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States sue the Trump administration again, this time about the environment; Hong Kong protesters shut down the airport for the second day in a row.


States fight to keep an Obama-era climate rule

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  • A coalition of 22 states and cities, including California and New York, have sued the Trump administration for rolling back an Obama-era regulation that was the first to set national limits on carbon dioxide pollution from power plants. [NYT / Lisa Friedman]
  • The issue at hand: The EPA replaced Obama’s Clean Power Plan — which ordered states to significantly reduce carbon dioxide emissions, ultimately forcing them to switch from coal to natural gas and renewable energy — with the Affordable Clean Energy rule. The new rule would allow power plants to remain in operation if they developed more efficient technology. [Politico / Alex Guillén]
  • The lawsuit claims the EPA is neglecting its duty to limit greenhouse gases, which is directly tied to the well-being of the people. They state that the new rule would simply extend the life of power plants, which would increase pollution and accelerate climate change. [HuffPost / Alexander C. Kaufman]
  • The Trump administration has argued in the past that Obama’s regulation allowed the EPA to overstep its boundaries. Businesses that legally challenged the plan in 2015 made similar arguments, along with the concerns of the cost of compliance. [WSJ / Timothy Puko]
  • Trump had promised to revive the dying coal industry while he was campaigning, and many suspect that the Affordable Clean Energy rule is his effort to keep his promise. [USA Today / Gabrielle Canon]
  • A legal challenge to the rule was to be expected, as this isn’t the first time Democratic states have challenged his policies in courts. California has filed more than 50 lawsuits against the administration on a variety of issues. [LA Times / Phil Willon]
  • This lawsuit could potentially go to the Supreme Court, and the justices’ decision could ultimately impact the government’s ability to tackle global warming if they side with the Trump administration. [NYT / Lisa Friedman]

Hong Kong protesters take over the airport

  • Thousands of protesters have taken over the Hong Kong airport, and people are worried about a potential showdown between China and the pro-democracy supporters. [AP / Yanan Wang and Katie Tam]
  • For the second day in a row, protesters shut down the airport, one of the world’s busiest, leading to more than 160 flight cancellations. [BBC]
  • Tension peaked late Tuesday night when protesters clashed with riot police that were trying to disperse the demonstrations. Although the sit-ins were peaceful until then, a viral video showed protesters swarming a police officer following the escalation. [NYT / Mike Ives, Ezra Cheung, and Elsie Chen]
  • The demonstrators’ demands are clear: the resignation of Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam; the complete withdrawal of the extradition bill; retraction of the word “riot” to describe the protests; an unconditional release of all arrested protesters with all charges dropped; an independent inquiry into police violence; and a free election via universal suffrage. [Guardian / Alison Rourke]
  • China is starting to ramp up pressure on the protesters by describing the demonstrations in harsher terms. On Monday, it went as far as to say that the “first signs of terrorism” are starting to show. [WSJ / Chun Han Wong​]
  • All eyes are now on China for what happens next: Although Beijing has yet to deploy the army, it’s been conducting military practices near the border, which many see as a threat that could have deadly consequences. [Vox / Jen Kirby]

Miscellaneous

  • Holiday spirit: After pressure from businesses, President Trump has delayed tariffs on popular Chinese-made holiday gift items like cellphones, laptops, and toys until December 15. [NYT / Ana Swanson]
  • Bananas are at risk of disappearing now that a deadly fungus that ruined plantations in the Eastern Hemisphere has arrived in the Americas. And it doesn’t seem like scientists have found a replacement for the beloved fruit yet either. [National Geographic / Myles Karp]
  • Be careful where you take your dog swimming: Blue-green algae can fatally poison dogs, as it did to three pups when they were playing in a contaminated pond. Look out for odorous or murky waters to avoid the toxic algae. [CNN / Scottie Andrew and Melissa Gray]
  • South Korean is extremely online — and now some parents are sending teens to “digital detox” camps in hopes of getting them unhooked from their smartphones. [NPR / Michael Sullivan]
  • Julián Castro wants to send a message to President Trump condemning him for his rhetoric that fueled the El Paso attack. His strategy: releasing an ad during Fox & Friends. [The Hill / Justin Wise]

Verbatim

“California doesn’t have time for flimsy fake substitutes to clean power. Our health, our economy, our future as the engine of prosperity and innovation in America are at stake.” [California Attorney General Xavier Becerra on the Trump adminstration’s attempt to roll back the Clean Power Plan]


Watch this: We measured pop music’s falsetto obsession

From Justin Timberlake to the Bee Gees, we charted the popularity of men singing high. [YouTube / Estelle Caswell]


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