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The United States and South Korea have carried out joint ballistic missile drills in the Sea of Japan, after North Korea successfully tested an intercontinental missile that experts believe would be capable of reaching Alaska. North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, said this morning that the missile test was a Fourth of July “gift” to President Trump. The Pentagon also released a video last Wednesday of a U.S. long-range interceptor missile colliding with an intercontinental-range missile, as an apparent warning to North Korea. Tensions have been rising in recent months between the United States and North Korea. Earlier this year, the United States carried out massive military exercises in the Korean Peninsula and deployed an anti-missile system known as THAAD to South Korea, despite protests by South Koreans. The new South Korean president, Moon Jae-in, is also opposed to the THAAD missile system and last month ordered an investigation after learning that four more missile launchers had been brought into South Korea. After the North Korean missile launch, President Trump tweeted, “Perhaps China will put a heavy move on North Korea and end this nonsense once and for all!” Meanwhile, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Russia and met with Russian President Vladimir Putin, where the two expressed their opposition to THAAD and the U.S. military drills in the region. In a joint statement issued Tuesday, China and Russia called on North Korea to suspend its ballistic missile program, and called on the U.S. and South Korea to cease their massive joint military exercises. The statement also calls on the U.S. to immediately cancel the deployment of the THAAD missile system. The United Nations Security Council is holding an emergency meeting today over the North Korean missile test.
Thousands of protesters marched in dozens of cities across the United States on Sunday to demand President Trump’s impeachment. Marchers took to the streets in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Austin, Philadelphia, New York City, in Davenport, Iowa, and other U.S. cities. These are two protesters in Los Angeles.
Protester 1: “Resist. And resist loud, so loud that we won’t even hear the door slam when he’s dragged out of office.”
Protester 2: “I really think his mental state is unstable. And I think everyone kind of knows that, but we don’t say it about our president.”
Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill, more than 20 Democratic lawmakers are now backing a bill introduced by Maryland Congressmember Jamie Raskin that would create a commission to determine if the president is mentally or physically unfit for office. The bill has gained support over the last week, after Trump issued sexist tweets attacking MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski, calling her “crazy” and falsely claiming she was “bleeding badly from a face-lift.”
On Sunday, Trump again sparked outrage when he tweeted a doctored video of himself body-slamming and punching a figure whose head has been replaced by the CNN logo. The video was an edited clip of Trump appearing at the event WrestleMania in 2007. The video ends with the words ”FNN: Fraud News Network.” It was posted to Trump’s personal account, then retweeted by the official presidential account. The Reddit user who created the doctored video has made racist, Islamophobic, anti-Semitic and violent comments in the past online, including commenting on a photo of refugees by writing “there’s a MOAB (Mother of All Bomb’s) for that”—in reference the massive bomb the U.S. dropped on Afghanistan in April. The user also posted a photo of Jewish staff members of CNN with Stars of David next to their headshots. After being identified by CNN, the user deleted his past posts and apologized. In response to the video, CNN said, “Instead of preparing for his overseas trip, his first meeting with Vladimir Putin, dealing with North Korea and working on his health care bill, he is instead involved in juvenile behavior below the dignity of his office. We will keep doing our jobs. He should start doing his.”
President Trump is heading to Poland today, where he’s slated to meet with Poland’s President Andrzej Duda before giving a speech in Warsaw Square. Poland has one of the farthest-right governments in Europe and is currently defying European Union rules by refusing to allow refugees into Poland. Trump will then head to the G20 summit, where he’ll have an official meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday afternoon. It’s Trump’s first meeting with Putin as president and comes as Trump faces multiple investigations over his ties to Russia. Thousands of protesters are expected to disrupt the G20 summit. On Sunday, German police attacked protesters with water cannons as thousands demonstrated against the summit and Trump. On July 14, Trump will visit France for Bastille Day and meet with French President Emmanuel Macron.
A top Justice Department official has resigned, citing President Trump. In a LinkedIn post, former corporate compliance watchdog Hui Chen wrote, “On my mind were the numerous lawsuits pending against the President of the United States for everything from violations of the Constitution to conflict of interest, the ongoing investigations of potentially treasonous conducts, and the investigators and prosecutors fired for their pursuits of principles and facts. Those are conducts I would not tolerate seeing in a company, yet I worked under an administration that engaged in exactly those conduct. I wanted no more part in it.”
A delegation of senators, including Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, Arizona Senator John McCain, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham and Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, visited Afghanistan over the July 4th weekend. The group demanded President Trump fill vacant embassy and State Department positions in Afghanistan, amid what the Pentagon calls a mounting military crisis. The Trump administration has not yet even appointed an ambassador to Afghanistan.
Foreign ministers of Bahrain, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia are meeting today amid a diplomatic standoff with the Gulf nation of Qatar. The Saudi-led coalition has issued 13 demands on Qatar, including the closing of the Al Jazeera TV channel. Other demands on Qatar include ending its support for the Muslim Brotherhood, downgrading diplomatic ties with Iran and closing a Turkish military base in the country. The diplomatic standoff began soon after President Trump met Saudi King Salman in Riyadh. We’ll have more on the diplomatic crisis in the Gulf later in the broadcast.
In Iraq, U.S.-backed Iraqi forces are continuing to fight ISIS in a few remaining neighborhoods of Mosul. Iraqi military officials say they expect to seize control of the entire city of Mosul by the end of the week. The fighting has forced hundreds of thousands to flee the city, while U.S.-led airstrikes backing the ground offensive have reportedly killed hundreds of civilians.
In Lebanon, two separate fires tore through Syrian refugee camps in recent days, killing at least one girl and injuring nearly two dozen others. On Sunday, a fire burned the camp housing hundreds of refugees in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley to the ground. Another fire broke out Tuesday at a nearby camp. Meanwhile, the Lebanese army raided two Syrian refugee camps near the border with Syria on Friday. Suicide bombers attacked the army during the raids. At least one small girl was killed in the conflict.
In Brazil, police have arrested a close ally to President Michel Temer as part of a widening corruption investigation. Prosecutors say former Cabinet minister Geddel Vieira Lima tried to block an investigation into corruption at a government-controlled bank. His arrest comes as Temer himself has been charged with corruption and is facing increasing calls to resign or be ousted.
Canada will issue an apology and pay $10 million to Omar Khadr for the abuses he suffered while imprisoned by the United States in Guantánamo Bay. Born in Toronto, Canada, Khadr was detained in 2002 by U.S. forces in Afghanistan before being transferred to Guantánamo Bay at the age of 16. Khadr became the first person since World War II to be prosecuted in a war crimes tribunal for acts committed as a juvenile. After eight years at Guantánamo, he confessed in 2010 to throwing a grenade that killed an American soldier. His lawyers say his statements were illegally obtained through torture and cruelty.
In Honduras, 26-year-old Bertha Zúniga Cáceres, the daughter of the murdered Honduran indigenous and environmental leader Berta Cáceres, has survived an attempted attack by a group of men wielding machetes. The attack comes just weeks after Bertha Zúniga Cáceres was named the new leader of COPINH, the group formerly led by her mother. Last week, Bertita Zúniga Cáceres also demonstrated in support of pending U.S. legislation to suspend all U.S. military aid to Honduras. This is Zúniga Cáceres speaking on Radio Lenca about the legislation.
Bertha Zúniga Cáceres: “In particular, the law mandates a suspension of all military aid that the United States gives to Honduras until the murder case of Berta Cáceres is solved in an effective manner, but not just that case, but other cases that have been representative, like the cases in the Bajo Aguán region, like the cases of Honduran environmentalists who have died defending life in this country.”
And Tuesday was July 4th, or Independence Day, in the United States. Across the U.S., activists staged protests and demonstrations to demand justice for indigenous people, immigrants, Muslims and others. In Texas, people blockaded the July 4th parade to protest the anti-immigrant bill SB 2, which was signed into law by Texas Governor Greg Abbott. Also in Texas, protesters heckled Senator Ted Cruz over his support for the Republican healthcare bill and held signs reading “Ted wants us dead.” If passed, the Republican Senate healthcare plan could cause 22 million Americans to lose their insurance over the next decade. Meanwhile, former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick posted a video of himself on Twitter visiting Ghana, along with the words, “How can we truly celebrate independence on a day that intentionally robbed our ancestors of theirs? To find my independence I went home.” In New York City, members of the Council on American-Islamic Relations held a teach-in inside Trump Tower to educate people about the rights of immigrants and Muslims in the United States. This is Talia Bauer.
Talia Bauer: “We are at Trump Tower. We are on the fifth floor in—I’m not sure what this pavilion is called, but it was a space that was designated as like a free speech area of some sort. So we’re here kind of like in the belly of the beast talking about like what this horrible space represents in terms of 45 and in terms of capitalism and in terms of like huge wealth disparity in New York. And so we’re kind of taking it over ourselves.”
Meanwhile, NPR faced an outburst of online protests from Trump supporters on July 4th, after NPR tweeted out the entire Declaration of Independence—and people mistook the document and thought NPR was calling for an armed insurrection against President Trump. In response to NPR’s tweet of the line “it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government,” one Trump supporter replied, “So, NPR is calling for revolution. Interesting way to condone the violence while trying to sound 'patriotic.' Your implications are clear.” This Twitter user later apologized, writing, “I was terribly stupid for this comment.”
And New Jersey Governor Chris Christie sparked massive outrage over the July 4th holiday after a photographer for The Star-Ledger caught him sunbathing on a public beach that Christie’s budget shutdown had closed to the public. As a result, Christie and his family had the entire 10-mile-long beach to themselves.