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This week, Democracy Now! is celebrating our 22nd birthday. Since our first show in February 1996, our daily news hour has brought you fearless journalism and hard-hitting news you can trust--all without ads or corporate underwriting. How is this possible? Only with your support. In fact, if everyone reading this gave just $4, it would cover our operating expenses for the whole year. Right now, a generous donor will TRIPLE every donation, meaning your gift today will go three times as far. Pretty amazing, right? Please do your part. Take a moment to give right now for our 22nd birthday.
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Donald Trump has virtually clinched the Republican nomination after his closest rival, Senator Ted Cruz, suspended his campaign following a devastating defeat in the Indiana primary. Trump won about 53 percent of the vote, capturing 51 delegates in the winner-take-all state. In his concession speech, Ted Cruz shocked his supporters by announcing his withdrawal.
Sen. Ted Cruz: “From the beginning, I’ve said that I would continue on, as long as there was a viable path to victory. Tonight, I’m sorry to say, it appears that path has been foreclosed. Together, we left it all on the field in Indiana. We gave it everything we’ve got. But the voters chose another path.”
The Bernie Sanders campaign has launched a petition urging the Hillary Clinton campaign to transfer money raised by her massive joint fundraising venture to state parties. This comes after a Politico investigation into the unprecedented fundraising vehicle Clinton formed with state parties found less than 1 percent of the $61 million raised by the venture has actually gone to the state parties. The Hillary Victory Fund is a joint venture between the Democratic National Committee, 32 state committees and Clinton’s campaign. It allows Clinton to collect massive donations at events like the recent dinner at George and Amal Clooney’s house. But it turns out that of the $3.8 million the victory fund has transferred to the state parties, 88 percent of it was quickly moved back to the DNC by the Clinton staffer who controls the committee.
In Syria, fierce fighting has erupted between rebels and the Syrian regime in the city of Aleppo. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the battle was the most intense the city had seen for more than a year. Dozens have reportedly been killed. This comes after at least three people were killed when a maternity hospital in a government-controlled section of the city was hit by rocket fire. Secretary of State John Kerry said the rockets appeared to have come from a rebel area.
Secretary of State John Kerry: “Today’s attack on a hospital appears to be rockets that have come from some area of opposition, and we are trying to determine precisely which. So the bottom line is, there is no justification for this horrific violence that targets civilians or medical facilities or first responders, no matter who it is.”
The hospital attack came days after the Syrian regime destroyed a Doctors Without Borders-backed hospital, killing the last pediatrician in rebel-held east Aleppo.
The U.N. Security Council has unanimously passed a resolution reminding states they must protect medical and aid workers. But Joanne Liu, president of Doctors Without Borders, noted four of the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council have been tied to attacks on hospitals, including the United States for its destruction of a hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan. Liu said the attacks must stop.
Joanne Liu: “Four of the five permanent members of this council have, to varying degrees, been associated with the coalition responsible for attacks on health structures over the last year. These include the NATO-led coalition in Afghanistan, the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, the Russia-backed, Syrian-led coalition.”
In Canada, a raging wildfire has forced tens of thousands of people to evacuate from the heart of the Alberta oil sands region. The entire community of Fort McMurray has been ordered to leave. It’s the largest wildfire evacuation in Alberta’s history. Scientists have linked the increase in wildfires to climate change.
The Detroit teachers’ union has urged teachers to return to work today after teacher sickouts over a funding shortfall shuttered nearly all of the district’s 97 schools for a second day Tuesday. The teachers called out after learning the district may not have the money to pay them at the end of the school year. But union officials say they have now received assurances the teachers will be paid. Detroit teachers have also protested black mold, rat infestations and other dire conditions in their schools.
Georgia Republican Governor Nathan Deal has vetoed a bill that would have allowed people to carry concealed weapons on college campuses. In a statement, Deal said it was “highly questionable” the measure would make students safer. A similar measure became law in Tennessee this week.
In Honduras, a prominent radio journalist has been shot four times, but survived. Félix Molina was reportedly attacked twice in the same day on Monday. He was shot twice in each leg. In a statement released by a human rights group, Molina said he believed he was directly targeted, and vowed to continue “practicing journalism without fear.” “I declare myself a survivor of the insecurity that the majority of the country faces,” he said. Molina’s shooting came on the eve of World Press Freedom Day.
Labor activists targeted the clothing retailer H&M over the safety of its supplier factories in Bangladesh. As H&M shareholders met in Sweden, organizers rallied in front of the Times Square H&M store to demand safe conditions.
Elizabeth Cline: “My name is Elizabeth Cline. I am a journalist and the author of 'Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion.' And I’m out here today to demand that H&M provide safe working conditions for their Bangladeshi factory workers. They have over 100,000 workers making their clothes in Bangladesh, and currently the majority of them are in—working in facilities without legal fire exits. So, their lives are literally on the line in the name of making cheap clothes for Western consumers. No one should die in the name of making cheap fashion.”
In February, an H&M supplier factory in Bangladesh caught fire early in the morning, before most of the factory’s 6,000 workers arrived.
In Washington state, six workers at the Hanford nuclear site have undergone medical evaluations for possible exposure to chemical vapors. In total, more than 30 workers are being evaluated for possible exposure to vapors resulting from radioactive waste from the U.S. nuclear weapons program, which is stored in underground tanks at the site. Last month it was revealed thousands of gallons of radioactive waste had leaked between two walls of one of the tanks, an incident a former worked called “catastrophic.”
Former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has been sentenced to 12 years in prison after being convicted of corruption charges. Silver served as New York Assembly speaker for over two decades and was one of New York’s most powerful politicians. He was convicted of abusing his office to rake in more than $4 million in illegal bribes and kickbacks.
In New York City, voters who say they were blocked from casting a ballot in last month’s New York presidential primary packed a Board of Elections hearing Tuesday. Some 126,000 Brooklyn voters were purged from the Democratic rolls ahead of the primary. Voting rights activist Yvonne Gougelet spoke out.
Yvonne Gougelet: “May 5th, the New York City Board of Elections has to hand over their primary results, and that percentage, that number, is certified. If those votes are certified, no evidence that we find will matter in the court of law. If the votes are certified by the New York City Board of Elections on May 5th at 3:30 p.m., nothing that we find in the future is going to change that primary result. And so, we, as activists, are working alongside with the lawyers in court, Election Justice USA. They are fighting to get a court order. They are trying to stop the elections from getting certified. We are here at the Board of Elections to put pressure on them, ask questions, tell them what happened, find out what’s going on.”
An Indian man who follows the Sikh religion is speaking out after he says he was pulled off a bus and detained for 30 hours for speaking Punjabi with another passenger. Daljeet Singh was traveling on a Greyhound bus from Arizona to Indiana when a fellow passenger falsely accused the two men of speaking Arabic and discussing a bomb threat. Fellow passengers detained the men in Amarillo, Texas, until police arrived and arrested them at gunpoint. The police also removed Singh’s religious turban and circulated mugshots of him without the turban to local media. Singh and the Sikh Coalition have demanded criminal charges against the passengers who accused and restrained him.
Meanwhile, in California, a group of women say they were kicked out of a cafe in Laguna Beach last month for being Muslim and wearing hijabs. Sara Farsakh said she and her friends were told to leave the restaurant within 10 minutes, while their desserts and coffee were still on the table. A worker said the restaurant needed to clear tables for other clients, but Farsakh said there were numerous empty tables, and other customers were not asked to leave.
President Obama is heading to Flint, Michigan, today. His visit comes weeks after three Michigan officials were criminally charged for their involvement in the Flint water contamination crisis. The lead poisoning began when an unelected emergency manager appointed by Governor Snyder switched the source of the city’s drinking water to the corrosive Flint River. Obama is expected to meet today with Amariyanna Copeny, an eight-year-old Flint girl who wrote to him asking him to come to Flint. She wrote: “I am one of the children that is effected by this water and I’ve been doing my best to march in protest and to speak out for all the kids that live here in Flint.”
And Afeni Shakur, a former Black Panther, activist and mother of late hip-hop artist Tupac Shakur, has died at the age of 69. Afeni Shakur’s activism was a source of inspiration for her son’s music. Tupac Shakur was killed in a still-unsolved drive-by shooting in Las Vegas in 1996. Afeni Shakur died in California Monday after suffering what was believed to be a heart attack.