President Barack Obama is riding high after a week in which he won key Supreme Court victories on health care and same-sex marriage; gave a widely lauded speech in Charleston, S.C.; and appeared to reinvigorate his supporters. That could set the stage for a renewed push on some of the president's other priorities as his second term continues. "[T]he idea that Obama would play out his presidency as a professorial lame duck turns out to be without basis," writes David Remnick.
Support for same-sex marriage has increased sharply over the past decade, by about 2.5 percentage points per year, Nate Silver writes. Americans have changed their minds about other social issues, but the rate of change is remarkable in this case, Silver writes. "What makes it unusual is that the shift has occurred within our generation, fast enough for us Americans to experience it firsthand," he concludes.
Puerto Rico is unable to pay its debt, which surpasses $70 billion, and economic growth is critical for extricating the island from a "death spiral," Gov. Alejandro García Padilla said. The push for debt relief, which could increase borrowing costs for governments across the U.S., comes as the island struggles with violent crime, 14% unemployment and accelerating emigration to the mainland. "I would love to have an easier option. This is not politics; this is math," García Padilla said.
Gender violence in Afghanistan is on the rise, says Soraya Sobhrang, deputy chairwoman of Afghanistan's Independent Human Rights Commission. "This is a worrisome development that should be addressed -- all the gains women made could be lost," she contends.
Funding must increase if the world is to educate 34 million children in conflict zones, says UNESCO. "Returning to school may be the only flicker of hope and normality for many children and youths in countries engulfed in crises," said Irina Bokova, UNESCO's director general.
A United Nations General Assembly meeting on climate change, designed to build support for the upcoming Paris treaty negotiations, is underway in New York City. The lack of funding for poorer countries to offset the effect of climate change is one area of debate. Meanwhile, sources say China is prepared to improve upon its emissions pledges.
The United Nations Global Compact's Business for Peace initiative is showing progress, though longer-term thinking and concrete action are needed, writes Adva Saldinger.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the UN Security Council on Friday decried terrorist attacks in Tunisia, France and Kuwait. "[T]hese heinous attacks will only strengthen the commitment of the United Nations to help defeat those bent on murder, destruction and the annihilation of human development and culture," said UN spokesman Farhan Haq.