The World Meteorological Organization has announced here at the 22nd annual U.N. climate summit, known as COP 22, that 2016 is very likely to be the hottest year on record—and that the average global temperature this year is 1.2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. That’s only 0.3 degrees Celsius away from the limit of a 1.5-degree rise set by the Paris Agreement in order to avoid catastrophic impacts of climate change. This comes as residents of La Paz, Bolivia, are facing extreme water shortages and rationing as the three dams that supply the city’s water have run almost dry. Scientists say the drought is caused by the rapid retreat of glaciers due to global warming. Over the last three decades, Bolivian glaciers have shrunk more than 40 percent, affecting 2 million people in the region who rely on glacier melt as their water supply.
In the United States, The Wall Street Journal is reporting former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani is currently President-elect Donald Trump’s leading pick for secretary of state. Giuliani was the architect of New York City’s stop-and-frisk program, which disproportionately targeted people of color and was later ruled unconstitutional. Giuliani has called for measures to force Muslims on the government’s terrorism watch list to wear electronic tracking bracelets, and boasted about how he sent undercover NYPD officers to infiltrate mosques. Speaking at the Republican National Convention last July, Giuliani proclaimed, “What I did for New York, Donald Trump will do for America.” Trump has already named Stephen Bannon, former head of the far right-wing Breitbart Media, as his top strategist, and Reince Priebus, head of the Republican National Committee, as his chief of staff. Trump is reportedly also considering former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton as a possible secretary of state, if Giuliani is not chosen. Bolton, who was nominated by President George W. Bush, famously talked about lopping off the top 10 stories of the United Nations headquarters.
This comes as President Obama said he was encouraged by Donald Trump’s election night speech and urged Americans to give Trump the room and space to make his Cabinet appointments and to get adjusted to the White House.
President Barack Obama: “What I also discussed was the fact that I had been encouraged by his statements on election night about the need for unity and his interest in being the president for all people, and that how he staffs, the first steps he takes, the first impressions he makes, the reset that can happen after an election, all those things are important and should be thought about. And I think it’s important to give him the room and the space to do that.”
CBS News also reported Monday that Trump had asked for several of his adult children—Donald, Eric and Ivanka—and his son-in-law Jared Kushner to receive top security clearances, a claim which an official from Trump’s transition team denied during interviews with a pool of reporters later on Monday. The children were also named to Trump’s transition team last week. If Trump’s children were to receive security clearances, it could represent a conflict of interest, as his children are also running Trump’s vast business networks. Jared Kushner’s newspaper, the New York Observer, has also stopped printing paper copies of the iconic publication last week.
In Brussels, the European Union held an emergency meeting Sunday night aimed at unifying the bloc’s approach to the election of Donald Trump—although this goal collapsed after a handful of top officials boycotted the event. Both France’s and Hungary’s foreign ministers boycotted the meeting. Hungary’s prime minister supports Trump. French right-wing politician Marine Le Pen, who many are predicting could be the next president of France, has also supported Donald Trump, calling his election part of a “global revolution … in the building of a new world.” Britain, which is slated to leave the EU, boycotted the talks entirely. The Brexit plans, however, appear to be in disarray. A leaked memo said Prime Minister Theresa May’s Cabinet is divided on how to exit the European Union and that there was so much work required to leave the EU, the government might have to hire as many as 30,000 additional people. Meanwhile, Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke on the telephone Monday, agreeing to work to improve relations between the two countries.
Protests against President-elect Donald Trump continue across the United States. On Monday, thousands of high school students walked out of classes in Seattle; Los Angeles; San Francisco; Silver Spring, Maryland; and Portland, Oregon. Students chanted “Not My President” and “No Trump, No KKK, No Fascist U.S.A.” as they poured out of high schools from coast to coast.
Students and young people also staged a sit-in Monday at New York Senator Chuck Schumer’s office on Capitol Hill, demanding Schumer step aside from becoming Senate minority leader and instead support Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders for the position.
Protester: “We’re here today at Chuck Schumer’s office, as a senator who has received so of the most amount of campaign contributions from Wall Street, to say that the Democratic establishment cannot lead the opposition right now and that Chuck Schumer must step aside and allow for new leadership. So we’re here to demand that Chuck Schumer step aside from minority leadership, take his name out of the running and support Bernie Sanders.”
Protests against the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline are planned in more than 100 cities worldwide today. Many are taking place at U.S. Army Corps of Engineers offices to demand the Army refuse to grant a final permit for the pipeline company to drill underneath the Missouri River. In a joint statement by the Army and the Interior Department released Monday, the Army announced it is holding off issuing the final permit, saying, “The Army has determined that additional discussion and analysis are warranted in light of the history of the Great Sioux Nation’s dispossessions of lands, the importance of Lake Oahe to the Tribe, our government-to-government relationship, and the statute governing easements through government property.” This is Tara Houska, national campaigns director for Honor the Earth.
Tara Houska: “The Indigenous Environmental Network, Honor the Earth and many of our allies are calling for a nationwide day of solidarity on November 15th, a week after the election, at Army Corps offices around the country. For hundreds of years, the United States Army and Native people have been at odds. It’s time that we step forward and begin a new chapter together, one in which indigenous rights are respected, our lands are respected, and our waters are respected by the U.S. government.”
Protests against the Dakota Access pipeline were also planned here at the climate summit in Marrakech, but today is the day of the high-level meetings with the king of Morocco and others, so all protests at the COP 22 have been banned.
A new report by the International Criminal Court’s top prosecutor says the United States may have committed war crimes in Afghanistan. The report accuses the U.S. military of torturing at least 61 prisoners in Afghanistan during the ongoing 14-year war, the longest war in U.S. history. The report also accuses the CIA of subjecting at least 27 prisoners to torture, including rape, at CIA prison sites in Afghanistan, Poland, Romania and Lithuania. The International Criminal Court says it is deciding whether to open an official investigation. This could lead to the prosecution of U.S. officials for war crimes, even though the United States is not a member of the court, because the crimes were allegedly committed within Afghanistan, which is a member of the ICC.
WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange was questioned Monday by a Swedish prosecutor at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London over allegations of sexual misconduct, although charges have never been filed. The questioning could last as many as three days. Assange’s Swedish lawyer, Per Samuelson, says he has so far been prohibited from attending the interviews. Assange has been confined to the Ecuadorean Embassy, fearing that if he were to attempt to leave, he would be arrested by British police and ultimately extradited to the United States, where it is believed there is a sealed indictment against him over WikiLeaks’s release of documents.
And the award-winning journalist and news anchor Gwen Ifill has died of cancer at the age of 61. In 1999, Ifill became the first African-American woman to host a major national political talk show when she took the helm of “Washington Week in Review.” In 2013, she became co-host of the ”PBS NewsHour,” taking an anchor chair next to Judy Woodruff. Ifill continued covering the presidential election throughout the year, even as she underwent cancer treatment. Last spring, she moderated a Democratic primary debate between Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders. At a press conference Monday, President Barack Obama reacted to Ifill’s passing.
President Barack Obama: “Michelle and I want to offer our deepest condolences to Gwen Ifill’s family and all of you, her colleagues, on her passing. Gwen was a friend of ours. She was an extraordinary journalist. She always kept faith with the fundamental responsibilities of her profession, asking tough questions, holding people in power accountable and defending a strong and free press that makes our democracy work. I always appreciated Gwen’s reporting, even when I was at the receiving end of one of her tough and thorough interviews. Whether she reported from a convention floor or from the field, whether she sat at the debate moderator’s table or at the anchor’s desk, she not only informed today’s citizens, but she also inspired tomorrow’s journalists.”