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Headlines: November 18, 2016

Trump Picks Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions for Attorney General

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Donald Trump has chosen Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions to be attorney general. Sessions is a former prosecutor who was elected to the Senate in 1996. As a senator, he’s consistently supported anti-immigration legislation. In 2010, he was a leading proponent of the efforts to repeal the 14th Amendment, which grants citizenship to everyone born in the United States. Jeff Sessions has also been a vocal opponent of the Voting Rights Act. In 1986, President Ronald Reagan nominated Sessions for a federal judgeship, but he was denied confirmation because of his history of racist comments, including reportedly saying he thought the Ku Klux Klan was "OK until I found out they smoked pot." He has also called the American Civil Liberties Union and the NAACP "un-American" and "Communist-inspired."

Trump Reportedly Considering General Petraeus for Secretary of State

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Another controversial military figure, former CIA director and retired U.S. Army General David Petraeus, is reportedly in the running for secretary of state. In 2015, Petraeus was sentenced to two years’ probation and a $100,000 fine after pleading guilty to leaking highly classified information to his biographer and lover, Paula Broadwell. This comes after Trump has spent months calling for Hillary Clinton to be jailed for her use of a private email server when she served as secretary of state, despite being cleared of wrongdoing by multiple FBIinvestigations. Donald Trump also met with President Nixon’s secretary of state, Henry Kissinger, on Thursday at Trump Tower.

Trump's Son-in-Law Jared Kushner Weighs Joining Administration

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The New York Times is reporting Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner is weighing the possibility of joining Trump’s administration—a move that may violate U.S. anti-nepotism laws. Kushner is the husband of Trump’s daughter Ivanka. He’s been a key adviser to Donald Trump’s campaign and transition team. Most recently, he orchestrated a purge of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and his allies from the transition team. Jared’s father, Charles Kushner, was sent to prison by Christie when Christie was New Jersey’s top prosecutor.

Democratic Party Elects NY Senator Chuck Schumer as Minority Leader

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Meanwhile, the Democratic Party has elected New York Senator Chuck Schumer to be the Senate minority leader, despite opposition from protesters who say Schumer’s ties to Wall Street make him unfit to lead the Democratic Party’s opposition to Donald Trump. Earlier this week, protesters held a sit-in inside Schumer’s office, demanding he step aside and instead support Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders for the position of minority leader. Instead, on Wednesday, Schumer was elected minority leader and then tapped Bernie Sanders as chair of outreach for the Democratic leadership team. Meanwhile, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren has become the latest Democratic Party member to endorse Minnesota Congressmember Keith Ellison as the next chair of the Democratic National Committee. He’s the co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

Hearing Today over Whether to Postpone Trump University Lawsuit

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In San Diego, U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel will hold a hearing Friday to consider a request by Donald Trump’s lawyers to delay the class action lawsuit against Trump and his defunct for-profit Trump University until after the inauguration in January. The university has been accused of defrauding students. Trump is slated to testify at the trial, but his lawyers are trying to convince Judge Curiel to permit him to testify via a videotaped deposition. They’re also trying to withhold from evidence everything Trump has said, including in speeches and in tweets. During the campaign, Trump attacked Judge Curiel, saying his Mexican heritage makes him biased against Trump.

Iraq: Suicide Attack Kills 30 at Wedding Near Fallujah

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In Iraq, a suicide car bomb killed at least 30 people at a wedding Thursday. The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack south of Fallujah. Among the dead was the groom, Seif Jumaa Maajal, who was the son of a local tribal leader who had been a vocal opponent of the Islamic State.

China: Workers Stage Series of Protests and Strikes Against Wal-Mart

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In China, workers have staged a series of strikes and protests against Wal-Mart, demanding better pay and working conditions. At least 20,000 of Wal-Mart’s workers in China have joined messaging groups, such as WeChat, in order to coordinate organizing against the company. This comes amid a wave of labor organizing in China’s service sector. Since July, workers have organized more than 120 protests and strikes targeting service companies, including Wal-Mart.

Guatemala: U.S.-Backed Former Dictator Ríos Montt to Face Genocide Trial

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In Guatemala, a judge has ruled former U.S.-backed dictator Efraín Ríos Montt will face trial on charges of genocide for a massacre in 1982 that killed 273 indigenous people, nearly half of them children. On Wednesday, the judge ruled he will be represented by his lawyers, as he’s been ruled mentally unfit for trial. Ríos Montt was found guilty of genocide in 2013, but a court annulled his 80-year sentence less than two weeks later.

Residents of Chagos Islands, Removed for U.S. Base, Not Allowed to Return Home

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Britain says residents of the Chagos Islands in the Indian Ocean who were forcibly removed for the construction of a U.S. military base in the early 1970s will not be allowed to return home—despite four decades of organizing by the displaced residents who are demanding the right to return. In addition to serving as U.S. air base, one of the islands, Diego Garcia, has also played a critical role in the U.S. extraordinary rendition program. This week, the British Foreign Office minister said instead of the right to return home, the Chagossians will be offered 40 million pounds in compensation over the next decade. She also said the U.S. will be allowed to keep its military base on the island.

400+ Reports of Attacks & Harassment in Wake of Trump's Election

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Back in the United States, the number of reported hate crimes continues to surge in the wake of Donald Trump’s election last week. The Southern Poverty Law Center has now documented at least 437 incidents of verbal and physical attacks, intimidation and harassment against Muslims, immigrants, African Americans, women and people of color. The most commonly reported place where physical or verbal harassment occurred continues to be in K-12 schools.

Karnes For-Profit Detention Center Bans Children From Playing with Crayons

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A for-profit immigrant family detention center in Karnes County, Texas, has banned migrant children held there from having access to crayons while their mothers meet with lawyers. Immigration authorities claim the ban is a response to children coloring on a table in the prison’s visiting area, which "caused damage to the contractor." The facility is operated by the private prison company GEO Group, which saw its stock price jump after Donald Trump won the presidential election. Human rights advocates are calling for the Obama administration to cut ties with the private prison industry and end family detention before the close of his term.

Colson Whitehead Wins National Book Award for "The Underground Railroad"

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Writer Colson Whitehead has won the National Book Award for "The Underground Railroad," a novel about a young enslaved girl who escapes from a Georgia plantation. At the New York City award ceremony, Whitehead said, "We’re happy in here; outside is the blasted hellhole wasteland of Trumpland. Be kind to everybody, make art and fight the power."

Trump Picks Congressmember Mike Pompeo as CIA Director

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And in breaking news, The Washington Post is reporting that Donald Trump has chosen Kansas Congressmember Mike Pompeo as CIA director. Pompeo has opposed closing Guantánamo Bay prison. In 2013, he visited the notorious U.S. prison and said of the prisoners who were on hunger strike, "It looked to me like a lot of them had put on weight." He’s also a vocal opponent of the Iran nuclear deal.



Courtesy of Democracy Now (www.democracynow.org).  The original content is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License

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