The Top 10 Stories of December 20, 2012

By Duane Shank 12-20-2012

Quote of the day.
“Everyone in this city seems to be in terror of the gun lobby. But I believe the gun lobby is no match for the cross lobby.” The Very Rev. Gary Hall, dean of the Washington National Cathedral, in his sermon Sunday.
(New York Times)

1. Boehner works to rally GOP behind ‘Plan B’ as Obama threatens veto. 
House GOP leaders scrambled to rally their members Wednesday behind a plan to extend tax cuts on income up to $1 million, defying President Obama’s veto threat and setting up a showdown that could send Washington over the year-end “fiscal cliff.”
(Washington Post)

2. Obama vows fast action in new push for gun control.
President Obama declared on Wednesday that he would make gun control a “central issue” as he opens his second term, promising to submit broad new firearm proposals to Congress no later than January and to employ the full power of his office to overcome deep-seated political resistance.
(New York Times)

3. State Department officials quit after report on Benghazi attack.
Four senior State Department officials resigned under pressure Wednesday after an independent review board determined that they had operational responsibility for "grossly inadequate" security when Islamic militants killed four Americans at the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya.
(Chicago Tribune/L.A. Times)

4. Rep. Gowdy selected to head key immigration committee.
House leaders chose a vocal opponent of illegal immigration to head up the chamber's immigration subcommittee, which will play an integral role in the upcoming debates on how to reform the nation's immigration laws.
(USA Today)

5. Lean times for America's 'undeserving poor.'
The American welfare state has grown, but so have the ranks of the poor. As the U.S. tries to focus help on those deemed most worthy, millions of adults are getting squeezed. 
(Reuters)

6. Syrian crisis triggers massive U.N. aid appeal.
The U.N., which estimates it will need $1.5 billion to slow a "dramatically deteriorating humanitarian situation" in Syria, made the plea for aid in unusually strident terms.
(Guardian)

7. U.N. vote planned on Mali security.
The United Nations Security Council was expected to vote Thursday on a resolution that would approve the deployment of a multinational African force in Mali, along with Western training and equipment for the Malian Army, to help retake the northern part of the country from Islamist militias.
(New York Times)

8. Troops gone, U.S. increasingly sidelined in Iraq.
A year after troops withdrew from Iraq, American officials have all but disappeared from the streets of Baghdad. When U.S. officials emerge from their embassy, they are no longer the de facto rulers of the country they once were. 
(Reuters)

9. Israel settlements: U.N. steps up pressure.
The U.N. is stepping up pressure on Israel over its settlement building on occupied Palestinian land in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The secretary general and all Security Council members except the U.S. demanded an immediate halt to new construction.
(BBC)

10. South Korea's Park stresses 'grave' North Korea challenge.
South Korea's President-elect Park Geun-hye spoke of a "grave" security challenge from North Korea but called for "trust-based dialogue".
(BBC)

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