News in Brief: Rangel Ethics Case Moves on Without Rangel, and More

Rangel Ethics Case Moves on Without Rangel

After being charged with 13 ethics violations, Rep. Charles Rangel (D-New York) accused the House ethics committee of denying his right to a lawyer and asked for more time to put together a legal fund, Talking Points Memo reports. After Chairman Zoe Lofgren (D-California) announced that the committee would not delay the hearing any further, Rangel walked out of the hearing room and excused himself from the trial.

Cindy McCain Retracts Opposition to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

In a November 10 ad for the NOH8 campaign in support of gay marriage in California, Cindy McCain stated, “our political and religious leaders tell LGBT youth that they have no future,” and decries the fact that “they can’t serve our country openly,” according to The Huffington Post. But on Friday, McCain clarified that she supports “don’t ask, don’t tell” (DADT). She tweeted, “I fully support the NOH8 campaign and all it stands for and am proud to be a part of it. But I stand by my husband’s stance on DADT.”

UN Issues Moratorium on Experimental Geoengineering

Yes! Magazine reports that the UN closed its tenth biennial Convention on Biological Diversity with a de facto moratorium on geoengineering projects. The delay would ensure that no geological engineering experiments would be allowed to take place until risks to the environment, society, culture and economy were assessed. “This is a victory for common sense, and for precaution,” said Pat Mooney, executive director of the ETC Group, an organization that aims to advance ecological diversity and human rights.

Unemployment Benefits Nearing Expiration

As Congress returns to a lame-duck session, the future of emergency unemployment benefits is unclear, as they are set to expire at the end of November, according to The Hill. If lawmakers don’t take up the issue before November 30, more than two million people could see their emergency benefits run out by the end of the year. Democrats and Republicans have long held opposing views on unemployment benefits; during the summer, almost three million people who had been out of work for at least six months lost their benefits while Senate Republicans held up an extension measure over concerns that the $34 billion paid would add to the deficit.

Aung San Suu Kyi Keeps Fighting for Democracy

One day after her release from seven years of house arrest, Myanmar pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi began calling for talks with the military junta’s leader, Gen. Than Shwe, as well as other leaders in the country, who have avoided meeting with her in the past, The Wall Street Journal reports. During an appearance on Sunday in front of thousands of supporters, Suu Kyi promised to use “whatever authority I have” to pursue progressive dialogue with the country’s generals.

Banks Fund Lawsuits to Profit From Payouts

The New York Times reports that large banks, hedge funds and individual investors are funding medical malpractice cases, divorce battles and class-action lawsuits against corporations in an attempt to share in the winning payouts. While the funds have helped people without the necessary resources take their claims to court, they have also, at times, placed an additional financial burden on the clients, who may be unaware that their lawyers have borrowed money to further their cases.