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Headlines for October 11, 2021 – Democracy Now!

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-Amy Goodman
Please join us for a special virtual celebration of Democracy Now!’s 25th anniversary on December 7 with Angela Davis, Greta Thunberg, Noam Chomsky, Arundhati Roy, Winona LaDuke, Martín Espada, Danny DeVito & many more! Your donation today will help keep this event free for our worldwide audience and will support our fearless, independent journalism throughout the year. Your donation of $10 would go a long way right now. If you can give $50 or more, you’ll get to choose from some great 25th anniversary gifts! Thank you so much and we look forward to celebrating with you on December 7 at 8 p.m. ET at democracynow.org.
-Amy Goodman
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The pharmaceutical company Merck has asked drug regulators in the United States and Europe to authorize the first antiviral pill to treat COVID-19 patients at home. Public health officials hope approval of the drug, molnupiravir, could help reduce the strain on hospitals.
The official COVID death toll in Brazil has topped 600,000 — the second-highest official total in the world behind the United States, where over 713,000 people have died.
More than 130 countries — including every G20 nation — have agreed to a global deal to ensure large corporations pay a global minimum tax rate of 15%. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development described the agreement as a “landmark deal.” French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire spoke on Friday.
Bruno Le Maire: “The deal opens the path to a true fiscal revolution for the 21st century. It’s a fiscal revolution, first, because there is no going back. It’s a fiscal revolution because it brings more justice in the matter of taxation. Finally, digital giants will pay their fair share of taxes in countries, including France, where they are making a profit.”
Critics of the global tax deal say a 15% tax rate is too low. Susana Ruiz of Oxfam said, “This deal is a shameful and dangerous capitulation to the low-tax model of nations like Ireland. It is a mockery of fairness that robs pandemic-ravaged developing countries of badly needed revenue for hospitals and teachers and better jobs.”
In Afghanistan, a suicide attack killed dozens of worshipers at a Shiite mosque in the northern city of Kunduz on Friday. The militant group Islamic State Khorasan, or ISIS-K, claimed responsibility for the blast, which killed as many as 72 people. It was the deadliest attack in Afghanistan since U.S. troops left the country. Meanwhile, the Taliban and the United States held talks in Doha over the weekend. According to the Taliban, the U.S. has agreed to provide humanitarian aid to Afghanistan, where the United Nations estimates 1 million children are at risk of starvation.
Iraqis headed to the polls Sunday for just the fifth parliamentary election since the U.S. overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003. Turnout was just 41%, with many Iraqis refusing to vote. This is Hussein Sabeh, a 20-year-old Iraqi from Basra.
Hussein Sabeh: “I did not vote, to be honest. It is not worth it. There is nothing that would benefit me or others. I see youth that have degrees and no jobs. Before the elections, they all came to them. After the elections, who knows?”
In Lebanon, electricity has been partially restored after a 24-hour nationwide blackout following the collapse of the state-run electrical grid on Saturday. Lebanon’s two largest power plants ran out of fuel. This comes as Lebanon is facing a growing economic and political crisis. Mohammed Rizk is a restaurant owner in Beirut.
Mohammed Rizk: “Electricity used to be available for two hours — one hour during daytime and two hours at night. Now there is nothing, our costs doubled. Gas and fuel prices went up. This is not normal. We are destroyed.”
Tension remains high between China and Taiwan. On Saturday, Chinese President Xi Jinping called for Taiwan to be peacefully reunited with mainland China.
President Xi Jinping: “National reunification by peaceful means best serves the interests of the Chinese nation as a whole, which includes our compatriots in Taiwan. We will maintain our basic policies of peaceful reunification and 'one country, two systems,' uphold the One China principle and the 1992 consensus, and we will work to promote the peaceful development of cross-strait relations.”
Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen responded on Sunday saying Taiwan would not bow to pressure from China.
President Tsai Ing-wen: “We will not act rashly, but there should be absolutely no illusions that the Taiwanese people will bow to pressure. We will continue to bolster our national defense and demonstrate our determination to defend ourselves in order to ensure that nobody can force Taiwan to take the path China has laid out for us.”
In Libya, at least six refugees were shot dead Friday by guards at an overcrowded prison camp. In recent weeks, armed forces in western Libya have detained over 5,100 refugees — including hundreds of children — as part of a sweeping crackdown. On Sunday, hundreds of refugees gathered outside a United Nations facility in Tripoli trying to escape from Libya. Fatima is a refugee from Sudan.
Fatima: “I want to leave Libya. I want to evacuate us from Libya. This is what I want. We are tired. We have no food and no shelter. They attacked us with bullets. They took us to jail with no food or drink. We left prison and came here. Even the children have nothing to eat.”
As many as 70,000 people marched in the Belgian capital of Brussels Sunday demanding world leaders do more to combat the climate emergency. The protest comes just weeks before a major U.N. climate summit begins in Glasgow, Scotland.
The New York Times is reporting Democratic Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona wants to cut at least $100 billion in climate funds from the bills at the center of President Biden’s economic agenda. Both Sinema and fellow Democrat Joe Manchin have opposed the size of the $3.5 trillion bill to expand the nation’s safety net and combat the climate crisis.
Texas’s near-total ban on abortions is back in effect after a federal appeals court ruling Friday. The court said the state could temporarily resume its ban on most abortions, reversing a decision by a federal judge just two days earlier. Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, condemned the appeals court decision, saying, “The Supreme Court needs to step in and stop this madness. It’s unconscionable that the Fifth Circuit stayed such a well-reasoned decision that allowed constitutionally protected services to return in Texas.”
The NAACP is denouncing the recent violent arrest in Dayton, Ohio, of a Black man who is paraplegic. Newly released police bodycam video shows officers dragging Clifford Owensby out of his car and yanking him by his hair after a traffic stop. Officers ignored repeated pleas from Owensby saying he was paraplegic. A warning to our audience: This video includes disturbing images of police violence.
Police officer 1: “Get out of the car.”
Clifford Owensby: “You’re hurting me, bro!”
Police officer 1: “Get out of the car. Get out of the car.”
Clifford Owensby: “What are y’all doing, bro? I’m a paraplegic, bro.”
Police officer 2: “Get out of the car, dude. You’re making this worse.”
Clifford Owensby: “I’m a paraplegic, bro!”
Police officer 1: “Get out of the car. Get out of the car.”
Clifford Owensby: “I’m trying to tell you that I got help getting in the car. You’re [bleep] hurting me!”
Police officer 1: “Get out of the car.”
Clifford Owensby: “You’re hurting me!”
Police officer 1: “Get out of the car.”
Clifford Owensby: “Ow, bro! I’m a paraplegic! Ow!”
Police officer 1: “You had a chance to get out of the car. You resisted the cops.”
Clifford Owensby: “Ow! Ow! Ow!”
Police officer 1: “Get out of the car.”
Clifford Owensby: “Somebody help! Somebody help! Somebody help!”
The Justice Department has announced it will not file federal charges against the white police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin, who fired seven shots at point-blank range into the back of Jacob Blake last year. The shooting left the 29-year-old African American father partially paralyzed. The officer, Rusten Sheskey, shot Blake as he leaned into his car. Three of Blake’s young sons witnessed the shooting from inside the car; the boys were just 3, 5 and 8 years old at the time. The Justice Department said there was insufficient evidence that the officers willfully used excessive force. Click here to see our interview with Jacob Blake’s father.
More than 220 immigrant and human rights groups are urging the Biden administration to immediately halt all efforts to expand immigration detention and terminate contracts with private prisons to hold immigrants. The groups have also denounced plans for two facilities in Pennsylvania: the planned reopening of the Moshannon Valley Correctional Center and the planned expansion of an immigration jail in Berks County.
In news from Guatemala, 126 people were found locked in an abandoned shipping container over the weekend. They were freed after local residents heard screaming and shouting from inside. The majority of the people locked inside were Haitian asylum seekers who were hoping to make it to the U.S. border.
The congressional committee investigating the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol is threatening to file criminal charges against former Trump adviser Steve Bannon for refusing to comply with a subpoena. Bannon defended his decision citing Trump’s directive to former aides not to cooperate with the probe. Meanwhile, President Biden has rejected Trump’s request to withhold White House records related to the insurrection from the House committee.
Pakistani nuclear scientist AQ Khan has died at the age of 85. Khan helped Pakistan build its nuclear arsenal. He later confessed to smuggling nuclear weapons blueprints to other countries, including Iran, North Korea and Libya, in one of the world’s largest nuclear proliferation scandals.

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