A bipartisan group of eight senators announced on January 28 that they had developed a plan for comprehensive immigration reform. The group of four Democrats and four Republicans had worked independently of their colleagues in the Senate and informed President Obama over the weekend that they had reached an agreement.
As the nation marks the 40th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision that struck down a Texas law — and by extension, all states’ laws —that had criminalized abortion, the debate between those who uphold the right to life of the unborn and those who assert that a woman’s right to “choose” must be paramount, continues. And there is a category of individuals for whom the abortion issue is perhaps the most personal of all: those who have survived attempted abortions.
On the night of January 15, the House of Representatives passed a bill appropriating $50.5 billion in emergency relief funds for victims of last October’s Hurricane Sandy. The legislation, H.R. 152, “Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, 2013,” sponsored by Rep. Harold Rogers (R-Ky.) passed by a vote of 241-180. A total of 192 Democrats and 49 Republicans voted in support of the measure, with 179 Republicans and one Democrat opposed.
Veteran U.S. diplomat Robert A. Wood, Chargé d'Affaires of the U.S. Mission to the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) in Vienna, Austria, issued a statement to the IAEA Board of Governors on November 29, asking IAEA Director-General Yukiya Amano to note in his next quarterly report whether Iran has taken "any substantive steps" to address the international agency's warnings.
Separate leaders of the M23 rebels issued contradictory statements indicating that they would either withdraw from the city of Goma in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), or fight to hold the city. M23 took control of Goma, which has a population of one million, on November 20.
The European Council meeting in which EU leaders will attempt to reach an agreement on the multi-annual financial framework (MFF) for 2014-2020 began in Brussels on November 22 and EU leaders continue in their struggle to find common ground to set a budget.
At the meeting of the European Union's Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels on November 19, a group of 27 European foreign ministers issued a statement that read: "The EU considers [the newly formed Syrian opposition coalition] legitimate representatives of the aspirations of the Syrian people."
China's President Hu Jintao opened China’s 18th Communist Party Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on November 8. During a 90-minute speech, Hu praised the "epic accomplishments" and "superiority" of China’s communist system and gave no indication that government policies would change under his successor, Vice President Xi Jinping.
Royal Dutch Shell is seeking to pay a $1.4 billion debt it owes to Iran that it has been prevented from settling since a European Union embargo that started July 1.
A report from Platts news service on June 25 said that the EU embargo included a ban on oil imports and a ban on the provision of insurance for tankers shipping Iranian oil. Shell, as an Anglo-Dutch-owned company, is subject to EU jurisdiction.
Meeting at St Andrew's House, the Scottish government building, in Edinburgh on October 15, the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister David Cameron and the First Minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond signed an agreement allowing the Scottish people to hold a referendum in Autumn 2014 deciding the question of whether Scotland should remain in the U.K. or opt for independence.