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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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North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory faces a deadline today to renounce the state’s anti-transgender law after the Justice Department warned it violates civil rights and gender discrimination statutes. But Governor McCrory has signaled he plans to defend the law, despite risking billions in federal education funding. A new CNN/ORC poll finds Americans broadly oppose laws like North Carolina’s that bar transgender people from using the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity.
Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump refused to rule out a bid to remove House Speaker Paul Ryan from his post as chair of the upcoming Republican convention. Ryan, the nation’s most powerful elected Republican, has so far declined to endorse Trump. Speaking to George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week,” Trump said the Republican Party does not necessarily have to unify for him to win.
Donald Trump: “Does the party have to be together? Does it have to be unified? I’m very different than everybody else, perhaps, that’s ever run for office. I actually don’t think so. I think that…”
George Stephanopoulos: “It doesn’t have to be unified?”
Donald Trump: “No, I don’t think so. I think it would be better if it were unified. I think it would be—there would be something good about it. But I don’t think it actually has to be unified in the traditional sense. ”
George Stephanopoulos: “But if the party’s split, how do you win?”
Donald Trump: “Because I think I’m going to go out and I’m going to get millions of people from the Democrats, I’m going to get Bernie people to vote, because they like me on trade. I have to stay true to my principles also. And I’m a conservative. But don’t forget, this is called the Republican Party, it’s not called the Conservative Party. You know, there are conservative parties. This is called the Republican Party.”
Trump also shifted his stance on economic issues over the weekend, saying the rich should pay more taxes. He also suggested the minimum wage is too low—but said states should decide whether to increase wages.
Donald Trump: “I think people should get more. I think they’re out there, they’re working. It is a very low number, you know, with what’s happened to the economy, with what’s happened to the cost. I mean, it’s just—I don’t know how you live on $7.25 an hour. But I would say, let the states decide.”
The Pentagon has acknowledged it quietly deployed U.S. troops to Yemen, where a U.S.-backed, Saudi-led coalition is fighting Houthi rebels. A Pentagon spokesperson provided few details, saying a “very small number” of U.S. troops were on the ground to help fight al-Qaeda militants. Critics have blamed the U.S.-backed, Saudi-led campaign in Yemen for helping fuel the militants’ spread.
The Greek Parliament has approved a new round of austerity measures seen as among the harshest to date demanded by international creditors. The passage came amid mass protests and a three-day general strike. On Sunday, thousands gathered in Athens, where protesters threw stones and Molotov cocktails while police fired tear gas. Teacher Nikos Dardalis took part in the protests.
Nikos Dardalis: “Today, the working class must send a message, that with this unemployment and part-time work, the low-income earners, the self-employed, the unemployed cannot live on salaries and pensions of 300 to 400 euros.”
In Brazil, a Senate committee has recommended an impeachment trial for President Dilma Rousseff over allegations she tampered with public accounts to hide a budget deficit. Brazil is engulfed in a corruption scandal, but Rousseff herself has not been accused of corruption. The full Senate is expected to vote Wednesday on whether Rousseff should face trial; if a majority sides against her, she would be suspended. Her potential replacement, Vice President Michel Temer, was ordered last week to pay a fine for violating campaign finance limits. After Friday’s committee vote, Rousseff vowed to continue fighting.
President Dilma Rousseff: “I will stay here fighting, fighting because I am the proof of this injustice. They are condemning an innocent person, and there is nothing more serious than condemning an innocent person.”
In the Philippines, the polls have closed in the nation’s presidential election. The leading candidate is Rodrigo Duterte, whose controversial rhetoric has drawn comparisons to Donald Trump. Duterte is mayor of Davao City, where he has been accused of running death squads; he has periodically admitted his role in the death squads, even bragging about how they killed 1,700 people. He recently joked that, as mayor, he should have been first in line to rape an Australian missionary who was gang-raped and then murdered in his city in 1989.
In London, Sadiq Khan has become the city’s first Muslim mayor. He celebrated the election results after being sworn in on Saturday.
Mayor Sadiq Khan: “I think we should be really proud. We should be really proud that, you know, record numbers came out and voted on Thursday. Record numbers, in my view, voted for hope over fear, and unity over division. And what I’m hoping today’s ceremony has shown is, you know, I believe in bringing people together, uniting our city and making sure we grapple with the problems facing our city in a positive way.”
Climate activists have launched mass acts of civil disobedience in two cities across the world from each other: Newcastle, Australia, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In Newcastle, more than 1,000 protesters shut down operations at the nation’s largest coal port. A group of “kayaktivists” blocked the entrance to the harbor in what activists called the largest flotilla to date, while dozens blocked the coal transport train line into the port. More than 60 people were arrested. Australian Green Party leader Richard Di Natale spoke out.
Richard Di Natale: “Here we are, on the first day of an election campaign, talking about an issue you won’t hear either of the old parties talk about on any day during this election campaign, and that is how new coal mines, more coal exports are destroying the Great Barrier Reef, how new coal mines are destroying precious wilderness, and how they are holding us back from making the transition to a new 21st century clean economy.”
The protests come as part of an international campaign to “Break Free from Fossil Fuels.” In Philadelphia, meanwhile, hundreds of people rallied outside an oil refinery to protest air pollution and plans by Philadelphia Energy Solutions to expand operations.
The social media platform Twitter has reportedly barred U.S. intelligence agencies from using a service that analyzes all of its user posts. The Wall Street Journal reports Twitter cut off access to Dataminr, a company that mines Twitter feeds for information, because it was concerned about the “optics” of appearing too close to U.S. spy agencies.
The West Point military academy has launched an investigation into a group of African-American women cadets after a photo surfaced showing them posing with their fists in the air as they were set to graduate. The gesture was seen by some as a sign of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement; Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their hands in a similar gesture, the Black Power salute, at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. But a West Point graduate who spoke with the cadets told The New York Times: “These ladies weren’t raising their fist to say Black Panthers. They were raising it to say Beyoncé. For them it’s not a sign of allegiance to a movement, it’s a sign that means unity and pride and sisterhood. That fist to them meant you and your sisters did what only a few people, male or female, have ever done in this country.” The photo showed 16 cadets—all but one of the black women in the graduating class of 1,000.
In New York, more than 150 activists gathered at the Brooklyn Museum to protest a photography exhibition they say normalizes the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories. The protesters say the exhibition, entitled “This Place,” is backed by funders who also support the Israeli military. The action also targeted the museum’s role in gentrification and displacement of people of color in Brooklyn. Protesters draped banners that read “decolonize this place” and “displacement destroys culture,” and affixed new labels to photographs with the indigenous Arabic names of locations. Amin Husain spoke out inside the museum before being escorted away.
Amin Husain: [using human microphone] “The days in which art and artists are instrumentalized to normalize oppression, displacement and dispossession of any people are over. We are watching you.”
And in the latest act of ethnic or racial profiling on U.S. airlines, an Italian man was removed from an airplane and questioned after the woman next to him raised alarms about cryptic messages he was scrawling on a notepad. The scribbles turned out to be mathematical equations, and the man turned out to be Guido Menzio, a prominent economist. He was ultimately allowed to reboard his American Airlines flight, which departed more than two hours late.