At the United Nations headquarters in New York, 122 countries have approved a global treaty to ban the use of nuclear weapons, despite the United States leading the opposition to the treaty. In the end, all countries with nuclear arms ended up boycotting the negotiations. The historic vote now means that within two years there could be the ratification necessary to enter the treaty into international law. President of the U.N. conference, Elayne Whyte Gómez, Costa Rican ambassador, said, “This is a very clear statement that the international community wants to move to a completely different security paradigm that does not include nuclear weapons.”
On Sunday, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi traveled to Mosul to declare that the U.S.-backed Iraqi troops had seized control of all of Mosul from ISIS. According to the journalistic monitoring group Airwars, U.S.-backed coalition forces fired 29,000 munitions into the city during the nine-month assault. Airwars is estimating between 900 and 1,200 civilians were likely killed by coalition air and artillery strikes during the assault on Mosul, but the overall death toll is significantly higher. The International Red Cross reports seeing a tremendous increase in civilian casualties in recent weeks. According to the United Nations, almost 700,000 residents are still displaced—nearly half living in emergency camps. We’ll have more on Mosul after headlines with award-winning journalist Azmat Khan.
This comes after President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin had their first official sit-down meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, on Friday. During the two-hour meeting, the two discussed a ceasefire in parts of southwest Syria, whether Russia intervened in the 2016 U.S. election, and a plan—which Trump is already backing away from—to form a joint cybersecurity team to work against election hacking. On Sunday, Trump tweeted, “I strongly pressed President Putin twice about Russian meddling in our election. He vehemently denied it. I’ve already given my opinion.....” Following the meeting, Russian President Putin said Trump had accepted his denial of election interference.
President Vladimir Putin: “Our position is well known. I’ve spoken about it. There are no grounds to believe that Russia interfered in the election process in the United States. He asked a lot of questions about this issue. I answered these questions as well as I could. It seems to me he accepted it and agreed. But you are better off asking him what he thought about it.”
Trump is now backpedaling on the plan to form a joint cybersecurity unit with Russia, after facing widespread backlash over the weekend, including from South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham.
Sen. Lindsey Graham: “And he had what I think is a disastrous meeting with President Putin. Two hours and 15 minutes of meetings, Tillerson and Trump are ready to forgive and forget when it comes to cyberattacks on the American election of 2016.”
Monitoring groups say a ceasefire brokered by Trump and Putin for parts of southwest Syria does appear to be holding, as a new round of U.N.-sponsored peace talks open today in Geneva. The territory covered by the ceasefire includes rebel-held areas of Daraa, where opposition officials say weeks of intense bombing by the Syrian government stopped after the ceasefire took effect Sunday. However, fighting continues in other parts of the country, including in Raqqa, where the journalistic group Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently says 23 civilians were killed by U.S.-led coalition airstrikes and shelling by U.S.-backed forces over the weekend.
The G20 summit closed in Hamburg, Germany, on Saturday with all 19 countries except for the United States signing on to a declaration calling the 2015 Paris climate accord “irreversible.” Multiple world leaders condemned President Trump and the United States for being the sole G20 country to break its commitment to the Paris deal. This is British Prime Minister Theresa May.
Prime Minister Theresa May: “Like other world leaders here, I’m dismayed at the U.S. decision to pull out of the Paris Agreement. And I’ve urged President Trump to rejoin the Paris Agreement. The U.K.’s own commitment to the Paris Agreement and tackling global climate change is as strong as ever.”
Despite the unity among all 19 other G20 countries on the Paris climate accord, environmental organizations say the G20 countries still provide $72 billion per year in public financing for fossil fuels—nearly four times as much as they provide for clean energy. On Saturday morning, Greenpeace activists outside the G20 summit scaled a bridge and hung a gigantic banner that simply stated “End Coal.” Later in the day, more than 75,000 people took to the streets of Hamburg for a massive
demonstration against the G20. The massive march capped off days of widespread demonstrations against the G20, which saw more than 100,000 demonstrators and violent police repression, including the use of water cannons, pepper spray and stun grenades to disperse protesters. We’ll have more on the G20 countries’ public financing for fossil fuels later in the broadcast.
Arizona Senator John McCain and other Senate Republicans are expressing increasing doubt that they’ll be able to push through the Republican healthcare plan, as lawmakers return to Capitol Hill today from a week-long recess.
Sen. John McCain: “I think my view is it’s probably going to be dead. But I am—I’ve been wrong. I thought I’d be president of the United States. But I think—I think I fear that it’s going to fail. And then we should convene a Republican conference, say, 'What are we going to do?'”
If passed, the Republican Senate healthcare plan could cause 22 million Americans to lose their insurance over the next decade. President Trump has been heavily backing the healthcare plan and, this morning, tweeted, “I cannot imagine that Congress would dare to leave Washington without a beautiful new HealthCare bill fully approved and ready to go!”
In Turkey, hundreds of thousands of people rallied in Istanbul Sunday on the final day of a 260-mile march from Ankara protesting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s brutal crackdown against civil society. This is opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu.
Kemal Kilicdaroglu: “The era we live in is a dictatorship. I want everyone to know that this is a dictatorship era. The government took advantage of the coup attempt that was carried out on July 15th, and they staged a coup on July 20th by declaring a state of emergency. They usurped the power of parliament. We call that the July 15th coup of the presidential palace. The implementations of the state of emergency, which turned into a civil coup, has given the executive, legislative and judiciary powers to one man.”
Since the failed military coup nearly one year ago, the Turkish government has jailed 40,000 people, and 150,000 teachers, judges and other state workers have been suspended. The massive demonstration came the same day Secretary of State Rex Tillerson praised President Erdogan and his government while speaking in Istanbul at the World Petroleum Congress conference, where he was receiving the lifetime achievement award for his work as the longtime CEO of ExxonMobil.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson: “I take this moment to recognize their courage and honor the victims of the events of July 15th, 2016. It was on that day that the Turkish people exercised their rights under the Turkish constitution, defended their place in a prosperous Turkey. And we remember those who were injured or died in that event.”
The New York Times is reporting that the Mexican government used an Israeli-made spy software to surveil a team of international investigators who had been dispatched to Mexico to investigate the high-profile disappearance of 43 students at the Ayotzinapa teachers’ college in Guerrero in 2014. The international investigators included some of Latin America’s most prominent lawyers, who had been granted a form of diplomatic immunity to carry out their investigation. The Times has also reported the Mexican government also used the spying software called Pegasus to spy on Mexican human rights activists and journalists.
Amnesty International is condemning the trial against prominent Palestinian activist Issa Amro, whose trial in an Israeli military court began on Sunday. Amro is the founder of the group Youth Against Settlements. He faces 18 counts, including “insulting an Israeli soldier.” The military courts in the Israeli-occupied West Bank have a nearly 100 percent conviction rate. Issa Amro told Electronic Intifada, “Under Israeli military law, I am already convicted. It is a racist court in an apartheid system.”
Back in the United States, in Charlottesville, Virginia, more than 1,000 people protested against a small Ku Klux Klan rally on Saturday. The KKK rally was in protest of the city’s decision to remove a statue of the Confederate General Robert E. Lee. After the hooded KKK members departed, police moved in and attacked the counterprotesters with tear gas and arrested 23 people.
In Austin, Texas, family members and residents are mourning the death of 22-year-old Bakari Jaward Henderson, an African-American tourist who was beaten to death outside a bar in Greece. Henderson had just recently graduated from the University of Arizona. Henderson was attacked by at least 10 people and was beaten even after he was unconscious.
Thousands of residents across California and western Canada have been forced to evacuate as massive uncontrolled wildfires destroyed homes, closed highways and shut down at least one airport. British Columbia has declared a state of emergency. This is Brish Columbia resident Chris Sonmor.
Chris Sonmor: “I woke up at about 1:30 in the afternoon, because I work nights, and woke up to a bunch of texts from my wife saying that Ashcroft was surrounded. So I went out on my patio, and the fire was on the mountainside right behind my house. And we just kind of watched it come down the mountain.”