1/ A federal appeals court ruled that only the federal government — not private citizens or civil rights groups — can sue to enforce the Voting Rights Act. In a 2-to-1 ruling, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that private entities cannot bring lawsuits under Section 2, a provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that prohibits discriminatory voting practices. The ruling runs counter to decades of legal practice and the vast majority of Voting Rights Act claims are brought by private entities. The decision will almost certainly be appealed and is likely headed to the Supreme Court. (CNN / Wall Street Journal / New York Times / NPR / Politico / NBC News)

  • 🔎 What’s at Stake? This federal appeals court ruling represents a shift in the enforcement of voting rights in America. By potentially limiting the ability to challenge discriminatory voting practices to the federal government, it risks undermining the effectiveness of the Voting Rights Act. This is especially concerning as it could lead to reduced oversight and increased voter disenfranchisement, disproportionately affecting minority groups and threatening the integrity and fairness of the democratic process. The decision is at odds with the foundational American values of equal representation and participation in democracy. Vigilant protection of voting rights is essential for maintaining a robust and inclusive democratic system. Failure to address this issue risks long-term damage to the legitimacy of elections and the democratic principles upon which the United States is built. Addressing this ruling is crucial not only for the current generation but for safeguarding the democratic rights of future generations as well. It’s also a stark reminder that protecting voting rights is a continuous battle, requiring vigilance and active participation from all sectors of society.

2/ Earth briefly exceeded more than 2 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial benchmark this weekend, preliminary data showed. When compared with the 1991-2020 average, the global mean on Friday was 2.07 degrees Celsius (2.1 degrees Fahrenheit) above average preindustrial levels, and 2.06C (3.7F) above preindustrial on Saturday. This year is on track to be the hottest on record globally, with temperature records set in July, August, September, and October. November is on track to be the hottest such month on record. (Washington Post / Axios)

3/ The world has a 14% chance of keeping global warming below 1.5C even if all net-zero pledges are met, according to the United Nations’ 2023 “Emissions Gap Report.” To keep warming to the 2015 Paris climate agreement limit of 1.5C, countries need to cut their emissions by 42% by the end of the decade. Carbon emissions from the burning of coal, oil, and gas, however, rose 1.2% last year. Meanwhile, if every single country were to follow through on its stated net-zero plans, Earth would still be on track to heat up roughly 2.5 to 2.9C over preindustrial levels by the century’s end. “There is no person or economy left on the planet untouched by climate change, so we need to stop setting unwanted records on greenhouse gas emissions, global temperature highs and extreme weather,” Inger Andersen said, executive director of the U.N. Environmental Programme. “We must instead lift the needle out of the same old groove of insufficient ambition and not enough action, and start setting other records: on cutting emissions, on green and just transitions and on climate finance.” (Associated Press / Bloomberg / New York Times / Politico / Axios / NPR)

  • The world’s richest 1% generated as much carbon emissions as the poorest 66% in 2019. “Carbon emissions of the world’s richest 1% surpassed the amount generated by all car and road transport globally in 2019, while the richest 10% accounted for half of global carbon emissions that year. Meanwhile, emissions from the richest 1% are enough to cancel out the work of nearly 1 million wind turbines each year, Oxfam said.” (Washington Post)

4/ The U.S., Israel, and Hamas are reportedly close to an agreement to release some of the 240 hostages taken during the Oct. 7 terrorist attack in exchange for a five-day pause in fighting. Biden’s deputy national security adviser said while Israel and Hamas were close to a deal, “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed,” and that negotiations could still fall apart. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby echoed the statement, saying: “We believe we’re closer than we’ve ever been, so we’re hopeful. But there’s still work to be done, and nothing is done until it’s all done, so we’re gonna keep working on this.” Negotiations have centered around a brief pause in fighting where Hamas releases 50 women and children held hostage in exchange for roughly the same number of Palestinian women and teenagers held in Israeli prisons. Any deal would require a vote by the Israeli government, and some right-wing Israeli politicians have suggested they’ll oppose any agreement with Hamas. Meanwhile, Israel’s military released footage of what it said showed Hamas “forcibly transporting hostages” through al-Shifa hospital on Oct. 7, claiming the video was proof that Hamas used the hospital “as terrorist infrastructure.” The Hamas-run Palestinian Health Ministry suggested that the videos are just doctors treating patients regardless of who they are. Israel’s military also released video of what it said was a 55-meter section of a fortified tunnel running 10 meters beneath the al-Shifa hospital. News outlets have been unable to verify either side’s claims, when the videos were taken, or who the people in them were. (New York Times / Washington Post / NBC News / Associated Press / ABC News)

5/ Americans can order another round of four free Covid-19 tests for home delivery. Get yours at COVIDtests.gov. The U.S. Postal Service will deliver them for free. (Associated Press)