Despite his party’s bruising loss in the midterms, the president is expected to announce new executive actions to allow up to five million people to avoid deportation. Under the plan, parents of American children can obtain work papers and legally stay in the country. The protection would also extend to immigrants who came to the U.S. as children. The move sets up a major political battle with the GOP, but gives hope to liberals who have wanted the president to pursue his agenda more aggressively.
The Presidential Daily Brief
This wasn’t supposed to happen yet. While the controversial pipeline extension would ramp up oil production, causing concern among both liberal environmentalists and conservative western landowners, a vote wasn’t expected until January. But Obama energy critic and Louisiana Democrat Mary Landrieu, facing a tough runoff for her Senate seat, wants a vote soon. Obama has hinted he’ll veto a measure if it passes. But the lack of support from his own party as he’s on the verge of a GOP-led Congress can’t feel good.
Will he wear out his welcome? During his second visit in two years to Myanmar, also known as Burma, President Obama critically discussed the country’s progress in an interview with a Thai-based Burmese news magazine. While noting Myanmar’s political and economic achievements, he pointed to “backsliding in reforms” — just hours before his meeting with President Thein Sein. The White House and human rights organizations want to see Myanmar open its doors to a full democracy.
The European Space Agency has conquered a comet. Scientists made the historic landing of a man-made probe on the rubber-duck-shaped Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The lander, named Philae, failed in its first attempt to stabilize by thrusting harpoons into the comet’s surface. The team reported today that the robot is now secure on the 2.5-mile-wide remnant of the early solar system, but concerns remain about its long-term stability. Philae is already sending images to Earth, offering a glimpse of its cosmic conquest.
They devoted their lives to the Army. Now they say the Army is targeting them unfairly. Enlisted men and women who rose to become officers say the military has downsized them unjustly, depriving them of thousands of dollars in pension benefits. The Army says it’s culling based on job performance, but many of those let go had received glowing reviews. While it’s typical for the military to scale back after wars end, such as Iraq, the high number of enlisted officers being forced out strikes many as wrong.
They’re skipping the slow clinical-trial process and heading straight for the heart of the epidemic. Doctors Without Borders will test new treatments for the deadly virus on actual Ebola patients in West Africa — where the disease has killed 5,160 people — rather than on lab animals or healthy human subjects. The organization, alongside world health officials, academics and drug companies, will test two antiviral drugs, as well as blood and plasma therapy. Trials will not include placebo control groups. Efficacy, instead, will be measured by survival.
In the latest sign of increasing tension between East and West, three U.S. sailors were attacked by a small crowd of Turkish nationalists in Istanbul. The Americans — in civilian clothes — were taunted as “killers” and assaulted while members of the Turkish Youth Union chanted “Yankee, go home!” Video of the attack shows members of the mob trying to slip plastic bags over the USS Ross sailors’ heads. The men escaped uninjured, and Turkish authorities have made arrests.
Series of Secret Service mistakes opened door for White House intrusion. (NYT)
McConnell to lead Senate, while Warren joins Democratic leadership. (USA Today)
Clayton Kershaw is first pitcher in half century to win National League MVP. (ESPN)
Western alliance says Russian convoys pouring into Ukraine. (Time)
Protectionist watchdog warns of increasing trade barriers. (FT) sub
Pressure mounts over FCC’s stance on open Internet. (NYT)
German parliament debates assisted suicide. (DW)
Alibaba chief says wealth can also bring ‘pain.’ (CNN Money)
Word’s out. The chief investigator and the head judge of soccer’s governing body are dueling openly over the contents of a report looking into charges of corruption in the successful 2018 and 2022 World Cup bids. Michael Garcia, who led the two-year, internal investigation, is rejecting attempts by head judge Hans-Joachim Eckertt to absolve Russia and Qatar of any wrongdoing in the secretive process. Expect the riff to heat up as outsiders get antsy for a complete and uncensored look at the findings.
They need to nip this in the bud: Afghan farmers hit a record poppy harvest this year, with production up 17 percent. The opium flowers blanketed some 550,000 acres — the size of Rhode Island — according to the U.N.’s Office on Drugs and Crime. Instability tends to benefit drug crops. With Afghanistan’s uncertain elections and a military more involved in keeping the peace than wiping out drugs, the crops have thrived. But analysts hope increasing crackdowns will have a withering effect.
China’s agreement to cap carbon emissions and switch to alternative fuels for 20 percent of its energy requirements by 2030 in a deal with President Obama is already drawing Republican fire. The GOP is slamming the U.S. part of the pledge — to cut emissions 26 percent by 2025 — as bad for business and has vowed to block any new regulations. Experts also warn that China’s end of the bargain will be hard to deliver without radical changes to its economy.
Go out and spend! That’s the message from Germany’s trillion-euro man, Asoka Wöhrmann, chief investment strategist at Deutsche Bank. He tells OZY that 70 percent of Teutonic wealth is wrapped up in bank accounts, collecting little or no interest. Rather than socking it away, Wöhrmann suggests that folks consume more and make good investments. This would help “liven up the economy” and steer Germany clear of the deflation dogging Japan. “You mustn’t be afraid of zeros,” he says, reflecting his love of bigger returns.
These men deserve a different kind of raise. Two NYC service workers were rescued yesterday after their hanging scaffolding upended near the 68th floor of One World Trade Center. The building — which opened last week to replace the towers destroyed on 9/11 — is one of the world’s tallest. Firefighters cut through three layers of glass to retrieve Juan Lizama, 41, and Juan Lopez, 33, who were trapped for 90 minutes. Both were treated for mild hypothermia.
Paper Magazine wanted the reality queen’s derrière to “break the Internet.” Mission accomplished. First came an over-the-top photo of Kardashian’s famous backside. Then a glistening frontal shot of her wearing nothing but baby oil and jewelry. The one-two punch gave rise to the inevitable memes and some serious navel-gazing. Many critics denounced it as a cheap stunt while others offered reluctant props for fueling the “main currency that the Web needs to survive.”
Don’t panic, you still have free access to your favorites. But the video-sharing site — in a bid to compete with the likes of Spotify — is launching a new paid service that lets subscribers watch ad-free music videos and download them to play at their leisure. Music Key, currently in invitation-only beta-testing in the United States and select European countries, will cost $10 a month when it opens to the public next year.
The rookie outfielder was one of baseball’s best prospects. Just one season into his MLB career, Oscar Taveras hit .239 with 22 RBI in 80 games with the St. Louis Cardinals. Off the field, though, the 22-year-old did not show the same discipline. Taveras, who lost control of his car while visiting family in the Dominican Republic last month, reportedly had a blood-alcohol level five times the legal limit when he died. His girlfriend, 18-year-old Edilia Arvelo, was also killed in the crash.