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Sudden agreement on US immigration reform

Marcos Rubio, Cuban-American Republican Senator for Florida, succeeded in getting senatorial approval for his immigration plan including bypartisan support from Senators Chuck Schumer and John McCain, among others >> More   

Washington, DC, Jan. 29.─ After years of fruitless argument, America now has not one but two serious proposals for comprehensive immigration reform. The first came on Monday, from a bipartisan group of eight senators. The second came today, from Barack Obama, who flew to Las Vegas to give a speech on the subject; not a formal proposal, per se, but an expansion of his blueprint from May 2011. On the issues that were apparently too delicate to discuss in public a year ago, there's now broad agreement: there should be a path to citizenship for immigrants who are already here illegally, the country should issue more green cards for highly-skilled immigrants, and employers who deliberately hire unauthorised immigrants should be penalised for it.

The president's proposal does differ from the Senate framework in several respects. The most notable is that the latter would only allow unauthorised immigrants to become legal permanent residents; citizenship would have to wait until various border-security reforms have been implemented.

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House Republicans' "fiscal cliff" worries: When will we ever get spending cuts?

What riled House Republicans wasn't the taxes on the rich in the Senate's 'fiscal cliff' bill, it was the absence of significant spending cuts. But changes at this late date could have scuttled the bill. So they yielded to pressure

Washington, Jan. 1 (─ At 11 p.m., this first day of the year after the "fiscal cliff" deadline had expired, the House voted with bipartisan support to pass the Senate's "fiscal cliff" bill, 257 to 167. The vote represented a bipartisan agreement with 172 Democrats and 85 Republicans supporting the measure. Among prominent Republicans voting in favor were House Speaker John Boehner (R, Ohio) and former VP candidate Rep Paul Ryan (R, Wis).

Congress broke a rancorous stalemate Tuesday to pass legislation designed to avert the so-called fiscal cliff. But the compromise bill, which blocked most impending tax increases and postponed spending cuts largely by raising taxes on upper-income Americans, left a host of issues unresolved and guaranteed continued budget clashes between the parties.

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UN chief condemns latest violence in Pakistan, calls for perpetrators to be brought to justice

Ban Ki-moon condemns violence in Pakistan Dec. 31 (UN).─ Appalled by the "escalating terrorist violence" in Pakistan, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has spoken out on the matter, calling for those responsible to be held accountable, according to his spokesperson.

In a statement issued on Sunday night, the spokesperson said that the UN chief condemns the "the continued violent targeting of religious minorities" – the latest such incident involving the bombing of three buses carrying pilgrims on Sunday – as well the killing of 21 members of a Government-backed tribal police force last week.

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UNITED NATIONS: The "Doha Climate Gateway" agreement

  • In typical international climate summit fashion, the COP18 meetings ended in a last–minute marathon session complete with frustration, accusation, acrimony and a halting step forward in what is called the "Doha Climate Gateway" agreement
  • The agreement contains an 8-year extension of the Kyoto Protocol until 2020 limited in scope to only 15% of the global carbon dioxide emissions due to the lack of participation of Canada, Japan, Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, New Zealand and the United States and due to the fact that developing countries like China (the world's largest emitter), India and Brazil are not subject to any emissions reductions under the Kyoto Protocol
  • Ultimately steps were taken with the hope that by 2015, only 3 years hence, a global agreement can be forged  Doha 2012 on climate

Doha, Dec. 14.─ The 2012 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP18) wrapped up last week. Negotiations ran a day overschedule, but concluded with an agreement on the "Doha Climate Gateway". According to information published by the conference website, the deal marks the beginning of discussion on a universal, legally-binding international agreement on greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions. COP18 materials specify that such an agreement could be ratified as soon as 2015, and come into force by 2020. A primary goal of the initiatives is to restrict climate increase to less than 2 degrees Celsius.


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Doha climate pact keeps Kyoto Protocol alive

Doha meeting 2012

Doha, Dec. 9 (Agencies).─ The Kyoto Protocol will be extended until 2020, after Qatar pushed through an agreement at the global climate change conference in Doha yesterday.

The president of the 18th session of the Conference of Parties (COP18), HE Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah, said the new agreement, the only internationally binding treaty on cutting emissions of greenhouse gases, would apply from 2013.


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