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The United States and China have formally committed to the Paris climate agreement aimed at slowing climate change, during President Obama’s trip to China for the G20 summit. Combined, the U.S. and China produce nearly 40 percent of the world’s carbon emissions. Twenty-six countries have now ratified the accord, which the U.N. has slated to go into effect on January 1, 2017, as long as at least 55 countries representing 55 percent or more of the world’s total emissions have signed on. This comes as the world has experienced 15 straight months of record-smashing temperatures amid human-fueled climate change. July was the hottest month ever recorded. Experts say the greenhouse gas cuts promised in the Paris climate deal are insufficient to avert dangerous global warming.
In Oklahoma, state regulators have ordered oil and gas companies to shut down nearly 40 toxic wastewater disposal wells, after a massive 5.6-magnitude earthquake Saturday rocked Oklahoma and sent tremors through six neighboring states. Scientists have warned that the wastewater disposal wells, which inject toxic water used in the fracking process deep into the earth for storage, may be linked to the dramatic rise in earthquakes in Oklahoma in recent years. The earthquake destroyed at least a half-dozen buildings on the Pawnee Nation and another half dozen in the city of Pawnee. This is Pawnee Mayor Brad Sewell.
Mayor Brad Sewell: “Well, we had an earthquake that was just unprecedented in this area. I mean, this was—we’ve had a lot of earthquakes over the last couple of years, and they have been just single tremors, and, you know, boom and it’s gone. And right away, you could tell this was something different. I mean, this was a long, sustained, strong earthquake. Things toppled off of shelves. And, you know, it rattled windows and did all kinds of things.”
At the G20 summit, President Obama also tried to assure Asian nations that the United States would, in fact, ratify the Trans-Pacific Partnership, despite mounting opposition.
President Barack Obama: “On the merits, it is smart for America to do it. And I have yet to hear a persuasive argument from the left or the right as to why we wouldn’t want to create a trade framework that raises labor standards, raises environmental standards, protects intellectual property, levels the playing field for U.S. businesses, brings down tariffs. It is indisputable that it would create a better deal for us than the status quo.”
The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a massive proposed trade deal that would encompass 12 Pacific Rim nations, including the U.S., and 40 percent of the global economy. U.S. presidential nominees Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and Jill Stein have all said they would not sign the TPP. It has faced years of public protests by those who say it benefits corporations at the expense of health and environmental regulations.
Meanwhile, at the G20 summit President Obama also spoke out about NFL 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who has been refusing to stand for the national anthem after saying, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses Black people and people of color.” This is President Obama on Kaepernick.
President Barack Obama: “He’s exercising his constitutional right to make a statement. I think there’s a long history of sports figures doing so. I think there are a lot of ways you can do it. As a general matter, when it comes to the flag and the national anthem and the meaning that that holds for our men and women in uniform and those who fought for us, you know, that is a tough thing for them to get past to then hear what his deeper concerns are.”
At least two other NFL players have joined Kaepernick in his ongoing protest: 49ers safety Eric Reid and Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane. Megan Rapinoe of the National Women’s Soccer League team the Seattle Reign also knelt during the national anthem before their game Sunday against the Chicago Red Stars. Rapinoe told American Soccer Now, “Being a gay American, I know what it means to look at the flag and not have it protect all of your liberties. It was something small that I could do and something that I plan to keep doing in the future and hopefully spark some meaningful conversation around it. It’s important to have white people stand in support of people of color on this.”
After Obama’s trip to China, he became the first sitting U.S. president to visit Laos, where he has pledged $90 million to help clear Laos of unexploded U.S. bombs left from the United States’ secret bombing campaign in Laos during the Vietnam War. Between 1964 and 1973, the U.S. dropped as many as 270 million cluster bombs on Laos. Laos authorities say as many as one-third of these cluster bombs did not explode at the time.
During his three-day trip to Laos, Obama was also slated to meet with the controversial president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte. But Obama canceled this meeting after Duterte called President Obama a “son of a whore” and warned him not to ask about his so-called drug war, in which police and vigilantes have killed at least 2,400 people in only two months. This is Duterte.
President Rodrigo Duterte: “I am a president of a sovereign state, and we have long ceased to be a colony. I do not have any master except the Filipino people, nobody but nobody. You must be respectful. Do not just throw away questions and statements. Son of a whore, I will swear at you in that forum.”
This comes as President Duterte declared an indefinite national state of emergency Monday after a bombing in the city of Davao killed 14 people on Friday. The declaration does not amount to martial law but does give the police and military sweeping powers. Militants from the group Abu Sayyaf have claimed responsibility for the bombing.
In Syria, at least 40 people have died in a wave of suicide bombings across government-held areas. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attacks in Tartus, Homs, Hasakah and in a suburb of Damascus. The deadly blasts came after President Obama met with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday alongside the G20 summit, and after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov met on Sunday and failed to secure an agreement for a ceasefire in Syria. The U.S. and Russia are backing opposite sides of the war between Syrian rebels and the Syrian government, although both countries have said they are fighting ISIS in Syria.
On Saturday in North Dakota, security guards working for the Dakota Access pipeline company attacked Native Americans with dogs and pepper spray as they resisted the $3.8 billion pipeline’s construction.
Water protector 1: “This guy maced me in the face. Look, it’s all over my sunglasses. He just maced me in the face.”
Water protector 2: “These people are just—were threatening all of us with these dogs. And she, that woman over there, she was charging him, and it bit somebody right in the face.”
Amy Goodman: “The dog has blood in its nose and its mouth.”
Water protector 2: “And she’s still standing here threatening us.”
Amy Goodman: “Why are you letting her dog go after the protesters? It’s covered in blood.”
Water protector 3: “Over there, with that dog. I was like walking. [She] throwed the dog on me and straight, even without any warning, you know? Look at this. Look at this.”
Amy Goodman: “That dog bit you?”
Water protector 3: “Yeah, the dog did it, you know? Look at this. It’s there.”
The Dakota Access pipeline would carry about 500,000 barrels of crude per day from North Dakota’s Bakken oil field to Illinois. The pipeline has faced months of resistance from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and members of nearly 100 more tribes from across the U.S. and Canada. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has also sued the U.S. government over the pipeline’s construction. On Friday, lawyers for the tribe filed documents showing how the very land where Dakota Access would bulldoze on Saturday was, in fact, a tribal burial site. Today, a federal judge in Washington, D.C., will decide whether to grant a temporary restraining order prohibiting further construction of the Dakota Access pipeline in the area near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, until this same judge rules on the tribe’s lawsuit against the U.S. government, which is expected by Friday. We’ll have more on the standoff at Standing Rock and today’s hearing in D.C. with tribal chairman Dave Archambault and others later in the broadcast.
In news from the campaign trail, a New York Times analysis of Hillary Clinton’s fundraising schedule shows she raised $50 million at elite gatherings over the last two weeks of August—raising an average of $150,000 an hour. This comes as Hillary Clinton held almost no news conferences in months. She has, however, attended a series of exclusive fundraising events in wealthy vacation enclaves including the Hamptons, Martha’s Vineyard and Beverly Hills. Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump allowed journalists to fly on their planes over the weekend.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump is facing questions about his 2013 donation of $25,000 to a political group backing Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, only days after Bondi’s office said it might investigate claims of fraud at Trump University. Following the donation, Bondi’s office said it would no longer investigate Trump University, which is now facing an ongoing lawsuit arguing the defunct for-profit school defrauded students.
In Brazil, police attacked protesters with tear gas, stun guns, water cannons and rubber bullets during a march Sunday in São Paulo in support of ousted President Dilma Rousseff. As many as 100,000 people took to the streets in protest of the new president, Michel Temer, who assumed power after Rousseff’s impeachment by the Brazilian Senate last week. This is one of the protesters.
Gustavo Amigo: “Because the Temer government is going to look to make antidemocratic reforms that go against the people. And we’re here to show that the people still have the power, and that despite the coup, we are here in the street to bring down the (current) government and call for a new election.”
In Britain, the London City Airport shut down flights this morning after nine Black Lives Matter activists locked themselves together on the runway to protest the climate change impact of air travel on black people worldwide. In a series of tweets sent out by Black Lives Matter UK this morning, the group highlighted how many majority black nations in Africa are most impacted by climate change, even though majority white nations, like Britain, are most responsible for causing climate change. The protesters erected a tripod and chained themselves together, delaying flights for hours, before being arrested. This is a clip of a video put out by Black Lives Matter UK explaining the protest.
Speaker 1: “The U.K. is the biggest per-capita contributor to global temperature change and the least vulnerable.”
Speaker 2: “According to the UNHCR, by 2050, there will be 200 million climate refugees.”
Speaker 3: “Seven out of 10 of the countries most affected by climate change are in Sub-Saharan Africa.”
Speaker 4: “Climate crisis is a racist crisis.”
And in Puerto Rico, hundreds of people shut down the island’s biggest Wal-Mart Monday in protest against the ongoing economic crisis on the island and the companies that protesters say are responsible. Protesters argue Wal-Mart damages the local economy while only providing precarious jobs for Puerto Ricans. Last month, a U.S. appeals court ruled against Puerto Rico in its efforts to raise Wal-Mart’s tax rate from 2 percent up to 6.5 percent. Monday’s protest, which shut down the Wal-Mart for the entire afternoon, was organized by the Socialist Workers Movement. This comes after a massive protest last week in Puerto Rico outside a conference hosted by the Puerto Rico Chamber of Commerce on the new PROMESA law, which was passed by the U.S. Congress in June, establishing a federally appointed control board with sweeping powers to run Puerto Rico’s economy. This is one of the protesters from Monday’s Wal-Mart action.
Melissa Vargas Echevarría: “My name is Melissa Vargas Echevarría. I am an active member and spokesperson of the Camp Against the Control Board. I’m also a member of the Workers Youth. We closed Wal-Mart’s operations for the day, and, in part, this is proof that when the people unite, we win. We need people to keep coming out to these protests, so that every multinational begins stepping backward, and we’re going to directly affect the ones who affect us directly. While the control board remains, we’re going to continue.”