to lift a United Nations arms embargo on Iran. We’ll have more on Iran later in the broadcast.
Iraqi forces have reportedly begun a long-awaited campaign to oust the self-described Islamic State from the western province of Anbar. The announcement comes as Iraq has received a first batch of long-delayed F-16 fighter jets from the United States. Iraq had ordered 36 F-16s from the United States; four have now arrived.
In Afghanistan, intelligence officials say a U.S. drone strike killed a former Taliban leader accused of leading ISIL in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Afghan intelligence agency said Hafiz Saeed was killed along with 30 other people it identified as insurgents in the province of Nangarhar. Meanwhile, a suicide car bomb killed at least 33 people near a military base formerly used by the CIA in the eastern Afghan province of Khost.
One of Mexico’s most notorious drug lords has escaped from a maximum-security prison for the second time. Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, head of the Sinaloa cartel, escaped through a rectangular opening in a shower area, into a mile-long tunnel under the prison west of Mexico City. Guzmán’s arrest 16 months ago was lauded as a signature achievement of President Enrique Peña Nieto, who vowed to crack down on drug traffickers. The United States sought unsuccessfully to extradite Guzmán, in part over concerns he might escape again, after he fled another Mexican prison in a laundry cart in 2001. Mexican President Peña Nieto said he had ordered the attorney general to investigate whether prison officials helped Guzmán escape.
President Enrique Peña Nieto: “We are also aware of the very unfortunate incident that has angered and outraged Mexican society. I am deeply shocked by what happened, the escape of one of Mexico and the world’s most wanted. This is undoubtedly an affront to the Mexican government. But I am also confident that Mexican institutions, particularly those charged with public security, rise to the challenge, with the strength and determination to recapture this criminal.”
The Serbian prime minister was forced to flee a ceremony commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre on Saturday, after he was pelted with stones and plastic bottles. The Bosnian presidency condemned Saturday’s attack on Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic, saying he had attended the ceremony in a “spirit of reconciliation.” The event marked 20 years since the massacre of 8,000 Muslim men and boys by Bosnian Serbs led by General Ratko Mladic during the Bosnian War. It’s recognized as Europe’s single worst atrocity since the end of World War II.
In the United States, the director of the Office of Personnel Management has resigned, following revelations hackers stole the personal information of more than 22 million people from agency databases, far more than initially disclosed. The hacks, said to have originated in China, compromised Social Security numbers, health histories and financial information. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest announced Katherine Archuleta’s departure on Friday.
Josh Earnest: “I can tell you that Director Archuleta did offer her resignation today. She did so of her own volition. She recognizes, as the White House does, that the urgent challenges currently facing the Office of Personnel Management require a manager with a specialized set of skills and experiences. That’s precisely why the president has accepted her resignation and assigned Beth Cobert to take on the responsibilities of the OPM director on an acting basis.”
Katherine Archuleta was the first Latina to lead the Office of Personnel Management.
Here in New York, hundreds of people gathered at the East Hampton home of hedge fund billionaire Daniel Loeb, who was hosting a $5,000-a-plate fundraiser for New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. Outside Loeb’s estate Saturday evening, protesters chanted,”Cuomo, Cuomo, you can’t hide, we can see your greedy side,” and “Hey, Governor One Percent, who do you represent?” The group Hedge Clippers says Loeb and fellow hedge funders are driving school privatization and income inequality in New York, while fueling the financial crisis in Puerto Rico. Dubbed “America’s Greece,” Puerto Rico has $73 billion of debt, up to half of which is held by hedge funds.
In London, environmental activists chained themselves together on the runway at Heathrow Airport to protest plans to build a third runway. The protesters cut through a fence and locked down on the northern runway, prompting a number of flight cancellations. They are from a group called “Plane Stupid,” which seeks to highlight the role of the airline industry in climate change.
Israel has released Palestinian activist Khader Adnan following a deal which saw him end a 56-day hunger strike last month. Adnan had been held for more than a year without charge under Israel’s policy of “administrative detention.” He was one of a number of Palestinians arrested after the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli youths last year. It was the 10th time he has been detained without charge. Adnan spoke out following his release Sunday.
Khader Adnan: “I see the happiness among Palestinians flowing and the Palestinian pain and hope for the freedom of all prisoners, God willing. The occupation made a mistake in arresting me the first time and the second time and all previous arrests. Today, the occupation makes the mistake of releasing me, because they think that they’ll abort the Palestinian happiness if they release me earlier, which is not typical. This is a cowardly act of the occupation that fears the Palestinian happiness and love for the Palestinian prisoners.”
Adnan’s release comes as the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem has released video which appears to show a high-ranking Israeli soldier fatally shooting a Palestinian teenager as he runs away. The Israeli military has claimed Colonel Israel Shomer, a brigade commander, killed 17-year-old Mohammed al-Kusbah last week because his life was in danger and he had exhausted all other options. But footage of the incident appears to show the teenager throwing a rock at Shomer’s vehicle, then running away before Shomer stops, gets out of the vehicle and charges at him. Palestinian authorities have said Kusbah was shot in the back three times.
In Tuscaloosa, Alabama, an African-American man has died after being pepper-sprayed by police. Police say they responded to a report 35-year-old Anthony Ware was sitting on a porch with a gun. They say they chased Ware into the woods, where they claim he resisted arrest and was pepper-sprayed and placed in handcuffs. Ware collapsed and was later pronounced dead. His death is under investigation.
Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker has announced his candidacy for president. Walker is known for gutting collective bargaining rights for public sector workers in 2011. On Sunday, he signed a state budget which slashes funding for the University of Wisconsin, expands the voucher program for private schools and eliminates the state’s living wage law.
A key trial on voting rights opens today in North Carolina. After the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act in 2013, North Carolina passed a series of restrictions, ending same-day registration and reducing early voting days. A federal judge will now consider whether those restrictions unconstitutionally discriminate against African Americans.
The NAACP has voted to end its 15-year boycott of South Carolina after the state removed the Confederate battle flag from the Capitol grounds. In a statement, the NAACP said the flag’s removal does not end discrimination, but “does symbolize an end to the reverance of and adherence to values that support racially-based chattel slavery.” The flag’s removal came just over three weeks after nine African-American churchgoers were massacred in Charleston, South Carolina, by a white suspect who embraced the Confederate flag.
The FBI has admitted failures in the federal background check system allowed the Charleston massacre suspect, Dylann Roof, to buy the gun used in the attack, when he should have been prevented from doing so. FBI Director James Comey said Roof attempted to buy the gun on April 11, triggering a background check by an FBI examiner. But the examiner was confused over which police department to contact, and failed to obtain a police report which showed Roof had admitted to drug possession. A local prosecutor also failed to respond to the examiner’s request for information. Since federal law gives the FBI only three business days to provide evidence to block a purchase, Roof was able to return to the shop and buy the gun when the waiting period expired. Gun-control advocates have called for Congress to approve funding to enter the records of prohibited people into the FBI’s database.
And President Obama is set to become the first sitting president to visit a federal prison. On Thursday, Obama will tour the El Reno Federal Correctional Institution, a medium-security prison in Oklahoma. Obama is also expected to commute the sentences of dozens of nonviolent offenders this week, and deliver a speech on the need for sentencing reform before the NAACP on Tuesday.