World News Brief, Friday June 19

Pope urges action on climate change; Hong Kong votes down electoral reform package; Japan to lower voting age from 20 to 18; Islamic State works to expand influence in Afghanistan; Chad launches air attacks on Boko Haram; and more


Pope Calls for Swift Action on Climate Change

Pope Francis released a nearly two hundred-page encyclical on the environment (NYT), calling for changes to politics, economics, and lifestyles in order to prevent unprecedented destruction of the ecosystem. The pontiff also called for the replacement (BBC) of fossil fuels without delay and called on industrialized nations to help developing countries confront (Guardian) the global environmental crisis. This is the first papal encyclical dedicated to the topic of climate change and comes ahead of the pope's visit to the United Nations in September and a series of international summits seeking to negotiate a global treaty on climate change.


"Francis has made environmental issues a priority of his papacy. This is the first encyclical that is fully his, and the Catholic Church's first-ever dedicated entirely to this topic. The pope is offering the world a moral vocabulary for talking about climate change, shifting global attention from the macro solutions of policy summits to the personal ethics of environmental stewardship," writes Emma Green in the Atlantic.

"By throwing his personal authority behind the global effort to mitigate climate change, the pope has made a significant intervention in world affairs. From the secular world's perspective, this is probably the most important step he has made during his two-year papacy," writes the Economist.

"The encyclical is not a checklist of how to save the planet and, in so doing, each other. Instead, Laudato Si' is a call to renewed, ecological humanism and moral vision in a world beset by technological and economic temptation," writes Christiana Z. Peppard in the Washington Post.


Hong Kong Votes Down Election Reform Package

Lawmakers rejected (WSJ) Beijing's proposed election reform plan that would have allowed Hong Kong residents to directly elect their chief executive for the first time in 2017. Beijing would have maintained the ability to vet candidates. The outcome is seen as a victory for pro-democracy legislators.

This CFR Backgrounder looks at the relationship between Hong Kong and mainland China.

JAPAN: Japan's parliament enacted legislation on Wednesday to lower (Yomiuri Shimbun) the voting age from twenty to eighteen. The law is slated to take effect in the summer of 2016. The reform is the first change to electoral laws since 1945, when the voting age was lowered from twenty-five.


Islamic state looks to expand influence in Afghanistan

Chad launches air attacks on Boko Haram

This is an excerpt of the Daily News Brief. The full version is available on