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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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Scores of world leaders are arriving in New York City to speak at this year’s United Nations General Assembly this week. It comes amid rising tensions between the U.S. and North Korea. President Trump is to speak to the General Assembly on Tuesday. On Sunday, Trump called North Korea leader Kim Jong-un “Rocket Man” in a tweet, as the White House continues to threaten military responses to North Korea’s recent missile tests. Trump also claimed that there were long lines at gas stations in North Korea in response to the increasing tightening of sanctions, although multiple news reports dispute the claims. Trump is also planning to have a dinner with the presidents of Peru, Colombia and Brazil at Trump Tower tonight to discuss Venezuela. The Trump administration has threatened to intervene militarily in Venezuela to oust President Nicolás Maduro.
Ahead of the opening of the U.N. General Assembly, the Trump administration is putting out conflicting information about whether the United States will pull out of the landmark 2015 Paris climate accord. On Saturday, the White House doubled down on Trump’s threats to pull out of the accord. But on Sunday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson signaled President Trump may back away from this pledge. This is Rex Tillerson speaking on with John Dickerson on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson: “So I think the plan is for Director Cohn to consider other ways in which we can work with partners in the Paris climate accord. We want to be productive. We want to be helpful. The U.S. has—actually has a tremendous track record on reducing our own greenhouse gas emissions.”
John Dickerson: “So there’s a chance that if things get worked out, both on the voluntary side from the U.S., the voluntary restrictions for the U.S., that it could change, but then also, with China, there’s a chance the U.S. could stay in the accord, is that right?”
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson: “I think under the right conditions, the president said he’s open to finding those conditions where we can remain engaged with others on what we all agree is still a challenging issue.”
In more climate-related news, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has tapped the former head of U.S. operations for oil giant Shell to lead Houston’s post-Hurricane Harvey recovery effort. Marvin Odum was the chair of Shell for eight years. He retired in 2016. Hurricane Harvey killed at least 82 people, flooded thousands of homes and destroyed billions of dollars of property. It also caused widespread environmental contamination, triggering a half-million-gallon gasoline spill and the release of up to 5 million pounds of pollutants into the air.
The U.S. military is planning to massively expand the Green Zone in Kabul, Afghanistan—signaling the U.S. war in Afghanistan will continue for years to come. The planned expansion will take two years and will dramatically reshape Kabul, where 5 million people live. The U.S. military is also planning to deploy thousands more U.S. troops to Afghanistan. Kabul has been the target of deadly suicide bombings this year, including a massive bombing in May that killed more than 150 people.
In Yemen, residents say at least 12 civilians, including women and children, were killed in a U.S.-backed, Saudi-led airstrike northeast of Sana’a on Saturday. The ongoing conflict has killed more than 10,000 civilians and sparked the world’s worst cholera epidemic.
The Trump administration is weighing closing the U.S. Embassy in Cuba, which only recently reopened after President Obama moved to normalize relations between the U.S. and Cuba. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says the U.S. may close the embassy over a host of unexplained health problems that embassy workers are suffering, including hearing loss and brain injury. The health problems appear to be caused by some form of sonic attack. Cuban officials deny any involvement in the apparent sonic attack and are cooperating with U.S. officials to investigate the incidents.
In St. Louis, Missouri, more than 80 people were arrested Sunday in a third straight night of protests over the acquittal of a white former police officer for the murder of 24-year-old African American Anthony Lamar Smith. Police officer Jason Stockley shot and killed Smith in 2011 after a high-speed chase. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that during the chase, Officer Stockley said he was “going to kill this motherf***er, don’t you know it.” He then told his partner to ram into the back of Smith’s car, which the other officer did. Officer Stockley then approached Smith’s car and fired five shots, killing Anthony Lamar Smith. At the time, Stockley was carrying both his service gun and a personal AK-47, which he was not authorized to carry while on duty. On Friday, Judge Timothy Wilson acquitted Stockley of first-degree murder charges, after the former officer waived his right to a jury trial. Thousands poured into the streets on Friday, Saturday and Sunday for massive protests. This is protestor Paulette Wilkes.
Paulette Wilkes: “We need to march every day 'til whenever, and whenever doesn't have an end. I’m for this. Every day, we should protest. Change has to come, and it has to come now. We need to be out here tomorrow. We need to be out here Sunday, Monday, into next year or the year after, until a bill is written that a police no longer can take a black man’s life and don’t have a consequence.”
President Trump was busy causing controversy Sunday morning by retweeting a doctored video edited to show him hitting a golf ball that appears to strike former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in the back, knocking her over. Trump retweeted the doctored video from a Twitter user with a history of posting anti-Semitic and transphobic messages. Many condemned Trump for retweeting the video, including former Office of Government Ethics Director Walter Shaub, who said, “The President of the United States just retweeted a video vignette that imagines him assaulting his political rival. The man is unfit.”
In Mexico, thousands of people took to the streets nationwide to protest violence against women, after a 19-year-old woman was found dead in the state of Puebla on Friday. Mara Fernanda Castilla went missing more than a week ago after using a ride-hailing app. Her body was found on Friday. Sunday’s protest was the latest in a series of demonstrations in recent months in Mexico and across Latin America denouncing femicide and violence against women.
ISIS has claimed responsibility for a subway bombing in London on Friday, which injured 30 people. British authorities say they do not have evidence ISIS was behind the attack. The authorities have now arrested two suspects in the attacks, whose names have not been released.
Facebook has turned over information to special counsel Robert Mueller about Russian ad purchases during the 2016 presidential election. Facebook has admitted selling $100,000 worth of advertisements to a Russian company that aimed to polarize the U.S. electorate on issues of gun rights, immigration, LGBTQ rights and racism. Facebook turned over the information under a search warrant.
And last night was the 69th annual Emmy Awards. Comedian Stephen Colbert hosted the evening, making frequent jokes about President Trump. During the opening act, Colbert was joined on stage by former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer.
Stephen Colbert: “What really matters to Donald Trump is ratings. You’ve got to have the big numbers. And I certainly hope we achieve that tonight. Unfortunately, at this point, we have no way of knowing how big our audience is. I mean, is there anyone who could say how big the audience is? Sean, do you know?”
Sean Spicer: “This will be the largest audience to witness an Emmys, period! Both in person and around the world.”
Many on Twitter pushed back against Sean Spicer’s appearance, saying the award ceremony had provided a platform for Spicer, now a Harvard fellow, to normalize the role he had played in repeatedly lying and providing false information to the public while he served as press secretary.
Host Stephen Colbert also took aim at President Trump’s history as a reality star.
Stephen Colbert: “And we all know the Emmys mean a lot to Donald Trump, because he was nominated multiple times for 'Celebrity Apprentice.' But he never won. Why didn’t you give him an Emmy? I tell you this: If he had won an Emmy, I bet he wouldn’t have run for president. So, in a way, this is all your fault.”
Later in the night, comedian Alec Baldwin, who won an Emmy for playing Trump on “Saturday Night Live,” mockingly dedicated his Emmy Award to the president.
Alec Baldwin: “I suppose I should say, 'At long last, Mr. President, here is your Emmy.'”
During Sunday night’s awards, Donald Glover made history, becoming the first African American to win an Emmy for directing a comedy series. He won a second Emmy for his lead acting role in the comedy “Atlanta.” Actor Riz Ahmed became the first Muslim and first man of South Asian descent to win an Emmy for acting. He won for his role in HBO’s series “The Night Of.”
Riz Ahmed: “I want to say, it’s always strange reaping the rewards of a story that’s based on real-world suffering. But if this show has shone a light on some of the prejudice in our society, Islamophobia, some of the injustice in our justice system, then maybe that’s something.”
And African-American writer Lena Waithe also made history when she and Aziz Ansari won for best writing for the comedy series “Master of None.”
Lena Waithe: “My LGBTQIA family, I see each and every one of you. The things that make us different, those are our superpowers. Every day, when you walk out the door, put on your imaginary cape and go out there and conquer the world, because the world would not be as beautiful as it is if we weren’t in it. And for everybody out there that showed us so much love for this episode, thank you for embracing a little Indian boy from South Carolina and a little queer black girl from the South Side of Chicago.”