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Nearly 200 nations reached an accord in Paris Saturday to rein in rising greenhouse gas emissions that are warming the planet. The deal includes voluntary commitments by countries to cut carbon emissions as well as billions more dollars to help poor nations implement renewable energy and cope with climate change. President Obama hailed the deal even while acknowledging it’s not enough to stop global warming.
President Obama: “Even if all the initial targets set in Paris are met, we’ll only be part of the way there when it comes to reducing carbon from the atmosphere, so we cannot be complacent because of today’s agreement. The problem is not solved because of this accord. But make no mistake: The Paris Agreement establishes the enduring framework the world needs to solve the climate crisis.”
Many scientists and environmental groups say nations need to be far more ambitious to prevent global temperatures from rising. Thousands of people took to the streets of Paris Saturday to demand further action. We’ll go to the streets and talk more about the agreement after headlines.
In other news from France, the far-right, anti-immigrant National Front has failed to win a single region in the second round of local elections. The National Front won six of 13 regions in the first round last weekend. But in a tactical move aimed at defeating the Front, the rival Socialist Party withdrew in key regions, urging supporters to back the more mainstream conservatives instead. Despite the National Front’s defeat, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said the threat is not over.
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls: “Tonight, there is no place for relief, no triumphalism, no message of victory. The danger posed by the far right has not gone away—far from it. I won’t forget the results of the first round and of previous elections.”
In Germany, police said 69 officers were injured and 50 police cars damaged after left-wing demonstrators took to the streets to protest a neo-Nazi rally. Police did not say how many protesters were injured in the clashes in Leipzig; 23 people were detained.
In Saudi Arabia, voters have elected 20 women to local government posts after women were allowed to vote and run in elections for the first time in Saudi history. The winning female candidates make up about 1 percent of the 2,100 municipal seats at play in the elections.
In the East African nation of Burundi, at least 87 people were killed Friday in some of the deadliest violence since unrest erupted earlier this year. The violence began after President Pierre Nkurunziza announced plans to seek what many say was an unconstitutional third term in office, winning re-election in July. On Friday, officials said attackers hit three military sites; residents accused security forces of rounding up people and killing them in retaliatory violence.
A coalition of 17 countries led by the United States and Italy have backed the formation of a unity government in Libya and called for an immediate ceasefire. Libya has been engulfed in chaos following the U.S.-backed ouster of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, allowing the self-proclaimed Islamic State to claim swaths of territory. Secretary of State John Kerry said he is confident Libya’s rival governments will sign the unity pledge later this week. Speaking in Rome, he said the rise in Libya of ISIS—which he called Daesh—threatens the world.
Secretary of State John Kerry: “We came here today—members of the Libya support group, neighbors of Libya, international organizations—because we cannot allow the status quo in Libya to continue. It is dangerous for the viability of Libya. It is dangerous for Libyans. And now, because of the increased presence of Daesh purposefully migrating there, it is dangerous for everyone.”
Doctors Without Borders has raised the death toll of the U.S. airstrike on its hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan. Doctors Without Borders had previously confirmed 30 deaths during the attack in October but now says at least 42 people were killed, including 14 staff members, 24 patients and four relatives of patients. The organization has demanded an independent investigation into the attack, which it calls a possible war crime.
Hundreds of Syrian refugees have arrived in Canada, where they have been immediately granted permanent residency. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has pledged to resettle 10,000 Syrian refugees by the end of this month and another 15,000 by March 1. Canadians have welcomed the refugees with video messages of support. Trudeau greeted the first batch of more than 160 refugees who arrived around midnight Thursday.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: “Tonight they step off the plane as refugees, but they walk out of this terminal as permanent residents of Canada, with social insurance numbers, with health cards and with an opportunity to become full Canadians.”
In Germany, meanwhile, Chancellor Angela Merkel has said she wants to “drastically decrease” the number of refugees entering Germany amid pressure from within her party. Nearly a million refugees have entered Germany this year; more than 340,000 have submitted asylum applications.
British resident Shaker Aamer has spoken out about his imprisonment in Guantánamo, following his release in October after more than 13 years behind bars. Aamer had been cleared for release since 2007, but the United States kept him locked up without charge. He says he was subjected to torture, beatings, sleep deprivation and starvation, doused with freezing water and forced to stand for 18 hours at a time. In a series of interviews, Aamer said a British official was present during one of his beatings. Aamer also condemned extremism, saying any extremists living in the U.K. should “get the hell out.” And speaking to ITV News, Aamer described reuniting with his wife and children.
Juliet Bremner: “There was a son that you’d never seen?”
Shaker Aamer: “It’s [not] just the son, it’s all of them. I mean, it’s 14 years, you know. My eldest daughter, she was four and a half, you know? And it’s a stranger, you know. For them, I’m a stranger, I’m a total stranger, you know.”
In California, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies shot and killed an African-American man Saturday they say was armed with a gun and refused to drop it. Sheriff’s officials say Nicholas Robertson fired several shots into the air and was “behaving erratically.” Deputies opened fire, and video shows them continuing to shoot as Robertson crawls away on his stomach. In total, the two deputies fired 33 shots.
On the campaign trail, a new poll of Republican voters in Iowa shows Texas Senator Ted Cruz leading over business mogul Donald Trump. The Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics poll found Cruz had a 10-point lead over Trump, with 31 percent support, compared to Trump’s 21 percent. Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson appears to be plummeting in the polls. The shift comes ahead of the next Republican presidential debate Tuesday in Las Vegas.
In Southern California, police and the FBI have launched a hate crimes probe after two mosques were vandalized. Worshipers at the Islamic Center of Hawthorne arrived Sunday to find the words “Jesus is the way” spray-painted on the mosque. At another mosque in the same town, the word “Jesus” was spray-painted on the outside, and a plastic hand grenade replica was left in the driveway. The incidents came after police arrested 23-year-old Carl Dial Jr. Friday on hate crime and arson charges over a fire at a third Southern California mosque, the Islamic Society of Coachella Valley. Alisa Shabazz, a member of the mosque, reacted to the arson.
Alisa Shabazz: “When we came around the corner, we saw the ambulance—no, excuse me, no, the fire department. And we was like, ’What’s happening?’ And they said that somebody tried to blow up the mosque. Why? For what reason? You know, we’re peaceful people. We don’t terrorize people. We don’t bomb people. I’ve been a Muslim all my life, and I’ve never had to deal with this.”
The mosque fires are part of an apparent spike in Islamophobic incidents in the aftermath of the Paris and San Bernardino attacks and amid calls by Republican candidate Donald Trump to ban Muslims from entering the United States. More than a dozen incidents have been reported over the past week alone. In Tampa, Florida, two Muslim women reported being attacked in separate incidents: One said she was shot at, while another said she was nearly run off the road by a man who threw stones at her. In Gwinnett County, Georgia, a 13-year-old Muslim girl was asked by a teacher if she had a bomb in her backpack. Multiple mosques from New Jersey to Arizona have been vandalized or received hate mail.
Funerals continued over the weekend for the 14 people killed in the San Bernardino, California, shooting attacks by Tashfeen Malik and her husband Syed Rizwan Farook. The New York Times reports Malik passed three background checks by U.S. immigration authorities as she moved from Pakistan to the United States, despite her posts on social media saying she wanted to take part in violent jihad. Immigration authorities say they don’t routinely review social media as part of the background check process.
And Ecuador and Sweden have reportedly reached a deal to allow WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to be questioned on sex crimes allegations in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, where he has been holed up for more than three years. Assange has long requested Swedish prosecutors question him inside the embassy. He fears that if he travels to Sweden, he could end up being extradited to the United States, where a secret grand jury has been investigating WikiLeaks’ revelations. Sweden has never charged Assange with a crime.
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