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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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In Gaza, the Israeli military has killed at least 41 Palestinians today, amid the massive nonviolent protests against the U.S. Embassy’s opening in Jerusalem. Israeli soldiers are currently firing live ammunition into the crowd of tens of thousands of Palestinian protesters, who have gathered in Gaza near the heavily fortified border with Israel. Al Jazeera is reporting that Israeli soldiers have wounded at least 1,500 Palestinians, in addition to the 41 killed so far today. The Israeli military has also been dropping tear gas from drones over Gaza.
This comes as senior members of the Trump administration have gathered in Jerusalem for the opening of the U.S. Embassy, including President Trump’s daughter, White House senior adviser Ivanka Trump; her husband, senior adviser Jared Kushner; and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. Jared Kushner, who is Trump’s son-in-law, is expected to lay out the Trump administration’s plan for Middle East peace in the coming weeks. The Trump administration’s decision to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem has sparked widespread international condemnation, while it has been praised by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who spoke Sunday.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: “This week, we are going to be blessed with a really historic event: the decision of the strongest superpower in the world, our friend the United States, to move its embassy here. President Trump promised to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and he did it. He promised to move the American Embassy to Israel, and he is doing it. Of course we will all celebrate this day, a real celebration tomorrow.”
Two controversial pastors have been chosen by the Trump administration to lead prayers at the U.S. Embassy’s opening, including the right-wing preacher Robert Jeffress, who has previously said, “Islam is a false religion inspired by Satan,” and that “You can’t be saved by being a Jew.”
After headlines, we’ll go to Gaza to speak with Democracy Now! correspondent Sharif Abdel Kouddous.
Iran has 60 days to save the landmark 2015 Iran nuclear agreement, following President Trump’s decision to pull the U.S. out of the landmark agreement. The Trump administration is now threatening to impose sanctions on European companies that do business with Iran. This is national security adviser John Bolton being questioned by CNN’s Jake Tapper.
Jake Tapper: “Is the U.S. going to impose sanctions on European companies that continue to do business with Iran?”
John Bolton: “I think I did give the answer. And the answer”—
Jake Tapper: “But you said, ’We’ll see.’”
John Bolton: “The answer is, it’s possible.”
Jake Tapper: “It’s possible.”
John Bolton: “It depends on the conduct of other governments.”
President Trump says he’s working to prevent the collapse of the Chinese electronics company ZTE, which has admitted to violating U.S. sanctions by shipping U.S. technology to Iran and North Korea. The U.S. banned American companies from selling technology to ZTE last month, causing the company to announce it would suspend operations. But on Sunday Trump tweeted, “President Xi of China, and I, are working together to give massive Chinese phone company, ZTE, a way to get back into business, fast. Too many jobs in China lost. Commerce Department has been instructed to get it done!” Trump’s move comes ahead of high-level trade talks between the U.S. and China later this week.
Science Magazine is reporting the Trump administration has eliminated NASA’s Carbon Monitoring System, which measures the carbon dioxide and methane levels in the atmosphere. The cancellation of the program is the latest effort by the Trump administration to curtail scientific research on climate change.
In Afghanistan, at least eight civilians were killed, and 42 more were wounded, in an attack on a government building in the eastern province of Nangarhar. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack. This comes as Taliban militants have killed more than 100 Afghan soldiers and police officers over the last week alone, as part of the Taliban’s spring offensive. A recently issued U.S. government report says the Afghan army has shrunk by 11 percent over the last year and that insurgent groups have gained territory.
In Pakistan, authorities have prevented a U.S. diplomat from boarding a U.S. military helicopter and leaving Pakistan, just over a month after the American diplomat, Joseph Hall, allegedly ran two red lights and hit a motorcyclist, killing him. A Pakistani court has ruled Hall doesn’t have complete diplomatic immunity, and he may face prosecution in Pakistan. The case has sparked rising tensions between the U.S. and Pakistan. Meanwhile, in more news from Pakistan, thousands of protesters gathered in Karachi on Sunday to demand justice for Pakistan’s Pashtun ethnic minority. The protesters were denouncing military violence against the Pashtuns, which is carried out under the guise of operations against the Taliban and other militant groups.
In the East African nation of Burundi, at least 26 people were killed in an attack on a small village in the northwest part of the country Friday. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack. It came only days before this week’s controversial referendum over whether to allow President Pierre Nkurunziza to stay in power until 2034.
In Iraq, the election commission says cleric Muqtada al-Sadr is leading in the results of Saturday’s parliamentary election, with more than half the votes counted. Sadr has led two uprisings against U.S. forces in Iraq since the 2003 U.S. invasion. The preliminary results are seen as a setback for current Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.
In Indonesia, at least seven people were killed in a string of suicide bomb attacks Sunday targeting churches in Surabaya, the second-largest city in Indonesia. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attacks, which police say were carried out by one family—a couple and their four children. This is Pope Francis, speaking after the bombings.
Pope Francis: “I am particularly close to the dear Indonesian people, especially to the Christian communities of the city of Surabaya, which have been severely hit by a serious attack on places of worship. I raise my prayer for the victims and their relatives. Together, we invoke the god of peace so that he may stop these violent actions and so that the hearts of all could be filled, not by feelings of hatred and violence, but of reconciliation and fraternity.”
A newly unearthed CIA memo from 1974 details how Brazil’s former dictator Ernesto Geisel personally approved execution of his political opponents, who were labeled “subversives.” The document was sent by then-CIA Director William Colby to then-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. It details a meeting in which Brazil’s top generals informed the dictator about a policy of more than 100 summary executions carried out by military intelligence the previous year. A week later, according to the memo, the dictator told his generals “the policy should continue but that great care should be taken to make certain that only dangerous subversives were executed.” The memo’s revelations have sparked widespread outcry in Brazil.
The White House has still not yet apologized for the comments of one of its aides, Kelly Sadler, who dismissed Arizona Senator John McCain’s criticism of CIA director nominee Gina Haspel, saying, “It doesn’t matter, he’s dying anyway.” McCain, a former prisoner of war who is battling stage IV brain cancer from his home in Arizona, has voiced his opposition to Haspel’s nomination, tweeting, “Haspel’s role in overseeing the use of torture is disturbing & her refusal to acknowledge torture’s immorality is disqualifying.”
And in Britain, Kensington Palace has announced that American Bishop Michael Curry will deliver a sermon at the royal wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Curry is the son of the late civil rights activist Rev. Kenneth Curry, and he is the first African American to preside over the Episcopal Church.
Back in the United States, in an attack on the rights of transgender prisoners, the Trump administration has rolled back rules that allow prisoners to use facilities that match their gender identity. BuzzFeed News reports the Bureau of Prisons will now use a prisoner’s assigned sex at birth to determine where prisoners will be housed, reversing Obama-era efforts to protect transgender prisoners from sexual assault and abuse.