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http://www.democracynow.org

Syndicate content Democracy Now!
Democracy Now! is an independent daily TV & radio news program, hosted by award-winning journalists Amy Goodman and Juan González. We provide daily global news headlines, in-depth interviews and investigative reports without any advertisements or government funding. Our programming shines a spotlight on corporate and government abuses of power and lifts up the stories of ordinary people working to make change in extraordinary times. Democracy Now! is live weekdays at 8am ET and available 24/7 through our website and podcasts.
Updated: 1 hour 28 min ago

Students Push to Oust Nicaraguan President Ortega as Death Toll Rises Amid Bloody Police Crackdown

June 7, 2018 - 8:30am

At least five people were killed over the weekend in Nicaragua amid escalating anti-government protests that have engulfed the country since mid-April. More than 110 people have been killed since widespread demonstrations to oust Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega began in mid-April, when his government announced plans to overhaul and slash social security. The protests, and the government’s bloody repression, mark the biggest crisis since Ortega was elected 11 years ago. In Abuja, Nigeria, we speak with Alejandro Bendaña, former Nicaraguan ambassador to the United Nations and secretary general of the Nicaraguan Foreign Ministry during Sandinista rule in Nicaragua from 1979 to 1990. In Managua, Nicaragua, we speak with Mónica López Baltodano, a human rights activist who is on the front lines of protests. We also speak with Stephen Hellinger, president of The Development Group for Alternative Policies.

Trump Frees Alice Johnson; What About Thousands Still Serving Life for Nonviolent Drug Offenses?

June 7, 2018 - 8:14am

President Trump has commuted the life sentence of a woman who was imprisoned for a first-time nonviolent drug offense, after her cause was taken up by reality television star Kim Kardashian West. Alice Marie Johnson, a 63-year-old grandmother from Memphis, was released Wednesday from federal prison in Aliceville, Alabama, where she had been serving her sentence for nearly 22 years. While Alice Marie Johnson has been released, thousands of other prisoners are still serving life without parole for nonviolent drug offenses. We speak with Jennifer Turner, who was part of the legal team representing Johnson in her application for clemency. She is a human rights researcher with the American Civil Liberties Union and author of the ACLU report titled “A Living Death: Life Without Parole for Nonviolent Offenses.”

Puerto Rico Is a "Playground for the Privileged": Investors Move In as Homes Foreclose & Schools Close

June 6, 2018 - 8:41am

While healthcare, the public school system and infrastructure in Puerto Rico are flailing nine months after Hurricane Maria ravaged the island, wealthy investors have descended on the island to turn a profit. We speak with Naomi Klein, author, journalist and a senior correspondent for The Intercept. Her new book is titled “The Battle for Paradise: Puerto Rico Takes On the Disaster Capitalists.” We also speak with Katia Avilés-Vázquez, a Puerto Rican environmental activist and member of Organización Boricuá de Agricultura Ecológica, and Elizabeth Yeampierre, executive director of UPROSE and co-chair of the Climate Justice Alliance.

"The Battle for Paradise": New Intercept Doc Goes Inside Struggle over Puerto Rico's Future

June 6, 2018 - 8:32am

Nearly nine months after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, the island’s residents and Wall Street investors are engaged in a pitched battle over who will control the future of the island. A new short documentary produced by Naomi Klein and The Intercept takes us inside this ongoing struggle for power. We play an excerpt of the documentary, “The Battle for Paradise.”

Naomi Klein: 4,645 Deaths in Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria Were "State-Sponsored Mass Killing"

June 6, 2018 - 8:13am

We look at Puerto Rico as it continues to recover from Hurricane Maria, which devastated the island last September. Researchers at Harvard recently revealed the death toll from Hurricane Maria may be a staggering 70 times higher than the official count. The official death toll still stands at 64, but the new study estimates a death toll of at least 4,645, with some projections topping 5,700. The Harvard study found that “interruption of medical care was the primary cause of sustained high mortality rates in the months after the hurricane, a finding consistent with the widely reported disruption of health systems. Health care disruption is now a growing contributor to both morbidity and mortality in natural disasters.” We speak with Naomi Klein, author, journalist and a senior correspondent for The Intercept. Her new book is titled “The Battle for Paradise: Puerto Rico Takes On the Disaster Capitalists.” We also speak with Katia Avilés-Vázquez, a Puerto Rican environmental activist and member of Organización Boricuá de Agricultura Ecológica, and Elizabeth Yeampierre, executive director of UPROSE and co-chair of the Climate Justice Alliance.

In Narrow Ruling, Supreme Court Sides with Baker Who Refused Cake to Same-Sex Couple

June 5, 2018 - 8:53am

The Supreme Court ruled Monday in favor of a Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple, citing his religious opposition. In a narrow 7-2 decision, the justices faulted the Colorado Civil Rights Commission’s handling of the claims brought against baker Jack Phillips, saying the commission had shown a hostility to religion. Though the case pitted claims of religious freedom against the fight for gay rights, the ruling stopped short of setting a major precedent on whether businesses can deny people services because of their sexual orientation. For more, we speak with Ria Tabacco Mar, senior staff attorney with the ACLU’s LGBT & HIV Project and counsel of record for Charlie Craig and David Mullins in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.

"Hidden Horrors": Reporter Debbie Nathan on Mass Trials & Kids Separated from Parents at the Border

June 5, 2018 - 8:31am

Immigrants are facing mass trials and family separation at the U.S.-Mexico border, as the government implements “zero tolerance” policies directed at those trying to enter the United States. Mass trials for crossing the border, and scattered cases of family separations, have taken place since “Operation Streamline” was first introduced in 2005. But last month, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the federal government will now prosecute “100 percent of illegal southwest border crossings.” For more, we speak in Austin, Texas, with independent journalist Debbie Nathan. Her new report for The Intercept is headlined “Hidden Horrors of 'Zero Tolerance'—Mass Trials and Children Taken from Their Parents.”

Trump Cancels Philadelphia Eagles' WH Visit Amid Feud with Players over Racial Justice Protests

June 5, 2018 - 8:25am

On Monday evening, Donald Trump abruptly called off today’s planned visit by the Super Bowl-winning Philadelphia Eagles, after it became clear that most of the team had opted out of the event. In a statement announcing the decision, Trump said, “The Philadelphia Eagles are unable to come to the White House with their full team to be celebrated tomorrow. They disagree with their President because he insists that they proudly stand for the National Anthem, hand on heart, in honor of the great men and women of our military and the people of our country.” But not a single Eagles player kneeled during the national anthem in the 2017 season. Several members of the Philadelphia Eagles announced in February that they wouldn’t visit the White House for the traditional Super Bowl victory celebration, as a protest against President Trump. Among them are Malcolm Jenkins, Torrey Smith and Chris Long. For more, we speak with Will Bunch, longtime columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News.

Going "Full Dictator"? Trump Claims He Has Right to End Mueller Investigation or Pardon Himself

June 5, 2018 - 8:11am

As President Trump celebrated his 500th day in office Monday, many legal experts warned that the country could soon face a constitutional crisis as the president continues to attack special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. On Monday, Trump tweeted, “The appointment of the Special Counsel is totally UNCONSTITUTIONAL!” He also tweeted, “As has been stated by numerous legal scholars, I have the absolute right to PARDON myself.” Over the weekend, The New York Times published a 20-page confidential letter written by Trump’s lawyers to special counsel Robert Mueller, in which his lawyers claim Trump is above the law and thus cannot have illegally obstructed the Mueller investigation. Trump’s attorneys also claim the Constitution gives the president power to terminate the Mueller probe. We speak to Philadelphia Daily News columnist Will Bunch in Philadelphia. His latest column is headlined “The week Trump went full dictator and no one tried to stop him.”

Meet Stacey Abrams, Democrat Who Could Become First African-American Woman Governor in U.S. History

June 4, 2018 - 8:38am

We speak with Stacey Abrams, who made history in Georgia last month when she became the first African-American woman to win a major party’s nomination for governor in U.S. history. The former state House Democratic leader defeated Stacey Evans, a former state representative who ran as a centrist. Abrams faces a tough race this November against her Republican opponent, who will be decided during a July 24 runoff election between Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Secretary of State Brian Kemp. If Abrams wins, she’ll become the first African-American governor in the Deep South since Reconstruction. “We can actually win elections without having to cater to these right-wing, harshly conservative policies that only serve to harm everyone,” says Abrams. We also discuss her new book, which offers advice to others inspired to run for office: “Minority Leader: How to Lead from the Outside and Make Real Change.”

"A Source of Positivity All the Time": Remembering Palestinian Medic Razan al-Najjar, Killed by IDF

June 4, 2018 - 8:10am

Witnesses say Israeli soldiers shot dead 21-year-old Palestinian medic Razan al-Najjar as she ran toward the border fence to provide medical aid to a wounded protester. Since nonviolent protests began at the end of March, Israeli soldiers have killed at least 119 people, including 14 children. More than 13,000 have been wounded. “It was clear to everybody that she was a paramedic, that that was murder. I mean, that was a crime committed before cameras,” said Dr. Medhat Abbas, director of Al-Shifa Hospital, the largest medical facility in the Gaza Strip. We also speak with Najjar’s cousin, Dalia al-Najjar, who says the response of the international community to the Gaza crisis has been “really disappointing,” and notes the U.S. vetoed a draft U.N. resolution urging the protection of Palestinians on Friday, the same day Najjar was killed. “It’s a shameful side that the United States decided to take.”

Cities & States Sue Big Pharma, Targeting the Firms Who Profited from Peddling Addictive Opioids

June 1, 2018 - 8:44am

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announced earlier this year that the city would sue manufacturers and distributors of prescription opioids to account for their part in the city’s ongoing deadly opioid epidemic. Firms named in the suit include Purdue Pharma, Johnson & Johnson and McKesson Corporation. The Guardian reports that more than 60 cities are suing Big Pharma over opioids. An explosive New York Times report has revealed that manufacturers of the drug OxyContin knew it was highly addictive as early as 1996, the first year after the drug hit the market. The Times published a confidential Justice Department report this week showing that Purdue Pharma executives were told OxyContin was being crushed and snorted for its powerful narcotic, but still promoted it as less addictive than other opioid painkillers. Purdue executives have testified before Congress that they were unaware of the drug’s growing abuse until years after it was on the market. Today, drug overdoses are the leading cause of death for Americans under age 50. We speak with Barry Meier, author of “Pain Killer: An Empire of Deceit and the Origin of America’s Opioid Epidemic.”

"Pain Killer" Author Barry Meier on How West Virginia Became Ground Zero of Opioid Epidemic

June 1, 2018 - 8:39am

West Virginia had the highest rate of opioid-related deaths in the U.S. in 2016, making the state ground zero for a national opioid epidemic that has killed more than 200,000 people in the past two decades. A record number of people in West Virginia died from overdosing on drugs in 2017. Between 2007 and 2012, the three biggest wholesalers of prescription drugs in the U.S. shipped some 780 million pain pills containing oxycodone or hydrocodone to the state of West Virginia alone—433 pills for every man, woman and child in the state. That’s according to Barry Meier, author of “Pain Killer: An Empire of Deceit and the Origin of America’s Opioid Epidemic,” published this week in an updated and expanded edition. We speak with Barry Meier, the first journalist to shed a national spotlight on the abuse of OxyContin.

Origins of the Opioid Epidemic: Purdue Pharma Knew of OxyContin Abuse in 1996 But Covered It Up

June 1, 2018 - 8:15am

An explosive New York Times report has revealed that manufacturers of the drug OxyContin knew it was highly addictive as early as 1996, the first year after the drug hit the market. The Times published a confidential Justice Department report this week showing that Purdue Pharma executives were told OxyContin was being crushed and snorted for its powerful narcotic, but still promoted it as less addictive than other opioid painkillers. This report is especially damning because Purdue executives have testified before Congress that they were unaware of the drug’s growing abuse until years after it was on the market. Today, drug overdoses are the leading cause of death for Americans under age 50. While President Trump claimed Tuesday that numbers relating to opioid addiction are “way down,” the latest statistics show there was an increase of opioid-related deaths and overdoses during Trump’s first year in office. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drug overdose deaths involving opioids rose to about 46,000 for the 12-month period that ended October 2017, up about 15 percent from October 2016. The epidemic has been so widespread that life expectancy is falling in the United States for the first time in 50 years. We speak with Barry Meier, the reporter who broke this story for the Times, headlined “Origins of an Epidemic: Purdue Pharma Knew Its Opioids Were Widely Abused.” Meier was a reporter at The New York Times for nearly three decades and was the first journalist to shed a national spotlight on the abuse of OxyContin. His book “Pain Killer: An Empire of Deceit and the Origin of America’s Opioid Epidemic” was published this week in an updated and expanded edition.

Indigenous Activist: Trudeau's Purchase of Kinder Morgan Pipeline Is "Huge Step Backward" for Canada

May 31, 2018 - 8:50am

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced that the Canadian government will purchase Kinder Morgan’s highly contested Trans Mountain pipeline, vowing to commit taxpayer money to expanding the pipeline despite widespread indigenous-led protests and a slew of lawsuits. If built, the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion will triple the amount of oil flowing from Alberta’s tar sands to the coast of British Columbia. The Canadian government purchased the pipeline for 4.5 billion Canadian dollars—around 3.5 billion American dollars. The decision has sparked widespread condemnation from First Nations and environmental activists, who say that expanding the pipeline will increase pollution in Alberta’s tar sands region, endanger indigenous communities and increase greenhouse gas emissions. We go to Edmonton, Canada, where we speak with Eriel Deranger, executive director of Indigenous Climate Action. She is a member of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation.

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