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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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Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump campaigned in Ohio Thursday and announced that he will accept the results of November’s election—under one condition.
Donald Trump: “I want to make a major announcement today. I would like to promise and pledge to all of my voters and supporters and to all of the people of the United States that I will totally accept the results of this great and historic presidential election, if I win.”
Trump’s remarks came one day after the final presidential debate, when he refused to say if he will accept the election results. President Obama and other political leaders have sharply criticized Trump’s remarks.
President Barack Obama: “That is dangerous, because when you try to sow the seeds of doubt in people’s minds about the legitimacy of our elections, that undermines our democracy.”
On Thursday night, Trump and Hillary Clinton both spoke here in New York at the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner in New York to raise money for Catholic charities. Trump was repeatedly heckled and booed during the event.
Donald Trump: “We learned so much from WikiLeaks. For example, Hillary believes that it’s vital to deceive the people by having one public policy and a totally different policy in private. That’s OK. I don’t know who they’re angry at, Hillary, you or I. For example, here she is tonight in public pretending not to hate Catholics.”
Hillary Clinton poked fun at Trump’s claim that he might not accept the result of the November election.
Hillary Clinton: “You know, come to think of it, it’s amazing I’m up here after Donald. I didn’t think he’d be OK with a peaceful transition of power.”
The two candidates sat at the same table during the dinner, separated only by Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York.
In other campaign news, a 10th woman has come forward to say she was sexually assaulted by Donald Trump. Karena Virginia said Trump approached her in 1998 outside the U.S. Open tennis tournament and grabbed her breast. Virginia said, after she initially flinched, Trump remarked, “Don’t you know who I am?” Virginia spoke out on Thursday with a message to the Republican nominee.
Karena Virginia: “Your random moment of sexual pleasure came at my expense and affected me greatly. Mr. Trump revealed his true character in his own words on tape, which indicated that he felt entitled to grab women by their private parts.”
In news from Iraq, at least 16 people have died after ISIS militants attacked a power station in the oil-rich city of Kirkuk. This came as U.S.-backed forces continued their assault on Mosul, which fell to the Islamic State two years ago. The United Nations has warned the attack on Mosul could force up to a million people being displaced. On Thursday, the Pentagon announced the first U.S. soldier had died in the attempt to retake Mosul.
The top United Nations human rights official has said that the siege and bombing of eastern Aleppo in Syria has constituted “crimes of historic proportions.” Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein spoke earlier today during a special session of the U.N. Human Rights Council.
Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein: “Armed opposition groups continue to fire mortars and other projectiles into civilian neighborhoods of western Aleppo, but indiscriminate airstrikes across the eastern part of the city by government forces and their allies are responsible for the overwhelming majority of civilian casualties. And these violations constitute war crimes. And if knowingly committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against civilians, they’d constitute crimes against humanity.”
South Africa has begun the formal process to withdraw from the International Criminal Court. The news comes just two days after another African nation, Burundi, became the first country to ever pull out of the court. Over the years, the court has been accused of disproportionately targeting African leaders. Human Rights Watch criticized South Africa’s move. The group said, “South Africa’s proposed withdrawal from the International Criminal Court shows startling disregard for justice from a country long seen as a global leader on accountability for victims of the gravest crimes.”
In news from Latin America, Honduran security forces fired water cannons and tear gas at protesters Thursday in the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa. The protest was led by COPINH, the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras. The leader of COPINH, Berta Cáceres, was assassinated in March. Thursday’s protest came just days after two Honduran campesino leaders were also assassinated.
Tension is escalating between Washington and Manila after recently elected Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte announced what he described as a “separation” from the United States and realignment with Beijing.
President Rodrigo Duterte: “America has lost me. And I realign myself in your ideological flow, and maybe I will also go to Russia to talk to Putin and tell him that there are three of us against the world: China, Philippines and Russia. It’s the only way.”
The Philippines is a former U.S. colony and a longtime military ally. Meanwhile in other news from the Philippines, dozens of protesters were injured during a demonstration Wednesday outside the U.S. Embassy in Manila when a police van repeatedly rammed into the crowd. The protesters were calling for an end to the U.S. military presence in the Philippines.
For the first time in two decades, a new nuclear reactor has gone online in the United States. The Tennessee Valley Authority announced Watts Bar Unit 2 began generating energy on Wednesday. Construction on the $4.7 billion reactor began in 1973. Four other reactors are being constructed in Georgia.
In Rhode Island, two activists from a group called The FANG Collective were arrested Thursday when they chained themselves to a concrete device inside a TD Bank in Providence to protest the bank’s financial support of the Dakota Access pipeline.
Federal prosecutors have announced they plan to charge a former National Security Agency contractor with violating the Espionage Act in what’s been described as the largest theft of classified government material ever. Prosecutors accuse Harold Thomas Martin III, an employee of Booz Allen Hamilton, of stealing classified material from the NSA over a 20-year period, but there is no evidence he shared the information. Martin is scheduled to appear in court today.
A new report from the Environmental Protection Agency’s inspector general has concluded the agency took seven months longer than necessary to warn residents of Flint, Michigan, about lead contamination in their water. The report found the EPA had enough information in June 2015 to issue an emergency order under the Safe Drinking Water Act, but the agency didn’t act until January of this year. Flint’s lead poisoning began when an unelected emergency manager appointed by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder switched the source of the city’s drinking water to the corrosive Flint River in 2014.
And Britain has announced it will pardon up to 15,000 gay and bisexual men who were convicted under old laws that criminalized homosexuality. The pardons are being done under the so-called Turing law, named after Alan Turing, who cracked Nazi Germany’s “unbreakable” Enigma code but was later prosecuted for being gay. He committed suicide in 1954 at the age of 41.