Obama to take executive action on immigration
President Obama is preparing to take executive action that will prevent the deportation of up to five million undocumented immigrants. The plan will distribute deportation deferrals and work permits to people whose children are American citizens or legal permanent residents. It would not provide them any formal legal status or a pathway to citizenship. The action is meant as a short-term safeguard to prevent separation of families, which would leave children of undocumented immigrants without their parents. Obama originally decided to bypass Congress after a broad immigration overhaul passed by the Senate died in the House this year. Republicans have denounced his effort as an abuse of executive authority and vowed to fight the plan, either through legal challenges or by blocking its funding. In an interview with Telemundo, a Spanish-language television network, last year, Obama himself declared that this kind of action would essentially be “ignoring the law” and “very difficult to defend legally.”
Governor declares state of emergency in Ferguson
In anticipation of the grand jury decision in the case of Michael Brown, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency in order to prevent the “possibility of expanded unrest.” The grand jury is expected to decide later this month whether to indict Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson who fatally shot an unarmed black teenager in August. It is unknown when the grand jury will make its announcement. Demonstrators have been gathering in churches and other places to plan for a massive protest against an anti-indictment ruling. Demonstrators have been outlining “rules of engagement” with local police, establishing safe spaces and making plans to boycott local businesses. Most of all, the groups are trying to prevent members of their ranks from resorting to violence, which they say would damage their cause. Governor Nixon said that citizens had the right to peaceful protest. He says his plan to bring in National Guard troops is meant to protect citizens and businesses from any violence and damage.
United States pledges $3 billion to global climate fund to help poor nations
The United States will give $3 billion to a new international climate fund to help poorer nations cope with the effects of climate change. The funds will be used to help emerging economies cut their greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to environmental changes like rising sea levels and heat waves. Japan also joined in, pledging $1.5 billion, bringing the total closer to the United Nations (UN) target of $10 billion for this year. Obama’s announcement at the G20 meeting of world leaders comes on the heels of a climate deal reached last week between China and the United States, the world’s top two carbon polluters, to cut their carbon emissions. The deal was China’s first commitment to cut its emissions by 2030. Both the U.S.-China bilateral agreement and the creation of the UN climate fund are seen as essential steps toward reaching an international climate agreement in Paris in 2015. Global climate negotiators will gather in Peru in December to begin drafting the Paris accord.
Islamic State beheads fifth Western hostage
An American aid worker Peter Kassig became the fifth Western hostage beheaded by the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, reportedly in retaliation for the air strikes in Iraq and Syria. The execution was video-taped and released Nov. 16 on various social media networks. The video also included the mass beheading of hostages said to be Syrian government soldiers. President Obama condemned the killing, calling it an “act of pure evil.” This beheading, the most recent in a series of increasingly gruesome videos released by the Islamic State masks the militant group’s setbacks on the battlefield. On Friday, ISIS lost control of Iraq’s largest oil refinery. Air strikes have taken a heavy toll on its senior leadership, and the battle for the Syrian town Kobani has come to a stalemate. Despite its recent military defeats, the group has used the power of online propaganda to terrorize people in Iraq and Syria. The Guardian wrote that ISIS’ media war is “just as effective in securing its gains as anything its foot soldiers do — perhaps even more so.”