News in Brief: California Regulators OK Major Cap-and-Trade Rules and More

California regulators have overwhelmingly voted to approve the nation’s most extensive steps toward offering financial incentives for the owners of power plants, refineries and other major industrial polluters to emit fewer greenhouse gases, reported The New York Times. The groundbreaking 2006 climate law was approved almost unanimously by the state’s Air Resources Board, and will limit greenhouse gases beginning in 2012. California is hoping to send an example to other states in light of “the vacuum created by the failure of Congress to pass any kind of climate or energy legislation for many years now,” said Mary Nichols, chairwoman of the Air Resources Board.

Interview With Bradley Manning’s Lawyer Releases Details of his Solitary Confinement

Bradley Manning, the man who allegedly released hundreds of thousands of classified government documents to the whistleblowing web site WikiLeaks, will be turning 23 in jail on Friday. In an exclusive interview with The Daily Beast, Manning’s attorney reported that since his arrest in May, Manning has spent the majority of his detention (more than seven months) in solitary confinement. Manning spends 23 hours a day alone in a cell with a sink, a toilet and a bed at the Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia. He is not allowed sheets or a pillow. Though Manning is allowed a television for one hour each day, Manning’s attorney said the prolonged confinement is weighing on his client’s psyche.

North Korea Vows to Strike Back if South Holds Island Drill

Tensions between the Koreas has heightened Friday as North Korea threatened South Korea with firepower if South Korea conducts a live-fire drill on a border island, which was shelled by North Korea last month. The South’s one-day drill is scheduled for some time between Saturday and Tuesday – the North said it “will deal the second and third unpredictable self-defensive blow” to protect its territorial waters, reported Agence France-Presse. The two countries are currently separated by the world’s most militarized border.

Four Corporate Managers Arrested in an Insider Probe

In their most significant arrest yet in a grand insider-trading investigation, federal prosecutors have charged four corporate managers with peddling insider information for cash. The four corporate managers who worked on the side as consultants and leaked financial details about prominent technology companies as well as consumer secrets were found by an insider-trading probe that has already led to a string of raids and subpoenas of hedge funds and mutual funds, with more arrests expected in the months ahead, reported the Wall Street Journal.

US to Sign UN Declaration on Indigenous Rights

Following years of opposition, President Obama has announced the United States will sign the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which grants the “right to self-determination.” The US was the last major country to sign on to the declaration and the decision was hailed by Indian-rights groups in the US as a significant step, reported Democracy Now!

Inmate Executed With Animal Drug

Oklahoma has used a sedative commonly used to euthanize animals in its lethal injection formula due to a nationwide shortage of a key ingredient in the usual combination. John David Duty, a death-row inmate, challenged the state’s decision to use the sedative pentobarbital, arguing that it could be inhumane since it could paralyze recipients and leave them aware while the third drug is administered, reported AP. But the ruling was upheld and Duty was the first person in the United States to be executed with pentobarbital. In late November, the UK placed a ban on the export of legal execution drugs to the US, but it is unclear if this is related to the drug shortage in Oklahoma.