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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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More than 22 people have been killed and 70 wounded in two separate bombings around the Iraqi capital Baghdad. One of the explosions hit a commercial street, killing at least 15 people. The second hit an army checkpoint.
Meanwhile, the United Nations says it underestimated the number of civilians trapped in the Iraqi city of Fallujah, which Iraqi forces are attempting to reclaim from ISIS. U.N. humanitarian coordinator Lise Grande revised the numbers.
Lise Grande: “We have underestimated the number of civilians that are in Fallujah. I think we thought that there would be about 40,000 to 50,000 civilians who were at grave risk. What we now think, based on the stories that people are telling us, is that there are probably closer to 90,000 civilians that are still inside of Fallujah, that are still trapped, that still can’t reach safety.”
In Syria, airstrikes hit three hospitals in a rebel-held area of Aleppo, including a U.N.-supported pediatrics center. UNICEF said it was the second attack on the al-Hakim hospital. At least 10 civilians were reported killed in the strikes.
In Israel, two Palestinian suspects opened fire on civilians in a restaurant in Tel Aviv Wednesday, killing four people. Police have identified the attackers as cousins from the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
In the United States, Senator Bernie Sanders returned home to Vermont Wednesday after his rival Hillary Clinton claimed the Democratic presidential nomination. Sanders heads to the White House today for a meeting with President Obama, who is expected to endorse Clinton in the coming days. Speaking on “The Tonight Show,” Obama said he hopes Democrats will be able to “pull things together” over the coming weeks.
President Barack Obama: “I’ve actually spoken to Hillary and Bernie at certain points during the campaign. And, you know, I don’t know if they ask me for advice, but I give it anyway. And—but you know what? It was a healthy thing for the Democratic Party to have a contested primary. I thought that Bernie Sanders brought enormous energy and new ideas, and he pushed the party and challenged them. I thought it made Hillary a better candidate.”
We’ll have more on the race for the White House with Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein after headlines.
Climate activists have delivered more than 90,000 petitions to the Democratic National Committee demanding the party’s platform for the 2016 race include a nationwide ban on fracking. This comes as voters in Butte County, California, have approved a local ban on fracking, the oil and gas drilling technique critics say threatens health and the climate.
The United Nations says the government of Eritrea has committed crimes against humanity. The crimes against civilians since 1991 include enslavement, imprisonment, enforced disappearance, torture, persecution, rape and murder, all aimed at keeping leadership in power. Eritreans are among those attempting to flee to Europe as part of the greatest refugee crisis since World War II.
The military has confirmed two senior commanders of the militant group al-Shabab have been killed in Somalia. The U.S. Africa Command said one of the commanders was killed by a U.S. airstrike in late May, while the other, Mohamud Dulyadeyn, died in a Somali ground operation. He was accused of masterminding the attacks on a Kenyan university last year that killed 148 people.
A former CIA officer convicted of a role in the kidnapping of an Egyptian cleric under the CIA’s “extraordinary rendition” program says she is facing extradition to Italy. Sabrina De Sousa faces four years in prison after an Italian court convicted her in absentia for the kidnapping of Abu Omar. Omar was snatched off the streets of Milan in 2003 and sent to Egypt, where he said he was tortured. If De Sousa is imprisoned in Italy, it would mark the first time any CIA officer involved in the rendition program has gone to jail.
Here in New York, the powerful leader of one of the largest correction officers’ unions in the country has been arrested on corruption charges. Norman Seabrook has led the Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association for 21 years. U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said Seabrook steered money for officers’ pensions into a high-risk hedge fund, in exchange for $60,000 in kickbacks.
Preet Bharara: “This morning, the FBI arrested Norman Seabrook, the longtime president of the Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association, or COBA, a union representing over 9,000 correction officers in New York City. We also charged and arrested Murray Huberfeld, the founder of Platinum Partners, a New York-based hedge fund. Seabrook and Huberfeld are charged with engaging in a straightforward and explicit bribery scheme. The complaint describes a simple quid pro quo: a $60,000 cash kickback to Seabrook, with promises of even more, in exchange for a $20 million investment in Huberfeld’s hedge fund.”
And in California, a judge who sparked national outrage by sentencing a former Stanford University swimmer to six months in jail after he was convicted of three felony counts for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman, has quietly started a new six-year term. Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky did not face election for the new term because he had no challengers. Click here to see our interview with the Stanford law professor who has launched a recall campaign against Judge Persky. We’ll have more on the case later in the broadcast.