You turn to us for voices you won't hear anywhere else.

Sign up for Democracy Now!'s Daily Digest to get our latest headlines and stories delivered to your inbox every day.

HeadlinesJanuary 02, 2024

Watch Headlines
Media Options

Death Toll in Gaza Tops 22,000 as Biden Bypasses Congress to Send More Munitions to Israel

Jan 02, 2024

The death toll in Gaza from Israel’s 12-week bombardment has now topped 22,000. Over 200 Palestinians have been killed in the past 24 hours. In one of the deadliest incidents, an Israeli strike on a home in central Gaza killed 15 people.

This comes as the Biden administration has bypassed Congress again to approve selling Israel nearly $150 million in artillery munitions.

Over the weekend, the Israeli Defense Forces announced it would withdraw some of its troops in northern Gaza, while saying the attack on Gaza will continue throughout 2024. The IDF said the pullback was made in part to “alleviate economic burdens.”

On Sunday, on New Year’s Eve, one 12-year-old Palestinian in a Rafah refugee camp reflected on the events of the past year.

Layan Abu Kuwaik: “This year is a nightmare for every child in Gaza, for every man and woman, for every elderly man and woman in Gaza. … God willing, in 2024, I wish when I wake up on January 1st to discover that this was all a dream, to wake up at home on January 1st, for the war to end, for our suffering to end, for this tragedy to end. I wish for everything to go back to how it used to be. I wish that we could go back to our homes. I wish this is all a dream. Every day we wake up and pray it is all a dream — rather, a nightmare. Unfortunately, it is reality, a bitter reality.”

Israel Kills Five Palestinians in West Bank; Seventh Palestinian Dies in Israeli Jail Since Oct. 7

Jan 02, 2024

In the occupied West Bank, Israeli forces have killed at least five Palestinians. More than 320 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank since the October 7 Hamas attack. Seven Palestinian prisoners have also died in Israeli custody since October 7, raising new questions about conditions inside Israeli jails. The most recent prisoner death occurred on Monday.

South African Files Genocide Case Against Israel at International Court of Justice

Jan 02, 2024

South Africa has filed a case at the International Court of Justice in The Hague accusing Israel of committing genocide in Gaza. In its filing, South Africa said Israel’s war on Gaza is “genocidal in character” and that Israel is intending to “destroy Palestinians in Gaza as a part of the broader Palestinian national, racial and ethnical group.” South Africa accused Israel of violating the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, which Israel has signed on to. We will have more on this story after headlines.

Supreme Court Strikes Down Key Part of Netanyahu’s Judicial Reform

Jan 02, 2024

Israel’s Supreme Court has dealt Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a setback by striking down a controversial new law that rolled back some of the high court’s power. Netanyahu’s broad effort to weaken the judiciary sparked massive protests across Israel last year that deeply divided the country.

On Sunday, a former member of Netanyahu’s Cabinet, Galit Distel Atbaryan, issued a rare public apology for her role in creating divisiveness inside Israel before October 7. She said, “I was one of those people that caused the state to be weakened, that harmed people. I created a split, I created a rift, and I created tension. And this tension brought weakness. And this weakness, in many ways, brought massacre.”

Pro-Palestine Protests Disrupt Rose Bowl & JFK Airport

Jan 02, 2024

Protests against Israel’s war on Gaza are continuing. Here in New York, a caravan of cars with Palestinian flags blocked traffic headed to John F. Kennedy International Airport on Monday. Meanwhile, in Pasadena, California, protesters calling for a ceasefire in Gaza briefly halted the Rose Bowl Parade.

U.S. Kills 10 Houthi Fighters as Tensions Grows in Red Sea

Jan 02, 2024

Tension keeps escalating in the Red Sea. An Iranian warship has reportedly entered the Red Sea after U.S. forces killed 10 Houthi fighters from Yemen and sank three of their ships. The Pentagon claims the Houthis fired at a pair of U.S. Navy helicopters that were responding to a distress call from a container ship targeted by the Houthis. Since November, the Houthis have been carrying out attacks on ships in the Red Sea to show support for Palestinians in Gaza.

Putin Vows to Intensify Strikes on Ukraine After 25 Die in Missile Attack on Russian City

Jan 02, 2024

Russian President Vladimir Putin is vowing to intensify attacks inside Ukraine after a Ukrainian attack on the Russian city of Belgorod killed at least 25 people, including five children, on Saturday. More than 100 people were injured in what was one of the deadliest attacks inside Russia since Moscow invaded Ukraine 22 months ago. The attack on Belgorod came a day after a massive Russian strike on Ukraine’s largest cities killed at least 41 civilians. Earlier today Russia fired hypersonic ballistic missiles at Ukraine’s two largest cities, Kyiv and Kharkiv. Four people were reportedly killed in Kyiv, and another 92 were injured. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has accused Russia of firing 170 armed drones and dozens of missiles at Ukraine since Sunday.

Death Toll from Japanese Earthquake at 48 as Rescue Efforts Continue

Jan 02, 2024

In Japan, at least 48 people have died after a massive magnitude 7.6 earthquake on New Year’s Day. Rescue teams are still trying to reach some remote areas. The quake caused widespread damage, toppling buildings and triggering fires. In the coastal town of Suzu, as many 1,000 homes are believed to have been destroyed. A tsunami warning was issued on Monday, but it has been lifted. Earlier today five people died aboard a Coast Guard plane that collided with a Japan Airlines plane at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport. The collision sparked a major fire, forcing all 379 people on board the commercial flight to evacuate. The Coast Guard plane was preparing to take food to areas hit by the earthquake.

South Korean Opposition Leader Stabbed

Jan 02, 2024

In South Korea, opposition leader Lee Jae-myung is recovering after being stabbed in the neck while speaking to reporters in the city of Busan. A 66-year-old suspect has been detained. Lee Jae-myung ran for president in 2022 and narrowly lost to conservative Yoon Suk-yeol. Lee is widely expected to run for president again in 2027.

Bangladeshi Court Sentences Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus

Jan 02, 2024

In Bangladesh, a court has sentenced Nobel Peace laureate Muhammad Yunus to six months in jail for labor law violations along with three of his colleagues. Yunus won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2016 for his development of a microfinancing system which offers small loans to the poor. Yunus has been a vocal critic of Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Hasina Sheikh. Former Amnesty International head Irene Khan decried Yunus’s conviction as a “travesty of justice.” Yunus, who is 83, has been granted bail during the appeals process.

Félix Tshisekedi Declared Winner in DRC as Opposition Candidates Call for New Election

Jan 02, 2024

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, President Félix Tshisekedi has been declared the winner of the country’s recent presidential election, but opposition candidates are refusing to accept his victory. The DRC’s election commission said Tshisekedi received 73% of the vote — easily defeating his 18 challengers. On Sunday, nine opposition candidates signed a joint declaration rejecting the results and demanding a new vote.

Zapatistas Mark 30 Years Since Uprising in Chiapas, Mexico, Against NAFTA

Jan 02, 2024

In Mexico, the Zapatistas have been holding a four-day celebration to mark the 30th anniversary of the group’s 1994 uprising when they declared war on the Mexican government and took five towns in Chiapas in southern Mexico. The uprising began on January 1, 1994, on the same day that NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, took effect. The Zapatista National Liberation Army, or EZLN, warned that NAFTA meant death to Indigenous peoples. Supporters of the Zapatistas took part in this weekend’s celebration and praised the group for standing up to the Mexican government.

Maria Gonzalez: “To see the organizations upholding their autonomy encourages me. It is an example of dignity. They were the only ones who dared to raise their voices, to say enough is enough, against oblivion, against regression, against death, against discrimination.”

Minimum Wage Increases in 22 States as New Laws Go into Effect

Jan 02, 2024

Nearly 10 million low-wage workers received raises on January 1, when the minimum wage increased in 22 states across the country. The biggest increase came in Hawaii, where the minimum wage jumped from $12 to $14 an hour. In Washington state, the minimum wage increased to $16.28 — the highest rate of any state. The federal minimum wage remains at $7.25 an hour — the same level it has been for 15 years.

A slew of other new state laws went into effect on January 1. New laws banning gender-affirming healthcare treatments for transgender youth have gone into effect in Louisiana and Idaho. But a number of states are pushing back against the wave of anti-trans laws. In Maryland, the Trans Health Equity Act went into effect, ensuring the state’s Medicaid program covers gender-affirming healthcare. In California, a new state law offers new legal protections for people who travel to the state for abortion and gender-affirming care.

In other health news, the price of insulin has gone down for millions of Americans. As of January 1, the out-of-pocket cost of insulin has been capped at $35 a month by three of the nation’s largest insulin manufacturers.

Exonerated “Central Park Five” Member Yusef Salaam Sworn In to NY City Council

Jan 02, 2024

Here in New York, exonerated “Central Park Five” member Yusef Salaam has been sworn in to a seat on the New York City Council representing Harlem. Salaam was one of five Black and Latino teenagers wrongfully convicted of the 1989 beating and rape of a white woman. At the time, Donald Trump called for their execution. Salaam spent seven years in jail before being exonerated when the real perpetrator confessed.

Australian Journalist John Pilger, 84, Dies; Covered Vietnam, Cambodia, East Timor & Iraq

Jan 02, 2024

The Australian journalist and documentary filmmaker John Pilger has died at the age of 84. He made over 60 documentaries, many deeply critical of U.S. and British foreign policy. Pilger reported extensively on Cambodia, Vietnam, East Timor and the devastating impact of U.S. sanctions on Iraq. Over the past decade, he was a vocal supporter of the imprisoned WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

John Pilger: “It’s the courage of those who speak the truth and speak up for the truth, who dissent, who stand up to the powerful. These are our unsung heroes. Today as he is led into court, Julian Assange is both in our collective conscience and a true Australian hero.”

Click here to see our special on Julian Assange, which we broadcast on January 1.

Dr. Sidney Wolfe Dies at 84; Fought FDA to Keep Dangerous Medications Off Market

Jan 02, 2024

The longtime consumer advocate Dr. Sidney Wolfe has died at the age of 86. With Ralph Nader, he helped found the Health Research Group in 1971 as part of the consumer advocacy organization Public Citizen. Dr. Wolfe spent decades fighting the Food and Drug Administration and pharmaceutical industry and is credited with helping to force 28 dangerous medications off the market. In a statement, Ralph Nader said millions of people benefited from Wolfe’s work. Dr. Sidney Wolfe last appeared on Democracy Now! in 2017.

Dr. Sidney Wolfe: “Fifty years ago, for the first time ever, this country decided that healthcare was a right for two groups of people: the old and the very poor. And we all hoped that shortly after that, something would happen to add more to those two vulnerable groups of people. And the only thing that’s happened in 50 years is President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, which added about 20 more million people and put in important provisions, such as not discriminating against people because of preexisting illness. … So, to roll back the clock not only on the Affordable Care Act, but to start eroding Medicare and Medicaid, now 51 years old, is cruel, is not passionate and is not consistent with a doctor’s ethical duty to first do no harm.”

Diné Activist & Musician Klee Benally Dies at 48; Wrote Book on Indigenous Anarchy

Jan 02, 2024

The Diné (Navajo) activist and musician Klee Benally has died at the age of 48 in Arizona. Benally, who was from Black Mesa, spent years organizing against uranium mining on Native land and to protect the sacred San Francisco Peaks in Flagstaff, Arizona. He was also the former lead singer of the Indigenous punk band Blackfire. Benally had just published a new book titled “No Spiritual Surrender: Indigenous Anarchy in Defense of the Sacred.” In the book, he writes, “If history is written by the conquerors, it will be unwritten by those who refuse to be conquered.” Klee Benally spoke to Democracy Now! in 2014 when we did the show from Flagstaff, Arizona.

Klee Benally: “But many of our people don’t have running water; they don’t have electricity. Yet our lands have been exploited. We have coal-fired — three coal-fired power plants that pollute our air. We have these abandoned uranium mines and new mines that are threatening the region. We have fracking, hydraulic fracking, that’s threatening our land, as well. But this isn’t just an issue for here. Wherever there’s an environmental crisis, there’s a cultural crisis, because we are people of the Earth.”

The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.

Non-commercial news needs your support

We rely on contributions from our viewers and listeners to do our work.
Please do your part today.
Make a donation