In California, police have identified the gunman who killed three people—including two children—at a mass shooting Sunday at the Gilroy Garlic Festival as 19-year-old Santino William Legan. He was fatally shot by police at the scene. Authorities say they are still determining a motive for the attack, but the gunman’s social media activity shows him promoting a manifesto on white supremacy just moments before the rampage. He also wrote in a post Sunday, “Why overcrowd towns and pave more open space to make room for hordes of mestizos and Silicon Valley white twats?”
Authorities say the gunman used an assault rifle that was purchased legally in Nevada. The AK-47-style weapon could not have been legally purchased in his home state of California because of stricter gun regulations. California Governor Gavin Newsom called the semiautomatic gun a weapon of mass destruction.
Six-year-old Stephen Romero was the youngest victim of the shooting. Another child, 13-year-old Keyla Salazar, and 25-year-old student Trevor Irby also lost their lives in the massacre.
Last week, FBI Director Christopher Wray testified before the Senate, saying that domestic terrorism by white supremacists is on the rise.
President Trump doubled down on his attacks against congressmember and House Oversight Chair Elijah Cummings Monday, saying he was to blame for Baltimore’s crime rates and again lashing out over Cummings’s questioning at his committee’s hearing over the dire conditions for migrants at the U.S. border. This comes after Trump described Baltimore as a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess” Saturday. Trump also extended his attacks to civil rights leader Reverend Al Sharpton as he headed to Baltimore Monday, calling him a “con man” who “Hates Whites & Cops.” Sharpton responded to Trump from Baltimore.
Rev. Al Sharpton: “I’ve marched on him with Central Park Five. I dealt with him on the birther issue. He can say what he wants. Calling me a troublemaker? Yes, I make trouble for bigots. I made trouble for him with Central Park. I made trouble with him for birtherism. I’m going to keep making trouble for bigots. As far as me being a con man, if he really thought I was a con man, he’d be nominating me for his Cabinet.”
Maryland’s Republican Governor Larry Hogan called Trump’s attacks on Baltimore “outrageous and inappropriate.” Meanwhile, House Republicans are set to take their annual policy retreat in Baltimore in September.
The Senate failed to override presidential vetoes on legislation that would have blocked arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Trump used an emergency declaration in May to push through the contested arms deal without congressional approval. Critics say the weapons could be used on civilians in Yemen. Six Republicans voted in favor of overriding Trump’s vetoes, which he issued last week.
In Yemen, air raids on a market killed at least 10 people, including children, in the northern Saada province Monday, according to local reports. The attacks were carried out by U.S.-backed, Saudi-led forces. The U.N.’s “Children in Armed Conflict” report found that the Saudi-led coalition was responsible for the killing or wounding of 729 Yemeni children in 2018. The opposition Houthi forces killed or wounded 398 children last year, according to the U.N. report.
In Sudan, activists say at least five people were killed Monday after security forces fired on peaceful high school student demonstrators protesting military rule. The victims were between 15 and 17 years old. The killings are believed to have been carried out by the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, who protesters say are also behind the deadly raid on a protest camp in Khartoum last month that killed an estimated 130 people.
Over the weekend, Sudan’s Transitional Military Council said their investigation into the June 3 raid found that “rogue” military personnel were to blame for the deaths of just 87 protesters. Human rights groups and protesters on the ground say the government is deliberately undercounting the deaths. Physicians for Human Rights calls the government investigation “biased and inadequate” and says that it “reflects the urgent need for an impartial independent international investigation.” Representatives from the military council and the civilian coalition were scheduled to meet today to discuss details of a power-sharing deal, but the talks were canceled following the shooting.
In Brazil, at least 57 people were killed in a prison gang riot Monday in the state of Pará. Authorities say 16 people were decapitated, while others died of asphyxiation after a fire filled the prison with thick smoke. In May, at least 55 prisoners were killed when fights broke out across four prisons in the state of Amazonas. Brazil has the third-largest prison population in the world. Human rights groups say prisons are massively overcrowded and rife with mistreatment and violence. The Altamira jail, where Monday’s riot took place, housed more than twice its capacity of prisoners. President Jair Bolsonaro, who campaigned on a law-and-order platform, has said he would “stuff prison cells with criminals.”
A new report by Global Witness found that 164 people were killed in 2018 for trying to protect the environment. The Philippines ranks top of the list with 30 deaths, while in Guatemala the number of deaths jumped by more than four times. The number of recorded deaths also rose sharply in India.
Global Witness says activists who are being targeted are defending land and resources that are being exploited for consumer-driven items such as cellphones and jewelry, as well as food. The highest increase in last year’s numbers is attributed to killings of water defenders, which includes conflicts over hydropower in Guatemala.
Indigenous groups are at particular risk of being targeted. Last week, tribal leader Emyra Wajapi was stabbed to death in Brazil by gold miners in the remote village of Amapá. We’ll have more on what happened in Brazil with Carlos Rittl, executive secretary of Climate Observatory, later in the broadcast. Click here to see our recent interview with Luis Gilberto Murillo about activist murders in Colombia.
In Auckland, New Zealand, thousands of indigenous people are protesting plans for a new housing development on sacred land. Fletcher Building, New Zealand’s largest developer, plans to build nearly 500 homes in Ihumatao. Land defenders have been protesting the move for years, and a group has been camping out on the proposed site for a week. This is Hone Harawira, a Maori activist and former member of Parliament, who has been taking part in the mass protest.
Hone Harawira: “Stop ignoring the people here. You can’t just make out like this is not happening. You’ve got to bring the people to the table.”
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Friday said no construction would take place for now, and promised talks with the indigenous communities.
The record-breaking heat wave that gripped Europe last week is now heading northward, and scientists warn that it could cause an unprecedented melt of Greenland’s ice sheet. The U.N. said that this month alone Greenland lost 160 billion tons of surface ice. If the ice sheet melts entirely, it would raise global sea levels by almost 23 feet. Last month was the hottest June ever recorded on Earth, while July is on track to be the hottest month ever.
The second Democratic primary debates kick off tonight. Twenty candidates vying for the 2020 nomination will face off over two nights in Detroit. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders will be among the 10 contenders facing off tonight.
In more 2020 news, CNN and MSNBC both announced last week they would hold town halls centered on the climate crisis. This comes after a sustained campaign by climate activists to include a climate-focused debate as part of the primaries. Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez has denied such demands, though the DNC is scheduled to vote on a resolution supporting the call next month. Activists celebrated the announcement by the networks but say a climate debate—not just the town halls—is needed. For CNN’s event, participants must meet the same eligibility requirements as the September debates, meaning they must meet certain polling and donation thresholds by August 28.
Ahead of the debates, California Senator Kamala Harris has released her healthcare proposal, which would allow individuals to buy into Medicare and slowly expand the system over 10 years. Her plan would keep private insurance in the marketplace but require that those plans adhere to standards and costs set by Medicare.
Bernie Sanders’s campaign quickly slammed Harris’s plan, saying it is “centered around privatizing Medicare, enriching insurance executives and introducing more corporate greed and profiteering into the Medicare system.” Bernie Sanders is calling for a single healthcare system, run by the government, that would essentially do away with private insurers.
In more 2020 news, former Housing and Urban Development secretary and San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro has introduced a plan to increase the political power and ensure the rights of indigenous communities. Castro’s proposal calls for improvements to housing, healthcare, economic status, education and voting rights for Native groups. Castro evoked the struggles at Standing Rock and Mauna Kea on Twitter as he announced his plan, and vowed to “strengthen tribal sovereignty, honor treaty commitments, ensure justice for Indigenous women, and advance tribal-federal partnerships for progress.”
Philadelphia’s Hahnemann University Hospital released its last patient last week and is expected to fully shutter within the coming weeks, laying off over 2,500 union staff and leaving a vacuum in medical services for low-income people in the area. Residents and activists have been battling the closure of the 171-year-old institution. They say the private equity executive Joel Freedman, whose firm Paladin Healthcare bought Hahnemann hospital last year, is seeking to use bankruptcy proceedings to sell the property for development as luxury condos and hotels.
Bernie Sanders, who rallied with local residents earlier this month, decried the “culture of corporate greed” responsible for the closure. Sanders said that his Medicare for All plan would include a fund so local governments can purchase hospitals in financial distress.
President Trump signed a bill Monday to permanently fund the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, which provides healthcare for first responders to the 9/11 terror attack. First responders have been lobbying for its passage for months. This is Trump speaking at the signing.
President Donald Trump: “And I was down there also, but I’m not considering myself a first responder. But I was down there. I spent a lot of time down there with you.”
According to a retired deputy chief with the New York Fire Department, he never saw Trump at ground zero. “He was a private citizen at the time. I don’t know what kind of role he could have possibly played,” Richard Alles told The New York Times. After the 9/11 attack, Trump boasted that his building—40 Wall Street—had become the tallest building in downtown Manhattan after the collapse of the World Trade Center. The claim was untrue.
Volunteers in Ethiopia planted 350 million trees Monday, as part of a national campaign to help tackle the global climate crisis. Eighty percent of Ethiopia’s population depends on agriculture for its livelihood, but Ethiopia suffers from soil erosion, deforestation, flooding and harsh drought conditions. According to the organization Farm Africa, less than 4% of Ethiopia’s land is forested, down from around 30% at the end of the 19th century. A study released earlier this year found that planting 1.2 trillion trees could cancel out 10 years of CO2 emissions. This is scientist Samuel Geleta speaking about the initiative Monday.
Samuel Geleta: “The issue of the environment is of major concern even at the global level, but more so for this country. Most of the problems and famine we see in this country could be linked to the lack of protection for our environment.”