In Iraq, fighting to retake Mosul from the self-proclaimed Islamic State has entered its third day. The U.S.-led coalition force of about 30,000 includes Iraqi security personnel, Kurdish fighters, Sunni Muslim Arab tribesmen and Shia Muslim paramilitaries. The Pentagon has confirmed U.S. special forces are on the ground in Iraq and taking part in the battle, despite President Obama’s pledge against having boots on the ground. They face an estimated 5,000 Islamic State fighters in and around Mosul. Commanders say the operation is going as planned, though ISIS fighters slowed advancing troops with suicide car bomb attacks. A Peshmerga military commander told CNN it could take two months for the troops to recapture Mosul, which ISIS has controlled for two years. President Obama said Iraq’s fight to take Mosul from ISIS will be successful but difficult.
President Barack Obama: “Mosul will be a difficult fight, and there will be advances, and there will be setbacks, but I am confident that just as ISIL has been defeated in communities across Iraq, ISIL will be defeated in Mosul, as well, and that will be another step towards their ultimate destruction.”
The United Nations humanitarian coordinator for Iraq said 200,000 people might need shelter during the offensive. We’ll have more on Mosul after headlines
In Yemen, a 72-hour ceasefire is slated to take effect at midnight tonight local time. The ceasefire calls for the U.S.-backed, Saudi-led coalition to lift the blockade against rebel-held areas and put a halt to airstrikes. It also calls on the Houthi rebels to stop their attacks. The temporary ceasefire seeks to allow food and other humanitarian aid into besieged areas, some of which are on the brink of famine.
In election news, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are slated to face off tonight in the third and final presidential debate at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas. The final debate comes as Donald Trump’s campaign is reeling from a series of accusations of sexual assault from nine different women. Trump has denied these allegations. On Tuesday, People magazine published an article quoting six different people who all corroborated People magazine journalist Natasha Stoynoff’s account of being sexually assaulted by Donald Trump in 2005 at his Mar-a-Lago resort. Stoynoff says Trump pushed her against the wall and kissed her against her will. The six cited in the article include two People magazine editors and one of her co-workers, Paul McLaughlin, who said, “I advised her not to say anything, because I believed Trump would deny it and try to destroy her.” Clinton, meanwhile, is facing questions about newly released and leaked emails, which reveal everything from Clinton’s State Department prioritizing “Friends of Bill Clinton” while assigning aid contracts after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, to Clinton bashing environmentalists and anti-fracking advocates during a meeting with the building trades union in 2015, where she said the activists should “get a life.” Ahead of tonight’s debate in Las Vegas, people are placing bets on everything from whether Clinton will take a drug test—as Trump has called for—to whether Trump will show up at all.
Ben Eckstein: “We have odds of 15 to 1 right now that Hillary will take a drug test before the debate—15 to 1. You can get odds of 8 to 1 that Donald Trump will walk out during the debate if he gets a tough question. And how about 25 to 1 that he doesn’t show at all? There you go. These are great things.”
Donald Trump has confirmed he’ll be bringing President Obama’s half-brother, Malik Obama, to the debate tonight. Malik is a Trump supporter. At the last debate, Trump brought three women who have accused Bill Clinton of sexual crimes, including Juanita Broaddrick, who alleges she was raped by Bill Clinton nearly 40 years ago and that Hillary Clinton worked to cover it up. Tonight’s debate comes as both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are facing record unfavorability ratings and the widespread characterization that this year’s election cycle has been a “circus”—a description that is angering some professional circus workers.
Taylor Albin: “As a clown—I’m a professional clown. I have worked my whole life. This is a dream of mine to be a clown with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. I have gone to school. I have had training. And I would never associate the president of the United States of America as a clown. I would never do that. And I think, in this election, doing that is kind of an insult. I think it’s an insult to me.”
Democracy Now! will be broadcasting the third and final debate live, with commentary both before and afterward. Tune in tonight from 8 to 11:30 p.m. Eastern time at democracynow.org. And be sure to tune in Thursday morning for our two-hour “Expanding the Debate” special, where we’ll pause the tape after Trump and Clinton answer each question and give Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein equal time to respond to the same questions.
Ecuador has confirmed it temporarily cut off WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s internet access in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, amid allegations Assange has been meddling in the U.S. election. Ecuadorean officials said on Tuesday they had cut off the internet on Monday morning because “in recent weeks, WikiLeaks has published a wealth of documents, impacting the U.S. election campaign.” This comes after WikiLeaks released a trove of emails in July from the Democratic National Committee, revealing how the Democratic Party favored Hillary Clinton and worked behind the scenes to discredit and defeat Bernie Sanders in the presidential primaries. More recently, WikiLeaks has also released a trove of emails from the account of Hillary Clinton campaign adviser John Podesta.
Hundreds of thousands of women across Argentina, Mexico, Chile, Ecuador, Bolivia, the United States and other countries are slated to join a women’s strike today to protest violence against women. The protests come after the brutal rape and murder of a 16-year-old Argentine girl named Lucía Pérez earlier this month. The day’s protest are organized under the banner #MiercolesNegro, or Black Wednesday, and #VivasNosQueremos, or Alive We Want Us.
In North Dakota, a Wisconsin sheriff’s deputy has been arrested after being found passed out from intoxication in his car. Deputy Ryan Fowler had been dispatched to North Dakota along with dozens of other Wisconsin sheriff’s deputies at the request of North Dakota’s Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier, who requested the assistance of hundreds of out-of-state deputies amid an ongoing crackdown against the resistance to the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline. Deputy Fowler now faces charges and has been put on paid leave.
In Seattle, more than 2,000 teachers are slated to arrive at schools today across the Seattle Public School system wearing T-shirts reading #BlackLivesMatterAtSchool. It’s the first action of its kind in Seattle. Many teachers have also committed to focusing their lessons today on institutional racism and the significance of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Meanwhile, in Pennsylvania, more than 5,000 faculty members and coaches have launched a strike today at 14 different state universities. The faculty members are on strike to protest dramatic cuts to their healthcare. They are also demanding improved salaries. It’s the first time in the union’s 34-year history that faculty members have gone on strike.
And in France, a court has rejected a bid to stop the French government from demolishing the refugee camp in Calais known as “The Jungle.” For months, French authorities have been seeking to shut down the camp, which is home to thousands of refugees from Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Sudan, Somalia and other war-torn regions who are seeking to reach England by crossing through the Channel Tunnel. On Tuesday, a court in the city of Lille rejected an appeal from 11 charities, which had sued the French government over the plan, arguing the camp’s demolition violates the refugees’ rights. In light of the ruling, some of the charities are arguing as many refugee children as possible should be permitted to resettle in England.
Christian Salomé: “The dismantling should happen this way: Take people for whom we have a solution—here students, elsewhere children who have family in England—and take them to England. Those were the situations we asked the court to enable to take place.”
On Tuesday, about a dozen of the camp’s more than 1,000 children and teenagers were permitted to resettle in England.