In California, a student opened fire on the campus of Saugus High School in the Los Angeles suburb of Santa Clarita Thursday, killing two students and wounding three others. Authorities have not identified the teen but say the rampage came on his 16th birthday. Police say surveillance video clearly shows him pulling a .45 caliber semiautomatic handgun from his backpack, opening fire on fellow classmates in an outdoor area of the school, before turning the gun on himself. He survived a gunshot to the head and was hospitalized in grave condition. The mass shooting prompted a panicked evacuation and a massive police response. This is Saugus High School senior Ellie Pearlman.
Ellie Pearlman: “It’s so scary now. It’s like every day there’s another report, so any time there’s like a loud noise or any sort of threat, we lock down. And so, for a second, it was just another lockdown. And then it was real.”
The group Everytown for Gun Safety reports it was the 85th incident of gunfire on school grounds so far this year. It came as U.S. senators were debating a bill to require universal background checks for all gun purchases. The bill passed the Democratic-led House earlier this year but stalled in the Senate Thursday when Mississippi Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith demanded more time to debate the legislation.
In El Paso, Texas, the Walmart store where a white nationalist gunman killed 22 people three months ago reopened Thursday. The alleged killer published an online manifesto moments before the August 3 attack echoing President Trump’s rhetoric about an “invasion” of immigrants.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday ratcheted up pressure on lawmakers to impeach Donald Trump, accusing the president of attempting to bribe Ukraine’s leaders to investigate Trump’s political rival Joe Biden and his son.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi: “The bribe is to grant or withhold military assistance in return for a public statement of a fake investigation into the elections. That’s bribery. Yes.”
Bribery is specifically mentioned as an impeachable offense in the U.S. Constitution.
Today lawmakers are holding the second day of public impeachment hearings. Former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch is set to testify that she was abruptly recalled from her post in May as part of a smear campaign to discredit her led by President Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani. Yovanovitch previously testified she felt threatened by Trump, who called her “bad news” in his now-infamous July 25 call with Ukrainian President Zelensky. During the call, Trump also said of Yovanovitch, “She’s going to go through some things.”
In Chile, lawmakers have agreed to a plan to rewrite the country’s Constitution, meeting a key demand of protesters. Under the deal agreed to early Friday, voters will decide in an April referendum whether to replace the current constitution — which dates to Augusto Pinochet’s military dictatorship — and whether current lawmakers should serve on a constitutional commission. A second vote in October would determine the makeup of the commission, and a final vote on a draft constitution would be mandatory for all voting-age Chileans.
Protests continue to rock Chile after a government hike in public transport fares last month sparked a revolt against austerity and economic inequality. On Thursday, police fired tear gas and water cannons to clear the streets of the capital Santiago as protests marked the first anniversary of the death of Camilo Catrillanca, a Mapuche indigenous activist who was shot in the head last November. Four officers are set to go on trial for his homicide later this month. At least 20 people have been killed, and over 1,000 others injured, since protests erupted last month.
At the Latin Grammys in Las Vegas Thursday night, Chilean artist Mon Laferte uncovered her breasts as she walked onto the red carpet, revealing the words “In Chile, they torture, rape and kill” written across her chest. As she accepted the award for best alternative album, she also read a poem by a Chilean writer, saying, “Chile, your pain hurts me.”
In Bolivia, indigenous-led protests continued to rage in La Paz Thursday, after Bolivia’s self-proclaimed interim President Jeanine Áñez swore in a new Cabinet with no indigenous members. Áñez is a right-wing Christian who’s previously blasted indigenous communities as “Satanic” in tweets that she later deleted. She said Thursday that exiled socialist President Evo Morales — who fled to Mexico after he was deposed by the military Sunday — would not be allowed to compete in a new round of elections.
Sen. Jeanine Áñez: “I would suggest to the Movement for Socialism party that from now on they have every right to participate in the general elections, but they need to start looking for a candidate. Evo Morales is not qualified for a fourth term, that’s why all of this convulsion has taken place. That’s why there have been so many protests by Bolivians on the streets.”
Áñez said her government is issuing a formal complaint to Mexico, asking them to silence Evo Morales — who’s repeatedly spoken publicly against last weekend’s coup. Since his departure, violence against indigenous people has skyrocketed in Bolivia. This is one of Morales’ supporters.
Sofia: “Evo Morales has been a good man. He worked for the people. He didn’t rob from us like these thieves who want to shake up the state and kill us like dogs, as if we’re not humans.”
A short-lived ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip has broken down. Israeli warplanes resumed bombing parts of the besieged Palestinian territory Thursday, while members of the Islamic Jihad group fired a fresh salvo of rockets at southern Israel from Gaza. At least 34 Palestinians have been killed, and over 100 injured, since Israel assassinated Islamic Jihad leader Baha Abu al-Ata on Tuesday, killing him and his wife and injuring their children.
In Iraq, soldiers opened fire on protesters in Baghdad Thursday with live fire, rubber bullets and tear gas, killing four people and wounding scores of others. This brings the death toll from anti-government protests to at least 320 since October 1. Iraqis are opposed to widespread corruption and are demanding job opportunities and basic services, including clean water and reliable electricity.
New research finds the so-called war on terror launched by the Bush administration after the 9/11 attacks has left over 800,000 people dead at a cost of $6.4 trillion. In a pair of reports published this week by the Costs of War Project at Brown University, researchers warn the true death toll is much higher, once indirect deaths are factored in. Writing in The Hill, professor David Vine argues, “This means that total deaths during the post-2001 U.S. wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, and Yemen is likely to reach 3.1 million or more — around 200 times the number of U.S. dead.”
In Kentucky, Republican incumbent Matt Bevin conceded the governor’s race Thursday to Democrat Andy Beshear, after a recanvass of votes showed he lost by more than 5,000 votes. Bevin sparked a statewide teachers’ strike after he threatened to cut pensions. Governor-elect Beshear has promised to expand Medicaid and boost teacher salaries and pensions. He has also pledged to restore voting rights to 140,000 citizens who were banned for life from voting after they were convicted on nonviolent felony charges.
In Luxembourg, the European Investment Bank said Thursday it will begin divesting from fossil fuels, ending its financing of most oil and coal projects after 2021. Campaigners hailed the move by the world’s largest public bank as a major victory for the climate, but warned of loopholes that leave the door open for investments in natural gas projects.
Sixteen-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg has set sail for Europe, ending an 11-week visit to North America that saw her lead student strikes for the climate while calling out world leaders over their inaction on the climate crisis. Thunberg hopes to reach Madrid, Spain, in time for a United Nations climate summit in early December. She and her father Svante are sailing aboard the 48-foot catamaran, La Vagabonde, refusing to fly because of the high carbon footprint of air travel.
On Capitol Hill, New York Congressmember Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders unveiled a Green New Deal plan Thursday that seeks to end carbon emissions from public housing projects. The 10-year, $180 billion deal aims to retrofit public housing developments to make them highly energy-efficient, while producing on-site renewable energy. Senator Sanders said the deal would also add nearly a quarter-million decent-paying union jobs to the economy.
Sen. Bernie Sanders: “The planet Earth is in severe danger, and we are facing a global crisis. We must listen, in this country and around the world, to the scientists. And the Green New Deal that the congresswoman and I are fighting for is the only program out there that does that.”
The plan was co-sponsored in the Senate by Jeff Merkley and another 2020 presidential candidate — Senator Elizabeth Warren. It’s been endorsed by more than 50 climate and affordable housing groups.