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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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North Korea fired a ballistic missile across northern Japan Friday, just days after the U.N. Security Council approved a new round of sanctions against the North Korean regime. The intermediate-range missile triggered air raid sirens across the island of Hokkaido, drawing condemnation from Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who called it “totally unacceptable.” In response to the test, South Korea conducted a missile drill of its own, releasing a video showing the launch of missiles capable of reaching any part of North Korea. This is South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
President Moon Jae-in: “North Korea should clearly realize that it is entering a path of downfall, due to a diplomatic and economic isolation as much as it increases frequency and strength of reckless provocation.”
At the U.N., the Security Council is set to hold an emergency meeting on North Korea this afternoon. In a statement, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called on China and Russia to take “direct action”—including new sanctions on oil exports and North Korean labor. Last month, President Trump threatened to unleash “fire and fury” on North Korea, and the U.S. has not ruled out a nuclear first strike.
In London, at least 22 people were left injured—some with serious burns—after a homemade bomb exploded Friday aboard a train at a London Underground subway station. Video shared on social media showed flames pouring from what appears to be a white bucket inside a bag. Most of those injured suffered flash burns; others were hurt when the blast triggered a stampede. The British government says it’s investigating the explosion as a terrorist incident.
In Iraq, suicide attackers fanned out across the southern city of Nasiriyah Thursday, killing at least 84 people and wounding nearly 100 others. The attack was claimed by ISIS and largely targeted Shia Muslims from Iran on a pilgrimage to holy sites in Najaf and Karbala. This is Firas Ahmed, an eyewitness to some of the attacks.
Firas Ahmed: “There were four buses of Iranian pilgrims. The gunmen boarded buses and spayed those who were inside with bullets, while others in pickup trucks drove by, firing on the people. Then they walked into the restaurant, opening fire on the people inside, the young and the old, sparing no one. All the people who were here were killed.”
In another attack, men in stolen army vehicles wearing military uniforms used a suicide car bomb to target a checkpoint. The violence comes after U.S.-backed Kurdish and Iraqi forces have seized much of ISIS’s territory in Iraq, and after an Iraqi intelligence report found more than 40,000 civilians died in the U.S.-led battle to retake Mosul from ISIS.
President Trump sent mixed messages Thursday over whether he’s reached a deal with Democratic leaders on legislation that would provide a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children. On Wednesday, House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said they’d agreed to a deal with the president that would protect some 800,000 DREAMERs, after Trump ordered the cancellation of the DACA immigration program. But on Thursday, Trump cast doubt over the deal, first tweeting, “No deal was made last night on DACA,” before later telling reporters he was largely in agreement with Pelosi and Schumer.
President Donald Trump: “Well, we want to get massive border security, and I think that both Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer—I think they agree with it. But—so, we met last night with, as you know, Schumer, Pelosi and a whole group, and I think we’re fairly close, but we have to get massive border security.”
Reporter: “Are Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell on board?”
President Donald Trump: “Oh, I think he’s on board. Yeah, Mitch is on board. Paul Ryan is on board.”
But House Speaker Paul Ryan said Thursday there was no deal struck with Trump, and accused Democrats of negotiating through the media. Meanwhile, Breitbart News, the far-right-wing website, had a headline encouraging people to burn MAGA hats—that’s “Make America Great Again” hats.
In Arizona, the Phoenix New Times reports employees of the Motel 6 chain shared the names of hotel guests with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, leading to the arrests of at least 20 people. The New Times reports at least a third of the arrests came after ICE agents knocked on motel room doors without a search warrant and asked for permission to enter. A Motel 6 spokesperson said the program was implemented at the local level without the knowledge of senior management, and promised the company would order managers at more than 1,400 locations not to share guest lists with immigration authorities.
The widow of an Indian man who was murdered by a racist gunman at a Kansas bar last February has been denied a visa. Sunayana Dumala’s husband was working in the U.S. under the H-1B visa program, and after his murder, Dumala’s residency was terminated. Dumala is enlisting the help of Congressmember Kevin Yoder, who says immigration law should be changed to protect the spouses of hate crime victims.
In New York City, plainclothes ICE agents arrested four undocumented immigrants at a Brooklyn criminal court building Thursday morning, in an unusual move targeting a courthouse for immigration enforcement. An ICE spokesperson later confirmed the arrests, saying the four men were suspected of gang activity. ICE policy prevents officers from making arrests at sensitive locations like schools, hospitals and places of worship, without approval from supervisors. Courthouses are not included on the list, but the practice is unusual and has been criticized by prosecutors, police and defense attorneys. This is Katherine Poor of the Legal Aid Society.
bq. Katherine Poor: “It makes people very scared when they hear things like this happening, because they are told by the court that they have to return for their court dates. That’s something that they are ordered to do, and if they don’t do it, a warrant can be issued for their arrest. On the other hand, if people hear that there is ICE coming into the courthouse, if there’s ICE coming outside of the courthouse, and they have fear for their own immigration situation, that puts people in a very, very difficult position.”
New York is a sanctuary city.
President Trump on Thursday repeated his claim that both sides were to blame for violence at a rally of white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, last month. The attacks injured dozens and left 32-year-old Heather Heyer dead after 20-year-old Nazi sympathizer James Fields barreled his car into a crowd of anti-fascist protesters. Trump’s comments in the wake of the attacks, including a claim that there were “very fine people” among far-right protesters, drew outrage—even from members of the Republican Party. On Thursday, Trump doubled down on his remarks as he spoke to reporters about Wednesday’s meeting with the Senate’s lone black Republican, South Carolina’s Tim Scott—or, as the White House mislabeled him in a photo of their meeting, “Tom Scott.” Trump was speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One.
President Donald Trump: “We had a great talk yesterday. I think especially in light of the advent of Antifa, if you look at what’s going on there, you know, you have some pretty bad dudes on the other side also, and essentially that’s what I said. Now, because of what’s happened since then with Antifa, you look at, you know, really what’s happened since Charlottesville, a lot of people are saying—in fact, a lot of people have actually written, 'Gee, Trump might have a point.'”
In Mexico, authorities say 2.5 million people are in need of aid, as the death toll following last week’s devastating 8.1-magnitude earthquake climbed to 98. In the town of Juchitán, Oaxaca, alone, more than 5,000 homes were destroyed, leaving residents with spotty electricity and no running water. On Thursday, President Trump drew fire for failing to contact Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto in the wake of the earthquake and another disaster, Hurricane Katia. Earlier this week, Mexico withdrew its offer of assistance to victims of Hurricane Harvey in Texas.
In the Caribbean, authorities say they’ve evacuated all 1,800 residents of Barbuda to its sister island of Antigua, after Hurricane Irma’s landfall on September 6 made Barbuda “uninhabitable.” Barbuda’s government says it’s the first time the island has been uninhabited in 300 years.
In the U.S. Virgin Islands, Governor Kenneth Mapp says the islands of Saint John and Saint Thomas are still nearly entirely without power, and that Irma destroyed schools and the main hospital on Saint Thomas. Officials warn the U.S. territory could be forced to declare bankruptcy under the process that Congress created last year for nearby Puerto Rico. We’ll have more on Hurricane Irma and the U.S. Virgin Islands later in the broadcast.
In Burma, Amnesty International said Thursday it has evidence the Burmese military has directed a massive scorched-earth campaign against minority Muslim Rohingya, burning villages to the ground and shooting people at random as they try to flee. Amnesty’s report cited fire detection data, satellite imagery, photographs and videos from the ground. At the United Nations, officials said Thursday the number of Rohingya who’ve fled to neighboring Bangladesh has reached 400,000, warning as many as a million refugees could flee by year’s end. This is Rohingya activist Zaw Win Maung, speaking at a protest outside the United Nations building in New York Thursday.
Zaw Win Maung: “The U.S. government needs to stand up, along with the U.N. We want to have a tough resolution on this crisis. This crisis is not the regular small community violence. This is a genocide.”
In Washington, senators are considering a resolution targeting Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi over her government’s treatment of the Rohingya. On Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell spoke out in opposition to the resolution.
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell: “In my view, publicly condemning Aung San Suu Kyi—the best hope for democratic reform in Burma—is simply not constructive. … Unfounded criticism of Suu Kyi exaggerates her ability to command the military, which the Burmese constitution does not actually allow her to do.”
The Senate resolution would call on Burma to allow the U.N. unrestricted access to areas where massacres are occurring, while demanding Burma grant citizenship and freedom of movement to the Rohingya.
In Brazil, prosecutors brought fresh corruption charges against President Michel Temer and six associates Thursday, accusing them of pocketing nearly $200 million in bribes and covering up their crimes. The charges will force a vote in Brazil’s lower house of Congress on whether to put the president on trial at the Supreme Court. Temer survived a similar vote in August, even though a secretly recorded tape captured him approving hush-money payoffs for a powerful politician jailed on corruption charges.
In Greece, authorities are struggling to contain a mounting ecological disaster, after a tanker carrying 2,500 tons of fuel sank off an island near Athens. By Friday, thick tar and a heavy oil sheen covered beaches near the Greek capital, fouling the waters and killing wildlife. Authorities initially claimed they had sealed off a breach in the sunken ship, but later admitted the vessel was still leaking oil.
Harvard University has canceled an offer that would make Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning a visiting fellow, after CIA Director Mike Pompeo called Manning an “American traitor” and canceled a planned appearance on campus. In response, Chelsea Manning tweeted, “honored to be 1st disinvited trans woman visiting @harvard fellow … they chill marginalized voices under @cia pressure … #WeGotThis.” The Obama administration prosecuted Manning under the Espionage Act after she revealed secrets of the U.S. State Department and Pentagon—including evidence of war crimes and support for U.S. allies committing torture—to WikiLeaks.