World Leaders Unite for Climate Change

The 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference began on Sunday, Oct. 31 and will be running through Friday, Nov. 12. The conference, also known as COP26, is being held in Glasgow, Scotland. Leaders from over 120 countries are present at the event, including President Joe Biden.

Some goals of the conference include sharing proposals to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, along with limiting the effects of global warming to 1.5 degrees. It is also being asked that developed countries deliver on previous promises to raise at least 100 billion dollars a year in climate finance.

While the conference is held every year, this one is of special note. As part of the Paris Agreement, every country needs to update their emissions reduction targets every 5 years. The year 2021 marks the first conference requiring a check-in. According to climate scientists, not one country is on track to meet its long-term goals.

Brewing Battle Over Books

The U.S. Department of Justice is suing to block a merger between America’s 1st and 4th largest book publishers, German-owned Penguin Random House and New York-based Simon & Schuster respectively. The antitrust lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Tuesday, Nov. 2.

The 2.2 billion dollar deal at the center of the battle was announced in Nov. 2020 and is expected to possibly face government opposition. The Biden administration has called for greater scrutiny of such mergers as part of its efforts to lessen corporate power.

If combined, the new company would control close to half of the U.S. book market. The Justice Department’s complaint claims that the merger would “exert outsized influence over which books are published in the United States and how much authors are paid for their work.”

The companies claim that the two publishers would continue to compete against one another and not reduce their overall outputs though. They are represented by Daniel Petrocelli who also successfully defended AT&T from the Justice Department during its merger with Time Warner.

Rittenhouse on Trial

The trial of Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old boy who shot and killed two protesters during civil unrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin last year, began on Tuesday, Nov. 2. He faces six charges, five felonies and one misdemeanor. The most severe is first-degree intentional homicide, comparable to first-degree murder in other states, which carries a basic sentence of life in prison.

The trial is following a rather eventful pretrial period during which the judge ruled that the men shot by Rittenhouse could be described as ‘rioters’ and ‘looters’ but not ‘victims.’ While rulings on words such as ‘victims’ are not unheard of in self-defense cases, the prosecution believes the ruling on the words ‘rioters’ and ‘looters’ create a double standard and allow the defense to disparage the men shot by Rittenhouse.

The prosecution used their opening statements to portray the defendant as a tourist who inserted himself into the unrest and initiated the confrontation that led to the shooting. Rittenhouse, for his part, has pleaded not guilty to all charges and says he acted in self-defense when he fatally shot Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber in Aug. 2020.