The Common Good

The Top 10 Stories of October 15, 2012

Quote of the Day.
"Let me tell you — when I was standing there on top of the world, you become so humble. You don't think about breaking records anymore, you don't think about gaining scientific data — the only thing that you want is to come back alive." Felix Baumgartner, who on Sunday became the first skydiver to go faster than the speed of sound, reaching a maximum velocity of 833.9 mph, and set a new record of 128,100 ft (24 miles), for the highest ever freefall.
(BBC)

1. Town hall awaits Obama and Romney.
President Obama and Mitt Romney will go head-to-head Tuesday in their most challenging debate format: the town hall, where they will field questions from more than a dozen undecided voters sitting a few feet away as millions of Americans watch from home.
(Chicago Tribune/Los Angeles Times)

2. Protesters challenge bulldozers at Keystone pipeline site.
As bulldozers and diggers churn up a 50-foot-wide path for the pipeline — this portion will run from Cushing, Okla., to the Gulf Coast — a small group of environmental activists have taken to the towering trees in its way.
(New York Times)

3. EPA looks into lead risks.
The Environmental Protection Agency is re-examining more than 460 former lead factory sites across the USA for health hazards left by their toxic fallout onto soil in nearby neighborhoods.
(USA Today)

4. Election 2012: Ballot initiatives reflect nation's mood.
On Nov. 6, voters in 37 states will decide 174 ballot propositions — the most since 2006, but well below the highs of the late 1990s and early 2000s, when voters were routinely considering more than 200 initiatives on Election Day.
(Christian Science Monitor)

5. Taliban shooting victim flown to UK.
The 14-year-old Pakistani girl shot in the head by Taliban gunmen is being flown to the UK for medical treatment. Malala Yousafzai has until now been at a military hospital in Rawalpindi, with doctors saying her progress over the next few days would be "critical."
(BBC)

6. Syria and Turkey ban flights as ties plummet.
Syria has said Turkish civilian flights are banned from flying over its territory after a similar move by Turkey on Syrian flights, as relations between the former allies continue to plunge to new depths.
(Al Jazeera)

7. Arms flow in Syria is said to benefit jihadist rebel groups.
Most of the arms shipped at the behest of Saudi Arabia and Qatar to supply Syrian rebel groups fighting the government of Bashar al-Assad are going to hard-line Islamic jihadists, and not the more secular opposition groups that the West wants to bolster, according to American officials and Middle Eastern diplomats.
(New York Times)

8. Iran says it will cut imports of nonessential goods.
Iran said it would seek to cut imports of nonessential goods and urged its citizens to reduce their use of foreign-made cellphones and cars, as the country struggles to cope with Western economic sanctions.
(Washington Post)

9. Fukushima disaster could have been avoided.
In a dramatic reversal of its insistence that nothing could have protected the plant against the earthquake and tsunami that killed almost 20,000 people on March 11, 2011, Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) said it had known safety improvements were needed before the disaster, but had failed to implement them.
(Guardian)

10. Arlen Specter, Senate maverick, dies at 82.
Arlen Specter, 82, the longest-serving United States senator in Pennsylvania history, a driven, often contentious figure who placed himself at the center of national controversies for a half-century, from the Kennedy-assassination investigation in the 1960s to the passage of the economic stimulus package in 2009, died Sunday morning at his Philadelphia home.
(Philadelphia Inquirer/McClatchy)

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