In the United Kingdom, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Conservative Party won a landslide victory during Thursday’s decisive national election, dealing a devastating blow to Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party. Corbyn has said he will step down as head of the party after a “period of reflection.” It was the Labour Party’s worst electoral defeat in 84 years. The Conservatives are projected to win 364 seats in the British House of Commons versus only 203 for the Labour Party. This would give the Conservatives the largest majority since 1987, when Margaret Thatcher was in power. This is Labour Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell.
John McDonnell: “Just look, I know they’re heartbroken. I know that. So am I. They worked incredibly hard, incredibly dedicated. We have setbacks like this in our movement, but it isn’t down to them or any lack of commitment. Brexit was the issue for us.”
The Conservative Party’s sweeping victory all but guarantees Brexit — Britain’s departure from the European Union — early next year. The party won resoundingly despite Prime Minister Boris Johnson being accused of Islamophobia, xenophobia and sexual harassment. We’ll have more on the British elections after headlines with British journalist George Monbiot and Cambridge University lecturer Priya Gopal.
On Capitol Hill, the chair of the House Judiciary Committee, Jerrold Nadler, unexpectedly called off a vote on the two articles of impeachment against President Trump after a 14-hour debate in the committee Thursday.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler: “It has been a long two days of consideration of these articles, and it is now very late at night. I want the members on both sides of the aisle to think about what has happened over these last two days and to search their consciences before we cast our final votes.”
Congressmember Jerry Nadler has now rescheduled the vote for today at 10 a.m. Eastern time. The first article of impeachment, “abuse of power,” centers on how President Trump withheld military aid from Ukraine to pressure the Ukrainian president to investigate Trump’s political rival Joe Biden and his son Hunter. Democratic lawmakers say Trump then tried to cover up his actions, leading to the second article of impeachment: obstruction of Congress. Democracy Now! will be live-streaming the impeachment hearing today at our website, democracynow.org.
In Algeria, thousands of people have taken to the streets to denounce Thursday’s presidential election as a farce.
Protester: “The elections must fall. There are no elections. These people are the elections. No to elections in these conditions. These people are heroes.”
Activists called for people to boycott Thursday’s presidential election to replace Algeria’s longtime President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who was forced from power by a mass uprising in April. There was record-low participation in Thursday’s election, and early results suggest no candidate received the 50% of votes needed to win outright. Protesters say all five candidates represent a continuation of Algeria’s corrupt ruling elite. Earlier this week, two previous Algerian prime ministers were convicted and sentenced to prison over a corruption scandal that also ensnared other top government officials and businessmen in Algeria.
Burma’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi has asked the International Court of Justice at The Hague to drop the genocide case against Burma.
Aung San Suu Kyi: “Myanmar requests the court to remove the case from its list; in the alternative, to reject the request for the indication of provisional measures submitted by the Gambia.”
During the international court hearings, the former Nobel Peace Prize winner repeatedly tried to deny the Burmese military has carried out genocide against the Muslim Rohingya, although she never once used the word Rohingya during her speeches. The Burmese military killed and raped thousands of Rohingya and forced more than 700,000 to flee into neighboring Bangladesh in a brutal army crackdown in 2017.
In India, police killed at least two protesters in the state of Assam amid massive demonstrations against the Citizenship Amendment Bill — which many have denounced as a major step toward the official marginalization of India’s 200 million Muslims. The upper house of Parliament has passed the highly controversial legislation, which provides a path to citizenship for immigrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan — unless they are Muslim. The government has also arrested hundreds of protesters, cut off internet access, imposed curfews in parts of northeast India, amid ongoing protests against the citizenship bill.
In Iraq, thousands of anti-government protesters have gathered in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square to demand the nationwide protest movement in Iraq remain peaceful, and to condemn the brutal killing of a teenager Thursday. The 16-year-old was stabbed to death, and his body was strung up from a traffic pole, after rumors circulated that he had killed a number of anti-government demonstrators. It appears he had actually fired a gun into the air to try to convince demonstrators to stop protesting near his family’s home. Police officers stood by during the teenager’s killing and allowed it to take place. The leaders of the ongoing protests quickly condemned the attack.
Meanwhile, the United Nations has condemned the Iraqi government for killing, arresting and abducting anti-government protesters during the ongoing demonstrations. Security forces and militias have killed over 400 protesters, and human rights advocates say a number of prominent activists have been disappeared.
In France, protests are continuing today as workers remain on strike to protest French President Emmanuel Macron’s pension overhaul. Unions are vowing to continue the strike into the holiday period, saying the proposal to effectively raise the retirement age is a “red line” that cannot be crossed. This is 31-year-old train conductor Cécile Larrouture, who is participating in the strike.
Cécile Larrouture: “I continue to fight for our pensions because what Prime Minister Philippe said was rubbish. It’s a blatant smoke screen. They want to divide and conquer. They want to divide the generations.”
In Hong Kong, thousands of people took to the streets Thursday to mark six months since the pro-democracy protest movement’s first major clash with police, when demonstrators prevented lawmakers from advancing an extradition bill that sparked the protests. While the extradition bill has since been scrapped, the demonstrations have continued to rock Hong Kong, with nearly a million people marching this past Sunday to demand more democracy. This is a college student at Thursday’s march.
Mr. Leung: “This movement is not the end, because just a whole beginning, because we have a lot of work to do. And also we think that this movement need to recall more people against some kind of government which is very evil and is against the human rights.”
A shocking Department of Homeland Security memo obtained by BuzzFeed News reveals how inadequate medical care contributed to the deaths of at least four immigrants in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE. The memo includes revelations from an ICE whistleblower about how one man died from meningitis after “grossly negligent” care. The whistleblower also said official reports on one of the four deaths were “very misleading.”
The DHS memo also includes reports of immigrants being administered incorrect medication or being given such grossly inadequate medical care that they had to have preventable surgeries. One of the victims of medical neglect was an 8-year-old child whose rare infection inside his skull was misdiagnosed as an ear infection. He was given only ear drops. A few weeks later, after the infection spread, the child had to have his frontal bone surgically removed.
President Trump has attacked 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, who has just been named Time magazine Person of the Year. She’s the youngest person to ever receive the honor. On Thursday, Trump attacked the teenager on Twitter, tweeting, “Greta must work on her Anger Management problem, then go to a good old fashioned movie with a friend! Chill Greta, Chill!” In response to President Trump’s attack, Greta changed her Twitter bio to mock the president of the United States, writing, “A teenager working on her anger management problem. Currently chilling and watching a good old fashioned movie with a friend.” Trump’s Twitter spat with the teenager comes after President Trump did not win Time magazine Person of the Year last year, instead being named runner-up.