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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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President-elect Donald Trump released a YouTube video Monday outlining plans to withdraw immediately from the massive Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, promote oil and gas extraction in the United States and roll back regulations.
President-elect Donald Trump: “I’ve asked my transition team to develop a list of executive actions we can take on day one to restore our laws and bring back our jobs. It’s about time. These include the following: On trade, I am going to issue our notification of intent to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a potential disaster for our country. Instead, we will negotiate fair, bilateral trade deals that bring jobs and industry back onto American shores. On energy, I will cancel job-killing restrictions on the production of American energy, including shale energy and clean coal, creating many millions of high-paying jobs. That’s what we want. That’s what we’ve been waiting for. On regulation, I will formulate a rule which says that for every one new regulation, two old regulations must be eliminated.”
Despite Trump’s focus on creating more jobs in the United States, an investigation by The Washington Post reveals how Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress are, in fact, drafting up plans to eliminate government jobs and erode worker protections for federal workers. Among a few of the proposed changes that could affect federal workers are hiring freezes, cutting worker benefits and pensions, and eliminating automatic raises to keep pace with inflation.
Meanwhile, Trump’s release of the YouTube video came as he met with top corporate television anchors and executives, including Lester Holt, Charlie Rose, George Stephanopoulos, Wolf Blitzer, Martha Raddatz and David Muir, at Trump Tower Monday. The meeting was off the record, and the anchors and reporters who attended it have refused to comment on it. But leaked details about the meeting suggest Trump chastised the journalists for their coverage during the campaign, which he has complained was biased against him. The networks have also been criticized for giving Trump an overwhelming amount of free exposure early in the campaign in order to boost ratings. Erik Wemple of The Washington Post criticized the networks for agreeing to the terms of Monday’s off-the-record meeting, saying, “They learned nothing over past 18 months of covering Trump.” Trump is slated to meet with editors and reporters at The New York Times building today.
The United Nations is warning nearly 1 million Syrians are living under siege—double the number last year. The vast majority, 850,000 people, are being besieged by Syrian government forces. On Monday, U.N. aid chief Stephen O’Brien said civilians trapped in besieged eastern Aleppo, where the final hospitals have been destroyed by Syrian government bombing, are facing “annihilation.” This is O’Brien.
Stephen O’Brien: “I call on all with influence—that’s the phrase I am diplomatically required to use, but you know around this table and beyond who you are—to do their part to end these senseless cycles of violence once and for all, to put an end to the slaughterhouse that is Aleppo.”
In Japan, thousands were instructed to evacuate from Fukushima Monday, after a 7.4-magnitude earthquake triggered fears of a tsunami hitting the area and the Fukushima nuclear power plant. The tsunami advisory was lifted early this morning, and officials say the power plant was not damaged by the quake. In 2011, a massive earthquake and tsunami hit the same area, killing 20,000 people and causing the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.
Hundreds of Rohingya have arrived in Bangladesh Monday after fleeing violence and the destruction of their homes in neighboring Myanmar. Rohingya are Muslims who have long faced persecution and violence in Myanmar, including being denied citizenship. In recent weeks, the Myanmar military has killed as many as 100 Rohingya civilians, sparking hundreds more to flee into neighboring Bangladesh. Human Rights Watch says more than 400 Rohingya homes have also been burned. These are two Rohingya refugees, speaking after they arrived in Bangladesh.
Maryam Khatoon: “Military killed my husband, set fire to our house. As we did not get any help to save us, we fled our land and have come here.”
Mohammed Hasim: “As we could not tolerate their tortures, we as a group crossed the river by boat at night. Four o’clock, we entered Bangladesh.”
In Minneapolis, 21-year-old activist Sophia Wilansky is in critical condition and has been undergoing a series of surgeries, after reportedly being hit by a concussion grenade during the police attack against water protectors fighting the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline in North Dakota Sunday night. Sunday’s attack at Standing Rock included police firing rubber bullets, mace canisters and water cannons in subfreezing temperatures. The Standing Rock Medic & Healer Council reports as many as 300 people were injured in the attack, with the injuries ranging from hypothermia to seizures, to loss of consciousness, to impaired vision as a result of being shot by a rubber bullet in the face. Water protectors say at least 26 people were evacuated from the area by ambulances and hospitalized. Sophia Wilansky was evacuated and airlifted to a Minneapolis hospital. After hours of surgery, she posted on Facebook early this morning that her arm has not been amputated, but she will not know for another week whether amputation might be required. The Morton County Sheriff’s Department is claiming the police are not responsible for her injury. Wilansky is from New York City and has organized against the construction of pipelines, including the AIM Spectra pipeline, in New York and across the East Coast. A prayer vigil is slated for 4 p.m. today outside the Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis.
A new investigation by The Guardian reveals self-induced abortions may be on the rise in the United States, as women struggle to access abortion services amid a wave of anti-abortion restrictions imposed in recent years. Since 2008, online searches for information on how to induce one’s own abortion nearly doubled across the United States. Another study suggests more than 4 percent of women in Texas—that’s at least 100,000 women—have tried to self-induce their own abortion. The Guardian investigation also draws on emails sent by women in the United States to the Dutch organization Women on Web, which provides abortion drugs in countries where the procedure is banned outright. Despite abortion being legal in the U.S., the group received hundreds of emails from women across the U.S. last year alone. One woman in Missouri wrote that she had gone to the state’s only abortion clinic, “but the protestors shamed me into going back. I’m not a citizen and its a little scary coz I feel very lonely.” Many wrote they could not afford an abortion. Another woman wrote, “I cry and pray every night that the Lord take this child from me somehow.”
In news on climate change, scientists are warning unprecedented high temperatures in the Arctic are preventing ice from freezing and may lead to record low levels of sea ice at the North Pole. Scientists say the air temperature is a staggering 35 degrees Fahrenheit above average. Rutgers University research professor Jennifer Francis said, “These temperatures are literally off the charts … There is nothing but climate change that can cause these trends.”
Meanwhile, Bolivian President Evo Morales has declared a state of emergency as residents of La Paz and other major cities struggle with extreme water shortages amid Bolivia’s worst drought in a quarter-century. On Sunday, protesters gathered outside the Chinese Embassy to protest mining projects they say are exacerbating the water scarcity. Scientists say the retreat of Bolivian glaciers caused by global warming is also responsible for the lack of water, as 2 million people in the area rely on glacier melt as their water supply. This is Bolivian President Evo Morales.
President Evo Morales: “The current supreme decree declares a state of national emergency due to the drought and water shortage in different regions of the national territory provoked by adverse climate phenomena. Therefore, through this supreme decree, mayors, governors and the national government have the obligation to mobilize economic resources to meet a human right that is water.”
And in New Haven, Connecticut, Yale College Dean Jonathan Holloway has announced he’s leaving Yale to become the provost of Northwestern University next year. Holloway is the first African-American dean in Yale’s 315-year history. He was at times at the center of racial justice protests by students on campus last year, with many students of color looking to Holloway for leadership and with some criticizing him for not doing more to address racism on Yale’s campus. On Monday, Holloway said he was not leaving Yale because of the protests, saying instead, “Even though the protests were profoundly uncomfortable and at times heartbreaking, I’d rather be at a place where the students cared enough to speak up and take action.”