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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 news from Greece, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced his resignation on Thursday, paving the way for new elections. The move came after Tsipras lost the support of many members of his own Syriza party who opposed his backing of the demands of international creditors for yet more austerity and economic reform in exchange for a new $96 billion bailout. Tspiras, who is expected to win in the snap elections, said the vote will give the Greek people a chance to have a say on the new bailout.
Alexis Tsipras: “I would like to submit the government’s resignation, and I would like to express my belief that the constitutional processes need to be set in motion immediately so that we can go as soon as possible, and with all due civility, to elections so that the Greek people can decide in which way the country should be led safely and quickly out of the crisis.”
We’ll have more on Greece after headlines.
New data shows July was the warmest month ever on record. The data, released by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Thursday, also shows 2015 has been the hottest year on record so far. The agency said the temperatures have caused global heat waves throughout the summer.
The heat waves have worsened the wildfire season in the Western United States. In Washington state, Governor Jay Inslee has called the wildfires “an unprecedented cataclysm,” one day after three firefighters were killed after being engulfed in flames. A fourth firefighter is in critical condition with burns covering approximately 60 percent of his body. Nearly 400,000 acres across Washington state are currently on fire.
Meanwhile, in California, new research from NASA shows that parts of the San Joaquin Valley are sinking almost two inches every month as a result of the increased consumption of groundwater due to the drought. A least one town has sunk by more than a foot. The sinking is cracking roads and unearthing underground pipelines. Researchers say the damage may be irreversible. We’ll have more on climate change later in the broadcast.
In news from the campaign trail, Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush has said he does not regret using the term “anchor babies” during a radio interview on Wednesday. In the interview, he said he supports the 14th Amendment, which guarantees people born on American soil are automatically U.S. citizens, but that he wants more enforcement to protect against so-called anchor babies. Jeb Bush responded to questions from reporters Thursday.
Reporter 1: “Do you regret using the term 'anchor babies' yesterday on the radio?”
Jeb Bush: “No, I didn’t. I don’t. I don’t regret it.”
Reporter 1: “You don’t regret it?”
Jeb Bush: “No. Do you have a better term?”
Reporter 1: “I’m not—I’m asking you.”
Jeb Bush: “OK, you give me—you give me a better term, and I’ll use it. I’m serious.”
Reporter 1: “Governor, Governor”—
Jeb Bush: “Don’t yell at me behind my ear, though.
Reporter 1: “Sorry about that.”
Reporter 2: “Is that not bombastic language, 'anchor baby'? Is that not bombastic language?”
Jeb Bush: “No, it isn’t. Give me another—give me another word.”
In response, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton tweeted: “How about 'babies,' 'children,' or 'American citizens?'”
Meanwhile, Clinton is facing increasing pressure over her use of a private email setup while serving as secretary of state. During a FOIA hearing on Thursday, a federal judge said in reference to Clinton, “We wouldn’t be here today if this employee had followed government policy.” The Justice Department is currently investigating whether any classified email was handled improperly.
In news from Europe, Macedonia has declared a state of emergency and sealed its southern border with Greece after more than 40,000 migrants have flooded into the country over the last two months. A spokesperson for the Interior Ministry announced the decision Thursday.
Interior Ministry spokesperson Ivo Kotevski: “The Macedonian government has decided to declare a state of emergency in crisis regions, on its southern and northern borders, so, according to laws, army can be deployed on the territory of the Republic of Macedonia.”
The majority of migrants have been passing through Macedonia in efforts to reach Germany, Britain and Sweden. But with the border between Greece and Macedonia now sealed, thousands are stranded in a no man’s land between the two countries. On Thursday night, police fired tear gas at the crowd of migrants by the border. One man spoke about the violence.
Migrant: “They shoot us today. They shoot us today, I can tell you. I see it. We was in front of the place. Officer people, they—officer people in Macedonia, they shoot the people.”
Two more women have accused comedian Bill Cosby of drugging and raping them, bringing the total number of accusers to more than 50. One of the women spoke at a press conference with lawyer Gloria Allred Thursday.
Elizabeth (pseudonym): “I don’t know how we got to the hotel room. He went into the bathroom, undressed and came out in a robe. I told him I needed to go back to the hotel. I could barely stand up, and I was either going to pass out or get very sick. He made me kneel down, and I’m not going to repeat what happened next. All I know is that it was the most horrifying thing that could happen to any young woman. And I have daughters. The next thing I remember is I was in the Rolls Royce profusely vomiting. I apologized, and the driver said I wasn’t the first.”
While she showed her face at the news conference, she did not want to be identified, simply being called “Elizabeth.” She is one of now more than 50 women who have accused Bill Cosby of sexual assault and rape.
U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter says the Pentagon is visiting prisons in the United States where the agency could relocate men currently being held at Guantánamo Bay. The Pentagon teams have already visited the Army prison at Leavenworth, Kansas, and will soon visit the naval brig at Charleston, South Carolina. Carter said Thursday he wants to see Guantánamo closed before President Obama leaves office, calling the naval base a “rallying cry for jihadi propaganda.”
A new campaign is calling on five of the country’s most influential museums to divest from fossil fuels. The campaign singles out the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, the Field Museum in Chicago, the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh and the Natural History Museum of Utah in Salt Lake City. The call to action was launched this morning by 350.org and The Natural History Museum, a new mobile museum that champions climate action.
Former President Jimmy Carter has revealed his cancer has spread to his brain and that he has begun radiation treatment. In a press conference Thursday, Carter said he would like to live to continue his humanitarian work, but that he is “at ease with whatever comes.”
Former President Jimmy Carter: “Well, at first, I—I felt that it was confined to my liver and that the operation had completely removed it, so I had been quite relieved. And then, that same afternoon, we had an MRI of my head and neck, and it showed up that it was already in four places in my brain. So, I would say that night and the next day, until I came back up to Emory (hospital), I just thought I had a few weeks left. But I was surprisingly at ease. You know, I’ve had a wonderful life. I’ve had thousands of friends. And I’ve had an exciting and adventurous and gratifying existence. So I was surprisingly at ease, much more so than my wife was. But now I feel, you know, that it’s in the hands of God, whom I worship, and I’ll be prepared for anything that comes.”
And longtime civil rights activist Reverend George Houser has died. The white Methodist minister helped found the Congress of Racial Equality, alongside civil rights icons James Farmer and Bayard Rustin. He also helped organize the 1947 Journey of Reconciliation, in which eight African-American and eight white activists rode interstate buses through 15 cities throughout the South. The action prefigured the Freedom Rides of 1961, which galvanized the civil rights movement. Earlier in life, Houser also served a year in federal prison for opposing the draft in World War II. He died in his home in California on Wednesday at the age of 99.