In Venezuela, President Nicolás Maduro has survived an apparent assassination attempt. Officials say drones loaded with explosives detonated above Maduro as he gave a nationally televised speech at a military event in Caracas on Saturday. Maduro has blamed the outgoing Colombian president for the attack.
President Nicolás Maduro: “There has been an attempt to assassinate me. I have no doubt that this all points to the extreme right in Venezuela, in alliance with the right in Colombia, and that Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos is behind this attempt. I have no doubt. Preliminary investigations have indicated to us that there are various financial backers of this attempt on my life. They live in the United States in the state of Florida. Hopefully President Donald Trump’s government is willing to fight these terrorist groups, which are attempting great attacks against countries on this continent, in this case Venezuela.”
U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton has denied U.S. involvement in the attack, while speaking on Fox News Sunday.
John Bolton: “Well, I can say unequivocally, there is no U.S. government involvement in this at all.”
We’ll have more on Venezuela later in the broadcast.
President Trump has admitted that the purpose of a June 2016 meeting in Trump Tower between a Kremlin-connected lawyer and Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., was to get dirt on Hillary Clinton. On Sunday, Trump tweeted, “Fake News reporting, a complete fabrication, that I am concerned about the meeting my wonderful son, Donald, had in Trump Tower. This was a meeting to get information on an opponent, totally legal and done all the time in politics–and it went nowhere. I did not know about it!” Trump’s tweet reveals that he lied last year when he personally dictated a statement, released by his son, Donald Trump Jr., which claimed the meeting was mostly about U.S. adoption of Russian children.
In Northern California, the Mendocino Complex fire is now the fourth-largest fire in California history, with more than 266,000 acres burned. The raging wildfire has destroyed 68 homes and forced evacuations in three Northern California counties. Meanwhile, the death toll from California’s Carr Fire rose to seven over the weekend, as climate change-fueled wildfires continue to blaze across the state. The victim was a 21-year-old Pacific Gas and Electric worker who was working to restore power lines damaged in the fire.
In Indonesia, a 7.0-magnitude earthquake has killed at least 91 people on the island of Lombok, with the death toll expected to rise. More than 200 people were also wounded in Sunday’s earthquake, which destroyed thousands of homes and buildings and forced more than 10,000 residents and tourists to evacuate the island.
In Zimbabwe, a military crackdown against opposition activists continued over the weekend, following last week’s historic presidential elections. Longtime leader Robert Mugabe’s former vice president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, was declared the winner of Monday’s election, although opposition parties have rejected the outcome, questioning the vote count. Human rights groups now say dozens of opposition activists have been abducted, attacked or raped by unidentified men during a wave of post-election repression. The army has also been deployed to the streets of the capital Harare.
In South Sudan, President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar have reached a peace deal aimed at ending South Sudan’s 5-year civil war, which has killed tens of thousands of people, displaced millions and pushed the country to the brink of famine. The conflict began in 2013 after President Kiir fired Machar, then serving as vice president. Under the new power-sharing agreement, Machar will return to power as one of five vice presidents.
In Gaza, Israeli soldiers killed two Palestinian protesters Friday during the latest round of protests at the separation fence between Israel and Gaza. One of the victims was 15-year-old Muadh al-Suri, who was shot in the stomach by an Israeli soldier. Gaza authorities say the Israeli military has killed at least 160 Palestinians and wounded over 15,000 more since the nonviolent Great March of Return protests began on March 30. Israel and Egypt are discussing a deal aimed at improving living conditions in Gaza. Meanwhile, in Israel, tens of thousands protested against the controversial new law defining Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people. The protest was led by the Druze community, an ethnic and religious minority in Israel.
President Trump has continued his racist attacks against prominent black journalists, athletes and politicians. Early Saturday morning, he insulted NBA superstar LeBron James and CNN host Don Lemon, tweeting, “Lebron James was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, Don Lemon. He made Lebron look smart, which isn’t easy to do.” Trump also insulted California Democratic Congressmember Maxine Waters during a campaign rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, late last week, claiming Waters has a “Very low IQ.” In response to Trump’s comments about LeBron James, Melania Trump said through her spokesperson, “It looks like LeBron James is working to do good things on behalf of our next generation.”
Legendary NFL wide receiver Randy Moss paid tribute to African-American men and women killed by the police during the NFL Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Canton, Ohio, Saturday night. He wore a tie stitched with the names Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, Akai Gurley, Freddie Gray, Walter Scott, Alton Sterling, Trayvon Martin and other victims of police brutality or white vigilante violence. This is NFL star Randy Moss, speaking in an interview after the ceremony.
Randy Moss: “What I wanted to be able to express with my tie is to let these families know that they’re not alone. You know, I’m not here voicing, but by these names on my tie and a big big platform as the Pro Football Hall of Fame, there’s a lot of stuff going on in our country, and I just wanted to let these family members know that they’re not alone.”
In Portland, Oregon, anti-racist, anti-fascist protesters faced off against members of the far-right-wing group “Patriot Prayer” during a protest and counterprotest Saturday. Hours into the competing protests, police officers attacked the left-wing, anti-fascist counterprotesters with pepper spray and stun grenades. Portland’s police chief has ordered a review of the use of force at Saturday’s protest.
Meanwhile, in Washington, D.C., the Metro rail system’s largest union announced its workers would not participate in a proposed plan to run separate trains for white supremacists planning to attend the far-right-wing “Unite the Right” rally in D.C. on August 12. After the rail workers union leaked the proposal and vowed not to participate, the transit agency said it was no longer considering the plan to run special trains to accommodate white supremacist protesters on the anniversary of last year’s deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
And today marks the 73rd anniversary of the United States’ atomic bombing of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, which killed 140,000 people and seriously injured another 100,000. This is the mayor of Hiroshima, Kazumi Matsui, speaking at a commemoration ceremony earlier today.
Mayor Kazumi Matsui: “With the current rise of self-centered nationalism and the modernization of nuclear weapons, we are seeing a return to a tension amongst nations that has not been seen since the Cold War. I hope the Japanese government will play its role in realizing the pacifism that the Constitution manifests, and leads the international community in enhancing dialogue and cooperation for a nuclear-free world.”