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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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In Texas, a gunman opened fire with a semi-automatic assault rifle on a Sunday morning church service in the small town of Sutherland Springs, killing 26 people and wounding at least 20 others. Witnesses say a man dressed in black wearing tactical gear and a ballistic vest began firing outside the church before entering the building, shooting dozens of people inside. Among the victims was a pregnant woman, the 14-year-old daughter of the church’s pastor and other children as young as five years old. The suspected shooter has been identified as a 26-year-old white man named Devin Patrick Kelley from New Braunfels, Texas. Kelley was found dead in his car from a gunshot wound shortly after the shooting. It is not yet known whether he killed himself or whether he was shot by a local resident who opened fire on Kelley after the church massacre and then chased him, along with another resident, in his car 11 miles away from the church. Kelley enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 2010. In 2012, he was court-martialed for assaulting his wife and child, leading to a year-long imprisonment and “bad conduct” discharge in 2014. We’ll have more on the Texas massacre after headlines.
President Trump kicked off a 13-day, five-nation trip to Asia with a visit to Japan Saturday, pressing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for a better trade agreement and urging Japan to purchase more U.S. weapons. At a joint news conference with Abe on Monday, Trump repeated a threat against North Korea over its nuclear program, saying the “era of strategic patience is over.” Trump is scheduled to visit South Korea on Tuesday; ahead of his visit, antiwar activists gathered outside the U.S. Embassy to protest Trump’s threats to “totally destroy North Korea.”
Oh Mi-jeong: “We urge U.S. President Trump to solve issues on the Korean Peninsula by halting the South Korean-U.S. joint military drills and making North Korea stop development of the nuclear and missile program through dialogue and negotiation, not sanctions or pressure.”
Shocking new revelations reveal the ways the world’s richest men stash away billions of dollars in wealth in offshore tax havens. The revelations, known as the Paradise Papers, came in 13.4 million leaked documents published over the weekend revealing how the Bermudan law firm Appleby helps corporations and the world’s wealthiest people evade taxes and obscure their ownership of everything from private planes to whole companies. Among those implicated is Wilbur Ross, who continued to invest in a shipping company tied to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s son-in-law even after he became President Trump’s commerce secretary. The shipping company Navigator Holdings is also linked to a Russian oligarch subject to U.S. sanctions. The files also implicate Trump’s secretary of state, Rex Tillerson; his chief economic adviser, Gary Cohn; Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin; Jon Huntsman, Trump’s new U.S. ambassador to Russia; and Carl Icahn, Trump’s billionaire former adviser. We’ll have more on the Paradise Papers later in the broadcast.
In Afghanistan, residents of the northern Kunduz province say U.S. airstrikes killed scores of civilians Friday, after bombs fell on three villages west of the district capital. Residents say Afghan security forces wouldn’t allow them to access the attack sites to pick up the bodies of their relatives, making an accurate account of the death toll impossible. One provincial council member said about 55 civilians were killed, while an Afghan aid worker put the toll at at least 40. The attack came two days after 15 people were killed and dozens wounded when an attack on a fuel tanker northwest of Kabul set a passenger bus on fire. There was no claim of responsibility for that attack. Elsewhere, the U.S. military said one soldier was killed after a battle in the eastern Logar province. The increased violence comes as the Trump administration ramps up the war in Afghanistan—already the longest war in U.S. history.
In Saudi Arabia, authorities arrested scores of prominent officials over the weekend, including 10 princes, four ministers and dozens of former ministers, in a massive shakeup by King Salman aimed at consolidating power for his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Among those arrested was Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, one of the world’s richest people, with an estimated net worth of at least $17 billion. Talal has investments in many well-known U.S. companies, like Apple, Twitter, Citigroup—and Rupert Murdoch’s media empire, News Corp. Separately, a senior Saudi prince died Sunday when his helicopter crashed near the border with Yemen, fueling speculation he’d been assassinated. The arrests, on unspecified “corruption” charges, came just hours after the crown prince convened a new anti-corruption committee with wide-ranging powers to detain and arrest anyone accused, and to search their homes and seize their assets. The arrests came as the White House said President Trump called King Salman to offer thanks for the kingdom’s purchases of billions of dollars in U.S. weaponry, while praising what it called the kingdom’s “modernization drive.” The White House made no mention of the arrests. President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, was in Saudi Arabia last week.
Meanwhile, the U.S.-backed, Saudi-led coalition began a massive bombing campaign in western Yemen over the weekend, just hours after Houthi rebels fired a ballistic missile toward the Saudi capital, Riyadh. Residents of the capital Sana’a say bombs rained down on government buildings—including the presidential palace, the national security headquarters and the Interior Ministry.
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri resigned unexpectedly Saturday, citing Iran’s growing power in the Middle East and saying he feared being assassinated like his father, former leader Rafik Hariri. The move stunned observers and cast Lebanese politics into disarray. Hariri made the announcement in a televised speech from Saudi Arabia that aired on the Saudi-funded Al Arabiya network, prompting speculation that Hariri was forced out by the Saudi royal family. This is Hassan Nasrallah, head of the powerful Hezbollah militia and political party.
Hassan Nasrallah: “This information gives us a clear conclusion that the resignation was a Saudi decision dictated to Prime Minister Hariri, so he was forced into it. The resignation wasn’t his intention, his desire or his decision.”
In Vietnam, at least 49 people are dead after the most powerful typhoon to strike the country in nearly two decades made landfall Saturday, bringing damaging winds and flooding. The storm follows flooding blamed for another 80 deaths last month.
The floods came as a comprehensive new study by the U.S. government finds global average temperatures have increased 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit since 1900 and will continue to rise along with greenhouse gas emissions, with human activity as the only plausible driver. The stark warning came as part of the National Climate Assessment, a congressionally mandated report due every four years. The assessment was approved by the White House—a move that surprised many observers, though spokesperson Raj Shah later sought to downplay its scientific findings.
The report was released shortly before thousands of delegates from nearly 200 countries gathered Monday for United Nations climate talks, with President Trump’s move to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate accord casting a shadow over negotiations. The talks are presided over by the Republic of Fiji—one of several small island nations that face an existential threat from sea level rise caused by climate change. This is Fiji’s Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama.
Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama: “We bring a message from Fiji and the Pacific and the vulnerable nations of the world, to say that enough is enough. We need the political will of the parties to make the changes necessary to bring about—to get rid of the suffering from the people of the world.”
Ahead of this year’s climate talks, thousands of activists marched Saturday through the streets of Bonn calling for an end to coal production. Organizers said as many as 25,000 joined the protest. On Sunday, thousands of protesters stormed onto the grounds of the massive Hambach coal mine west of Bonn, shutting down a massive coal excavator. The site is the largest open-pit mine in Europe.
In Brussels, a judge has ordered the ousted president of Spain’s Catalonia region and four of his former deputies not to leave Belgium, after a Spanish judge issued an international arrest warrant on charges of rebellion, sedition and embezzlement over their role in declaring Catalan independence. The judge freed Carles Puigdemont and the other four Sunday night after they turned themselves in, ordering them to return to court within 15 days to face a hearing that could see them deported to Spain. Last month, the Spanish government seized control of Catalonia after its leaders proceeded with a banned independence referendum.
In Bowling Green, Kentucky, Republican Senator Rand Paul said Sunday he’s suffering from bruised lungs and five broken ribs after he was allegedly assaulted by his next-door neighbor. Police have charged 59-year-old retired doctor Rene Boucher with fourth-degree assault, after he allegedly attacked Paul on Friday as the senator mowed his lawn. It’s not known what might have prompted the attack, but neighbors reported the two had an ongoing feud. Paul’s injuries are worse than initially reported, and if he’s unable to return to Capitol Hill this fall, it could derail Republican efforts to pass tax cuts that would overwhelmingly benefit the wealthiest Americans.
In Fort Bragg, North Carolina, a military judge has released Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl with a $10,000 fine and a dishonorable discharge—but no prison time, in a case that could have seen the former Taliban captive sentenced to life in prison. Bergdahl pleaded guilty this month to charges of desertion and “misbehavior before the enemy,” after he was returned to the U.S. in 2014 in exchange for five prisoners held at Guantánamo. He’d been held captive by the Taliban for five years after he walked off his post in what an Army investigation found was an attempt to reach another U.S. base to report on wrongdoing in his unit.
Former Democratic National Committee interim chair Donna Brazile revealed Saturday she seriously considered swapping out Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton for Vice President Joe Biden—with New Jersey Senator Cory Booker as his running mate—after Clinton collapsed from exhaustion at an event on September 11 of last year. The bombshell came as Brazile published her new memoir, entitled “Hacks,” describing a DNC in disarray, with a Clinton campaign Brazile labeled “anemic” and tainted by what she called “the odor of failure.” Last week, Brazile revealed that the DNC made an unethical agreement with Hillary Clinton’s campaign during the lead-up to the 2016 election—skewing the primary in her favor in exchange for money to keep the indebted party afloat.
And hundreds of protesters rallied in cities around the U.S. over the weekend, protesting President Trump and his administration’s support for the far right. In New York City, hundreds marched under the banner “refuse fascism.”
Carl Dix: “My name is Carl Dix. I’m a co-initiator of RefuseFascism.org. And today is the beginning of the end for the Trump-Pence regime. November 4th, here in Manhattan and in 20 other cities across the country, people are in the streets, engaging in nonviolent protest, but not as a one-day registration of opposition to Trump, because November 4th is going to be the beginning of a process—people in the streets, day after day and night after night, with one single demand: This nightmare must end; the Trump-Pence regime must go.”