The Top News Stories of 2015

Paris Climate Accord

Second Nexus
Credit: Source.

Earlier this month, 195 nations reached a landmark accord on climate change, seeking finally to deal with the issue head-on and collectively. According to the Paris Climate Accord, all participating nations would work to lower their emissions in an effort to reduce the continuously rising global average temperature and prevent it from reaching higher than 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

But in the U.S. Congress, Jim Inhofe (chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee) and his colleagues are trying to stop progress on U.S. involvement in the accord, even as they continue to deny the scientific evidence supporting climate change. A Republican victory in 2016 could lead to a U.S. withdrawal from the agreement, though presently none of the candidates is discussing it–probably because two-thirds of Americans are in favor of the United States remaining in this historic pact.

The accord will be open for signatures in the U.N. for one year beginning on April 22, 2016. Once “55 countries that account for at least 55% of global emissions” have ratified the agreement, it will enter into force. From that point, the nations will have agreed to meet once every five years to revisit their commitments, the effects of what they’ve done to date, and determine if additional action needs to be taken.

The Paris Terrorist Attacks

Second Nexus
Credit: Source.

At least 120 people lost their lives and many others were injured on Friday the 13th of November during a coordinated attack that utilized bombs and firearms on the streets of numerous neighborhoods in Paris. The first attack occurred at the Stade de France stadium during a soccer game between Germany and France, where President François Hollande was in attendance. From that initial attack, there were then coordinated attacks near the Place de la Republique, Rue de la Fontaine au Roi, Rue de Charonne, and Boulevard Voltaire. The bloodiest of the attacks occurred at the end of the terror spree at the Bataclan concert hall where the rock band Eagles of Death Metal were playing a sold-out show.

ISIS claimed responsibility for the attacks, which were the most violent in Paris since World War II. Investigations led to the discovery of the mastermind behind the plot, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, who was killed in an intense shootout five days after the attacks. Abaaoud allegedly was also affiliated with four of the six attacks in the country prevented over the past year.

France retaliated almost immediately, executing fly-over bombings of ISIS targets in Raqqa, Syria. France’s Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve issued a statement saying “anybody who attacks the Republic, the Republic will fight back. It is not they who will destroy the Republic. The Republic will destroy them.”

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