This Week’s Top Stories
By Nora Tidey, News Editor
President Obama is expected to veto a bill unanimously passed by Congress that would allow families of the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks to sue the Saudi Arabian government. The bill would “let courts waive claims to foreign sovereign immunity in cases involving terrorist attacks on U.S. soil.” Obama has opposed the bill over concerns that foreign governments may exploit the move to bring American officials into court. While the White House is making efforts to stop this measure from becoming law, congressional leaders have suggested that they would try to override the President’s veto and will likely have enough support from both chambers to do so. The House passed the legislation on Friday, calling it a “moral imperative” for ‘victims’ families to seek justice for the deaths of loved ones. However, the White House has argued that there are more important issues at hand than impending lawsuits by the victims’ families and that the U.S. must maintain the tradition of sovereign immunity with foreign officials. Saudi Arabia has been lobbying hard against this legislation. Obama will lobby lawmakers to change their votes in the coming days.
The Brazilian government ratified its participation in the Paris Agreement on climate change on Monday, a step that could spur other countries to move forward in efforts to reduce environmental degradation. As Latin America’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, Brazil contributes to 2.5 percent of the world’s emissions of carbon dioxide and other polluting gases. President Michel Temer issued a statement expressing the Brazilian government’s concerns for the future and desire to preserve the living conditions of Brazilians. The Paris Agreement will enter into effect when 55 countries representing at least 55 percent of global emissions have formally joined. Climate experts believe that could happen later this year. Countries set their own targets for reducing emissions and Brazil has committed to cutting 37 percent of emissions by 2025 and 43 percent by 2030. Brazil has achieved significant emissions cuts in the past decade because of their efforts to reduce deforestation in the Amazon and increase the use of hydropower and other renewable energy sources. The United States and China both sealed their participation in the Paris Agreement earlier this month and experts say Brazil’s participation will add even greater momentum.
This week’s top stories were compiled by Nora Tidey with information from abcnews.go.com and washingtonpost.com.