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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 Yemen, at least 120 people are dead after Saudi-led airstrikes pummeled a residential neighborhood in the western port city of Mokha late Friday, marking the deadliest wave of bombings since the U.S.-backed campaign against Houthi rebels began in March. The strikes hit a housing complex for power plant workers, flattening buildings and sparking fires that spread throughout the neighborhood and burned alive women, children and elderly. Residents described the onslaught.
Mokha resident 1: “There were continuous airstrikes without any breaks. And we have no military men, no devils. We don’t even have gunmen around here. We couldn’t get to our children. There were some 20 bodies that I pulled out with my own hands and counted. Who is to blame for this?”
Mokha resident 2: “They killed women and children and elderly and young ones. How is this the fault of these innocent people? There are no Houthis here and no military bases. There is nothing here.”
Following the strikes, the Saudi-led coalition agreed to a five-day ceasefire to allow for the delivery of humanitarian aid and medical supplies in Yemen. The ceasefire took effect Sunday night at midnight, but within hours both sides said the other had resumed attack.
In news from Somalia, a suicide car bomber attacked a hotel in Mogadishu, killing nine people and wounding at least 20 more. One of the dead was a Kenyan diplomat. The Somali militant group al-Shabab has claimed responsibility.
The attack came as President Obama departed Kenya and arrived in Ethiopia Sunday for talks on counterterrorism efforts against al-Shabab. Obama is the first sitting U.S. president to visit either Ethiopia or Kenya — his father’s home country. On Tuesday, he will also become the first sitting U.S. president to address the African Union. We’ll have more on the historic visit later in the broadcast.
In more news from Africa, Burundi’s incumbent President Pierre Nkurunziza has won re-election, following widespread protests and violence over what many say was an unconstitutional bid for a third term.
In Turkey, the government has called for an emergency NATO meeting as the military launched a wave of airstrikes targeting the self-proclaimed Islamic State in Syria and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party in northern Iraq. The military escalations follow the suicide bombing which killed more than 30 student activists in the Turkish city of Suruc one week ago. The Turkish military’s attacks against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, known as the PKK, broke an effective two-year ceasefire between Turkey and the dissident Kurdish group, who have been in conflict for decades. Protests broke out in Istanbul and cities in southeast Turkey following the death of a pro-Kurdish activist during police raids. Meanwhile, Turkey and the United States have developed a joint plan to push ISIL out of a 60-mile strip of Syria. The collaboration comes after Turkey announced last week that it would be opening a key airbase to the United States. Deputy State Department spokesperson Mark Toner spoke about the collaboration.
Deputy State Department spokesperson Mark Toner: “The threat of ISIL was only underscored this week by the horrific attacks in Turkey this past week and underscored, frankly, the importance of strengthening our mutual efforts to defeat ISIL and bolster Turkey’s security in the region. So, from that, we’ve decided to deepen that cooperation, and that includes a train-and-equip program, intelligence sharing and operational coordination.”
In Cleveland, Ohio, the inaugural Movement for Black Lives National Convening concluded with a white police officer pepper-spraying African-American attendees. When conference-goers witnessed police allegedly slamming a 14-year-old boy to the ground to arrest him, they blocked the squad car and tried to get the teenager out. A police officer then pepper-sprayed the crowd. The incident capped a weekend of programming about police brutality and racial justice. Among those who attended was former political prisoner and Black Panther Eddie Conway, who explained why the conference was a black-only space.
Eddie Conway: “Well, it’s a black-only space because we have to get ourselves together, we have to organize ourselves. And so, other people, if they have an interest in supporting us or being our allies or assisting our cause, they need to organize their communities and their space to give us support.”
We’ll have more from the Movement for Black Lives Convening later in the broadcast.
The conference in Cleveland wrapped up a day after hundreds of people in the Chicago area attended the funeral for Sandra Bland, the 28-year-old African-American woman found dead in her jail cell in Texas on July 13. Dash cam video shows Texas State Trooper Brian Encinia forcibly removing Bland from her car after she objected to putting out her cigarette when he pulled her over for allegedly failing to signal a lane change. Her family disputes authorities’ claim her death was a suicide. We’ll have more on Sandra Bland’s funeral and the latest on her case after headlines.
A private autopsy is reportedly underway for a Native American activist who was found dead in a Mississippi jail one day after Sandra Bland was found dead. Rexdale Henry died five days after he was arrested for failing to pay a fine. He was being held in the Neshoba County Jail in Philadelphia, Mississippi, the same jail where three civil rights activists – James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Mickey Schwerner – were held before their murder by the Ku Klux Klan in 1964.
The white gunman accused of killing two people in a Lafayette, Louisiana, movie theater before killing himself has been identified as John Russell Houser. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Houser lauded longtime Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke and expressed interest in white power groups, anti-Semitic ideas and the anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church. He had posted about the “power of the lone wolf” on a forum dedicated to the New York chapter of Greece’s far-right neo-Nazi party, Golden Dawn. Houser opened fire Thursday night inside a showing of Amy Schumer’s movie “Trainwreck,” killing two young women, Jillian Johnson and Mayci Breaux. Authorities say he was able to acquire his gun legally in Alabama, despite a record of mental illness, alleged domestic violence and an arrest for arson. Speaking on CBS Face the Nation, Louisiana Republican Governor Bobby Jindal acknowledged Houser should not have been able to acquire a gun.
In news from Honduras, as many as 25,000 people marched Friday night to demand the resignation of President Juan Orlando Hernández. Thousands carried torches during Friday’s protest, which is the latest in a months-long campaign to demand an independent investigation into a $200 million government corruption scandal.
In Colombia, the government has suspended airstrikes against the rebel group FARC, the latest in a series of steps to de-escalate the decades-long conflict. President Juan Manuel Santos made the announcement after FARC leaders announced a unilateral ceasefire.
President Juan Manuel Santos: “Given the statement made by the enemy, the FARC, the unilateral declaration of a ceasefire by the FARC, I have given the order to suspend, starting today, the airstrikes on camps where there is a concentration of members of that organization.”
In Chile, a copper miner was shot dead Friday during an ongoing strike at the state-owned mining company Codelco, one of the world’s largest copper-mining companies. The strike began last week after subcontracted workers launched a work stoppage at five mines, demanding the right to collective bargaining. The miners’ union has accused the police of Friday’s fatal shooting.
In news from Brazil, more than 1,000 taxi drivers blocked roads across Rio de Janeiro in a protest against the Wall Street-backed ride-sharing company Uber Friday. The drivers used their yellow taxis to form a three-mile-long blockade of one of the city’s busiest thoroughfares. Friday’s action in Rio follows intense protests against Uber by taxi drivers in Paris, Hong Kong, Miami and other major cities, who say the company threatens their union rights and livelihood.
The Obama administration is reportedly preparing to release convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard in a bid to appease Israel following the nuclear deal with Iran. Pollard is a former U.S. intelligence officer convicted of passing U.S. secrets to Israel. He was sentenced to life in prison.
Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee has denounced the Iran deal in controversial terms, invoking the Holocaust by accusing President Obama of “march[ing Israelis] to the door of the oven.” The head of the Democratic National Committee, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, has called for Huckabee to apologize. Congress is now one week into its 60-day period to review the historic deal between Iran, the United States and five other world powers.
In the occupied West Bank, a Palestinian teenager has been killed in an Israeli arrest raid, marking the third such incident in less than a week. Israeli authorities say 19-year-old Mohammed Abu Latifa was suspected of planning an attack and fell from a roof after being shot while running away. Witnesses and the teen’s family dispute that account, saying he was “executed.”
In the latest sign of a federal crackdown on animal rights activists, the FBI has arrested two people accused of freeing mink and other animals from fur farms and vandalizing property linked to the fur and meat industries. Joseph Buddenberg and Nicole Kissane were charged under the 2006 Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, which elevates crimes like vandalism to terrorist offenses if they threaten industry profits.
Health insurance giant Anthem has announced plans to buy rival Cigna for $54.2 billion, marking the largest such merger in U.S. history. The move leaves the United States with just three major health insurers.
And Spelman College, a historically black women’s college in Atlanta, Georgia, has discontinued a professorship endowed by Bill Cosby, becoming the latest in a series of universities to cut ties after at least 40 women accused Cosby of sexual assault. Spelman’s move came about a week after the release of a 2005 deposition in which Cosby admits to drugging women. Meanwhile, New York magazine published a cover story on Sunday featuring the faces and words of 35 of Cosby’s alleged victims. And the California Supreme Court has cleared the way for a civil lawsuit against Cosby filed by Judith Huth, who accuses Cosby of sexually assaulting her when she was 15 years old.