The FBI is launching an investigation into fires set at seven different African-American churches in seven days. So far none of the blazes have been labeled as hate crimes, but investigators say at least three fires were caused by arson. The fires began on June 21, just days after the Charleston massacre, and have occurred in six different states: Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida and Ohio. We are joined by Richard Cohen, president of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which has been tracking these most recent fires.
As France Suspends Soldiers for Child Sexual Abuse, Will UN Tackle Impunity for Western Peacekeepers?
In the latest allegations of child sex abuse by Western troops in the countries they are supposed to be protecting, France has suspended two soldiers accused of sexually abusing two children in Burkina Faso. The soldiers reportedly filmed themselves abusing one of the victims, a five-year-old girl. The suspension of the French soldiers comes weeks after it emerged the U.N. failed to investigate allegations of sexual exploitation of children by French troops in the Central African Republic. Even after the exploitation was brought to the attention of senior U.N. officials, the U.N. never reported it to French authorities — nor did it do anything to immediately stop the abuse. A forthcoming report by the U.N.’s Office of Internal Oversight Services says peacekeepers frequently engage in "transactional sex," forcing impoverished citizens to perform sexual acts in exchange for food and medication. We are joined by Paula Donovan, co-director of AIDS-Free World. Her group has launched the Code Blue campaign, which seeks to end the sexual exploitation and abuse by United Nations military and nonmilitary peacekeeping personnel.
After half a century, the United States and Cuba have announced they will reopen embassies in each other’s capitals and formally re-establish diplomatic relations. Secretary of State John Kerry said he will travel to Havana to open the U.S. Embassy there. In a statement, the Cuban government said relations with the United States cannot be considered normalized until trade sanctions are lifted, the naval base at Guantánamo Bay is returned, and U.S.-backed programs aimed at "subversion and internal destabilization" are halted. But in a letter to Obama on Wednesday, Cuban President Raúl Castro acknowledged much progress has already been made, and confirmed the openings of permanent diplomatic missions later this month. We are joined by Peter Kornbluh, author of "Back Channel to Cuba: The Hidden History of Negotiations Between Washington and Havana."
- U.S. and Cuba to Reopen Embassies, Formally Re-establish Ties
- Greek Talks Stall Ahead of Austerity Referendum Sunday
- Puerto Rico Meets Debt Obligations for Now
- Egypt: More Than 100 Killed in Sinai Clashes
- U.N.: Record Number of Migrants Cross Mediterranean
- Philippines: Dozens Killed in Ferry Disaster
- Indonesia: Plane Crash Death Toll Tops 140
- Bree Newsome Speaks Out After Removing SC Confederate Flag
- NASCAR Track to Offer Confederate Flag Swap
- Tennessee: 5,000 Evacuated After Chemical Train Derails
- U.S. Probes Airlines for Potential Collusion over Fares
- Sanders Draws Record Crowd of 10,000 at Wisconsin Rally
- Macy's Severs Ties with Trump After Remarks on Mexicans
- Snowden Documents Reveal New Details of "NSA's Google"
- WikiLeaks Publishes Core Text of Massive TiSA Trade Deal
- Judge Strikes Down GMO Ban in Maui County, Hawaii
- Girl Scouts Refuse Donation with Transgender Limits, Raise $300,000
- Ramsey Orta, Who Filmed Fatal Chokehold of Eric Garner, Arrested Again
Two-term New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has formally launched his bid for the GOP presidential nomination, promising "straight talk" and touting his record. In the months ahead, Christie will work on repairing his battered image after last year’s "Bridgegate" lane closure scandal. Critics say the closings were political retribution against a Democratic New Jersey mayor who refused to endorse Christie’s re-election campaign. But the governor has denied any knowledge of the closures. Meanwhile, Christie’s approval ratings in his home state have fallen to new lows amid a series of credit downgrades and weak job growth. We are joined by Bob Hennelly, political analyst and investigative reporter for Newark’s WBGO and a regular contributor to Salon.
After historic rulings that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide and upheld a key provision of the Affordable Care Act, this week the Supreme Court handed down its final rulings for the current term, dealing with abortion access, air pollution, executions and elections. We examine the decisions and look at pending rulings on affirmative action and union dues with Ian Millhiser, editor of ThinkProgress Justice and author of "Injustices: The Supreme Court’s History of Comforting the Comfortable and Afflicting the Afflicted."
Thousands of people gathered in New York City last month for a march calling on President Obama to release a longtime Puerto Rican independence activist from prison. Oscar López Rivera was convicted in 1981 on federal charges, including seditious conspiracy — conspiring to oppose U.S. authority over Puerto Rico by force. He was also accused of being a member of the FALN, the Armed Forces of National Liberation, which claimed responsibility for more than 100 bombings to call attention to the colonial case of Puerto Rico. In 1999, President Bill Clinton commuted the sentences of 16 members of the FALN, but López refused to accept the deal because it did not include two fellow activists who have since been released. 2015 marks López’s 34th year behind bars. He is scheduled for release in 2027. We discuss López’s case with Congressmember Nydia Velázquez, Democrat for New York and the first Puerto Rican woman to be elected to Congress.
Puerto Rico could be on the verge of following Greece in defaulting on its debt. Puerto Rico’s government and the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority say they will miss today’s deadline for more than $1 billion in payments on a debt of more than $73 billion. This comes as Puerto Rico’s unemployment is more than twice the U.S. national rate, and its poverty level is nearly double that of the poorest U.S. state. Meanwhile, Puerto Rico’s healthcare system may also be on the verge of collapse. We are joined by Congressmember Nydia Velázquez, Democrat for New York and the first Puerto Rican woman to be elected to Congress.
- Greece Misses IMF Payment; Crisis Talks Set to Continue
- Report: Greek Creditors Acknowledge Austerity Measures Unsustainable for Debt Load
- Iran Nuclear Talks Extended as Deadline Passes
- FISA Court Re-authorizes Bulk Collection of Phone Data
- Fire at South Carolina Black Church is Latest to Hit Black Congregations
- County Clerks in Several GOP States Refuse to Follow Supreme Court Ruling on Marriage Equality
- Florida Judge Blocks Law Imposing 24-Hour Wait Period on Abortions
- ISIL-Linked Group Kills Dozens in Egypt's Sinai
- U.N. to Declare Yemen a Top Humanitarian Crisis
- U.S. to Lift Military Freeze on Bahrain Despite Admission Rights Climate Not "Adequate"
- U.S., Brazil Announce Joint Climate Pledges
- Rousseff in First U.S. Visit Since NSA Spying Row
- Study: Major World Aquifers Losing Alarming Amounts of Water
- NJ Governor Christie Enters GOP Presidential Race
- Justice Dept.: Police Violated Ferguson Protesters' Rights
To mark her 100th birthday, we pay tribute to the legendary activist and Detroit-based community organizer Grace Lee Boggs. We play an excerpt of the documentary, "American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs," and revisit a 2008 Democracy Now! interview about Boggs’ work in the civil rights, Black Power, labor, environmental justice and feminist movements for seven decades.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called for a full investigation after Saudi coalition airstrikes hit a U.N. compound in Yemen. A guard was injured when the office of the U.N. Development Programme in the southern city of Aden was hit Sunday. The United Nations has warned Yemen is one step away from famine as a humanitarian crisis intensifies. We discuss the latest with Democracy Now! correspondent Sharif Abdel Kouddous, who reported recently from Yemen.
Egypt’s public prosecutor has been killed in a bomb attack in Cairo. Hisham Barakat died in hospital Monday after a remote bomb detonated next to his car outside his home as he drove to work. Eight others were also hurt in the blast. Barakat became a target of militants after he sent thousands of Islamists to trial following the overthrow of President Mohamed Morsi in 2013. We speak with Cairo-based Democracy Now! correspondent Sharif Abdel Kouddous.
Today marks the deadline for Iran and six world powers to reach a comprehensive agreement on curbing Iran’s nuclear program. Iran has dispatched two top officials to Vienna in a last-minute push for a diplomatic breakthrough, but the talks will likely be extended. The outstanding differences include access to international inspectors and Iranian nuclear activity in the deal’s final years. Negotiators are also trying to determine the timing of sanctions relief and the scope of Tehran’s nuclear research. We are joined from Tehran by Reza Sayah, a journalist who has covered Iran for CNN International for the last seven years.
Tens of thousands of Greeks have protested against further austerity cuts ahead of a key referendum on a new European bailout. The demonstrations come as the country confirms it will not meet the deadline for a $1.8 billion loan repayment due by 6 p.m. Eastern time tonight, deepening Greece’s fiscal crisis and threatening its exit from the eurozone. Greece will hold a vote this Sunday on whether to accept an austerity package of budget cuts and tax hikes in exchange for new loans. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has urged a "no" vote, calling the proposal a surrender. We go to Greece to speak with Costas Panayotakis, professor of sociology at the New York City College of Technology at CUNY and author of "Remaking Scarcity: From Capitalist Inefficiency to Economic Democracy."
- Tens of Thousands Protest Austerity as Greece Faces Default
- Iran Talks Poised for Extension as Deadline Looms
- Puerto Rico Seeks U.S. Bankruptcy Protections over Crushing Debt
- Supreme Court Rejects Texas Abortion Restrictions
- Supreme Court Blocks EPA Limits on Mercury Emissions
- Death Row Prisoners Lose Challenge to Execution Drug Midazolam
- Arizona Decision Could Curb Partisan Redistricting
- Egyptian Prosecutor Killed in Cairo Bomb Attack
- Israel Seizes Boat Leading Gaza-Bound Flotilla
- Obama to Extend Overtime Eligibility to Millions
- Univision, NBC Drop Donald Trump over Comments on Mexican Immigrants
- Exonerated Death Row Prisoner Glenn Ford Dies at 65
On Saturday, Bree Newsome, a 30-year-old African-American woman, was arrested at the state Capitol after scaling the 30-foot flagpole and unhooking the Confederate flag. As police officers shouted at her to come down, Bree Newsome shimmied to the top, took the flag in her hand and said, "You come against me with hatred and oppression and violence. I come against you in the name of God. This flag comes down today!" Newsome recited Psalm 27 and the Lord’s Prayer as she brought the flag down. As soon as she reached the ground, she was arrested, along with James Tyson, who had stood at the bottom of the pole to spot her as she climbed. The action went viral and was seen around the world. Democracy Now! was at the jail where Newsome was taken, where we spoke with her supporters. The flag was replaced about an hour after Newsome took it down. We also spoke with supporters of the flag, who rallied at the Capitol Saturday, and with the counter-protesters who confronted them.
After the Supreme Court’s historic ruling on marriage equality, many LGBTQ leaders are now redirecting their attention to obtaining federal, state and local legal protections in areas of employment, housing and commerce. Nationwide, anti-discrimination laws for gay people are inconsistent and unequal with only 22 states barring discrimination based on sexual orientation. The Human Rights Campaign is now advocating for a broad federal shield that would protect people of all sexual orientations and gender identities under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Meanwhile, grassroots LGBTQ activists are calling for large, national organizations to also focus their attention and resources on other pressing issues, including lesbian and gay refugees and asylum seekers, the plight of homeless youth ostracized by their families, and the disproportionately high levels of violence experienced by transgender people. We are joined by Jennicet Gutiérrez, an undocumented trans activist from Mexico who recently made national headlines when she interrupted President Obama to say "No more deportations!" at a White House event. Gutiérrez is a founding member of Familia: TQLM, established to advocate for LGBTQ immigrants often excluded in the immigration debate. We are also joined by Marc Solomon, national campaign director of Freedom to Marry and author of "Winning Marriage: The Inside Story of How Same-Sex Couples Took on the Politicians and Pundits—and Won."
Same-sex weddings took place across the country this weekend after the Supreme Court ruled that all 50 states must now permit LGBTQ couples "the fundamental right to marry." The historic decision puts an end to marriage equality bans that remained in 14 states, impacting tens of thousands of couples. Writing for the majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy said, "Changed understandings of marriage are characteristic of a Nation where new dimensions of freedom become apparent to new generations." He added, "It demeans gays and lesbians for the State to lock them out of a central institution of the Nation’s society." Advocates note there is more work to be done in the fight for LGBT rights, a point highlighted at many of this weekend’s Pride celebrations. We are joined by two of the plaintiffs in the Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage case, April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse, who went to court in Michigan to win the right to jointly adopt each other’s children, and Marc Solomon, the national campaign director of Freedom to Marry.
- LGBTQ Weddings, Pride Celebrations Follow Historic Supreme Court Ruling on Marriage Equality
- Funerals for Church Massacre Victims Continue; Obama Calls for Tackling Racial Bias
- Activist Arrested After Scaling Flagpole, Removing Confederate Flag from State Capitol
- Greece Closes Banks, Calls Referendum on European Austerity Demands
- Iran Nuclear Talks to Miss Tuesday Deadline
- Islamic State Tied to Attacks That Kill Dozens on 3 Continents
- Thousands March for Climate Justice in Rome Ahead of Vatican Conference
- New York Prisoner Manhunt Ends with Capture, Killing
- Puerto Rico Says It Can't Pay $72B in Public Debt
Outside the wake for Rev. Clementa Pinckney, Amy Goodman interviews civil rights leader and South Carolina native Rev. Jesse Jackson, who says of the massacre at Emanuel AME Church, "The question is, is this an embarrassment, or is it transformational?" Jackson argues efforts to remove the Confederate flag from the state Capitol shouldn’t stop there. "If you still have less access to voting, it’s not a good deal. If the flag comes down and you still have racial profiling … it’s not a good deal," Jackson says.