The Top 10 Stories of August 13, 2013
"I feel like I’m stuck in a perpetual nightmare. I can’t seem to adjust to this life. In the Marines, we have a motto that we never leave a man behind. I feel like I’ve been left behind.” Milton Tepeyac, a deported veteran who served eight years as a U.S. Marine, scrapes by on $3 an hour in the northern Mexican city of Hermosillo.
1. Al-Qaeda expands in Syria via Islamic State.
A rebranded version of Iraq’s al-Qaeda affiliate is surging onto the front lines of the war in neighboring Syria, expanding into territory seized by other rebel groups and carving out the kind of sanctuaries that the U.S. military spent more than a decade fighting to prevent in Iraq and Afghanistan.
2. Bulger found guilty in racketeering case.
James "Whitey" Bulger, who ruled this city's violent underworld before eluding capture for 16 years, was convicted Monday in a sweeping racketeering case, including involvement in 11 murders. Mr. Bulger stood grim-faced with his hands clasped in front of him as the verdict was read. The 83-year-old, who has been in federal custody since 2011, faces life in prison at a sentencing scheduled for Nov. 13.
(Wall Street Journal)
3. North Carolina governor signs extensive Voter ID law.
North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) on Monday signed into law one of the nation’s most wide-ranging Voter ID laws. The move is likely to touch off a major court battle over voting rights, and the Justice Department is weighing a challenge to the new law, which is the first to pass since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down part of the Voting Rights Act.
4. Racial discrimination in stop-and-frisk.
Judge Shira Scheindlin of Federal District Court in New York upheld the bedrock principle of individual liberty on Monday when she ruled that the tactics underlying New York City’s stop-and-frisk program violated the constitutional rights of minority citizens. She found that the city had been “deliberately indifferent” to police officers illegally detaining and frisking minority residents on the streets over many years.
(New York Times)
5. Two powerful signals of a major shift on crime.
Two decisions Monday, one by a federal judge in New York and the other by Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., were powerful signals that the pendulum has swung away from the tough-on-crime policies of a generation ago. Those policies have been denounced as discriminatory and responsible for explosive growth in the prison population.
(New York Times)
6. U.S. retail sales data points to improving economy.
A gauge of U.S. consumer spending rose in July at its fastest pace in seven months, a sign of quicker economic growth that could strengthen the case for the U.S. Federal Reserve winding down a major economic stimulus program.
7. Hillary Clinton calls for election reform.
Potential 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton kicked off a series of speeches on Monday with a call to combat what she called an "assault on voting rights." She spent most of her 45-minute talk to about 1,000 members of the American Bar Association assailing a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling striking down a significant part of the Voting Rights Act and discussing what she sees as "deep flaws in our electoral system" as it relates to racial discrimination at the polls.
8. Air pollution takes toll on China's tourism.
China, one of the most visited countries in the world, has seen sharply fewer tourists this year — with worsening air pollution partly to blame. Numbers of foreign visitors have declined following January's "Airpocalypse," when already eye-searing levels of smog soared to new highs.
9. Clashes break out in Cairo between pro-and anti-Mursi factions.
Clashes broke out in central Cairo on Tuesday when supporters of ousted President Mohamed Mursi came under attack as they marched to the Interior Ministry, a Reuters reporter said. Supporters of the new military-installed government hurled stones at the marchers and threw bottles at them from balconies. Police then fired tear gas at the pro-Mursi protesters.
10. Kerry works to shore up relations with Brazil.
Secretary of State John Kerry will seek to allay the concerns of Brazil's top leaders about U.S. surveillance in their country while highlighting the expanding relationship the U.S. is nurturing with the economic powerhouse in Latin America.