Sunday Morning Reads

USA Today obtained a leaked draft of President Obama’s plan for immigration reform. At it’s core are proposals to offer permanent residency within eight years, more security funding, and a requirement that businesses check the immigration status of new hires “within four years.” The paper also reports that “the nation’s 11 million illegal immigrants could apply for a newly created ‘Lawful Prospective Immigrant’ visa, under the draft bill being written by the White House.”

-Demonstrators will be gathering in DC today to call on President Obama to act on climate change. Author and activist Naomi Klein – who was arrested in September 2011 for protesting plans to build the Keystone Pipeline – tweeted this morning that she will be at the rally, and said that “this is one feels different…”

-In another development that could boost the morale of campaigners pushing to cut fossil fuel consumption, the Guardian – through a story supported by the transgenic agriculture-promoting Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, ironically – reported that Indian farmers are boosting yields to record levels through a completely organic technique. The method that they’re using, the so-called System of Root Intensification, “has dramatically increased yields with wheat, potatoes, sugar cane, yams, tomatoes, garlic, aubergine and many other crops and is being hailed as one of the most significant developments of the past 50 years for the world’s 500 million small-scale farmers and the two billion people who depend on them.”

-German Economy minister Philpp Roesler said that his country endorses the idea of a U.S.-E.U. Free trade agreement – an initiative touted by President Obama in his State of the Union on Tuesday. According to Reuters, Roesler cited a think tank study that concluded “per capita gross domestic product (GDP) would rise by 0.1 percent in the EU and 0.2 percent in the United States with the free trade deal if only customs barriers were abolished. But more could be expected if the governments introduced common technical standards, safety standards and competition rules.”

-A 29 year old woman died from complications arising from an abortion last week, and anti-abortion activists have been using the incident to advance their agenda. It kind of, however, reinforces the point that abortion should be legal: according to the National Abortion Federation, “Death occurs in 0.0006% of all legal surgical abortions (one in 160,000 cases),” but “in countries where abortion is illegal, it remains a leading cause of maternal death. An estimated 68,000 women worldwide die each year from unsafe abortions.”

Samuel Knight

Samuel Knight is a freelance journalist living in DC and a former intern at the Washington Monthly.