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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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The death toll from Hurricane Harvey is rising as massive amounts of rain continue to flood Houston and other parts of Texas and Louisiana. At least 14 people have died, including four children and their great-grandparents. The Houston police and U.S. Coast Guard have rescued over 6,000 people from their homes, but many are still stranded. So much rain has already fallen that the National Weather Service has had to add two new colors to its maps to indicate rainfall levels. Meteorologists forecast another foot of rain could fall on Houston in the coming days.
Concern is also growing over the environmental impact of the storm. Residents of Houston’s industrial communities are reporting strong gas and chemical-like smells coming from the many nearby refineries and chemical plants. Texas Senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn are both facing criticism for having voted against the $51 billion Hurricane Sandy aid package in 2013. More than 20 House Republicans in Texas also voted against the hurricane aid package.
We’ll have more on climate change and Hurricane Harvey after headlines.
Meanwhile, in more climate-related news, torrential downpours are causing extreme flooding in Mumbai, India, today. Weather officials are calling it the worst flooding in Mumbai in over a decade. In recent weeks, more than 1,200 people have been killed amid torrential downpours across South Asia. We’ll have more on climate change and flooding in South Asia later in the broadcast.
The Guardian reports U.S. intelligence officials are facing pressure from the Trump administration to find justification to declare Iran in violation of the landmark 2015 nuclear deal. Officials compared it to the situation in the lead-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Former CIA analyst Ned Price said intelligence officials “told me there was a sense of revulsion. There was a sense of déjà vu. There was a sense of ’we’ve seen this movie before.’” Trump has repeatedly threatened to cancel the landmark nuclear deal, calling it the “worst deal ever.”
North Korea fired a ballistic missile over Japan early Tuesday morning. It was North Korea’s second ballistic missile test in recent days. Millions of Japanese citizens were warned to take cover as the missile flew overhead. This is Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga.
Yoshihide Suga: “We find these repeated threats by North Korea unacceptable and have strongly protested to North Korea in the strongest possible words. We will deal with this through the United Nations Security Council and while working closely in coordination with the United States and South Korea in order to ensure the utmost is done for the safety of our people.”
President Trump reiterated that the U.S. might launch a military strike against North Korea, saying in a statement this morning that “all options are on the table.” The U.S. and South Korea are currently conducting massive military exercises on the Korean Peninsula.
In Syria, the local journalistic monitoring group Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently reports at least 10 civilians from the same family have been killed amid a barrage of more than 100 U.S.-led airstrikes over the last two days. A top-ranking commander of the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces says the battle to seize control of Raqqa from ISIS is expected to last up to another two months.
Back in the United States, the Durham County Sheriff’s Office has issued three more arrest warrants for people allegedly involved in tearing down the Confederate Soldiers Monument in front of the Old Durham County Courthouse on August 14. The three are facing charges of felony inciting a riot, as well as two additional misdemeanor charges. A total of 11 people have now been charged. The toppling of the statue in Durham came amid massive nationwide protests following the deadly white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, which left one person dead and dozens injured.
White supremacists and far-right-wing activists have canceled dozens of rallies nationwide in response to massive anti-racist protests, including two planned rallies in San Francisco and Berkeley, California, this past weekend. On Saturday and Sunday, thousands of people took to the streets to celebrate the cancellation of the two white supremacist rallies. In Berkeley, thousands attended an antifa march at Martin Luther King Jr. Park on Sunday.
Meanwhile, in Ohio, 18-year-old white supremacist Daniel Borden has been charged with malicious wounding for allegedly attacking African-American anti-racist protester Deandre Harris during the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, earlier this month. Photos and video show at least six white supremacists punching, kicking and beating Harris with large metal poles. Police have issued an arrest warrant for another man, Alex Michael Ramos, in connection to Harris’s attack. The police have faced criticism for failing to quickly investigate and arrest Harris’s attackers.
President Trump has faced widespread condemnation, including from the United Nations, for failing to quickly condemn the white supremacist violence. On Sunday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Trump speaks only for himself. This is Tillerson, speaking with Chris Wallace of Fox News.
Chris Wallace: “When the president gets into the kind of controversy he does, and the U.N. committee responds the way it does, it seems to say they begin to doubt, are—whether we’re living those values.”
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson: “I don’t believe anyone doubts the American people’s values or the commitment of the American government or the government’s agencies to advancing those values and defending those values.”
Chris Wallace: “And the president’s values?”
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson: “The president speaks for himself, Chris.”
In addition to his failure to quickly condemn the white supremacist violence, President Trump is also facing criticism for tweeting an endorsement of Wisconsin Sheriff David Clarke’s new book on Sunday morning. As the floodwaters in Houston continued to rise, Trump tweeted, “A great book by a great guy, highly recommended!” Sheriff Clarke has compared the Black Lives Matter movement to the Ku Klux Klan. He and his employees are facing multiple lawsuits alleging they have abused and neglected prisoners at the Milwaukee County Jail, in cases that have led to the death of an infant as well as an adult prisoner who died of dehydration after being denied access to water for a week.
Meanwhile, President Trump doubled down on his decision to pardon notorious racist Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio during a news conference on Monday.
President Donald Trump: “Sheriff Joe is a patriot. Sheriff Joe loves our country. Sheriff Joe protected our borders. And Sheriff Joe was very unfairly treated by the Obama administration, especially right before an election, an election that he would have won. So—and he was elected many times, so I stand by my pardon of Sheriff Joe. And I think the people of Arizona who really know him best would agree with me.”
There are reports that the Trump administration could end the DACA program—that’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals—as early as today. DACA provides legal protections to live and work in the United States for 750,000 young immigrants. We’ll have more on DACA later in the broadcast.
President Trump is facing new questions about his campaign’s ties to Russia amid revelations that a Russian-born real estate developer boasted that a 2015 business deal to build Trump Tower in Moscow would help get Trump elected president of the United States. In an email to Trump’s lawyer, real estate developer Felix Sater wrote, “Our boy can become president of the USA and we can engineer it. … I will get all of Putins [sic] team to buy in on this, I will manage this process.” At the time, the Trump Organization was pushing to build a massive Trump Tower in Moscow. Sater claimed to have secured financing for the project with VTB Bank, a Russian bank under U.S. sanctions. Sater was also a former FBI informant who immigrated from Russia as a child and grew up in Brooklyn. The plans to build Trump Tower in Moscow were abandoned at the end of January 2016, after the project failed to secure financing and government permits. Trump is currently facing multiple investigations into his campaign’s ties to Russia.
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has told police officers to kill suspects if they try to resist arrest, amid his ongoing bloody so-called war on drugs. On Monday, Duterte told a local police chief, “If he resists, and it is a violent one, you are free to kill the idiots, that is my order to you.”
On Saturday, more than 1,000 faith leaders, residents and children joined a funeral procession and protest march for 17-year-old Kian Loyd delos Santos. He was killed last week by police during an anti-drug raid. Witnesses say the student’s final words before he was shot in the head were “Please stop. Please stop. I have a test tomorrow.” Duterte met with Santos’s family on Monday amid the growing protests over the teenager’s death.
In Chile, more than two dozen logging trucks were hijacked and burned in southern Chile Monday, amid ongoing conflicts between the indigenous Mapuche people and multimillion-dollar logging corporations that are encroaching on their lands. A Mapuche group called “the Struggle in Rebellious Territory” claimed responsibility for the sabotage attack. The company reported $6 million in damages.
Kenya has passed the world’s strictest ban against plastic bags in efforts to protect the environment and wildlife. Under the new law, people producing, selling or even using plastic bags could now face up to four years in prison. This is the Kenyan environmental minister, Judi Wakhungu.
Judi Wakhungu: “The challenge that we have at the moment is that most of these bags are just littered, and then you find them in our water bodies, we find them littering our landscapes, we also—they are also ingested by our livestock. The problem with this is that now we are also ingesting these microplastics, and this is a danger to our health. So this is the reason why we decided to start a phase-out of banning the plastic bags, starting with the carrier polythene bags.”
More than 40 countries now have some types of laws aimed at decreasing the use of plastic bags.
And back in the United States, in New York City, more than 100 residents and supporters rallied outside the Holyrood Episcopal Church in Washington Heights for a candlelight vigil to support an undocumented woman who has taken sanctuary to avoid deportation to Guatemala. Thirty-three-year-old Amanda Morales Guerra is the mother of three U.S.-born children: Dulce, Daniela and David. She’s been been living in the United States since 2004. She went into sanctuary earlier this month to defy the Trump administration’s order that she report to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office with a one-way ticket back to Guatemala. She’s the first person to publicly take sanctuary in New York City since Trump took office. Immigrant rights activists say about a dozen more undocumented immigrants are quietly taking sanctuary in the Tri-State Area.