10 things you need to know today: November 12, 2014

Obama and Xi Jinping
(Image credit: (AP Photo/Greg Baker, Pool))

1. The U.S. and China reach agreement on climate change

President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping announced Wednesday a landmark climate change deal between the U.S. and China. The U.S. plans to reduce pollution by 26 to 28 percent by 2025, while China will cap its emissions by 2030 and attain 20 percent of its energy through renewable sources. The agreement between the world's two biggest polluters rekindled hope for a global agreement on climate change.

The Associated Press

2. ESA prepares to land spacecraft on a comet

The European Space Agency plans to make history today by landing the Rosetta spacecraft's Philae lander on the 67P/Churymov-Gerasimenko comet, the first ever such attempt. The Rosetta spacecraft has been orbiting the 20-trillion-pound space rock as part of a 10-year ESA project. The ESA released the landing capsule on Wednesday morning, and if the plan goes through, mission control will report a successful landing at 11:02 a.m. EST.

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3. Republican Dan Sullivan wins Senate race in Alaska

Dan Sullivan announced Wednesday morning that he had won the Senate race in Alaska. There are still uncounted votes from the previously too-close-to-call election last Tuesday, but Sullivan said that Sen. Mark Begich (D) won't be able to overcome the 7,911-vote gap. The Associated Press agreed, calling the race for Sullivan.

Reuters The Associated Press

4. Michael Brown's parents demand answers from U.N.

The parents of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager killed by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, in August, appeared before a U.N. committee on Tuesday. They testified that they want people to know "what's going on in Ferguson." Missouri governor Jay Nixon (D) meanwhile announced that the National Guard could be called in to deal with any unrest stemming from a decision by Ferguson's grand jury, which is expected in the next few days or weeks.


5. California nurses strike over Ebola

Nearly 20,000 registered nurses began a two-day strike on Tuesday, claiming they aren't receiving the proper equipment to protect themselves against Ebola. The strike, organized by National Nurses United, will affect 88 hospitals in California.


6. Five banks agree to pay $3 billion to settle currency-rigging charges

Early Wednesday, five major banks agreed to pay U.S. and British regulators more than $3 billion to settle charges of manipulating the foreign-exchange market. The five banks — HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland, UBS, J.P. Morgan Chase, and Citigroup — will pay the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission $1.4 billion and the U.K.'s Financial Conduct Authority about $1.75 billion. For unknown reasons, Barclays pulled out of the deal at the last minute.

NSA Archive

7. Civil rights advocate John Doar dies at 92

Doar was a Justice Department lawyer who fought for civil rights in the 1960s. He joined the department during President Dwight Eisenhower's last year in office and served through the presidencies of John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson. Doar fought for the University of Mississippi to admit African-American student James Meredith and helped secure African-Americans voting rights in the south.

The Associated Press

8. Winter storm kills 4 in Minnesota

At least four people were killed in crashes on Minnesota's icy roads on Monday and Tuesday. Multiple locations in the upper Midwest experienced up to two feet of snow. Minnesota's State Patrol reported more than 1,100 crashes and road spinouts on Monday, thanks to the weather.

NBC News

9. Rapper Big Bank Hank of the Sugarhill Gang dies at 57

Big Bank Hank, born Henry Jackson, died from kidney complications after undergoing chemotherapy and dialysis treatments for cancer. The Sugarhill Gang's "Rapper's Delight" was the first hip-hop song to become a Billboard Top 40 hit. It was also one of the first rap songs ever played on radio stations.

USA Today

10. Morocco won't host the 2015 Africa Cup over Ebola fears

The Confederation of African Football on Tuesday refused Morocco's request to postpone the soccer tournament over fears that Ebola could spread from West Africa. After pulling out as hosts of the event, Morocco was also expelled from participating in the 16-team biennial championship, which will take place from Jan. 17 to Feb. 8.

The New York Times

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Meghan DeMaria

Meghan DeMaria is a staff writer at TheWeek.com. She has previously worked for USA Today and Marie Claire.