The Common Good

The Top 10 Stories of February 4, 2013

Quote of the day.
“These manuscripts, they are not just for us in Timbuktu. They belong to all of humanity. It is our duty to save them.” Ali Imam Ben Essayouti, leader of a 14th-century mosque in Timbuktu, on saving 8,000 historical manuscripts from Islamic extremists.
(New York Times)

1. Birth control rule altered to allay religious objections.
The Obama administration on Friday proposed yet another compromise to address strenuous objections from religious organizations about a policy requiring health insurance plans to provide free contraceptives, but the change did not end the political furor or legal fight over the issue.
(New York Times)

2. In immigration debate, same-sex marriage comes to the fore.
President Obama is aiming to grant same-sex couples such as Oliveira and his American husband, Tim Coco, equal immigration rights as their heterosexual counterparts. The proposal could allow up to 40,000 foreign nationals in same-sex relationships to apply for legal residency and, potentially, U.S. citizenship.
(Washington Post)

3. States set to spend again.
A healthy jump in tax collections is letting states spend money on things they haven't been able to afford since the recession struck five years ago. Big spending turnarounds are underway this year in education, tourism promotion and worker pay.
(USA Today)

4. Republican energy plan calls for more drilling, nothing to rein in greenhouse gases.
The Senate’s top Republican on energy issues, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, has crafted a blueprint for U.S. energy policy that calls for increased drilling while opposing laws to cap greenhouse gases that are blamed for global warming.
(McClatchy News)

5. Tech, telecom giants take sides as FCC proposes large public WiFi networks. 
The federal government wants to create super WiFi networks across the nation, so powerful and broad in reach that consumers could use them to make calls or surf the Internet without paying a cellphone bill every month.
(Washington Post)

6. Justin Welby takes over as Archbishop of Canterbury.
The new Archbishop of Canterbury has been confirmed into the role in a legal ceremony at St Paul's Cathedral.
(BBC)

7. U.S. attempts to restart peace talks with the Taliban.
As the Obama administration nears a decision on the pace of U.S. combat troop withdrawals from Afghanistan between now and the end of 2014, jump-starting reconciliation has become a key element of its exit strategy.
(Washington Post)

8. Iran open to 'fair' nuclear talks with U.S.
Iran is ready for direct talks with the United States on its nuclear program as long as Washington has "fair and real intentions," said Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi.
(Al Jazeera)

9. India president backs rape laws.
India's president has approved harsher punishment for rapists, including the death penalty, after the gang rape of a student sparked demands for tougher laws.
(BBC)

10. Under Egypt's political unrest seethes the rising anger of the poor.
At the heart of the discontent is public anger over the battered economy, specifically the president's failure to improve the lives of millions of people like Abdelaziz who voted for him last year.
(Chicago Tribune/Los Angeles Times)

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