Long-awaited COP21 climate talks have begun in the French capital today, pulling together representatives of 195 countries in a bid to cement an agreement to limit greenhouse gas emissions and slow global warming. Hopes are high that negotiations will bring a commitment of solidarité, both for Mother Nature and against terror. President Obama, who last night visited the Bataclan theater memorial, said it would be a powerful message if the world unites for the environment and ”shows that we will not be deterred from building a better future for our children.”
The Presidential Daily Brief
It was “a form of terrorism.” So says Gov. John Hickenlooper, referring to Friday’s deadly rampage at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic. Three people were killed — police officer Garrett Swasey, Iraq War veteran Ke’Arre Stewart and young mother Jennifer Markovsky — each of whom left behind two children. Suspect Robert Lewis Dear, who allegedly muttered something about “no more baby parts” as he was arrested, was charged with murder today in a case that will further impassion the congressional debates over Planned Parenthood funding and gun control.
They’re setting the ball rolling. President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan have met while attending the Paris climate talks on Pakistan-brokered peace talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government — peace talks that were canceled in July when the announcement of a Taliban leader’s death destabilized the group’s hierarchy. Meanwhile, the U.S. embassy in Afghanistan has issued a warning of an imminent terrorist attack in the region, once they say could strike within two days — and they’re urging all Americans to get out while they can.
He’s gone where most dare not tread. The pontiff visited one of the world’s most dangerous neighborhoods in the Central African Republic capital of Bangui, which has been plagued by religious violence. He entered the PK5 district — flanked by U.N. peacekeepers — where Muslims have taken refuge from Christian militias. Throughout his six-day African tour, Francis has called for an end to religious conflict, noting that “peace without love, friendship and tolerance is nothing.” Though many Africans say they appreciate the message, they worry it may not get through to political leaders.
Europe and the U.S. have reached a fork in the road. This week the European Central Bank is expected to drop interest rates further, just ahead of a U.S. jobs report that will likely bolster Janet Yellen’s call to raise rates for the first time in nine years. The ECB may also increase charges for banks to park their money with it, hoping to get institutions to use funds instead to prop up the private sector — which some fear will make for an even bumpier currency-market ride.
High Court finds Northern Ireland’s abortion laws incompatible with human rights. (IBT)
Chris Christie gets boost with New Hampshire newspaper endorsement. (NYT)
Kobe Bryant announces plans to retire from NBA. (Reuters)
Turkey, EU agree to $3.2 billion aid deal to tackle influx of migrants. (DW)
Retailers enjoy strong online sales ahead of Cyber Monday. (USA Today)
Clinton seeks $275 billion to modernize national infrastructure. (ABC)
University of Chicago cancels classes over online threat. (Washington Post)
Yuan to become one of the IMF’s reserve currencies. (DW)
U.K. doctors call off strike after government agrees to drop contract changes. (The Guardian)
Was it a burial fit for both a king and a queen? King Tut’s tomb — perhaps the most famous Egyptian burial site — is unusually small for a monarch. This led British Egyptologist Nicholas Reeves to theorize that when the young pharaoh died unexpectedly he was hurriedly buried in an outer chamber of Queen Nefertiti’s tomb. Egypt’s Minister of Antiquity says new radar scans indicate a 90 percent chance of at least one secret chamber behind the tomb’s wall, prompting speculation that her royal highness is hidden there, too.
Funding won’t be an issue. The Facebook and Microsoft founders have announced the Breakthrough Energy Coalition, putting the weight of the world’s tech giants behind investments in zero-carbon technology. With an all-star roster including Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson and Jack Ma, the group will fill gaps in government funding — hundreds of billions of dollars — to support the best eco-friendly ideas from public research institutions. The investments will impact diverse sectors like electricity, transport and agriculture to “transition the world to a near zero emissions energy future.”
Last night’s big winner was The Weeknd, taking album of the year and best male performer, while best new artist went to Jidenna. Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Funk” nabbed song and video of the year, and Jill Scott claimed the inaugural Lady of Soul Award. But host Erykah Badu generated the most buzz with her lively pace and witty one-liners. During her monologue, Badu told Iggy Azalea she could join the soul train because her music is “definitely not rap” — showing that in the age of hip-hop, R&B still carries a tune.
Faithfulness may be too good to be true. A new study shows that only nine percent of mammal species and just 17 percent of modern human societies are strictly monogamous. Behaviorists point to evolution for some of our promiscuity — the more offspring you have, with however many partners, the better your chances of passing on your genes. Some believe that the human tendency to cheat may indicate that we’re simply not hardwired to settle down with a single partner.
Great Scot! Thanks to Andy Murray, Great Britain’s long wait to clinch its first Davis Cup title since 1936 has ended. The Scottish tennis great’s 3-1 victory capped his team’s three days of play at the Flanders Expo, where he helped win 11 of their 12 points. Murray, No. 2 in the world, said it was probably the “most emotional” victory of his illustrious career, which includes two Grand Slams. While his focus now turns to January’s Australian Open, his countrymen are undoubtedly anticipating 2016’s title defense.