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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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Egypt has declared three days of national mourning, after at least 305 people were killed in an attack on a crowded Sufi mosque in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula on Friday. Egyptian officials are calling it the deadliest terror attack in Egypt’s modern history. On Friday, more than two dozen attackers wearing military combat uniforms detonated a bomb inside the mosque, then opened fire with machine guns on fleeing worshipers and set cars ablaze to stop people from being able to escape. Among the victims were at least 27 children. Officials are blaming the attack on a militant group linked to ISIS. This is Mohamed Abdel Fattah, the imam of the al-Rawdah mosque, which was attacked on Friday.
Mohamed Abdel Fattah: “Yesterday’s sermon was on Muhammad, the prophet of humanity, and the week before that was on Muhammad, the prophet for mercy. I believe these are two issues that the entire world, whether Muslims or non-Muslim, need to implement: mercy, forgiveness and humanity. A religion based on humanity will never condone violence or aggression such as this.”
Over the last year, ISIS-linked militants in Egypt have also repeatedly targeted Coptic Christians, bombing two Coptic churches and opening fire on a bus headed to a monastery. Within hours after Friday’s attack, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi appeared on television, vowing revenge for the attack. Only minutes later, Egyptian warplanes carried out multiple airstrikes in the desert of the Sinai Peninsula. The military says they were targeting militants fleeing the attack. We’ll go to Egypt for more on the attack after headlines.
In Washington, D.C., there’s chaos at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, as two people are battling for control of the consumer protection agency, which was created in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. After announcing his resignation earlier in the month, on Friday, former Director Richard Cordray resigned and appointed his former chief of staff, Leandra English, to be his successor. But President Trump intervened, unexpectedly announcing he planned to appoint his budget director, Mick Mulvaney, to head the agency. While serving as a South Carolina congressmember, Mulvaney voted to eliminate the agency entirely. Leandra English has sued President Donald Trump over his appointment of Mulvaney. The 2010 Dodd-Frank Act that created the agency specifically calls for the deputy director to become acting director when the agency’s top spot is vacant. We’ll have more on the battle at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau later in the broadcast.
Lawmakers are returning to Capitol Hill today, where they’re facing escalating pressure to reveal which lawmakers have used taxpayer money to pay out at least $17 million in settlements for sexual harassment and racial discrimination. While many members of Congress are pushing to pass a resolution to require mandatory sexual harassment awareness training, Congressmember Jackie Speier is introducing legislation to make all sexual harassment settlements public. The bill would also end a mandatory “cooling-off period” before accusers could file sexual harassment claims.
Michigan Congressmember John Conyers is stepping aside as the ranking Democratic lawmaker on the House Judiciary Committee, after multiple women accused him of sexual harassment and misconduct. Conyers reportedly paid out $27,000 to one woman who alleged she was fired from his Washington staff because she rejected his sexual advances. The news of the settlement was first reported by BuzzFeed, after a white supremacist blogger gave BuzzFeed the documents. Conyers denies the accusations. Meanwhile, Minnesota Democratic Senator Al Franken says he will not resign from the Senate, but is returning to Capitol Hill today feeling “embarrassed and ashamed” after three women accused him of groping them without their consent.
This all comes as President Trump continues to offer support for Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore, who has been accused of sexually harassing or assaulting at least nine women when they were children or young adults. On Sunday, Trump slammed Moore’s opponent, Doug Jones, tweeting: “The last thing we need in Alabama and the U.S. Senate is a Schumer/Pelosi puppet.” Trump himself has been accused of sexual harassment and assault by at least 16 women.
The journalism schools at Arizona State University and the University of Kentucky have rescinded awards given to Charlie Rose, who was fired by CBS after nearly a dozen women accused him of sexual harassment and assault. The dean of Arizona’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication said, “The actions victimized young women much like those who make up the overwhelming majority of Cronkite students—young women who deserve to enter workplaces that reward them for their hard work, intelligence and creativity and where they do not have to fear for their safety or dignity.”
Women across the world took to the streets on Saturday on the annual International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. Crowds poured into the streets in Peru, Mexico, France, Sweden, Spain, Mozambique and other countries to protest femicide, rape and sexual harassment. In Turkey, thousands of women clashed with police in Istanbul during the protest.
Aysegul Doker: “They do not even let this [march] happen. They cannot even tolerate this. They don’t want us, the women, to be free. But we will not leave the streets, as long as we can.”
Fatos Ocal “First, the government needs to stop their discriminating policies, even supported by laws, against women, because woman will always say no to this.”
In South Africa, the Supreme Court of Appeals has more than doubled the prison sentence for Olympic and Paralympic runner Oscar Pistorius, who was convicted of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in 2013. The sentence has now been increased from six years to 15 years.
Back in Washington, D.C., more than 100 senior Foreign Service officers have left the State Department since President Trump took office, in what appears to be a forced exodus carried out by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Among those to have departed was the State Department’s chief of security, Bill Miller, who left after Tillerson repeatedly refused to meet with him. Miller is one of the most powerful people at the State Department. Yet he was reportedly forced to cite a law requiring him to be allowed to speak with the secretary of state before Tillerson was willing to meet with him—for five minutes, leading Miller to resign.
Pope Francis is visiting Burma today, amid the Burmese military’s ongoing ethnic cleansing campaign against Rohingya Muslims in the majority-Buddhist nation. More than 600,000 Rohingya have fled Burma into neighboring Bangladesh amid a Burmese military campaign of murder, rape, torture and forcible displacement.
Pope Francis is slated to meet today with the Burmese military leader Min Aung Hlaing, who has sole authority over Burma’s armed forces and who is likely planning to run for president in 2020.
On Tuesday, Pope Francis will meet with Burma’s de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize winner whose relative silence in the face of the ethnic cleansing campaign has deeply undercut her international standing. This all comes only days after Bangladesh and Burma signed a deal to repatriate of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees back to Burma. This is Abdul Mannan, a Rohingya refugee, speaking from a Bangladeshi refugee camp.
Abdul Mannan: “We ought to be returning to our own country. But we have one condition: We Rohingya people want our own nationality to be recognized there. If we are not recognized by the government there, then we will not go back from here.”
In Honduras, millions of people went to the polls Sunday to vote in a contested presidential election that pits the authoritarian conservative president Juan Orlando Hernández against the left-wing alliance’s candidate Salvador Nasralla. As of this morning, Nasralla is leading Hernández by about 5 percentage points. Both candidates have claimed victory, although the results have not been fully counted.
In Syria, dozens of civilians have been killed in the last 24 hours by shelling and airstrikes reportedly carried out by the Syrian regime and Russia. The attacks occurred in the ISIS-controlled eastern province of Deir ez-Zor and the rebel-controlled district of Eastern Ghouta, outside the capital Damascus.
Meanwhile, the Pentagon is slated to announce in the coming days that there are already 2,000 U.S. soldiers inside Syria. The Pentagon has previously claimed there are only 500 U.S. soldiers inside Syria. This comes as the U.S. is reportedly ending its strategy of arming Syrian Kurdish fighters, who were the main on-the-ground fighting force in the months-long U.S. campaign that pushed ISIS out of Raqqa. Turkey has opposed the U.S. backing of the Syrian Kurds.
In Pakistan, the federal law minister has resigned after weeks of escalating protests in Islamabad. On Saturday, at least five people were killed when security forces cracked down on the protesters, firing rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas and water cannons.
In news on media consolidation, the company Time Inc., which publishes Time magazine, Sports Illustrated, Fortune and People, has been bought by the Meredith Corporation in a $3 billion deal backed by the Koch brothers. The Meredith Corporation owns the magazines Family Circle, Better Homes and Gardens and AllRecipes.com. The Koch brothers invested $650 million in the deal.
Black workers at Tesla’s Fremont, California, factory have filed a class action lawsuit accusing Tesla of being a “hotbed for racist behavior.” A former African-American worker at Tesla says he was routinely called the N-word while working at the factory, and that after he complained, he was fired for not having a positive attitude. Tesla is also facing lawsuits accusing the company of discriminating against LGBT workers and older workers.
And in Massachusetts, members of Native American nations from across New England gathered in Plymouth on Thursday to observe the 48th annual National Day of Mourning. As many across the country were celebrating Thanksgiving, the Native Americans were gathering to remember the genocide and colonialism brought by European settlers, who established one of the first permanent settlements in North America in Plymouth.