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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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An Oklahoma appeals court granted death row prisoner Richard Glossip a last-minute stay of execution Wednesday only hours before he was slated to die. The decision was a response to an emergency request filed by his lawyers amid mounting evidence Glossip may be innocent. Robert Patton, director of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, announced the stay.
Robert Patton: “A few minutes ago I received a phone call from my general counsel that the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals has issued a stay for Richard Eugene Glossip until September the 30th. I have not read the actual order itself. I do not know the reasons behind the stay. I don’t know what the stipulations of the stay are. I have met with Mr. Glossip’s family and informed them of the stay.”
We’ll have more on Richard Glossip after headlines.
Eleven candidates faced off in the second Republican primary presidential debate Wednesday night. Four candidates who are lagging behind in the polls debated earlier in the evening. We’ll discuss the prime-time debate and play excerpts later in the broadcast.
Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein has launched a petition to allow third-party candidates in the presidential debates. In 2012, Stein and her running mate, Cheri Honkala, were arrested and shackled to chairs for about seven hours for trying to enter a debate from which Stein and other third-party candidates were blocked from participating. Stein and others plan to file a lawsuit against the Commission on Presidential Debates.
Federal prosecutors are reportedly set to settle a criminal probe into General Motors for concealing an ignition switch defect linked to at least 124 deaths. The deal includes a nearly $1 billion fine but spares any individual employees from prosecution. General Motors has agreed to sign a deferred prosecution agreement, meaning the case will eventually be dismissed if GM complies with the deal’s terms.
In news from Europe, the Hungarian military has begun sending Humvees mounted with guns toward its border with Serbia, as the Hungarian police detained dozens of refugees and fired tear gas and water cannons at hundreds more. Thousands of refugees have changed course and set out across Croatia, where the government has dispatched a team of mine clearers out of concern refugees might be killed or maimed by mines left over from fighting in the mid-1990s.
Meanwhile, Germany’s top migration official has stepped down, following criticism that his office was not processing asylum applications fast enough. Germany expects at least 1 million people to seek asylum there this year.
As turmoil in Syria continues to force an exodus of refugees, the top U.S. military commander in the Middle East has acknowledged U.S. efforts to train troops to counter the self-proclaimed Islamic State in Syria have netted only a handful of fighters. Speaking before a Senate panel, General Lloyd Austin acknowledged the $500 million program has produced only four or five fighters currently battling ISIL.
Gen. Lloyd Austin: “It’s a small number. And the ones that are in the fight is — we’re talking four or five.”
In other news on Syria, the Obama administration is planning to accept Russia’s offer to have direct talks between the U.S. and Russian militaries following reports Russia is building up forces in Syria to support President Bashar al-Assad. U.S. officials say they expect the military-to-military talks will begin in the coming days.
In news from Africa, Burkina Faso’s military has seized power in an apparent coup, after the presidential guard detained interim President Michel Kafando and dissolved the transitional government on Wednesday. The presidential guard is loyal to Burkina Faso’s former longtime President Blaise Compaoré, who was ousted in a popular uprising nearly one year ago. Elections had been slated for next month.
In Chile, 1 million people have been evacuated and at least five people have been killed after a powerful 8.3-magnitude earthquake which caused flooding in coastal areas. Fifteen-foot waves struck the hard-hit coastal town of Coquimbo. Hundreds of thousands are without electricity.
The Mexican government says experts have identified the remains of a second of the 43 students who went missing in the state of Guerrero almost a year ago. Mexican authorities have claimed the students were rounded up by local police and turned over to drug gang members, who killed them and burned their bodies at a garbage dump. A recent independent report rejected Mexico’s version of events and pointed to a role by federal police and the military in the students’ disappearance. On Wednesday, authorities said testing by experts in Austria determined a bone fragment from a site near the dump belonged to missing student Jhosivani Guerrero de la Cruz.
In Japan, lawmakers have taken a step toward enacting legislation that would allow Japanese troops to fight abroad for the first time since World War II. The bill was approved by an upper house panel after opposition lawmakers tried to physically block the vote. This comes after thousands of people protested outside the Japanese Parliament for a third consecutive day Wednesday calling for the legislation to be scrapped and for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to resign.
A new report by Inside Climate News reveals how oil giant ExxonMobil’s own research confirmed the role of fossil fuels in global warming decades ago. By 1977, Exxon’s own senior experts had begun to warn the burning of fossil fuels could pose a threat to humanity. At first, Exxon launched an ambitious research program, outfitting a supertanker with instruments to study carbon dioxide in the air and ocean. But toward the end of the 1980s, Exxon changed course and shifted to the forefront of climate change denial. Since the 1990s, it has spent millions of dollars funding efforts to reject the science its own experts knew of decades ago. Scientist Richard Werthamer worked at Exxon from 1978 to 1983, where he supervised Exxon’s carbon dioxide program.
Richard Werthamer: “The implications of increasing carbon dioxide were not that significant for Exxon per se. They were significant because it implied dramatic changes in climate, and that could provoke very substantial legislative consequences that would impact Exxon’s business significantly. You know, if you think that burning fossil fuels is going to flood your cities, well, there’s going to be some national discussion about what to do about it, and one possibility is we’re going to have to burn fewer — less carbon-based fuels.”
And in Texas, a Muslim high school student who was arrested after bringing a homemade clock to school has received support from across the country and announced plans to transfer schools. Fourteen-year-old Ahmed Mohamed built a digital clock and brought it to MacArthur High School in Irving, Texas, on Monday. After teachers said the device looked like a bomb, police interrogated and arrested Mohamed and took him to a juvenile detention center, where they took his fingerprints and a mugshot. After Mohamed’s story went viral amid protests over Islamophobia, he received praise from Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, and an invitation to the White House from President Obama. Mohamed spoke at a news conference Wednesday.
Ahmed Mohamed: “Assalamu alaikum. So I guess everyone knows I’m the person who built a clock and got in a lot of trouble for it. I built the clock to impress my teacher, but when I showed it to her, she thought it was a threat to her. So, it was really sad that she took a wrong impression of it, and I got arrested for it later that day. But since the charges have already been dropped, I’m allowed to say that I really want to go to MIT and TAMS (Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science), and I’m thinking about transferring schools from MacArthur to any different school.”
The mayor of Ahmed Mohamed’s city, Irving, Texas, has defended police and school officials. Mayor Beth Van Duyne has been accused of fueling Islamophobia in the past for championing a bill to counter the purported threat of “sharia law” in Texas.