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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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Federal regulators are poised to unveil new rules to rein in payday lending. Payday lenders supply cash to low-income people who borrow against their future paychecks at high interest rates, often becoming trapped in a cycle of mounting debt. Among other measures, the new rules would require lenders to ensure borrowers can actually afford to repay the loans. Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz has sparked protests for backing bipartisan legislation to delay the new rules for two years.
The Treasury Department has moved to impose a new round of sanctions on North Korea. The penalties, known as secondary sanctions, would target banks that conduct financial transactions with North Korea, a move that could largely impact Chinese firms. This comes as presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump appears to have won support from North Korea. An editorial in North Korean state media praised Trump as a “wise politician.”
The head of Hispanic media relations at the Republican National Committee has resigned in the latest sign of apparent opposition to Donald Trump. Trump has vowed to ban Muslims from entering the United States, called Mexicans rapists and, most recently, attacked a judge overseeing a lawsuit against Trump University, saying he “happens to be, we believe, Mexican.” Ruth Guerra, who is of Mexican descent, is reportedly departing the RNC after expressing discomfort with working for Trump.
Meanwhile, the PGA is relocating a major golf tournament from Trump’s golf course in Florida—where it’s been held for over half a century—to Mexico. The PGA had distanced itself from Trump after his comments on Muslims. PGA Tour Commissioner Timothy Finchem said they had difficulty securing sponsors.
Timothy Finchem: “The decision made here was based on the reality that we were not able to secure sponsorship for next year’s WGC (World Golf Championship) at Doral, or for out years, for that matter. At the same time, we had an opportunity to build what we think is going to be a spectacular event in an area that is strategically important to the growth of the sport and the activity of the PGA Tour that has been focused in South America and Central America for the last good number of years.”
We’ll have more on Trump and the recent controversy around his claims about donations to veterans after headlines.
In Syria, the town of Darayya has received its first aid convoy since a siege imposed by the Syrian government in 2012. The aid included baby formula, vaccines and medications, but no food. This comes amid mounting pressure for the United Nations to air-drop aid to besieged Syrian areas.
In Texas, the Brazos River southeast of Houston has surged to its highest level in more than a century amid massive floods and rain. The flooding has killed at least six people and damaged hundreds of buildings. Last month was the wettest in Texas’ history. Scientists say heavy rains and floods are linked to climate change.
In California, a UCLA professor has been killed in what authorities described as a murder-suicide on campus. The victim has been identified as professor William Klug. Captain Andrew Neiman of the Los Angeles Police Department said the alleged gunman was also dead.
Andrew Neiman: “It was determined that this is an—appears to be an isolated incident within a small room within the engineering building. We have two adult male victims who are dead from apparent gunshot wounds. This may be what appears to be what’s commonly referred to as a murder-suicide. And at this point, our robbery-homicide investigators will be taking over the investigation to try to determine what happened and what caused this event.”
Diplomats from across Latin America and the Caribbean have opposed punitive action against Venezuela, after the head of the Organization of American States called for an emergency meeting over whether to suspend Venezuela. Supporters of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro have criticized the OAS for targeting Venezuela over “grave alterations of democratic order,” while ignoring the ouster of Brazil’s president in what many consider a coup. On Wednesday, the OAS Permanent Council backed a declaration supporting talks between the Venezuelan government and right-wing opposition. The measure fell far short of calls by OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro for Maduro to schedule a recall referendum that could remove him from power. Jamaica’s ambassador to the OAS, Julia Elizabeth Hyatt, was among those to oppose Almagro’s handling of Venezuela.
Julia Elizabeth Hyatt: “Jamaica considers totally unacceptable and unfortunate certain recent utterances by the secretary general in his response to the president of Venezuela. We call on the secretary general, in carrying out his duly ascribed functions, to adhere to respectful communications at all times.”
Federal prosecutors have announced no charges will be filed against the two police officers involved in the fatal shooting of unarmed African American Jamar Clark last fall. Clark was shot in the head after a scuffle with officers who responded to a report of an assault. Black Lives Matter launched an encampment to protest the shooting after multiple witnesses say Clark was shot while handcuffed. On Wednesday, Andrew Luger, U.S. attorney for Minnesota, disputed that account.
Andrew Luger: “Given the lack of bruising, the lack of Mr. Clark’s DNA on the handcuffs, and the deeply conflicted testimony about whether he was handcuffed, we determined that we could not pursue this case based on a prosecution theory that Mr. Clark was handcuffed at the time that he was shot. And, in fact, we reached the conclusion, based on all of the evidence that we reviewed, that the evidence suggested that Mr. Clark was not, in fact, handcuffed when he was shot.”
We’ll go to Minneapolis for more on the shooting of Jamar Clark later in the broadcast.
Kenneth Starr has resigned as chancellor of Baylor University in Texas. His resignation comes after Starr was demoted from his post as Baylor’s president last week amid a shakeup over the university’s mishandling of reports of sexual assault by football players. The firestorm has also prompted the resignation of Baylor’s athletic director and firing of its head football coach. An investigation ordered by Baylor’s Board of Regents found officials discouraged reports of sexual assault, treated the football program as “above the rules,” and even retaliated against someone who reported sexual assault. Before heading Baylor, Kenneth Starr was the special prosecutor who investigated President Bill Clinton over his attempts to cover up a sexual relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky in the 1990s.
And here in New York, farmworkers have completed a 200-mile-long march from Long Island to the state capital Albany to demand equal protection under labor laws. The workers converged on the state Capitol to rally support for a bill that would mandate overtime pay, union rights and one day of rest each week.