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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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Ten leading Republican presidential candidates faced off in the first debate of the 2016 presidential election Thursday night. The main topics of the prime-time debate included immigration, abortion, the self-proclaimed Islamic State and the U.S. healthcare system. During the debate, front-runner Donald Trump stood by earlier statements that the Mexican government was sending the “bad ones over.”
Donald Trump: “People that I deal with, that I talk to, they say this is what’s happening, because our leaders are stupid, our politicians are stupid. And the Mexican government is much smarter, much sharper, much more cunning. And they send the bad ones over because they don’t want to pay for them. They don’t want to take care of them. Why should they, when the stupid leaders of the United States will do it for them? And that’s what’s happening, whether you like it or not.”
Debate moderator Megyn Kelly asked Donald Trump about his comments calling women “fat pigs,” “dogs,” “slobs” and “disgusting animals.” You’ll hear his response later in the broadcast. Meanwhile, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul got into a heated argument over NSA domestic surveillance.
Sen. Rand Paul: “And I’m proud of standing for the Bill of Rights, and I will continue to stand for the Bill of Rights.”
Gov. Chris Christie: “And — and, Megyn? Megyn, that’s a — that, you know, that’s a completely ridiculous answer: 'I want to collect more records from terrorists, but less records from other people.' How are you supposed to know, Megyn?”
Sen. Paul: “Use the Fourth Amendment!”
Gov. Chris Christie: “What are you supposed to…”
Sen. Paul: “Use the Fourth Amendment!”
Gov. Chris Christie: “How are you supposed to — no, I’ll tell you how you…”
Sen. Paul: “Get a warrant!”
Gov. Chris Christie: “Look, let me tell you something. You go…”
Sen. Paul: “Get a judge to sign the warrant.”
Some analysts described Thursday’s debate as the Roger Ailes primary since the head of Fox News had so much say about who participated in the prime-time event. Seven other Republican presidential candidates who didn’t make the cut participated in another debate earlier in the evening. Fox News said it calculated its top 10 list by averaging five national polls, a process which came under fire from polling agencies earlier this week. We’ll have more on the Republican debate later in the broadcast.
In news from Washington, New York Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer has announced he will oppose the Iran nuclear deal. Schumer is the third-ranking Democrat in the Senate and one of the leading Jewish voices there. Some fear his dissent could pave the way for more Democrats to oppose the deal. His announcement comes one day after President Obama made his case for the agreement by comparing those who oppose the deal to those who supported the invasion of Iraq. Proponents of the agreement told The New York Times Thursday they still likely have enough votes to uphold a presidential veto if the measure is blocked by Congress.
Activists and religious leaders from across the country are heading to Ferguson, Missouri, this weekend to commemorate the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed African-American teenager who was fatally shot by white police officer Darren Wilson one year ago Sunday. Michael Brown’s body lay in the street for more than four hours after the shooting. His death and the grand jury’s decision not to indict Officer Wilson led to widespread protests in Ferguson and major U.S. cities, and became a catalyst for the Black Lives Matter movement. The weekend’s events will include marches and a moment of silence midday Sunday.
In news from Saudi Arabia, militants from the self-proclaimed Islamic State have claimed responsibility for a suicide bomb attack that killed at least 15 people, including a dozen Saudi security personnel, Thursday at a mosque. It is the third attack since May for which ISIL militants have claimed responsibility.
Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, an explosion near an Afghan army base killed at least eight people and wounded hundreds in the capital city Kabul this morning. The attack comes as the United Nations is reporting civilian casualties in Afghanistan are at “record-high levels” this year. A local resident spoke out after the blast.
Mohammad Shikib: “When the blast happened, my children started screaming. All the windows of my house were blown out. My hand was injured. The blast was so powerful.”
In Pakistan, officials say two U.S. drone strikes killed at least four alleged militants Thursday. The strikes hit a tribal region of North Waziristan bordering Afghanistan where Pakistan’s military has been carrying out an offensive for over a year.
In news from Bangladesh, a blogger who expressed secular views has been hacked to death in the capital city Dhaka. Niloy Neel is the fourth blogger to be killed this year, allegedly by suspected Islamist militants. No one has been charged in any of the four attacks.
And Jon Stewart, known as “the most trusted name in fake news,” bid farewell to “The Daily Show” on Comedy Central Thursday night after 16 years. The satirical news show transformed the media landscape, revealing and reveling in the hypocrisies of politicians and their media bedfellows. Thursday night, Stewart said goodbye to his viewers, warning the audience not to believe misinformation.
Jon Stewart: “So I say to you tonight, friends, the best defense against bullsh*t is vigilance. So if you smell something, say something.”