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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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In Yemen, the U.S.-backed Saudi-led coalition launched a new wave of airstrikes Monday, despite the five-day humanitarian truce that went into effect Sunday night. Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch has said Friday’s Saudi-led bombings of the western port city of Mokha, which killed at least 120 people, appear to be a war crime. The continued fighting comes as Oxfam warns Yemen is facing “the highest ever recorded number of people living in hunger.”
In news from Libya, Muammar Gaddafi’s son and eight others have been sentenced to death for committing war crimes during the crackdown against the 2011 revolution, which ultimately toppled the Gaddafi regime. The former prime minister and head of intelligence are also facing the death penalty.
In news from Turkey, the police have detained more than 1,000 people in the ongoing crackdown on suspected militants from the self-proclaimed Islamic State, as well as members of the dissident Kurdistan Workers’ Party, known as the PKK. Meanwhile, at an emergency meeting in Brussels today, NATO offered support for Turkey’s escalating military actions, which include airstrikes against ISIL in Syria and attacks on PKK camps in northern Iraq. The New York Times editorial board has called Turkey’s assault on PKK camps a “dangerous development that will create even more turmoil in the region.”
In Germany, an explosion in Dresden struck the car of a leftist politician who has been advocating for refugees. The explosion comes one day after Dresden residents smashed windows in a hotel that is being converted into refugee housing. Asylum applications to Germany are expected to double this year as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee Syria, Iraq and the Balkans. No one was hurt in Monday’s explosion.
The Boy Scouts of America has ended its nationwide ban on gay adult leaders. The move follows the Boy Scouts’ decision to open its ranks to gay scouts two years ago. Monday’s policy shift, which takes effect immediately, still permits local church-sponsored troops to discriminate against gay leaders.
A federal judge has issued a harsh condemnation of the mass detention of immigrant women and children, calling it “deplorable.” The ruling by U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee gives the Obama administration 90 days to either release the more than 2,000 women and children being held in two Texas facilities or to show just cause to continue holding them. Immigration lawyers say the ruling has already had a “groundbreaking” impact as Texas judges have started ordering women and children’s release without bond.
In the latest news from Waller County, Texas, a team of outside lawyers will be assisting in the investigation of the death of Sandra Bland, who was found dead in a jail cell two weeks ago. Texas State Trooper Brian Encinia forcibly removed 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. Authorities say Bland killed herself in jail, a claim her family disputes. The lawyers will have access to evidence, the ability to subpoena witnesses and the power to recommend criminal charges to Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis. If Mathis fails to take up any possible recommended charges, the committee of lawyers can instead present their recommendations to a grand jury. So far, two lawyers have been appointed to the panel. Both are African-American.
Bree Newsome, the African-American woman who scaled the flagpole and removed the Confederate flag from the South Carolina state Capitol grounds after the shooting of nine African-American churchgoers in Charleston, has been scheduled for a trial in November. Newsome and Jimmy Tyson, the white activist who helped her, have been charged with defacing state property, which can carry three years in prison and a $5,000 fine. They had their first appearance in court Monday, and a trial date was set even though South Carolina lawmakers have voted the flag down, and it no longer flies on the grounds of the state Capitol. To see our hour-long interview with Bree Newsome and Jimmy Tyson, you can go to democracynow.org.
The U.S. State Department has upgraded Malaysia’s human trafficking rating, despite protests from human rights groups and lawmakers who say the step was taken to ease passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact. Monday’s announcement came one day before the start of a fresh round of TPP talks in Hawaii. Malaysia, one of 12 countries in the secretive trade pact, was previously given the worst trafficking rating, but a new measure bars the United States from negotiating trade deals with the worst-ranked countries. In response to a reporter’s question, Under Secretary of State Sarah Sewall denied the TPP influenced Malaysia’s rating.
David Brunnstrom, reporter: “This is something that’s been questioned by rights groups and quite large numbers of members of Congress. Did that come into play at all?”
Under Secretary of State Sarah Sewall: “No, no, no. The annual TIP Report reflects the State Department’s assessment of foreign government efforts during the reporting period to comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking in persons, established under U.S. law, under the TVPA. And those standards, as I articulated, are quite well spelled out in the legislation, and those are the standards that are applied based on the factual reporting that is gathered during the course of the year.”
The United States also upgraded the human trafficking rating of Cuba.
Amnesty International says Mexico is facing “a crisis of enforced disappearances.” The statement came after the Associated Press reported authorities have found at least 60 mass graves with 129 bodies in the southern city of Iguala since the disappearance of 43 students there 10 months ago.
Anti-choice hackers have reportedly released Planned Parenthood’s website databases and employee email addresses in a targeted attack. The hack comes after anti-choice activists released edited videos that appear to show Planned Parenthood doctors discussing the practice of sharing fetal tissue with researchers. In an interview on ABC’s This Week, Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards said the donations are never for profit, and any charges cover only the cost of transmission to researchers.
Cecile Richards: “Doctors repeatedly said — it’s all been edited out — Planned Parenthood does not at all profit from fetal tissue donation, which is an important proven element of healthcare research in this country. I think what’s not told is that, of course, these [videos] are highly, selectively edited. The folks behind this, in fact, are part of the most militant wing of the anti-abortion movement that has been behind the bombing of clinics, the murder of doctors in their homes and in their churches, and that’s what actually needs to be looked at.”
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who called Mexican immigrants “rapists,” has been accused of rape in the past by his ex-wife. The Daily Beast reports Ivana Trump made the accusation about the 1989 incident in a deposition and later softened her language, saying she felt “violated” during an encounter where Trump reportedly held back her arms and pulled out fistfuls of her hair. The assault was described in the 1993 book “Lost Tycoon.” Michael Cohen, an attorney at the Trump Organization, incorrectly told The Daily Beast, “You cannot rape your spouse,” and then threatened the outlet, saying, “what I’m going to do to you is going to be f—ing disgusting.” (He actually used the word.)
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has outlined her plan to address climate change, calling for a sevenfold increase in solar panels and for a third of the nation’s electricity to be produced by renewable sources by 2027. The announcement comes after The Huffington Post revealed earlier this month nearly all of the lobbyists bundling contributions for Clinton have worked for the fossil fuel industry.
And the U.S. Olympic Committee has dropped Boston as its proposed bid city to host the 2024 Olympics, following mass resistance by city residents. Amid protests over the high cost to taxpayers and the mass displacement seen in other Olympic host cities, the Olympic Committee acknowledged in a statement, “We have not been able to get a majority of the citizens of Boston to support hosting the 2024 [Olympics].”