VIDEO: Today's Headline News from Associated Press
'CLIMATE REFUGEE' FIGHTING TO STAY IN NEW ZEALAND
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) -- A man from one of the lowest-lying nations on Earth is trying to convince New Zealand judges that he's a refugee - suffering not from persecution, but from climate change.
The 37-year-old and his wife left his remote atoll in the Pacific nation of Kiribati six years ago for higher ground and better prospects in New Zealand, where their three children were born. Immigration authorities have twice rejected his argument that rising sea levels make it too dangerous for him and his family to return to Kiribati.
So on Oct. 16, the man's lawyer, Michael Kidd, plans to argue the case before New Zealand's High Court. Kidd, who specializes in human rights cases, told The Associated Press he will appeal the case all the way to the country's Supreme Court if necessary.
Legal experts consider the man's case a long shot, but it will nevertheless be closely watched, and might have implications for tens of millions of residents in low-lying islands around the world. Kiribati, an impoverished string of 33 coral atolls about halfway between Hawaii and Australia, has about 103,000 people and has been identified by scientists as among the nations most vulnerable to climate change.
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NEITHER SIDE SOFTENING BEFORE WHITE HOUSE MEETING
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama summoned congressional leaders to the White House on the second day of a partial government shutdown that has furloughed hundreds of thousands of workers and closed military cemeteries as far away as France. Republican and Democratic leaders agreed to meet Wednesday afternoon but showed no signs of yielding.
Much of the government has been on hold since early Tuesday - ruining vacations, robbing businesses of customers and even idling many in the nation's spy force - in a dispute over Republicans' efforts to block or postpone Obama's health care law.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said Obama wasn't backing down from his refusal to negotiate health care in return for reopening the government. Obama called the lawmakers in to impress upon them the shutdown's consequences and to remind them of the importance of raising the nation's borrowing limit before mid-October.
"He will not offer concessions to Republicans in exchange for not tanking the economy," Carney said.
Some in both parties have ominously suggested the impasse might last for weeks, with tea party-backed conservatives especially committed to the fight, while a few Republicans seemed ready to blink.
House Speaker John Boehner's office cast the White House invitation as a sign the president might be backing down.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's office expressed skepticism. "Frankly, we're a little confused as to the purpose of this meeting," said Don Stewart, a spokesman for McConnell, R-Ky.
Nevertheless, McConnell, R-Ky., and Boehner, R-Ohio, agreed to sit down with Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
Reid, for his part, offered a new round of budget talks to House Republicans if they allow the government to reopen.
He proposed that the talks occur on a nonbinding measure known as a budget resolution that can serve as a template for follow-up legislation on the budget. Democrats have been pressing for official negotiations on the budget resolution for some time, but Republicans have resisted, saying they won't give any ground on taxes.
Boehner rejected Reid's offer, said spokesman Michael Steel.
STOP BEING SO STUPID, VOTERS TWEET TO CONGRESS
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The roiling debate over the U.S. government shutdown is extending to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram as fed-up Americans turn to social media to register their disgust with federal lawmakers for shutting down the government.
Those posting pulled no punches, calling members of Congress "immature," `'stupid" and "idiots" who need to "grow up." There were a few attaboys, too, by self-described red-state conservatives who cheered on the Republican leadership's unwavering stance against President Barack Obama's health care plan, even if it meant suddenly pulling the paychecks of some 800,000 federal workers and threatening popular federal programs.
But mostly, tweeters said they couldn't understand why a compromise between the two sides seemed so elusive.
"(hash)DearCongress, You should not be getting paid. In fact, you all should be fired!" tweeted Bruce Swedal, a 46-year-old Denver real estate agent who says he is worried about what the shutdown might do to home sales if federally backed loans dry up.
The public outcry playing out on social media sites this week is a new twist. During the last shutdown of government operations, in 1995, angry Americans would have had to look up their congressman's address and sit down and write an old-fashioned letter or email. But with the advent of Twitter, popular hashtags like (hash)governmentshutdown and the NBC's "Today" show's (hash)DearCongress let voters log their complaints to all 532 members of Congress at once (there are three vacancies in the House) - provided they stay within the allotted 140 characters or less.
Voters also weighed in on the more humorous side of things, offering pick-up lines that federal workers could use in bars, some of which were advertising cheap drink specials throughout the day to those furloughed.
"The library is closing, mind if I check you out instead?" one person offered with the hashtag (hash)ShutdownPickupLines.
Added another tweeter: "It's not like we have to go to work tomorrow."
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