The leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was reportedly killed during a U.S. special forces raid in northwestern Syria. On Sunday President Trump said al-Baghdadi blew himself up along with three of his children. Baghdadi had led the so-called Islamic State since 2010. At its peak, ISIS controlled a large swath of land across Syria and Iraq and maintained a force of tens of thousands of fighters recruited from more than 100 countries. The group also claimed responsibility for deadly attacks across five continents. Some analysts say al-Baghdadi was radicalized after he was jailed by U.S. forces in Iraq in 2004. He was held for 11 months — including reportedly at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison. On Sunday morning President Trump announced al-Baghdadi’s death in a televised address.
President Trump: “The thug who tried so hard to intimidate others spent his last moments in utter fear, in total panic and dread, terrified of the American forces bearing down on him.”
During President Trump’s speech, he invoked the names of U.S. journalists and aid workers who were killed by ISIS — although the vast majority of civilians killed by ISIS were Muslims, mostly in Iraq and Syria. Military leaders told the New York Times that al-Baghdadi’s alleged death Saturday came largely in spite of, not because of, President Trump’s recent abrupt withdrawal of some U.S. troops from Syria. Click here for more on al-Baghdadi’s alleged killing.
California’s governor has declared a state of emergency, as climate-change-fueled wildfires sweep across the state, from Los Angeles to Northern California. Strong winds lashed the Bay Area over the weekend, spreading the fires across multiple counties despite widespread mandatory PG&E blackouts intended to reduce the fire risk. The planned blackouts have left millions without power. Nearly 200,000 people are under evacuation orders, mainly in Sonoma County. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that the latest spate of fires have “intensified fears that parts of California could become almost dangerous to inhabit.”
In Chile, over a million people poured into the streets Friday amid a massive ongoing uprising over economic inequality and crippling austerity in the South American country. Chilean President Sebastián Piñera announced he will lift Chile’s state of emergency tonight and begin a major cabinet reshuffle following the historic protests. At least 18 people have been killed and hundreds more have been shot and wounded since protests erupted on Oct. 19, amid mounting reports of brutality and torture by Chilean authorities. The United Nations is sending a team to Chile to investigate allegations of human rights abuses against anti-government protesters.
In Iraq, dozens of people were killed Friday and Saturday as Iraqis again took to the streets to protest corruption and lack of jobs. The major anti-government protests began earlier this month. Over 150 protesters were killed in the government’s brutal crackdown against the first round of demonstrations.
In Lebanon, tens of thousands of people gathered Sunday to form a human chain stretching north to south across the country, on the 11th day of nationwide anti-government protests. The 100-mile chain was intended to symbolize the protesters’ unity and lack of sectarian divisions amid the ongoing massive demonstrations against corruption, lack of jobs and economic inequality.
In Argentina, right-wing incumbent president Mauricio Macri resoundingly lost Sunday’s national elections, as voters cast their ballots for center-left opposition candidate Alberto Fernández. The election was dominated by economic concerns. Nearly one-third of Argentines are currently living in poverty, after Macri imposed sweeping austerity measures and laid off tens of thousands of unionized public sector workers. The election was also a comeback for former president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who ran as vice-president.
Britain will not be leaving the European Union on Thursday, as planned, after European Union leaders agreed to extend the Brexit deadline until Jan. 31. Earlier this month, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson lost a critical vote aimed at fast-tracking a Brexit deal. Johnson had previously said he would “rather be dead in a ditch” than delay Brexit, Britain’s departure from the European Union.
In the United States, President Trump was booed and taunted with chants of “impeach him” and “lock him up” at the fifth game of the World Series between the Washington Nationals and the Houston Astros Sunday night. The Astros beat the Nationals 7-1, giving them a 3-2 lead in the World Series playoffs.
The Pentagon has awarded Microsoft a $10 billion technology contract to work on the military’s cloud computing systems, beating out its competitors, including Amazon. President Trump reportedly told former Defense Secretary James Mattis to “screw Amazon” out of receiving the contract, according to a new book. President Trump has repeatedly attacked Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who also owns the Washington Post.
Chicago Public Schools have canceled classes for the eighth consecutive school day, as the Chicago Teachers Union continues to strike. Meanwhile, Chicago Public Schools and the SEIU Local 73, which represents 7,500 school support staff, have reached a tentative agreement on a new labor contract. The support staff union’s bargaining team is still reviewing the final terms of the deal before officially ending their strike. But members of SEIU 73 say they will be on the picket lines today in solidarity with the Chicago Teachers Union. Earlier this month, more than 30,000 Chicago teachers and support staff went on strike to demand better pay and benefits, smaller class sizes and more nurses, counselors, social workers and librarians. The historic strike brought the country’s third largest school system to a standstill.
After a 40-day strike, a new four-year deal between the United Auto Workers and General Motors was approved Friday. The contract was supported by 57% of the labor union. It includes an $11,000 bonus per member, annual raises and more affordable healthcare. General Motors still plans to close three factories in the United States. About 48,000 United Auto workers walked off the job over one month ago, making it the longest national strike at GM by United Auto Workers in nearly 50 years.
California Democratic Congressmember Katie Hill has announced she will resign after admitting she had a relationship with a campaign aide before coming into office. The House Ethics Committee has also opened an investigation into allegations that Hill had a relationship with her legislative director. Hill has denied that relationship. The allegations surfaced after RedState.org and the Daily Mail published naked images of Hill, without her consent. Hill has accused her abusive husband of creating a “smear campaign built around cyber exploitation” and that he enlisted the help of “hateful political operatives.”
In New York City, dozens of immigrants with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and allies held a rally in Lower Manhattan Saturday to kick off a 16-day march from New York City to Washington, D.C., where the Supreme Court will hear arguments next month from three lawsuits demanding the Trump administration restore the Obama-era program that grants temporary work permits and deportation relief to nearly 1 million undocumented people who were brought to the United States as children. This is one of the marchers, Eliana Fernández, a 31-year-old DACA recipient from Ecuador.
Eliana Fernández: “For me as a parent, the main reason why I’m here marching and I’m part of the movement is because of my kids. My children are everything. They are my biggest inspiration. I will do anything for them, including marching hundreds of miles. And I want for them to one day look at this day and remember or like feel proud and be like, you know, 'That was my mommy helping the immigrant community and helping herself.' So, that, to me, is like critical. A lot of us come from mixed-status families, and I want to like, you know, highlight that, right?”
Eliana Fernández is one of 200 people who will trek 230 miles to D.C., as they also hope to highlight the importance of long-term immigration relief to the 11 million undocumented people living in the U.S. The Supreme Court will hear arguments on the DACA case on November 12. The Trump administration announced its plans to kill the program in September 2017.
In Pittsburgh, residents gathered Sunday to mark one year since the massacre at the Tree of Life Synagogue, one of the worst anti-Semitic attacks in U.S. history. On Oct. 27, a gunman armed with an AR-15 assault rifle opened fire inside the Squirrel Hill Synagogue, killing 11 worshipers. Just ahead of the shooting, the alleged gunman, Robert Bowers, posted a racist screed echoing President Trump’s language about an “invasion” of immigrants. He faces a 63-count indictment and the death penalty.
Former President Barack Obama praised longtime Congressmember Elijah Cummings at his funeral Friday in Baltimore, after his body lay in state in the U.S. Capitol. Cummings was the first African-American lawmaker to receive the honor. He spent decades championing the rights of African Americans and the poor — first as a civil rights activist and later as a Maryland State legislator, before being elected to represent his Baltimore district in the House of Representatives 13 times. This is President Obama.
President Obama: “Elijah Cummings was a man of noble and good heart. His parents and his faith planted the seeds of hope, and love, and compassion, and righteousness in that good soil of his. He has harvested all the crops that he could, for the Lord has now called Elijah home, to give his humble, faithful servant rest. And it now falls on us to continue his work, so that other young boys and girls from Baltimore, across Maryland, across the United States, and around the world might too have a chance to grow and to flourish.”
That was President Obama speaking Friday in Baltimore at the late Congressmember Elijah Cummings’s funeral. He died earlier this month at the age of 68.
Longtime Michigan Congressmember John Conyers Jr. has died at the age of 90. Conyers was the longest-serving African American in the history of the U.S. Congress. Throughout his five decades as a U.S. congressmember, he co-sponsored the original Voting Rights Act of 1965 and he helped found the Congressional Black Caucus. He opposed the Vietnam War, the Persian Gulf War and the 2003 invasion of Iraq. He also pushed for Medicare for All and legislation to study reparations for slavery. He spent 15 years fighting to make Martin Luther King Jr. Day a national holiday. In 2017, Conyers resigned from Congress after multiple women accused him of sexually harassing or groping them. This is Congressmember Conyers speaking on Democracy Now! in 2010 about the Out of Afghanistan Caucus, a group of lawmakers who were fighting against the escalation of the U.S. war in Afghanistan.
John Conyers: “Well, it’s never been clear to me that, through war, we can bring peace, especially when we’re the invaders. We’re the ones using drones. We’re causing civilian deaths to many people who would otherwise be more friendly to us. We’re creating the terrorists. This is not being lost on most of the people in the country now. Our constituents now want us out of both Afghanistan and Iraq. And what we’re doing now is forming a way to discuss this with our president in an effort to make him more comfortable with doing what most people want him to do and what we thought he was going to do in the first place — namely is to clearly disengage from the military, increase the diplomatic activity, and bring in some help in terms of food supplies, aid, and positive buildup of these countries, and to make as many friends as we can over there, rather than this ninth year of what has now become a debacle in every respect.”
That was longtime Michigan Congressmember John Conyers Jr. speaking on Democracy Now! back in 2010. He died Sunday at his home in Detroit at the age of 90.