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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 news from the campaign trail, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has sparked outrage over his decision to remove Univision news anchor Jorge Ramos, one of the nation’s most influential Latino journalists, from a press conference after Ramos attempted to ask a question about the candidate’s plan to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants.
Donald Trump: “OK, who is next? Yeah, please. Excuse me, sit down. You weren’t called. Sit down. Sit down. Sit down. Go ahead.”
Jorge Ramos: “I have the right to ask a question.”
Donald Trump: “No, you don’t. You haven’t been called.”
Jorge Ramos: “I have the right to ask a question.”
Donald Trump: “Go back to Univision.”
Jorge Ramos was later allowed back into the press conference, and the two sparred for nearly five minutes over Trump’s immigration plans. Finally, Trump ended the questioning by reminding Ramos that he was suing Univision for defamation, and warning: “They’re very concerned about it, by the way. I’m very good at this.” Meanwhile, former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke has offered praise for Trump’s candidacy and his immigration plan, saying he is “the best of the lot.”
Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush has also criticized Donald Trump’s immigration plan, saying the proposal to build a wall across the entire border between the U.S. and Mexico is impossible.
Jeb Bush: “The problem with the Trump plan is it’s not a conservative plan and it’s not practical. It will cost hundreds of billions of dollars. And it’s not — it’s not going to happen either. It’s just not possible to do it. … The terrain makes it impossible. It’s a great soundbite, but it’s not defensible in terms of a practical policy.”
Bush’s comments come one day after he visited the U.S.-Mexico border and gave a speech in English and Spanish calling for a more moderate immigration plan. Yet Bush’s comments there also sparked controversy after he attempted to clarify his use of the term “anchor babies” by saying it was “more related to Asian people.”
Jeb Bush: “What I was talking about was the specific case of fraud being committed where there’s organized efforts — and frankly, it’s more related to Asian people coming into our country, having children, in that organized effort, taking advantage of a noble concept, which is birthright citizenship.”
In more news from Texas, a court has stayed the execution of Bernardo Tercero, who was convicted of a fatal shooting during an attempted armed robbery in 1997, because a witness says she gave a false testimony during the trial. Tercero says his gun accidentally discharged during a struggle inside a Houston dry cleaners, killing high school teacher Robert Berger. Tercero had been scheduled to be executed today. He would have been the 11th person executed in the state of Texas this year.
In Guatemala, the Supreme Court has approved a request by the Attorney General’s Office to impeach President Otto Pérez Molina. The president has faced widespread calls for his resignation amid a growing corruption scandal that has led to arrests of top officials, including the former vice president. The Supreme Court on Tuesday approved the impeachment request and passed it along to Congress for approval.
In Afghanistan, a series of explosions at a gas terminal in the western city of Herat have killed 10 children and one adult who were living in a nearby camp for displaced people. Authorities say it is not clear whether the explosions were accidental or the result of an attack. Meanwhile, in Helmand province, two NATO soldiers were killed when men in Afghan military uniforms opened fire at an army base earlier this week.
Air Force officials say the United States will soon deploy F-22 fighter jets to Europe, a move that military analysts see as a signal to Russia amid growing tensions between the two countries. The F-22 fighter jet is considered the most sophisticated plane in the world. The announcement comes after the Pentagon said in June it was set to store heavy weaponry, including tanks, in Eastern Europe for the first time since the end of the Cold War.
The Pentagon says the United States and Turkey have finalized details of a plan to include Turkey in the U.S.-led coalition battling the self-proclaimed Islamic State. Turkey entered the fight against ISIL last month, opening up an airbase to the United States and beginning airstrikes against alleged militants in Syria. Turkey has also stepped up attacks against the dissident group the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, known as the PKK, inside both Turkey and in northern Iraq, where the PKK has been fighting against ISIL for more than a year. Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook announced the plan for Turkey to join the coalition aerial campaign against ISIL on Tuesday.
Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook: “The fact that Turkey is now going to be flying alongside with other coalition aircraft is a significant step forward, one we’ve been waiting for. We’ve been trying to work out these logistical details. We’ve been able to do that. We think this will be an important step forward.”
At the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, more than 40 department heads, chairs and directors have signed an open letter demanding the reinstatement of professor Steven Salaita, whose job offer was withdrawn last year after he posted tweets harshly critical of the 2014 Israeli assault on Gaza. The university’s former chancellor, Phyllis Wise, resigned two weeks ago after she was implicated in a scandal that involved attempting to hide emails detailing Salaita’s ouster.
The California Academy of Sciences has announced the institution will divest from fossil fuels, following a campaign demanding the nation’s top museums cut all ties with the industry. The call to divest was launched Friday by 350.org and The Natural History Museum, a new mobile museum that champions climate action.
Meanwhile, in Washington, D.C., at least 20 people were arrested at Secretary of State John Kerry’s home during a protest against the expansion of a tar sands pipeline. Protesters accused the State Department and Canadian energy company Enbridge of negotiating a “backroom deal” to permit an expansion of the Alberta Clipper pipeline, which carries tar sands from Alberta, Canada, to a terminal in Superior, Wisconsin. One of the world’s most influential scientists, James Hansen, has said that developing the tar sands would be “game over” for the climate.
USA Today is reporting that the Pentagon’s ban on transgender troops could end as early as next May, according to documents obtained by the outlet. It is expected that the repeal of the ban could affect as many as 12,000 transgender troops.
The Black Lives Matter movement held protests in at least 14 cities Tuesday to draw attention to what organizers are calling the national crisis of violence against transgender women. At least 17 transgender women have been murdered this year. The majority are trans women of color. Tuesday night, crowds gathered for rallies in Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Los Angeles, Portland, Brooklyn, Atlanta, Nashville and other cities, chanting “Say Her Name” and reciting the names of trans women killed this year.
And in Texas, the Prairie View City Council has approved a measure to rename one of the city’s central thoroughfares the “Sandra Bland Parkway,” in honor of the 28-year-old African-American woman who was found dead in a Waller County jail cell following her arrest last month. Bland was arrested on July 10 by Texas State Trooper Brian Encinia, who alleged that Bland failed to signal a lane change. Dash cam video of her arrest shows Encinia forcibly removing Bland from her car and threatening to “light [her] up.” She can later be heard accusing the officer of slamming her head into the ground. Authorities have said Bland committed suicide in jail, a claim her family has disputed. On Tuesday, hundreds of people marched from Sandra Bland’s alma mater, Prairie View A&M University, to City Hall, where hours later the council approved the plan to rename the street where Bland was pulled over “Sandra Bland Parkway.”