The U.S. House of Representatives passed an historic health care reform bill last night. The bill must also be approved by the U.S. Senate, where it is expected to pass, before it can be signed into law by President Barack Obama, BBC News. Political implications of the health care reform bill, Reuters. Factbox on immediate and long terms changes that will be implemented if the bill is passed through reconciliation and signed by President Obama, Reuters.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has refused to address the controversy over the building of new settlements in Jerusalem. Netanyahu will meet with U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington, D.C. this week, Christian Science Monitor.
After a small eruption over the weekend, Iceland is preparing for larger volcanic eruptions, Times Online.
The likelihood of a clear winner in the Iraqi election for Prime Minister is decreasing. Votes were cast on Sunday and are still being counted. Current Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki currently has a slight lead. He is working to build a coalition to stay in power, Associated Press.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that the timing of Israel’s announcement that it will continue construction of homes in a disputed area East Jerusalem on the first day of Vice President Joe Biden’s visit was “insulting.” The U.S. supports a two-state solution but Israel and Palestine must be able to engage in talks and negotiations over borders before a Palestinian state can be formed, CNN.
45 people were killed in attacks targeting the military in Lahore, Pakistan, Al Jazeera. More on militants in Pakistan, New York Times.
15 people, including 3 cabinet ministers and 3 journalists, are dead after a suicide bomber struck a university graduation ceremony in Mogadishu, the capital city of Somalia. The suicide bomber was dressed as woman. No one has yet claimed responsibility for the bombing, but the militant Islamic group al-Shabab is suspected. Islamic militants control much of central and southern Somalia. The capital is protected by African Union peacekeepers who have nearly daily skirmishes with militants, Associated Press.
India’s Minister of State for the Environment has announced that the country will not sign any legally-binding emission reduction agreements at the upcoming climate change summit in Copenhagen, Times of India. Residents of Shishmaref, Alaska fear climate change could destroy their town, CNN.
Israeli settlers protest a 10-month ban on new settlement construction. East Jerusalem is not included in the ban. Settlements are illegal under international law, but continue to be built by Israelis in disputed lands as a way of bolstering their claims on the land, CNN. The story of a Palestinian farmer whose grove of olive trees has been vandalized by nearby Israeli settlements, BBC News.
The New York State Senate did not approve a bill that would have legalized same-sex marriage, New York Times.