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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 Barack Obama formally endorsed Hillary Clinton’s White House bid on Thursday and called for Democrats to unite behind her two days after she claimed victory in the Democratic race.
President Barack Obama: “I want to congratulate Hillary Clinton on making history as the presumptive Democratic nominee for president of the United States. Look, I know how hard this job can be. That’s why I know Hillary will be so good at it. In fact, I don’t think there’s ever been someone so qualified to hold this office. She’s got the courage, the compassion and the heart to get the job done.”
In his video endorsement of Clinton, President Obama also praised her challenger, Bernie Sanders, for bringing out millions of first-time voters.
President Barack Obama: “And a lot of that is thanks to Senator Bernie Sanders, who has run an incredible campaign. I had a great meeting with him this week, and I thanked him for shining a spotlight on issues like economic inequality and the outsize influence of money in our politics, and bringing young people into the process. Embracing that message is going to help us win in November.”
President Obama and Bernie Sanders met at the White House for about an hour on Thursday. After the White House meeting, Sanders vowed to work with Hillary Clinton to help defeat Donald Trump, but he said his campaign was not over.
Sen. Bernie Sanders: “We should not be having a situation where Wall Street, corporate America and billionaires are failing to pay their fair share of taxes. These are some of the issues that many millions of Americans have supported during my campaign. These are the issues that we will take to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia at the end of July.”
Senator Elizabeth Warren has publicly endorsed Hillary Clinton. Warren’s name has been tossed around as a possible vice-presidential candidate. Warren announced her endorsement on “The Rachel Maddow Show” last night.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren: “This is about what we need to survive. This is about whether or not we are going to have a country that just works for the Donald Trumps of the world, that just works for a handful of the largest corporations in the world, or a country that really is building an economic future for all of us. And, yes, I think having a fighter in the lead—a female fighter in the lead—is exactly what this country needs.”
Earlier in the day, Elizabeth Warren called Donald Trump “a thin-skinned, racist bully.”
An investigation by USA Today has found that more than 3,500 lawsuits have been filed against Donald Trump and his business entities over the past 30 years. According to the paper, hundreds of former employees and contractors have accused Trump and his businesses of failing to pay them for their work. Victims have included a dishwasher in Florida, a glass company in New Jersey, a carpet company, a plumber, 48 waiters, dozens of bartenders at his resorts and clubs, and even several law firms that once represented him in these labor lawsuits. According to U.S. Department of Labor data, Trump’s companies have also been cited for 24 violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act since 2005 for failing to pay overtime or minimum wage.
There are new developments in the FBI probe around Hillary Clinton’s use of an unsecured, private email account while she was secretary of state. The Wall Street Journal is reporting the federal probe is focusing on a series of emails from 2011 and 2012 dealing with CIA drone strikes in Pakistan. The emails were written by U.S. diplomats in Islamabad and State Department officials in Washington, and some were forwarded to Clinton’s personal, unsecured email account.
The House of Representatives voted Thursday to create a federal control board to help Puerto Rico cope with it crippling debt crisis. The bill passed by a vote of 297 to 127. The bill nows moves on to the Senate. The bill would impose a seven-member oversight board with sweeping powers to run Puerto Rico’s economy. Democratic Congressman Luis Gutiérrez spoke out against the bill.
Rep. Luis Gutiérrez: “We’re engaged today in a wholly undemocratic activity in the world’s greatest democracy. We’re debating how we will take power from the people, who are virtually powerless already. … Think about it. You are imposing a junta—because that’s what they’re calling it. There will be no difference between this junta and the junta of Pinochet in Chile, as far as the international community is concerned.”
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has acknowledged he was coerced into removing Saudi Arabia from a blacklist of forces responsible for killing children, after the kingdom threatened to cut off funding to the U.N. An annual U.N. report found nearly 2,000 children were killed or injured in Yemen last year, a sixfold increase over the previous year. Sixty percent of those casualties were blamed on the U.S.-backed, Saudi-led coalition. Ban Ki-moon described the decision to remove the Saudi-led coalition from the blacklist as “one of the most painful and difficult decisions I have had to make.”
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon: “The report describes horrors no child should have to face. At the same time, I also had to consider the very real prospect that millions of other children would suffer grievously if, as was suggested to me, countries would defund many U.N. programs. Children already at risk in Palestine, South Sudan, Syria, Yemen and so many other places would fall further into despair. It is unacceptable for member states to exert undue pressure.”
In news from Afghanistan, President Obama has approved giving the U.S. military greater ability to conduct airstrikes and assist Afghan forces fighting the Taliban. The decision came after months of debate.
NPR is reporting the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights is now investigating five sexual violence cases at Stanford University—that’s more than any other school in the country. The five do not include the 2015 rape committed by star Stanford swimmer Brock Turner, which has made headlines this month after a judge sentenced him to just six months in jail for raping an unconscious woman on campus.
In a major gun ruling, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled gun owners have no constitutional right to carry a concealed gun in public. In the 7-4 ruling, the court found two California counties did not violate the Second Amendment when they denied some applicants a concealed firearm license.
In an update on the Freddie Gray case, prosecutors have accused Baltimore police officer Caesar Goodson of fatally injuring Gray by giving him a “rough ride” in a police van. Gray died of spinal injuries last year after he was arrested and transported in the van. His death sparked a series of protests in Baltimore. Goodson, who drove the police van, is the third officer to go on trial.
For the first time the World Health Organization is advising people living in all regions where the Zika virus has spread to consider delaying pregnancy to avoid having babies with birth defects. The advice affects millions of couples in 46 countries across Latin America and the Caribbean where Zika has been reported.
British prosecutors have announced no charges will be brought against MI6 officials who took part in a joint CIA operation targeting a Libyan dissident and his wife. In 2004, Abdul-Hakim Belhaj and his pregnant wife were secretly detained at a secret CIA prison in Thailand and then rendered to Libya, where they were jailed and tortured in one of Muammar Gaddafi’s prisons. Belhaj’s wife Fatima Boudchar spoke to the BBC.
Fatima Boudchar: “My hands and legs were tied, and my eyes were covered. They injected me with something. I didn’t know where I was going. I was six months’ pregnant. I was so scared that I was going to die.”
Details of the MI6’s role in the CIA operation emerged after Human Rights Watch found documents related to the case in Libya after the fall of Gaddafi’s government.
In related news, the European Parliament has passed a nonbinding resolution urging member states to investigate the CIA’s use of secret prisons inside Europe in the years after the September 11 attacks. The resolution specifically names four countries: Lithuania, Poland, Italy and Britain.
Activists in eastern Pennsylvania are claiming victory after Nestlé dropped plans to extract 200,000 gallons of water a day from a spring in Monroe County. Residents sued the water giant in January and held a series of protests.
In New York, over 100 people gathered outside of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office Thursday to protest his signing of an executive order forcing state agencies to divest from any organizations aligned with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. BDS is an international campaign to pressure Israel to comply with international law and respect Palestinian rights. Protester Rani Allan criticized Cuomo’s order.
Rani Allan: “This order demonstrates our success as the Palestine solidarity movement. It shows that our movement has been expanding, has been getting larger, has been succeeding, has been actually putting pressure on the U.S. government and on the Israeli economy. We will continue our movement, we will continue boycotting, until we actually achieve human rights and social justice for the Palestinian people.”
A Michigan man has been freed from prison after serving more than eight years behind for bars for murders he did not commit. Two weeks after Davontae Sanford was sentenced to 90 years in jail, a professional hit man, Vincent Smothers, confessed to the killings. But Sanford remained in jail until now. After his release, he shared a brief message to others wrongly incarcerated.
Davontae Sanford: “Keep fighting. Don’t—like, don’t give up. You know, like, you’ve got to stay strong, mentally, spiritually, emotionally. And if you know you’re in prison for something that you didn’t do, just don’t roll over. Like, don’t—like, don’t roll over. Don’t give in. Don’t let them break you.”