Compiled by MARLENA IDROBO ’16

Nation and World Columnist


State Department report indicates Keystone XL pipeline would not substantially worsen greenhouse gas emissions

According to a report that the State Department released on Friday, the creation of the Keystone XL pipeline would not considerably increase greenhouse gas emissions. The report indicated that if the pipeline were not built, the carbon-containing oil present in Canada’s tar sands would still be extracted and then transported to refineries by rail. Kerri-Ann Jones, an aide for Secretary of State John Kerry, said that Kerry will “deliberate and take the time he needs” before making an official recommendation to President Obama on how to proceed. Last summer, Obama stated that unless it would significantly worsen greenhouse gas emissions, he would approve the pipeline, which would stretch 1,700 miles from Canada to the Gulf Coast and transport 830,000 barrels of oil per day. Experts say that the report contains evidence that would support either the decision to approve or reject the creation of the pipeline. There have been accusations of conflicts of interest against the firm that wrote a draft of the report, due to the fact that some of the consultants had apparently previously worked for TransCanada, the oil company hoping to build the pipeline.

Republicans divided over immigration overhaul proposal

At their annual retreat in Cambridge, Mass. last Thursday, the House Republican leadership expressed conflicting views toward their proposed immigration reform plan. The Republican Party stressed that the government should first focus on tightening border security and preventing the hiring of undocumented immigrants before providing paths to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who have obtained legal status. While various Democrats in the House and Senate voiced their optimism over the Republican accord, Republicans themselves were sharply divided over the proposal. Some believe a harsher approach toward illegal immigration is necessary, while others believe that the House should do more to help undocumented immigrants obtain citizenship. A number of Republicans expressed concern regarding the difficulties of negotiating with Democrats.


United States and Europe collaborate to offer aid package to Ukraine

As anti-government protests in Ukraine continue, Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych resumed work on Monday after calling in sick due to an alleged respiratory infection. The public protests began three months ago over the president’s failure to sign promised political and free-trade agreements with the European Union and his acceptance of a $15 billion loan package from Russia instead. Officials from Europe and the United States are working to compile a financial package that would aid a new Ukrainian government led by an opposition leader.

Syrian extremist rebel group breaks ties with Al Qaeda, gains control of resources

On Monday, Al Qaeda central leadership officially ended their affiliation with the Syria-based extremist rebel group ISIS, or the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. While experts hope this will result in decreased in-fighting among Syrian rebel groups, many also fear ISIS’s growing power. Last week, American officials reported that several rebel groups, including ISIS, gained control of  the majority of Syria’s oil and gas resources and began selling them to President Bashar al-Assad’s government, often in exchange for electricity and exemption from airstrikes. The money earned from the sale of these resources is also being used to fund fighting between the various groups involved in the opposition movement.

Marlena Idrobo ’16 is majoring in Latin American Studies. Besides writing, she enjoys dancing, eating Mexican food, and visiting Boston’s art museums.

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